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Remembering Steve Jobs: 6 reasons why he rocked

Steve Jobs’ death has inspired an outpouring of grief and impromptu tributes from all over the world (among our favorites: MintDigital’s portrait rendered in motherboards and the Sad Mac homepage on The Oatmeal). Here, a six-item salute to what made him amazing.

1. The Man Had Style

Generally speaking, techie-types don’t have much of a reputation when it comes to personal style, but Jobs had an unusually confident fashion sense. We’re all familiar with the now-iconic black turtleneck, glasses and denim uniform, but before adopting the sleek-beatnik look, Jobs had a string of extremely cool hairstyles, including that surfer-like ‘do circa 1972. He also went through a memorable bow-tie phase in the ’80s.

2. He Changed the Way We Learn

After introducing his early personal computer models, Apple I and Apple II, the third generation of Apple computers, the Apple IIe, eventually made it into public schools. Four years later, the first desktop computer (complete with screen) was introduced, bringing computer technology into the home for the first time.

3. He Didn’t Put Up With Any BS

In 1985, Jobs resigned (prior to being what inevitably would have been an official dismissal) from his own company after a kerfuffle with then-CEO John Sculley, and Apple’s shareholders. As payback, Jobs immediately launched NeXT, a computer software company that developed an operating system so vastly superior to anything else on the market that Apple bought the company in 1996, bringing Jobs on as an adviser. The lesson: suck it, shareholders.

4. He Gave us Woody and Buzz

If it weren’t for Jobs – who bought Pixar in ’95 and played an important role in the development of TOY STORY – I wouldn’t get to make fun of my boyfriend for looking like Woody (he has a habit of wearing a red bandanna on his neck) or holler “there’s a snake in my boots!” whenever he gets dressed.

5. He Made Technology Elegant

Graphic designers and typography junkies owe a lot to Mr. Jobs. At a 2005 address to graduates of Stanford University, Jobs cited the calligraphy class he took before dropping out of Reed College as a major source of inspiration while designing the first Mac computers. “I learned about serif and sans-serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great,” he says.  “It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way science can’t capture – and I found it fascinating. Ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me, and we designed it all into the Mac.”

6. He Had Death Pretty Figured Out

After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, Jobs’ doctor advised him to prepare to die within six months. During the aforementioned speech at Stanford, Jobs imparted some of the wisdom that can only be gleaned from living with such a grim diagnosis. “No one wants to die,” he says. “Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life.”