On Steve Jobs’ Passing

6 Oct

When I was first introduced to computing in 4th or 5th grade, it was to type on a large, beige device with no screen, it was just attached to a printer. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what that thing did, or was for. In 6th grade, we got Commodore computers that loaded programs via cassette tape.  Sometime in 7th grade, however, my school got a bunch of Apple ][ pluses. These things were a quantum leap forward. Programs loaded and saved much faster on 5 1/4″ floppies than on cassette. I was fascinated, and took the time to learn AppleSoft to the point that I was enjoying spending hours experimenting and writing programs.

These programs didn’t do much, and I wasn’t all that good at it, but it was an introduction to a whole new world.

Much as people insist that Android phones are better than iOS devices, back then the real hardcore computer geeks much preferred the lonely TRS-80 that was inexplicably kept in a hallway outside a teacher’s office. I didn’t like that machine – it may have been more powerful and professional, but it wasn’t user-friendly. It wasn’t the machine that caught my attention and interest.

We eventually bought an Apple ][e, which was quite expensive and didn’t really do much. We didn’t spring for a printer, and modems weren’t in a lot of homes in the early 80s. By 1984, the first Macs appeared and completely changed how we looked at computers. When I was in college, many of my peers had these compact little machines.  We’d use them for drawing, for games, and for writing papers. They were also expensive, but so revolutionary.

But I didn’t get one. I didn’t get another computer until I got a PC for law school in the early 90s. It had an 80MB hard drive and 1MB of RAM. It couldn’t run Windows 2.0, and at that time it was Bill Gates who was the computing world’s wunderkind. Apple wasn’t doing well at all.

I owned another string of mediocre PCs until 2003 when the Apple store opened in the Walden Galleria. It’s like a magnet, that store, and I often went in there to admire the computers and the revolutionary iPod. We got an iMac G4 and it was revelatory after years of crappy PCs. It had wifi before we had a wireless router. The store threw in extra RAM to make the sale. We soon got an iPod. Then an iBook. Then a MacBook. Then another. Some Nanos. A Shuffle. Then, the iPhone – we’ve owned every generation, and it’s an incredible device. I can’t imagine going back to a flip phone. The iPad may seem redundant or silly, but I love it, and use it daily for everything from web surfing, to blogging, to reading the paper and my magazine subscriptions.  After returning to Apple, he began making devices that were as beautiful as they were excellent.

Steve Jobs helped ensure that the US was at the technological forefront. He was a visionary, a pitchman, a designer, and an innovator.  He was one of the best and most successful businessmen in American history, and he created not just products, but entire market sectors.  He changed our lives. He changed the world.

I don’t know really why his passing bums me out so much, but it did. He was too young, and we’ll never know what else he could have come up with over the next 20-some years of his average life expectancy. I’m not sure there’s anyone left out there right now who’s quite like him, or if there ever will be again.

And this post was made on a Mac.

24 Responses to “On Steve Jobs’ Passing”

  1. Occupy Everywhere October 6, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Great visionary, Great products, Great Image — but insane corporate culture.
    Worst people in the world to work for

  2. Anon October 6, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Apple II e, Color Classic, Wallstreet Laptop, iBook, iMac, iMac, PowerBook, 5 iPods, 1 iPad, 1 iPhone.  Never a PC.  And this was typed on a Mac!

  3. Buck Turgidson October 6, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    RIP. 56 is WAY too young to die. I remember using “Lemonade Stand” and “Oregon Trail” on Apple IIEs in my elementary school.

  4. KevinP October 6, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    10 Home
    20 Print “I like boobs”
    30 Goto 20

    My life as an 7th grade computer programmer

  5. King Kong October 6, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Andriod sucks, switching to an iphone ASAP.

  6. King Kong October 6, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    If it wasn’t for Steve Jobs, the world as we know it today with technology that caters to the consumer’s interest would not exist. He was a brilliant man who used his brilliance for good, to give people a new technological experience, rather than just to make piles of money for himself (although he did in the process and it was well earned). RIP.

  7. Chris Charvella October 6, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    So many people complained about the flat performance of Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook, on Tuesday during the iPhone 4S pitch. When I heard Steve Jobs died yesterday I immediately thought maybe Cook was giving that presentation, thinking about his friend who was dying and wondering how he was ever going to be able to fill those shoes.

  8. Allen Miller October 6, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    Alan

    Thank you for the kind memorial on Steve Jobs. He was one of the greatest innovators I have ever seen.

    I had the privileged of seeing him speak at the West Coast Computer Conference in San Jose in 1984. My first computer as well was an Apple II. I have owned Macs and iPhones. (I had a free droid Motorola X from a client and I gave it back after a month). Steve Jobs has made so many lives better it is incalculable. His products have provided work worldwide for an uncountable number of people. Jobs was a walking contradiction, he could march comfortably with the Occupy Wall Street, and understand their pain, then get on a private jet fly back to his modest home and consider the occupy group Bozo’s. All the while believing he is right about both situations. Andy Hertzfeld a major member on the first Mac team said there was a reality distortion field that surrounded Jobs.

    Walter Isaacson will soon release an authorized biography on Jobs with his participation. Jobs has always detested the media because they never seem to have gotten him right. (how could they) The book like most things about Jobs will be a smash hit best seller.

  9. Hank October 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Build a computer in your garage with a friend. Turn it into a business worth as much or more as Exxon/Mobil, which had nearly a 100 year head start on you. That, oh lovers of big government that most of you are, is the American Dream.

    An Idea and next to nothing. Have self reliance, and a refuse to quit attitude.

    I used a Apple 2 in college in the late 80’s for Calculus. I’ve never owned any Apple product, but I have always been amazed at how no matter how big Microsoft got, Apple held it’s own, developed its own products and had such a devoted market share. Never got a handout, never got a bailout, and their stock is one of the most stable in the marketplace. HOW CAN THAT BE??? Beacuse Steve Jobs and Apple is what America is REALLY about. Not IDA’s/Corporate Welfare/Tax Breaks and Bailouts. 56 is pretty young to be gone. But Steve and Apple changed the landscape of this planet. Very few can have that said about him. God rest his soul.

  10. eliz October 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    I’ve never used anything but Macs for 25 years (in addition to the devices), and I remember what I owned during those years when Jobs was not there. The PowerMac xxxx or whatever. The interface was there, but the machine looked beige and bland just like any PC. When Jobs returned, we got the snazzy back. He really understood the importance of form as well as function and how the two could interact. I worry about Apple without him.

  11. MJC October 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    And a big thanks to Hank for the typical GOP strawman argument.

    Here is a list of the Democrats that are advocating anything that would prevent the next Steve Jobs from being an “innovator” or “job creator”:

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz

  12. MJC October 6, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    And while we are deifying Jobs for his American know-how, lets not forget that his business model absolutely depends on his two things:

    (1) Wage slaves in China to build his products; and
    (2) Many Americans spending money on products they probably can’t afford.

    Apple may not have taken a handout, but free trade regulations (brought to you under Clinton) certainly helped their bottom line, at the expense of jobs in this country.

  13. Marquil October 6, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    A friend who worked at NeXT c.1987 used to paraphrase the title of a Jobs biography and favorite quote.

    “The gurney is the reward.”

    Sad but true.

  14. Eric Saldanha October 6, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Hank’s head will explode when he finds out his newfound Hero of Capitalism was born to a Syrian Muslim father, was a practicing Buddhist and gobbled LSD like Smarties in the 70’s

  15. Leo Wilson October 7, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    Jobs has had an impact, not just on technology but in the way people think. The expectation of what computing is and where it might lead, at least in the short run, has changed because of the interfaces and devices he’s introduced us to. He’ll be missed.

  16. Mike October 7, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Hey Hank!! Imagine if you will that your bonehead conservatives had gotten their way and repealed the 14th Amendment in 1955. Little Stevie Jobs would have been deported back to Syria with his Muslim father and we would still be executing command lines on a MS-DOS machine instead of point and clicking.
    Shout out to Eric Saldanha above!!

  17. Howard Owens October 7, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    Alan, I put it sort of this to my wife last night — it’s not his age that gets to me (though I’m only six years behind him); it’s not what is lost (like, “how many more great songs would John Lennon have written had he not be shot?”); it’s the shock of a sudden death (we’ve pretty much known this has been coming for months); it’s not even that I was all that attached to him as a person (though I admire him greatly, I’ve never felt like, gee, I’d really like to meet this guy).

    It’s that this is a landmark passing.  Somebody truly epic in human history has passed. We witnessed it. The world is forever changed. And will never be the same again.

  18. Bbill October 7, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Give Hank a break … people like him are told what to think and sometimes their gurus leave out little unimportant details like uslim-May eritage-hay.

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2011/10/06/steve_jobs_american_exceptionalism

    There’s Hank’s rant almost verbatim. Further down the page you can read Hank’s opposition to his own economic self-interests and his hatred of Elizabeth Warren.

  19. Bbill October 7, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    The fact that dirtbags like Limbaugh and his mouthbreathers would politicize Job’s passing in their efforts to continue to dismantle the American middle class is revealing, though it doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know.

  20. BuffaloGirl October 7, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    MAC’s are just way to expensive, bring them into the price range of a PC and then maybe someday I’ll be able to afford it…

  21. Kevin J. October 7, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Didn’t Steve Jobs and other computer designers, manufacturers and sellers receive a grand government handout of sorts with the federal government’s creation and maintenance for years of the Internet?

  22. Mike October 7, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    The mega trillions in wealth the internet has created by the technology sector building devices and media to “connect” the world was all started by DARPA. Which was created by the government as part of a huge government “stimulus” and investment into the private sector in reaction to the Soviets putting Sputnik into orbit. Seems to be downright socialist,kenyan,communist to me. Damn those government interlopers….keep your governent hands off my 10lb dial western electric telephone with party line..we don’t need no stinking Intertubes!!!

  23. Jesse October 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Jobs: Damn smart guy, as long as you ignore the fact that he ‘treated’ his eminently treatable cancer with an idiotic ‘special diet’.

    Next time maybe he’ll have the surgery.

    Also, anyone complaining that free trade with other nations is bad for America needs to have their heads examined.

  24. Chris October 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    Let’s not forget Steve’s other interest….. a little company called “Pixar”.

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