Saturday, October 8, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs (and thanks for the memories)

From such humble beginnings...
I never met Steve Jobs. I never attended one of those famous presentations where he got up on stage in his mock-turtle & jeans to unveil some Apple product that would soon redefine the consumer electronics market. I'm just some poor, middle-aged schlub who's been using Apple products for the last 3 decades, more or less.

For me, it began in 1982 with my buddy Kenny's Apple IIe, which we used mainly to play a game called Wizardry, though we did manage to learn a bit about basic programming and word-processing along the way.

Later, I worked through a succession of Apple products, including a couple of Macintoshes. (I thought I was hot stuff as an undergrad with my Mac SE30, with its 64 MB of RAM and its 40 MB hard-drive & my giant library of little plastic floppies.)

And wasn't that 1984 Macintosh commercial, with its Orwellian overtones, amazing?

All through college, when the new Macs came out, I would lust after them, hungrily poring over the specs of each debut model, though my finances were such that I had to do the best I could with what I had, eking out every last hertz of computational power from those machines as I struggled through a thicket of ever-changing software programs, from Appleworks to Claris products to Adobe Pagemaker to the ubiquitous Microsoft Office.

Ah, how this screen brings me back!
I even created my first commonplace book using Hypercard, that early experiment in hyperlinking text, although the one I made later using Filemaker is still a sentimental favorite, with the "random flashcard" functionality that I built into it to inspire my early exercises in free association & journal-keeping.

That original color still brings me back...
I did buy the first iMac, with its "bondi blue" plastic finish and hockey-puck mouse, loading it with shareware, surfing the nascent (dial-up) web with Mosaic & Netscape Navigator or whatever AOL bundled with its service.

I have to admit that my love of Apple products has not led to exclusivity. I've owned my share of Windows-based computers, too, mostly because of their compatibility with whatever job I had. (Indeed, I'm writing this blog post on an HP laptop, because the MacBook is my Princess's primary machine.) I guess you could say this is a measure of how Steve Jobs differentiated his products from those that permeated the business world. Still, I may do some work on PC's, but I always played & created on stuff built by Apple.

Yet another Steve Jobs creation that changed my life.
The Iphone was as much of a game-changer as anything Apple has put out. I can tell you that when I finally switched from my HTC Tilt to an Iphone 3GS, a lot of my personal habits changed. Though I'd always been an audiobook aficionado, once I started using Itunes, I became a podcast junkie, even taking in the occasional college lecture via Itunes U. Currently, I subscribe to about 90 podcasts. Seriously.

How deeply have the products of Steve Jobs insinuated themselves into my life? My beloved Princess literally sleeps with her Iphone, and I'm never very far from mine.

So, yes, the point of this meandering remembrance is that, since the 1980's, there have always Apple products in my life. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Thanks, Steve. Requiescat in pace.

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