Category: Personal

Remote Working: the Benefits, Disadvantages, and some Lessons Learned in 15+ years

Djurdjica-boskovic-G8_A4ZWxE3E-unsplash-776pxWith so many people now having to learn to work remotely due to restrictions related to COVID-19, what information can people share who have been working from home? Back in October 2019, I realized it was 20 years ago when I started working remotely, and so I sent out some tweets asking for opinions about the benefits of working remotely, the challenges / disadvantages, and then the lessons people have learned. I subsequently recorded podcast episodes on each of those three topics.

The links to the Twitter threads and podcasts are below.At some point I may turn them into longer articles themselves, but in the meantime, I hope they will help some of you with ideas for how to get adjusted to this new way of working.

And… I would suspect many of you might just want to jump directly to the lessons learned… 


Many of the benefits were about no commute, the ability to be present with family, freedom to work and live wherever, flexibility, caring for family, and more.  (Note that a good number of the benefits mentioned (such as working from "anywhere") are currently NOT possible because of the self-isolation / quarantine imposed by the COVID-19 situation.)


Loneliness, isolation, and the lack of social connections with colleagues topped the list of disadvantages, along with the lack of physical activity, home distractions and more.

Lessons Learned

Some of the key lessons that I have learned in over 15 years of working remotely, and that were common in other comments include:

  • Create a separate space (ideally, a separate room) - this is critical if you can do it.
  • Invest in a good chair and other office equipment - since you are going to be sitting in it so many hours of your day! (Or some people now have desks that let you stand, too.)
  • Make time for physical activity - get OUTSIDE if you can! Go for a walk. Go for a run. Or work out in a home gym. Multiple people suggested dogs being a great way to force you to do this.
  • Make a schedule - and STICK to that schedule - it is super easy to work many hours at all different times. Figure out a schedule that works for you,  your employer, your team, and your family - and then try to stick to that schedule.
  • Use collaboration tools - things like Slack are critical for your own sanity so that you are “connected” to other people in your organization. (Granted, you may need to figure out how to not be too connected to everyone and spend your day drowning in notifications!)
  • Take actual lunch breaks - step away from your computer and your home office. Get up and move around.
  • Sit with your face toward natural light, if possible - it looks better than artificial light… and you’ll get some Vitamin D, too. 🙂
  • Lighting IS important, particularly for video calls - you do want to have light shining on you in a way that works well for video. You may want to experiment with different lamps around you or on your desk.
  • Have video calls with other remote workers - make time to connect with colleagues, ideally over video calls. Even if it is just to chat for 5 or 10 minutes. It can help ease the sense of isolation - and they may like it, too! Sometimes if I have a question that I’m going to write in email or Slack, I’ll ask myself, “would it be faster if I just ask them in person?” And if so, I’ll ping them via a message to see if they are available for a video call.
  • Work in different locations - Try sometimes to get out of your home office and work in other parts of the house. Take a laptop and work in another room, or on a deck or yard if you have one. (Granted, this might be hard if you have many people in your household all working in the same building.)

On this last point, you’ll see in the Twitter thread and hear on the podcast all the comments about working from other locations. For example, working at cafes with WiFi, etc. That IS a critical lesson many of us have learned. Successful remote working can involve getting outside the walls of your home office - and outside of your home. Obviously this is currently NOT possible with the COVID-19 situation, but something to definitely think about if you continue working remotely once we are past all of this.

Other remote workers… what other lessons learned would you add?

Best wishes to you all as we all try to navigate this new world of social distancing and working remotely over the next weeks and months!

UPDATE #1 - over on Twitter, someone I know pointed out that this is NOT regular "working from home" (WFH). His text: "I've WFH 11 years. current situation is not normal WFH. you can't go to a coffee shop to interact w people, work out or take advantage of all sorts of WFH perks like normal.
self-quarantine != WFH

I definitely agree, Paul, this is NOT regular "working from home".

Photo by Djurdjica Boskovic on Unsplash. - No, that’s not MY desk… far too clean! 😏

Celebrating 10 Years of Blogging at Disruptive Telephony

DisTel Dec2006

Ten years ago today, on December 18, 2006, I launched this blog with a very short 1-paragraph post:

Welcome to Disruptive Telephony! For a number of years, I have been blogging about VoIP as part of my personal blog, "". However, I'm now in the process of splitting out some parts of my writing into separate blogs. This is one of those blogs. Right now... I'm just setting it up, so don't expect to see much here. Stay tuned, though... much will be happening soon.

At the time, I was living in Burlington, Vermont, and working remotely for the Office of the CTO at Mitel Networks back up in Ottawa, Ontario (where we lived from 2000-2005). Dave Edwards, a friend from Ottawa, left the only comment on that post.

In 2006, the "VoIP blogging" world was quite small - and we all pretty much knew other. Om Malik was writing on his own site (it was yet to become GigaOm). Andy Abramson had VoIPWatch. Jeff Pulver was writing on his sites. Tom Keating at his "VoIP and Gadgets blog" on TMC. Martin Geddes had his "Telepocalypse" site. Alec Saunders had "Saunderslog". And there were a few others...

This was back in the day when we read each others blog posts, commented on them, excerpted each other's posts, etc. And "social media" was not yet a big thing.

It's been a crazy 10 years since... being "restructured" out of a role at Mitel in 2007 after their merger with Inter-Tel, finding a role with Voxeo through this Disruptive Telephony blog (they read this post about telephony not mattering, and then my post about the role I was seeking)... moving to Keene, NH, in 2008... joining the Internet Society in September 2011... it's been a wild ride!

Along the way, I wrote a ton of articles about Skype, SIP, Google and many other VoIP technologies.  MANY relating to security. At one point I seemed to have become Skype's receptionist since no one could find a phone number on Skype's (pre-Microsoft) web site. I wrote about startups that showed great promise, and also about when those promises faded. Many articles on many different topics...

I learned a huge amount and met many great people and made great connections from the writing on this site.

Over this decade of writing, TypePad gives me these stats:

  • 1,209,851 Lifetime Pageviews
  • 331.10 Pageviews/Day
  • 800 Total Posts (including this post)
  • 924 Total Comments

Very appropriately - and with no plan whatsoever - this is the 800th post on this site.

I started using Google Analytics on the site in October 2007 and it tells me I've had 1,817,045 pageviews since time, proving, once again, how difficult it is to track viewers, since the stats are different. More interestingly, GA shows me the top posts that have attracted interest over the years:

1. Google Voice Now Offers SIP Addresses For Calling Directly Over IP (March 2011)

2. Understanding Today's Skype Outage: Explaining Supernodes (December 2010)

3. Did Google Hang Up On Calling Google Voice Via SIP? (March 2011)

4. Will iOS 9 Make My iPad2 Usable Again? (June 2015)

5. What is an Over-The-Top (OTT) Application or Service? - A Brief Explanation (July 2012)

6. How To Set A Skype Chat So That New Arrivals See (Some) Chat History (March 2011)

7. You Can Now Call Into Google+ From Regular Phones - Google Connects Google Voice To Hangouts (May 2013)

8. UPDATE: Will iOS 9 Make My iPad2 Usable Again? (Reports after the upgrade.) (September 2015)

9. Why Is Skype Forcing A Software Upgrade On All Of Us? (Plus The Community Outrage) (August 2014)

10. Did Google REALLY Kill Off All XMPP/Jabber Support In Google+ Hangouts? It Still Seems To Partially Work (May 2013) 

 No real surprises there... my post about Google Voice and SIP addresses STILL receives a significant volume of interest, even though that capability died long ago. For a while, back in maybe 2009-2012, I was one of the main people writing about Skype, and so many of my posts of that era were highly viewed.

A few of my own favorite posts that aren't on that list include:

A. The Directory Dilemma - Why Facebook, Google and Skype May Win the Mobile App War (June 2015 and December 2014) - one of my longer pieces diving into what I see as the prime challenge for new entrants into VoIP / messaging. (The link is to the updated version on CircleID, but the original version was here on this site.)

B. Why The Opus Codec Matters - Even If You Don't Care About Audio (July 2013) - my thoughts on why people need to care about audio codecs.

C. Moving Beyond Telephone Numbers - The Need For A Secure, Ubiquitous Application-Layer Identifier (May 2013) - After SIPNOC 2013, I dove into the whole area around "What do we use as an application-layer identifier for Internet-connected devices?"

D. A Brief Primer on the Tech Behind Skype, P2PSIP and P2P Networks (November 2010) - I kept needing to explain peer-to-peer (P2P) networks to people, and Skype's setup in particular, that I felt compelled to do a deep dive and explain how P2P systems worked. Fun to write!

E. Hypervoice - The Fundamental Flaw In The Proposal (October 2012) - this piece analyzing a proposal from Martin Geddes and the ensuing comment trail make for good reading about different viewpoints on the future of telecommunications.

F. Ch-changes - Taking A New Job At The Internet Society To Join The Fight For The Open Internet (September 2011) - this one is of course a favorite as it explains why I am doing what I am doing now with the Internet Society.

There were many other favorites, like my rant about WebRTC and who we were building it for, but these were the main ones.

Of course, if you look at both of those lists you can notice that with the exception of the two iPad / iOS9 posts and the updated "Directory Dilemma" in 2015, all of these are older posts.

This shows, though, the decline I've had in posting here.  Look at these numbers:

  • 2016 - only 7 blog posts (including this one)
  • 2015 - 25 blog posts
  • 2014 - 28 blog posts
  • 2013 - 30 blog posts
  • 2012 - 40 blog posts
  • 2011 - 154 blog posts
  • 2010 - 90 blog posts
  • 2009 - 52 blog posts
  • 2008 - 110 blog posts
  • 2007 - 234 blog posts

Clearly my velocity has decreased in a serious way, mostly as a result of new responsiblities with the Internet Society and a decreased amount of time for writing here.

I have a loooooonnnnnnnggggg queue of articles I want to write here. The reality is that while some things have changed over the 10 years, many of the same issues are still here.

We'll see where I go with this in 2017. I have a great amount of focus I'd like to give to messaging... let's see if I can make that happen!

Meanwhile... today I will just say THANK YOU TO ALL THE READERS OVER THE 10 YEARS! I'm glad to have helped many people along the way - and I'm glad to have been challenged by many people as well.

I'm looking forward to the next 10 years of writing here... because one thing is definitely for certain: telephony will continue to be disrupted!

Four Years At The Internet Society

ISOC geneva 400It was four years ago today that I joined the Internet Society staff... and what an amazing four years it has been!

If I go back and read my long post here about joining ISOC in September 2011, my passion and motivation continues to be the same - if anything, that passion has only gotten stronger!

As I wrote about last year in my three-year post, the "Internet of opportunity" that we all value is under severe threat.

The big change for me this past year, was, of course, the big change of joining the Internet Society Strategic Communications team in March 2015 (you can also listen to an audio recording).

That's been a wonderful yet crazy change!

If you go back and look at what I wrote last year - or two years ago - it's all about the technology behind the Internet and how we need to improve the infrastructure to make the Internet work better, be faster and be more secure.

The change this year is that now I'm more involved in other areas of Internet Society work, particularly in the public policy space. You can see that in some of the posts I've been writing for the main ISOC blog (scroll down my bio page to see the list). I've been very involved in adding content to the public policy and Internet governance sections of the website - and I've been working on our overall content strategy for a range of different websites (whereas in the past I mostly just focused on the Deploy360 site).

I've also found myself involved in projects such as standing up a web site for our Call For an Open WSIS+10 Preparatory Process... which it was only after getting it all set up that I really sat back and realized we were coordinating a coalition of organizations that was calling on action from the President of the United Nations General Assembly! Quite a different level of advocacy than I've been involved with in the past! (And still open to sigantories, by the way...)

My new role this year has given me an amazing view about all the work the Internet Society is doing around the world... it's truly inspiring to see it all.

Perhaps most inspiring is to see that the work is ultimately about helping people have better lives. Yes, technology is definitely a large part... but the work we do is about how technology enables better communication, connection, collaboration, creativity and commerce... it's the effect on people that matters most.

The new role is crazy busy... I'm definitely NOT sitting around playing Solitaire or Tetris! :-)

But we have a great team... and we as an overall organization are working on getting more focused on what activities we can do to have the biggest impact on ensuring the "Internet of opportunity" is available for all.

I'm VERY much looking forward to what the fifth year brings!

P.S. Recently Russ White published a very nice overview of the Internet Society on the PacketPushers site - and if you're interested, becoming a member of the Internet Society is free and can connect you to others around the world who want to see an open Internet available to all!

An audio commentary is also available:

Thank You

Today, for most of the seven billion people in the world, it is just yet another ordinary day.  Nothing special... just another day.

But for those of us living in the USA it is our "Thanksgiving". It is a public holiday that most people get off. And it is for me the holiday that in so many ways I enjoy the most.


Simple ... because it has not yet become over-commercialized. Tomorrow, of course, is an epic nightmare of consumerism and crass commercialism (and the participation in which I avoid as much as possible).

But today, for the most part, is a collective... pause

Throughout our nation (and around the world for those living abroad) people gather with friends, family, loved ones. Most businesses are closed (except for many restaurants, convenience stores and some gas stations).  People eat (often large quantities), play, relax and enjoy each other's company.

It is a moment to revel in that gathering... to reflect on how we are thankful for what we have... to help out those who need help... to pause in a sacred moment and give thanks.

And so I take this moment... here... on this site... to thank all of YOU out there.  All of you who continue to read my articles... to listen to my podcasts... to read my books... to watch my videos... to hear me in presentations... to read my newsletter... to engage with me on social media...  thank you!

Thank you also for challenging me... for asking me tough questions... for giving me feedback... for doing all those things that help me to grow and learn and become even better in what I do and help me learn how to be of better service to you all.

Thank you.

For the 6.7+ billion of you for whom today is a perfectly normal day, I hope you have an excellent day. For those of you celebrating US Thanksgiving, I hope that you all are able to gather with those you love - and that you are able somewhere in the madness to pause for even just a moment and reflect on all that you have to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. It's not all rosy, of course.  Many people cannot be with their family and friends. Many people do not have food, homes, or the money or means to travel to visit people. Even "normal" family gatherings can be filled with tension, drama and crisis.  It can be a quite bleak and depressing time for many.  For those of us who are able to celebrate, the question becomes, too... what can we do to help others?  How can we translate our thankfulness into action to help those who are struggling?  Can we dedicate part of our lives to helping other people have something more to be thankful for?


The Internet Cries Out Its Collective Wail of Anguish At The Passing Of Steve Jobs

There are no words... although many are being written.

On an intellectual level, perhaps, we knew it was coming. When he stepped down as CEO back in August, we knew Steve Jobs was in trouble. No one who is as much of a control freak as he was would step down unless things were really not going well.

But still...

... emotionally we hoped against hopes that His Jobsness would somehow cheat death and stand up on stage yet again to give us...

"one more thing"

... one more time.

But... icon, visionary, leader, maker that he was... he was of course only human.

With all the mortality that implies.

And so ever since the word of his death started spreading last night, the Internet has been awash with the collective cries of anguish.

Techmeme, at this precise moment, is a wall of tributes to the man.

Many are incredibly moving... incredibly poignant... incredibly powerful...

"#ThankYouSteve" has been at the top of the Twitter trends. Google has changed its home page to have a link over to Apple's page. Wired has turned its home page into a wall of quotes about Jobs.

Everywhere a thousand other tributes are being posted.

A powerful day of tributes to a man who did so much to change our industry and indeed our world.

I don't know that I can personally add more than what I wrote back in August...

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

He leaves us with a legacy of design...

... of remembering that we need to focus on form as much as function (if not indeed more)...

... of thinking not of what features we need to add to a product or service, but rather what features we need to remove to make the service even simpler and easier to use...

... of remembering to focus on the user experience...

... on the need to embrace the "magic" of what we are doing and to create products and services that truly amaze and delight us...

... and to not settle and to live each day as if it were our last.

If you have never watched his powerful address at Stanford in 2005, take 15 minutes and watch this video:

One of Apple's best known advertising campaigns was the "Think different" series - and they had videos with a narration about "Here's to the Crazy Ones". The folks at 9to5 Mac found a version that Steve Jobs himself narrated:

Naturally, there have been several remixes of this commercial text (although not Jobs' narration) with images from Jobs' history. Two I found moving were this one:

And this one from Gizmodo:

Gizmodo stevejobs tribute

And yes, I admit to shedding a tear or two as I watched these...

There were a zillion tweets about Jobs... and one that I'll close with is simply this:

Twitter stevejobs

R.I.P., Steve Jobs.

Thank you.

P.S. GigaOm ran a nice collection of quotes from Silicon Valley leaders.

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:

Ch-changes – Taking A New Job At The Internet Society To Join The Fight For The Open Internet

In the end, my impending job change is perhaps best explained by two quotes: this prescient quote from the 1992 film Sneakers:

“There’s a war out there, old friend. A world war. And it’s not about who’s got the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think… it’s all about the information!”

and this quote from poet Mary Oliver:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

For a longer explanation, read on... but perhaps not on a mobile phone... this one's a bit on the lengthy side...

Bleeding "Voxeo Blue"

voxeologohoriz.pngJust shy of four years ago, I wrote here about joining this incredibly remarkable company, Voxeo, that probably none of you had ever heard of.

I hope I changed that a wee bit. :-)

Around a thousand blog posts later, a hundred videos, too many speaking engagements and webinars to count, many articles, a ton of analyst briefings and media interviews ... and countless tweets, Facebook posts and other updates later... it has been truly an amazing journey.

Along the way I have come to truly love the company - and I don't use that term lightly - and the incredible people who are gathered together focused on making Voxeo THE platform for developing and deploying communications applications. As I mentioned in a recent post, Voxeo is a rocketship, firing into the skies and leaving its competitors behind.

Over these four years, I have been living, breathing, eating, sleeping all things Voxeo... I have been proud to be a "Voxeon"... slice open my skin and it bleeds "Voxeo blue"...

The Larger Battle

And yet... I have never been able to escape the siren call of the larger battle going on all around us. It did not surprise me to find that the Voxeo blog in which I published the most posts is "Speaking of Standards". Listeners to my weekly reports into the FIR podcast have perhaps grown weary of my rants about "single points of failure" and the need for services that are "distributed and decentralized" that allow you to retain control over your information and content. Readers of my blogs have seen my many posts on the theme of "the open Internet".

We have before us a choice of futures.

One choice leads to a future where innovative companies like Voxeo can emerge, thrive, disrupt and succeed.

Another choice leads to a future where what little "innovation" there is exists only at the will of the gatekeepers to the network after appropriate requirements and/or payments are met. Other choices lead to outcomes somewhere in between those polarities.

How will we choose?

Walled Gardens, Redux

The Walled Garden (1)
I began my time online some 30 years ago in the 1980's era of the big "information services". CompuServe, AOL, Prodigy, Delphi, The Source, GENIE... and many other names that have long since faded into history.

People accustomed to the ubiquity of the Web today might find it hard to believe that once upon a time you could only get certain news, technical, financial, movie or sports info on the service to which you subscribed... that you could only communicate with people who had accounts on the same system as you.

It was the era of the proverbial "walled gardens"... where each service tried to keep the walls high enough and the content pretty enough that you would never leave.

The forces of "openness" were around, too. Academic networks like BITNET and JANET on the one end and home-grown networks of BBS's like FidoNet on the other, with other networks and things like UUCP and Usenet floating around as well.

And then came this "Internet", the one network to interconnect them all.

And out of that interconnection and interoperability came the world we live in today... out of that chaotic world of engineers and open standards came this network that is now no longer simply a research network but instead has become critical communication infrastructure... and a critical component of commerce.

And with that rise to prominence come all those who would seek to change the nature of the network... for perceived safety... for convenience... for profit... for control... for "security"...

So now we see services like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and more that seek to provide a nice pretty space in which you can exchange messages, photos and more... without ever leaving the confines of the service... they are a walled garden with just many ways to access the garden and to look over the walls.

Everyone wants to own your eyeballs... to host your content... to provide your identity...

And we see companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft seeking to control a large degree of how we connect to and use the mobile Internet...

And we see a change from "permissionless innovation" where anyone can set up a new service... to a model where you have ask permission or agree to certain "terms of service" in order to connect your new service to other services or to have your app available on some platforms...

And we see countries that want to throw up a wall around their citizens... sometimes to keep information from coming in... and sometimes to keep information from going out... and sometimes to be able to shut down all access...

And we see players who did control our communications systems always looking for opportunities where they could maybe, just maybe, stuff the proverbial genie back in the bottle and regain that control they lost...

It's a crazy time...

As one who has lived through our online evolution, and who in fact has been able to do what I do and to live where I live because of the "open Internet", I don't want to see us return into a fractured world of walled gardens.

We can make a different choice.

And So, A Choice

IsoclogoIn the midst of all this craziness exists a global nonprofit organization that many of you may not have heard of. It has a very simple mission:

to promote the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world.

The Internet Society, or "ISOC" for short, exists to promote the idea that "the Internet is for everyone", where "everyone" includes people all around the world... and yes, it includes the corporations, service providers, governments and other organizations, too. To support that mission, ISOC undertakes a wide variety of education and policy initiatives around the world, all with the aim of fostering the growth of the open Internet. Local "chapters" of ISOC have sprouted up around the globe pursuing these initiatives at a local/regional level. Perhaps more relevant to many readers, ISOC is the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the group that creates the RFCs and the open standards that describe how the Internet operates today. A significant amount of ISOC's focus is on facilitating the creation and promotion of these open standards. (For those curious to learn more, ISOC's 2010 Annual Report is available online.)

I was actually a dues-paying member of ISOC back in the early '90s, when each month I would read through their print magazine (very ironically, but this was pre-Web) "On The Internet" to learn more about how the Internet was evolving throughout the world. I rejoined again a year or two ago to help in some small way support this very important work. (You can join, too.)

And on this coming Monday, September 19th, I will join the Internet Society as a staff member.

The Missing Link

Missing Link
The particular project I will join within ISOC is a brand new initiative targeted at helping bridge the gap between the standards created within the IETF and the network operators and enterprises who are actually deploying networks and technologies based on those standards. To help translate those standards into operational guidance... to help people understand how to deploy those standards and why they should, what benefit they will see, etc

The initiative is currently called the "Deployment and Operationalization Hub", or "DO Hub", and while that may or may not be its final name, the idea is to find/curate content that is already out there created by others, create content where there are gaps, make it easy to distribute information about these resources... and promote the heck out of it so that people get connected to the resources that they need. The initial focus will be, somewhat predictably, on IPv6, but also DNSSEC and possibly another technology. It is a new project and the focus is being very deliberately kept tight to see how effective this can be,

My title will be Senior Content Strategist and my role will very much be about the creation, curation and distribution of information. Writing articles, reviewing resources, blogging, creating videos, screencasts, etc, Once we have the initial repository built out, there will be a phase next year where we will be out on the conference circuit talking about these technologies and helping people understand how they can get started... and continually adding even more content.

For a guy who loves teaching, writing and "demystifying emerging technology", it's kind of tailor-made. In fact, when ISOC approached me a few months ago with the job description, my wife and I both looked at each other and said "wow, that's me!"

In the end, the goal is to help make it as easy as possible to deploy and use open standards... so that we might wind up collectively making the choices that can lead to an open Internet where innovation can thrive.

I'll still be living in Keene, NH. (Many ISOC employees are remote.) I'll still be blogging in my various blogs. I'll still be speaking at conferences from time to time. I'll be back at IETF meetings again (which I'm VERY much looking forward to). None of that really changes with this move.

Every New Beginning Comes From...

..some other beginning's end. ("Closing Time", by Semisonic)

Leaving Voxeo was decidedly NOT an easy choice. I agonized over the decision for an insanely long time. I work with awesome people who I know I will miss, have been thoroughly enjoying what we are doing and have been looking forward to where the company is going... it has some amazing plans that will even further disrupt the industry!

Some will tell me that I am crazy... that Voxeo is the closest they've seen to a "sure thing"... that leaving is a dumb move.

They may be right.

And yet... recent events in my personal life have highlighted the fragility of our lives and the limited time we have - and the need to pursue one's passion.

And so it is that I end one beginning and start a new one... with the hope that in some small way the new work I do will help companies like Voxeo thrive - and indeed to help continue and expand the conditions that create companies like Voxeo.

We have a choice of futures before us...

Image credits: Gerry Balding, Thomas Gehrke on Flickr.

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

Techmeme stevejobsRight now, at the moment I write this post, Techmeme stands as a monument to the end of the Steve Jobs era.

Go on, check it out... scroll down the Techmeme page... I've not honestly seen another day quite like this.

A zillion posts lionizing the man who, love him or hate him, has so disrupted multiple industries through his leadership of Apple. As Walt Mossberg wrote, Steve Jobs is very much still alive, but his resignation as CEO of Apple does indeed mark the end of an era. Tim Cook may have effectively been the CEO of Apple since January... and he may indeed be an excellent CEO to lead the company forward...

But he's not Steve Jobs.

No one truly can be.

I've been impressed by the many personal stories being written this morning. Among them:

I'm sure many more will be written today and in the days ahead. Including this post, of course.

The Original Hacker Machine

I can credit Steve Jobs for my start in computers. In 1977, my friend Dave's father bought one of the first Apple II computers. There we were... two 10-year-old boys playing with this amazing machine. People may not remember that the first Apple II was a true "hacker" machine. In a box somewhere, I still have the original Apple II manual, because it was truly a thing of beauty... you could find out everything about every single memory location and everything else you wanted to know about the computer. It was a wonderful way to learn.

In retrospect I suspect that that first manual was probably much more of the Steve Wozniak influence, as the next version of the computer, the Apple IIe, had the much simplified manuals that came to be part and parcel of "the Steve Jobs view" of the simplified user experience.

But that first Apple II set me on a path of learning about these things known as personal computers.

Teaching Teachers

Entering high school in 1981, the school had just received its first Apple II computer. I can remember it sitting there on a lone desk in a room that had all the other components of a DEC PDP-8 and other devices in it. The teacher responsible for the computer lab, Dan Ryan, let a group of us "play" with that one computer... and as the lab grew to include more Apple computers, our "computer club" learned more and more. They were amazing times.

In fact, my first job with computers was helping out two summers at the high school - as a high school student - helping teachers learn about these computers. I remember some who were very enthusiastic ... and one in particular who was so frightened of the machine (although I've long since forgotten that teacher's name.)

NOT Going To Antarctica

Apple also is responsible for a career choice that really led to where I am today. In the summer of 1990, I was working as field technician at a remote research station on top of the Greenland ice sheet. It was a six-week gig that I had literally stumbled into by walking into an office at UNH while unemployed and having a friend say "hey, the guys upstairs are looking for people to go to Greenland". And there I was.

While there, though, I had met this whole corp of people who spent their summers supporting field experiments in Greenland and our "winters" supporting field experiments in Antarctica (where it's summer). Competition to get into this group was fierce, but there was someone there who was willing to help me get connected... and as a single early-20-something, there was a great amount of appeal!

And then I received word that Apple had funded a grant proposal I'd submitted a few months back to start up a non-profit in New Hampshire that would help other nonprofit organizations learn how to use computer technology. Apple was donating several computers, printers and other devices to help me start this organization up.

So I put aside that Antarctic idea, returned to New Hampshire, started up the nonprofit... which ultimately led to other positions that brought me 20 years later to where I am today.

Fast Forward To Today

In fact, I write this post this morning on a MacBook Pro, the corporate laptop Voxeo distributes to all its employees. While my household had a mixture of Windows, Linux and Macs, it's evolved to where it's all just Macs... and a Linux server. My iPad2 is right next to me with my list of things I planned to do today. My iPhone is in its holster on my belt... having just moved from my armband where an app helped track my 4.5 mile run this morning.

Yes, I've helped fund Steve Jobs success. :-)

Systems That "Just Work"

But there's a reason for that... and it goes back to that vaunted perfectionism of Steve Jobs. For the most part, Apple's devices "just work".

When I moved from a Dell laptop to a MacBook Pro back in 2007, I had a very simple demonstration I would do for my Windows friends:

I closed the laptop. I opened it back up. In moments, I started typing.

I closed the laptop again. I opened it back up - and started typing.

I repeated this several times.

Certainly at the time this was not something that worked well on most Windows-based laptops. (May still not work well... don't know.) It was a little thing, but a HUGE timesaver!

Sure, there are reasons for things that "just work"... a closed system with proprietary hardware that is more expensive than other options. A fanatical obsession with CONTROL over every aspect of the system.

But in the end... it just works. Not all the time... and not every device... but for the most part.

One of Steve Jobs' greatest gifts to the industry was showing that:

user experience matters!

And the industry as a whole has seen the demonstration by Apple of what can be accomplished when you focus on the user experience.

Thank you, Steve!

I could go on... about how the iPod and the rise of podcasting has enriched my life... I could talk of the excellence of Jobs as a presenter (I loved Om's reference to him as a thespian)...

... but I will close by simply saying:

Thank you, Steve.

You've led Apple through an era of disrupting several industries... helped many of us in so many ways with your products... and taught us so much.

Thank you... and best wishes for what is next.

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