Steve Jobs and iTunesU

Over the last few days I have been indulging myself into a number of lectures on a variety of subjects downloaded from iTunesU. I had always known about iTunesU however I had dreamed that the quality of lectures and information presented in them will be so high. I believe iTunesU is sort of an unsung hero in this world of “cloud” consumer content.
There are a million online music and movie stores out there by a number different companies trying to sell you that latest movie off their data servers whilst trying to undercut their competitor. However, none and I mean none (nil, nada, zero, zilch I cannot stress this enough) has anything that vaguely resembles iTunesU. Perhaps because in this modern society where learning is synonymous with being “uncool” or “geeky” there isn’t much of a market for such a service. Keeping it short, I just want to tell you all to try out this iTunesU. I am sure you will also find on it a wealth of information on the subject of your choice and also perhaps will spark your interest in a number of new ones as you explore your way around the thousands of lectures on there.
With this I now want to come on to Steve Jobs himself. Today he announced another leave of absence from the company due to his health issues and without trying to speculate or interfering the man’s privacy I just want to give him my best wishes and hope to see him back at the helm of Apple soon.
Steve Jobs is source of great inspiration for me. His contributions to tech and the world as a whole are unequalled. Most people are lucky if they make a notable contribution to their field of study or work. People whose contribution to their field changes the world are even rarer. But for the vision of one person to change the world not once not twice but a number of times over the course of his career is unheard of.
It all started with the first Apple personal computer. People never dreamed of having a personal computer before Apple. Then came the GUI. Then came the magic of Pixar and Toy Story and then came the modern mac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone and now the iPad. One man was behind each of these tech history turning points and that man is Steve Jobs. I am not saying that he invented all this or that it was his efforts alone that achieved all these modern miracles but it was his vision and his strive for perfection that achieved something that others could not before him.
People have said that he comes across as a bit arrogant. But to be honest if you have literally changed the path of the tech world so many times in a career spanning 4 decades, I think some arrogance is both forgivable and even warranted.
But what really makes me admire the guy is what lies beneath the surface. Below is the link from his Stanford university speech in which he talks about the facts of life and how the various turning points in his life changed him into the individual he is today. In a very honest and thoughtful account you get a peek at the person who is as venerable and fragile as any one of us. The Steve Jobs, who is not less than a superhero for a number of admirers comes across as being just as much of a puppet in the hands of fate, as any of us. But his vision and his courage to realise his vision no matter what is what distinguishes him for the rest.

In the end all I want to say is : Get well soon Steve. You still have to change the world a few more times.

The following is the YouTube link to Steve’s Stanford university speech for those who have not seen it.

Steve Jobs Stanford University Speech


My teacher recommended watching these violin videos by Joshua Bell on youtube. I seem to have issues with my violin playing in the sense that it seem to put too much effort in my fingering of notes. He asked me to look at the ease with which Joshua Bell plays his notes. Because I will be limited in my study of violin if I don’t cultivate that ease of playing which will in turn affect my development of intonation and speed.

Looking at these videos, I can see what he means. The ease of playing by Joshua Bell is a pleasure to watch. The only way I can develop this, ironically, is to consciously practice it in. The problem is coming from playing guitar, it is typical for the player to apply a lot more force than on the fretboard to get a clean note. However, it is not so with violin, with the slightest of effort the note can be played on the fretless fingerboard, but it is hard to let go of the muscle memory developed while learning guitar.

Nevertheless, this is a new instrument, a new frontier and ideally I should not let habits that I have acquired playing other instrument negatively effect the study of another instrument. But I think it is quite natural of this happening in the real world. The only thing I can do to mitigate this is practice and more practice. Hopefully, soon I will be able to play the notes with a greater ease and better intonation as I progress on my journey in the study of this fantastic musical instrument.