Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs: A Life Well Lived

As I sit and type this post, I do so on a Mac and with a heavy heart.  On a Mac, but not this one -->
This is my first computer ever. Bought in 1990 at the time I graduated from college. And if I remember right, I paid about $2,300 for it. The dot-matrix printer I got as an accompaniment, was another $700. (Funny that $3,000 is about what I paid for my last Mac + printer combo a couple of years ago.)

My Mac SE was a piece of genius engineering. Back when everyone else was doing things that looked like this:


my computer looked and behaved, well . . . pretty much just like the one I am sitting at now.  If you transported 1990-Amy to the present and sat her down in front of this laptop (or pretty much any computer in any home) she might be surprised and impressed by it, but she would definitely be able to work it -- to open up Word and type up this post, to load programs, move or trash files, play games, design some art, set a screen saver and maybe even get on the internet. Because she did all those things in 1990 on her  amazingly innovative Mac. You can't say that for the C-prompt-set.

Oddly enough, I remember that that old SE even came loaded with a program they kept trying to excite everyone on, called "Buttons" or something like it. Made absolutely no sense to me; it had to do with strange mumbo jumbo called hyper-links with these crazy clickable buttons . . .

Anyway, there were a lot of remarkable things about that little rectangle. For starters it came with a 40 megabite hard drive. You heard me right. That's 40 big ones. Twice as big as the MacPlus. (1990-Amy might be surprised to learn that her entire computer could only store about 4 photos today). It also came with a 3.5" disc drive. (We Mac people didn't actually like calling them "floppy" disks, because we had the cool hard plastic little discs, not those clunky old-fashioned flexible ones.)  Other remarkable features about my Mac were its serial ports and its phone jack which could be used to link computers to one another and make a daisy chain network, or even get online and send e-mail, or do things with those silly Buttons, if you could figure them out.

I don't know much about Jobs as a man - what kind of person he was, whether he had children, or a happy childhood; whether he went hiking or went to church. All I really need to know resides in this little box in front of me and the one pictured above. Jobs' vision for how computers interface with humans now completely dominates how we live. I will think of him when I write my blog, when I do my work, when I organize my photos, when I listen to music, when I make a phone call.

He was far too young to die, but in his short time, made a massive impression on me and the world. A far-seeing, far-reaching kind of genius that has left an indelible mark on how we live today.

1 comment:

  1. I love it Amy! Thanks. And you helped me remember that in my first job ever at ITESM we used a Mac system! I started my career working on a Mac and I am still doing that. =)