Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Apple revolution

I believe the computer on the left is my Mac Plus.
Somewhere in my basement sits a hollow, beige shell in an large, olive-green, Apple-logo decorated, canvas bag. It's the remains of my original Mac 128.

Today it is just a hollow case as I had my original Mac upgraded to a MacPlus at Lyon's Logic, an early Apple store in London, Ontario. When the upgrade was complete, Lyon's made sure to return the original, now hollow, case. It was valuable.

Why was it valuable? Because embossed inside were the signatures of most of the members of the original Macintosh development team. It was a cool, personalizing touch for a cool and very personal computer.

One thing I recall from those early, first days of Mac ownership was the scorn heaped on the Mac by many in the  newsroom at The London Free Press. The newsroom used the Atex system. They had no use for a personal computer. Many of the folks running the place were proud to call themselves Luddites.

I actually brought my Mac to work once and demonstrated how easy it would be to keep photo records using a small Mac. No one was interested. The photo department, I was told, had two IBM Selectric typewriters -- both with a correction ribbon. There was no demand for my toy.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece I called "Newspapers must evolve." Part of that evolution will be either changing the attitudes of management or changing management. The paper's present editor-in-chief, Joe Ruscitti, in keeping with newsroom tradition, likes to claim he is a Luddite. It is hard to argue with Joe about his computer savvy.

Three days after Steve Jobs died at 56, the newspaper carried a column about Steve Jobs. The story celebrated his life, his achievements and the lessons we can take from his example. Allow me to add my two cents, or should I say Google executive Vic Gundotra's two cents.

It seems that one Sunday Gundotra got at church. It was Jobs calling to say he thought the shade of yellow in the second “o” of the Google logo wasn’t quite right. Furthermore, Jobs said he had tasked someone with improving it. 

"In the end, when I think about leadership, passion and attention to detail, I think back to the call I received from Steve Jobs on a Sunday morning in January. It was a lesson I’ll never forget. CEOs should care about details. Even shades of yellow. On a Sunday."

I think folk like Joe Ruscitti should try to emulate Steve Jobs and his attention to detail. It is only professional.

Check out the following screen grab from The London Free Press online site. It seems even an Editor-in-Chief can use an editor.

Ruscitti's  name is spelled incorrectly on one of his Free Press posts. The final "i" has been dropped. On the one post where his job title follows his name, an accent called a cedilla has been added below the "c" in chief. And newshounds is one word. I learned that from a former Free Press editor and just checked my Canadian Oxford Dictionary as a second source.

It is funny that Joe's name is spelled incorrectly on his post "We're doing just fine . . . " These errors are months old. There is no reason to not correct these errors unless Joe doesn't even know about them. Unless Joe doesn't even check his online posts.

If only Steve Jobs had called Joe at church.

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