Posts in Category: News

Steve Jobs

I got back to my desk at about midday on Thursday after a meeting, looked at the news online and saw that Steve Jobs had died. It made me sad. But I’m still not really sure why I’m sad, and why I’m even still a bit sad now a couple of days later.

Yes, I’m a fan of Apple’s products and have been ever since I bought my first iPod back in, I think, 2003 (although I might have been on my way to becoming a fan when I bought Tegan an iBook (which in those days was a laptop – not an ebook) in December 2002). But at the end of the day they’re just tools and gadgets that enable the things I want to do or make them easier. I don’t think I have a particular emotional attachment to my Apple gadgets. When an iPod or laptop has died (usually after extensive service) I’ve been disappointed because it meant I needed to spend money to buy a new one, but that was it. And my fondness for Apple gadgets isn’t intrinsically linked to the CEO and founder of the company that made them. In fact, I was never very impressed with what I heard about Steve Jobs as a person – based on the old stories about how he had for years denied the paternity of his first daughter or how he had scammed his friend out of what should have been his rightful share of the proceeds from creating a game for Atari. Basically, I had the impression that he wasn’t a particularly nice person.

The sense of sadness and loss I feel confuses me. One could put it down to the old John Donne line – ‘any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind’, but I don’t think that’s it either – plenty of people die about whom I don’t feel sad. Maybe I’m just tired and feeling a bit fragile – and there is some truth to that, although it doesn’t explain the full thing either. I think what it is, for good or ill, is that I’ve developed a significant respect for Steve Jobs over the last few years and that the sense of loss is because I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about his views and actions. There is an attachment for me because he is someone I have engaged with, albeit vicariously.

At one level, this is because of my attachment to Apple’s products. I have started typing this on an iPad, which is connected to the Internet via a personal hotspot on my iPhone, and I will include an image I edited and stored on my iMac. Later today I will watch a video that will be streamed from my iMac and displayed on my tv via an AppleTV. I will do more work typing this up using Tegan’s Macbook Pro while sitting on my couch watching the Rugby World Cup. The more I have read about Apple, the clearer it has become that the connectedness of all these gadgets – the way they work together almost effortlessly and the way they enable me to do all these things – the beauty of their design in both looks and usability – it was Steve Jobs that drove this. He was the visionary who saw the possibilities and pushed people to make them happen, not to mention structuring a business and manufacturing supply chains to put them in my hands at prices I can afford (albeit, that I can afford only because of my comfortable middle class job and lifestyle).

I’m also very interested in the reports about what Steve Jobs was like as a manager. Having worked for detail-obsessed micro-managers, it’s typically a frustrating experience, yet that was something that Steve Jobs was lauded for. Perhaps there’s message there that it’s good to micro-manage details, as long as you pick the right ones to manage and as long as you can actually contribute and make your product or whatever better by doing so. Personally, looking at the possibilities of being a senior manager in my field in the not too, too distant future there are obviously useful lessons to be learned from watching one of the stand out entrpreneurs and managers of my lifetime.

The other aspect of the sadness, I’m sure, is because I’m a Christian and Steve Jobs wasn’t. Since his death, his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005 has been quoted many times. It included the following line:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

I find this so sad – it’s close to the truth, but wrong enough to be very, very sad and disappointing. Death is not the greatest invention of life. Death is wrong. As he said, despite eagerly awaiting eternal life I don’t seek death now and I do enjoy my life. But in contrast I think that Jesus’ victory over death is the greatest thing ever and I more eagerly look forward to a day where there will be no more death and no more suffering:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:2-4

But in the meantime, I appreciate Steve Jobs as visionary and I can internally mourn for someone who had such big, good and intelligent ideas and who appreciated the bigger picture, but just had it so tragically wrong.

Anastasia ‘reading’ Puff the magic Dragon

Progress in May 2011

Wow. What a difference a good day makes.

We had a particularly good day on a Wednesday a couple of weeks ago – the best day we have had for so long. Isaac had next to no colic, we relaxed, Anastasia had fun with animals, we ate delicious seafood, everybody slept well, we got to watch a whole movie in one go. It made us feel fantastic. In fact, despite a number of significant crying episodes since it felt as though we turned a bit of a corner on that day. Wednesday, 18 May 2011. It’s a date for us to remember in perpetuity.

What made this day so great?

  1. Bateman’s Bay
  2. To begin, we were staying at Bateman’s Bay in a very nice little holiday apartment at a place called Parker By The Sea. I would heartily recommend this place – the apartments were gorgeous, modern and well kitted out. The kitchen was fantastic. The bedrooms were nice and large. The whole place just had a great feel to it. Our apartment had the master bedroom downstairs, where we slept with Isaac, and two bedrooms upstairs – one with a queen bed and one with twin singles. We let Anastasia choose which one she would sleep in and she chose the queen bed. She looked so small sleeping in the middle of this enormous bed but she loved it. She slept more soundly there even than she would normally at home.

  3. Birdland Animal Park
  4. Not the famous jazz club, or I might have gone as well. As it was, I stayed home and read books while the girls went to the animal park, which is part wildlife vet, part tourist attraction.

    Anastasia had a ball – she patted wombats, looked at wallabies and even had a snake draped around her. In fact, she enjoyed the snake so much she went back to it and had it placed on her several times.

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

    At Birdland Animal Park, Bateman's Bay

  5. No colic
    Aside from one session of crying for about half an hour or less when they were arriving at the animal park, Isaac had basically no colic all day. In fact, during the afternoon he was particularly delightful – smiling and gurgling at us.

  6. Excellent seafood
  7. Thanks to a most excellent tip received from our friend Bianca the last time we were in Bateman’s Bay, we returned to the 3 Fish Cafe in the main street of Bateman’s Bay. An absolutely delicious mixed seafood grill consumed while sitting in a little park looking out over the water. A pretty much perfect lunch.

  8. Anastasia slept for at least 3.5 hours during the day
  9. That pretty much explains itself.

  10. Free time and good sleep
  11. Because Anastasia slept so well during the day and because Isaac had a good day, Tegan and I had lots of free time. We got to read books, watch Masterchef and even watch a movie (Mao’s Last Dancer – we liked it) after Anastasia went to bed. And then everyone, including us, slept well overnight. It was glorious.

  12. Did I mention, no colic
  13. It was just so good.

Dickson Wetlands Planting Day

Very kindly, the ACT Government is providing us with some great new amenities and improving the view from our house (and probably increasing our property value) by building wetlands across the road from us. Today they invited members of the community along to help plant trees and plants, so we went along to help out and have a look – primarily as a bit of a fun activity for Anastasia. It was quite a nice little trip out just before lunchtime and we had a good time checking out the wetlands development, planting some trees and catching up with friends and neighbours.

Construction has been going on for a number of months and seems to have almost finished. Hopefully this means that soon our house and car will stop being coated in red dust on a daily basis and that the smell of fertiliser and manure will fade. More seriously, it looks like it will be a great and fun place for Anastasia (and eventually Isaac) to explore and the concrete paths look like a perfect surface for trikes and small bikes.

See more info about the Wetlands on their official page here or on their Facebook page here.

Anastasia at two and three quarters

Anastasia at 2 and three quartersWe are enjoying watching Anastasia grow and develop into a little girl.  We love seeing her personality emerge and her understanding of the world expand more and more.  She brings us so much joy!

A few of her favourite things…

  • People
  • Anastasia is a gregarious little soul who loves her people!  Anastasia loves going to creche at church on Sunday and during ladies Bible study, often asking to go during the week. The carers at childcare have told us that Anastasia is a happy, confident little girl who is very affectionate. She does seem to enjoy her time there, particularly ‘Music with Miss Jess’ on Mondays, and is invariably in a wonderful mood when we pick her up. She has formed consistent friendships with several of her classmates at childcare but she remains most closely attached to her family.  Anastasia loves seeing, playing with, talking to and praying for her family.  When looking at the family portraits taken over the years, Anastasia will excitedly announce, “That’s my family!”

  • Baby dolls
  • These have been a constant favourite since she was about 10 months old.  Where other toys have featured as favourites for a while and then been returned to the toy box, Anastasia has retained her delight in baby dolls.  She plays with them at home, at crèche and at childcare.  Isaac’s arrival has prompted an even greater range of activities, with baby dolls being tucked into bed, rocked to sleep and patted to calm their crying.

  • Acorns
  • After going through a phase of picking up sticks and rocks everywhere we went, Anastasia wholeheartedly transferred her affections to acorns.  The lovely oak trees across the road have provided a ready supply but familiarity in this instance has not bred contempt!  We find collections of acorns in the base of the pram, in Anastasia’s handbags, her pockets and jewellery box, in her toy sink and under the couch in her room.  We must have thrown out kilos of them!  Thank goodness the season won’t last for too much longer…

  • Toy trains
  • Tim and Anastasia playing with her (their?) train setTim was diligent in expanding Anastasia’s toy train collection in the months leading up to Isaac’s arrival and she now has quite an impressive collection.  Tim and Anastasia have spent a wonderful time creating an amazing variety of track designs and sending the trains around them – I’m not sure which of them has more fun!

  • Music
  • This has always been a favourite with her, only now she is much more vocal about what she’d like to listen to.  In the car we often hear comments on the music being played from the rear seat: “What’s this music called?”, “I don’t like this music.”, “I like this music – this song is cool!”.  The Peter, Paul and Mary we used to play for Anastasia has largely faded in popularity, although she is still intrigued by identifying songs that we played for her “when I was a baby”. Dora the Explorer songs are always popular, but the surprising favourite is Bjork’s ‘It’s oh so quiet’.  ‘Lah-Lah’s Big Live Band’ has been a recent and very popular addition to her collection and we have very much enjoyed dancing along in the living room with percussion instruments in hand! Yo-Yo Ma still provides the soundtrack for each evening’s descent into sleep with Bach’s Cello Suites; Anastasia described this to us the other day as ‘quiet’ music.

  • Books
  • Anastasia has always loved books and her love of them has only increased.  She loves looking at books and being read to and has recently begun pretending to read herself.  She delights in ‘reading’ to us by reciting one of her favourite books – “The Big Night-night Book” by Georgie Birkett – from memory.  Lately she has started ‘reading’ to Isaac, sitting next to his bouncer and telling familiar stories from her own books. She is starting to recognise numbers and letters and often gets frustrated when she cannot read for herself.