Flensburg Files‘ Tribute to Steven Jobs, Apple founder, thinker, innovator, and the source of inspiration

An Apple a Day helps keep the doctor away- this was an old saying that was used by many to encourage people to eat healthy everyday and avoid seeing the doctor for any illnesses that may come about. My grandmother used to preach this when I was growing up and it helped a great deal when it came to creativity and imagination as a teacher, columnist/writer, parent and a person in general.

That is unless you have an Apple Computer and you are using it every day, like I do. Then the anecdote should read “An Apple a day helps your creativity run away.” I was first introduced to the Apple IIe while in elementary school in 1984 and grew up with the computer, embracing one new type after another, and embracing one new word processing program after another, all the way through high school and to a certain degree, college. Every time I wanted to do something creative and artistic, I always looked to Apple as a source of guidance and inspiration.

For the founder of Apple, Steven Jobs, there was more to creativity than the products he invented over the years, going from the personal computer that covered the entire desk, to the one which fits in the palm of your hand and plays music, saves all kinds of things, and helps you organize your plans and thoughts thoroughly.  There is so much that has been mentioned about his rise to stardom and how he rivaled the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Thomas Edison, and the like that mentioning it again here in this column is like reinventing the wheel. Job was a thinker- an “iPhilosopher” as some have coined it- who encouraged society to be creative, take the risk, and invent and create something that may not be acceptable at first but will be popular in the long term. From a point of view of a political scientist and historian, I would call this the theory of innovation or Jobbesianism, implying that one’s creativity and innovation will have an impact on society and how people behave towards one another, even if it is not accepted at first. In other words, we should create, convince and capture in order to better ourselves and society in general. Jobs may not be the savior, like the Lord Jesus Christ, as he was portrayed holding the iPad in the May 2010 edition of the Economist magazine, but he was the person who made a difference in the lives of many through his philosophy. This goes beyond the company Apple, the computer industry, and science and technology, but for society in general.

Hearing the news of his passing this past Thursday, right before my first class of the day at the university, the response was speechless. While he may have succumbed to pancreatic cancer, the same deadliest form of cancer that has taken the lives of many stars, like Michael Landon (he was diagnosed in 1989 and died less than two years later), he left a legacy that will last for generations to come, a legacy that encourages us to be creative and take a risk at what we are doing so that in the end, win or lose, we can say that we were successful in our own ideas. To end this column, I decided to compile a few excerpts that he mentioned below for you to think about and encourage yourselves to make the best of society and be creative in what you do.  Mull over these comments and go out there and invent. You’ll be amazed at what you come up with in the end.


“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do,”  both quotes he mentioned to the Stanford University graduates in 2005.

“My job is not to be easy on people. My jobs is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.” – All About Steve Jobs

“So when a good idea comes, you know, part of my job is to move it around, just see what different people think, get people talking about it, argue with people about it, get ideas moving among that group of 100 people, get different people together to explore different aspects of it quietly, and, you know – just explore things.” – CNNMoney

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” – Wikiquote, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal (Summer 1993).




New Facebook Features: DISLIKE!

Dangers lie ahead with social networking- beware of the consequences. Photo taken in August 2011 while in the USA


I have been on Facebook for over year and a half (since the end of February 2010 to be more precise), and there are a lot of advantages of being in a social network. You can reconnect with those whom you lost contact with for a long time, keep in touch with current friends, meet new people and create your own personal networks, share your interests with others, and sometimes increase your chances of getting a job through the right connections.  The downsides however overshadow the positive aspects of social networking. Reports of internet stalking, bullying and the result of suicide attempts, hacking into and stealing ones’ identity, and virtually stripping naked with personal issues make social networking one of the most abusive hobbies. But like many people, privacy is a paramount concern as our interests could be exploited by those wanting to make easy money.

Recently, Facebook went below the belt by adding the feature what type of friends you have. Now if you want to be friends with someone you know through facebook or invite an acquaintance to join your social network, you are strongly encouraged to categorize him by the basis of whether that person is a close friend, family, or acquaintance.  I found this out as I asked a person whom I met at a conference in St. Louis to join the social network and got this feature thrown in my face.  For five minutes or so, I tried to get rid of the feature and was very close to cancelling the friend request. Finally, I got rid of the feature and the request was accepted.  However, the new feature has caused a stir among people like me, who fear that our privacy, which has become more and more a tabu, was being compromised further.  While there is logic in having that feature there to identify potential stalkers and criminals who are best friends or acquaintances of those who invited them to their social network, finding out who are my real friends, and who are just acquaintances should be the responsibility of the person who meets them and wants to stay in contact with them.  Nobody wants to classify them based on what facebook has for options for them. And moreover, nobody wants to be classified by others in order to provoke jealousy, or whatever sick thoughts that are possible in the age of information. I think we have a responsibility  to determine who should be allowed to join our social network and who should be left out.  It is all part of a bigger responsibility we have when accessing the internet and either surfing for the information we need or post information online for others to see. This includes online columns like this one.  Those who are irresponsible should be educated properly so that their conduct does not affect others. This also includes those running the social network, like the founder  of facebook, Mark Zuckerberg.

Recently, Germany decided to go on a legal spree against facebook because of policy concerns the country has. While internet trafficking has weakened the boundaries of countries like the Bundesrepublik, Germany prides itself on privacy as the population treats it like they treat their books: sacred and fragile- handle with care. While it is unknown how the courts will rule on the privacy issues, perhaps Zuckerberg and other founders of social networks, like Linked-In, myspace, twitter, and StudiVZ/ MeinVZ should see this case as a wake-up call to scale back on privacy infringements and respect the wishes of the individuals who just want to be left alone to mind his/her own affairs. After all, one has to know his/her limits, those of others, and as far as the new facebook features are concerned, determine for him/herself what should  go on the profile and who should join the social network and who should be deleted altogether. In the year and a half I have been on facebook, this is what I learned, even when it was the hard way. I hope others are of that opinion, too.



  1. The new friendship feature is one of many new features that facebook introduced as it did some upgrading to determine the interests and background of the 700 million users who use the social network everyday. Since its introduction at the beginning of the week, a lot of complaints regarding the complicity of the new page have been posted and many wanted the old format returned because of its simplicity. It is unknown whether the demands will be heeded or if they will be ignored.
  2. Litigations being sought by private groups in Germany claim that the “Like” Button on facebook as well as biometric features violate the privacy as stated by German law. Furthermore, in light of various incidents where hundreds of uninvited guests attended parties posted on facebook in Wuppertal, Hamburg, Kiel and other places, German authorities are considering measures banning facebook parties. So far no word on whether these litigations are successful at the time of this entry. Links to the stories are provided below: