In Memorium - Steve Jobs

I was home sick when I got the news that Steve Jobs had passed away on Wednesday. I spent the past 2 days living in the media of the post Steve Jobs world.

Listening to some of the podcasts about Steve Jobs death, one question that would come up for people was "which of his products had the strongest impact on you." That is a very hard thing to answer, because most of the time, each product that I used had the biggest impact on my life, right until the next one.

In 1984, I was visiting my cousin Jil, and her family, in California. Jil had a Macintosh. It was 1984, so there was only 1. I wrote my first story on that Mac. It was a true story about a scary experience I had with a bat that was living on their farm. Being able to see the shadowing, outlining and other font effects on the screen made writing the story fun for a 14 year old kid that had never written anything like that before. That was were Apple won me. Right with the very first Macintosh.

I didn't get my own Mac until college. A Mac 2si. This was in the "bad times" when Steve's hand wasn't guiding the process. But even the beige boxes being put out by Apple still ran the magical Mac OS which was always infinitely better than the alternative. My roommates and I had no trouble setting up a network between our computers and playing games against each other. It was not only a bonding experience with them, but also started me down my career path in networking and computer support.

When I graduated, my office only had PC's. I used American Express points to get my first laptop. A PowerBook 100. Even though my desktop computer was more powerful, it became my primary computer, both at home and at work.

At this point, I was keeping my contacts on a sharp wizard. That device was stolen and then I got the first device that really changed the way I did things. The Newton Message Pad. I missed out of the first generation with the handwriting nightmares. My MP130 and then my MP2100 showed me that handheld was the wave of the future. I managed my contacts, my calendar, my to do items, and I ever read books on it. It was only the mid 90's but those devices created the PDA market and even term PDA, foreshadowing the iPhone by more than 10 years.

After a brief stint with a Power Computing clone at my office (which had been kind enough to let me get a Mac), Steve Jobs came back to the fold and not only did I buy my first shares of Apple stock (at $13) but I replaced that clone with a G4 cube, which I still have in working order, more than a decade later.

I had always bought middle of the line computers that I could afford, but when the 17" Titanium PowerBook came out, I went whole hog, top of the line. My father had just passed away. He always bought himself the best, and I decided that this time, so could I. And it was an amazing machine. Absolutely beautiful, and that wasn't even when it was on. I knew then that I'd probably never get a desktop as my own personal computer again.

Then there was the iPod. I hadn't listened to music regularly in ages, and the iPod reintroduced me to my music collection. And then to Audiobooks, which, for the past 10 years has been my number 1 method of consuming literature. I can't tell you how many books I have enjoyed, that I wouldn't have without the iPod.

And then there was the iSight camera. That little accessory that let me be there when my niece was born on the other side of the country. My brother in law was smart enough to turn off the thing for a certain 5 minute inteval, but other than that, I was with my sister in the hours before hand, and I was one of the first people to see my niece, Dylan, at 5 minutes old. I still have screen shots saved of the whole things.

I was in the room when Steve Jobs gave the keynote speech at Macworld expo announcing the iPhone. For my whole life, I will remember him talking about new devices saying "An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator" over and over until everyone realized that he was talking about one single device. I just watched that you tube clip (2007 Keynote if you want to look for yourself) and am tearing up, just at the excitement of it all. The iPhone was the greatest piece of technology I had ever touched. it was the first device, since the end of the Newton that I felt was a good replacement. (Yes, I had tried other things like Palms and HPs, always going back to my ancient, but still better Newton.)

And finally, the iPad. And it's a whole new game again. This is the device that I have with me at all times. I read on it. Watch TV on it, sing from my sheet music on it, email, videochat, everything really.

Which of these things had the most impact on my life? The answer is all of them. The answer is, Steve Job had the most impact.

Farewell Steve. I didn't know you personally. I only knew you from your public persona and the devices you brought to us that changed the world. I may not have always agreed with your choices, but it was your own vision that you followed, and that is what brought the world to where it is today, and where it will be 20 years down the road.

Rest in Peace.