Thursday, October 06, 2011

"Taste" (as defined by Steve Jobs, updated)

Steve Jobs died yesterday.  I have to admit, I feel a pang of regret about it, almost as if I knew they guy.  (Obviously, I didn't.)  But he'd been around for so long as part of the personal computer scene, somehow he'd become a part of my own participation (and joy) of working with computers. The New York Times has a really nice article about his life, though I'm sure other publications do too.   I believe it's fair to compare him with Edison, at least in as much as his products completely changed the landscape of contemporary living and the use of personal technology.  One never knew what surprising products he might come-up with next. He was a real visionary, and a distinctly American one too.

I can't think of any significant way to send a condolence.  I mean, what could I do, really -- email customer service at Apple and say, "Sorry that the creative visionary of your whole company died."?  It'd just be too weird.   I decided something I could do is update this blog entry which I posted back in January of this year, the content of which is below.  D@^^! -- and he was only 56.

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As a philosopher, I'm always interested when intelligent people try to define common, if ineffable terms.  Certainly "taste" is one of those terms.  Here's a shot at it by Steve Jobs, as quoted in The New York Times a while back:
Great products, according to Mr. Jobs, are triumphs of “taste.” And taste, he explains, is a byproduct of study, observation and being steeped in the culture of the past and present, of “trying to expose yourself to the best things humans have done and then bring those things into what you are doing.”[1]


[image] Blog

[1] Steve Lohr "Steve Jobs and the Economics of Elitism" The New York Times Jan 29, 2001

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