Thursday, October 06, 2011

Mourning a visionary

I don’t think I’ve ever mourned a captain of industry before, but I’m truly sad about the death of Steve Jobs. I can’t think of any other businesses person who has had as profound an effect on my daily life as Jobs did; I doubt it will happen again.

The first personal computer I ever used was an Apple II. I say “used”, but it was really just kind of playing, because I’d never seen a computer before and I didn’t know what to do with it.

Fast forward a few years, and the Macintosh was released. At the time, I was using the personal computers of the day, none of which could do what the Mac did. I was part of a group that had a person who used a Mac to do the newsletter, being able to create pages ready to print in a fraction of the time I could using traditional methods.

I was working at a printing company by that time, using expensive proprietary computer equipment, an X-Acto knife, hot wax and a light table to create page layouts that could be done in a fraction of the time on a Mac. My boss recognised that, and when laser printers hit the 600dpi range, we converted to Macintosh and that was the end of the old phototypsetters.

Later, we added scanning and replaced the old film cameras for making photostats or halftones of photos for our layouts. All of this, in turn, led me to newspaper production and eventually to my first job in New Zealand—and all my work since.

In the weeks before I moved to New Zealand, Nigel and I even chatted using Apple’s “eWorld” online service. Yep, even that aspect of my life was helped by Apple.

When Steve Jobs returned to lead Apple, we saw the dawn of the iPod and the iTunes Store, which led to the birth of podcasts, my main hobby. My work in video, such as it has been and hopefully will become, is a direct result of my use of Macintosh. So, too, with my photography and other graphics work.

Not all of the things that affected my life came about when Steve Jobs was head of the company, but the biggest effects have been because of Jobs: Desktop publishing happened because of Macintosh, and even Windows machines eventually adopted the Macintosh idiom. My hobby exists because of the iPod. Every single day I use my iPad for basic connectivity anywhere in the house, and I use that or my iPhone away from the home, or my Macbook if I need a full computer. I’m writing this post using a Mac Pro.

There are equivalent products and software to do all these things, sometimes even with similar ease of use. Had they been there first, I wouldn’t be writing this post. But the inescapable fact is that whether it was for work or play, my use and adoption of computing technology was driven by Apple, and Apple was driven by Steve Jobs.

So, thank you, Steve Jobs—for everything. R.I.P.

The picture at the top of this post is a screen capture of Apple’s main web page. I made the capture on a Mac, of course.

1 comment:

Benk said...

I too mourn the loss of Steve Jobs, and am a tad surprised to find myself with these feelings about a Captain of Industry.

But every time the buzz began about a new Apple product I knew there was a real chance that something interesting, unforeseen-by-me and life-improving was about to enter the world. And there have not been a lot of men who could rock my world that regularly.