On the shoulders of giants: Steve Jobs RIP

When I heard the news about Steve Jobs last night, I was reading a book. On my iPad. My husband found out because he was checking blogs. On his iPad. What did I do when he told me? I looked for an authoritative news source. I checked wired.com–on my iPad.

Yes, we’re geeks. But that’s not the point. A year ago, we would have been in front of separate computers, checking the net from desktops. Or maybe laptops. And yes, one of the laptops is a MacBook Pro. Not mine. But the iPad changed that. The iPad made it convenient to curl up with a good book. One that also lets you surf the net and play some really cool games.

All the Apple origin stories that have been repeated in the past 24 hours have reminded me of some library computing origin stories. The first three “computers” to make their way into any public library were generally an OCLC terminal, a CLSI terminal, and an Apple II computer, usually in the Children’s Area. Not necessarily in that order. The Apple II was the only real computer of the three. Think of how far we’ve come!

The comment is so often quoted, “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Sir Isaac Newton said it first, ironically a man who is one of the giants on whose shoulders modern science stands.

Steve Jobs was a giant.