Thursday, October 6, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Today the world mourns the loss of Steve Jobs.  I've written about how the Apple computer changed my life--and all our lives.  I wrote about the Apple II here and the MacIntosh here.   Even if you haven't been an Apple user, Steve Jobs changed your life too.  Many of the developments which make non-Mac computers so easy to use were first developed for the Mac.

My computer scientist colleague would point out that the windows system that we've almost all switched to was first developed at Xerox, that Steve Jobs stole it before Bill Gates and Microsoft stole it from Apple.  Stole or tweaked or refined?  It's a story I don't know much about, so I'll let interested folks Google it for themselves.

Still, there's no denying the impact that Steve Jobs has had on our culture.  Think of all the things we wouldn't have without him:  iPods and iPhones and iPads.  I'd argue that we might not have had personal computers, certainly not to the extent that we've had them, without his developments.

I haven't always been able to afford Apples, especially not as the non-Apple computers became cheaper.  Plus, I'm living in a non-Mac world, so I need to remain bilingual.

But my first personal computer was a Mac, a later version of that first MacIntosh that I fell in love with in 1987.  I bought a used computer from the youth ministries director at my mom's church.  That first computer couldn't hold very much in its memory, so I stored the novel I was writing--well, everything I was writing--on discs.  It had primitive graphics.  But it was very cute.

When a housemate got a larger Mac, we called my Mac the Baby Mac.  It had such a tiny screen!  But it was cute.  I spent many years with that Mac, long after its usefulness had peaked, in part because it was so easy to use and it's cuteness brought me joy every time I looked at it.  How I loved that smiley face on a computer screen as the computer booted up.

Some day, I'm sure I'll scoff at my dumb phone, as I call it.  Some day, I'll upgrade to a phone with yet another screen that will tempt me to use my time in ways that are both smart and stupid.  Some day, I'll wonder how I could have lived without it.

And on that day, once again, I'll think of Steve Jobs and offer a prayer of gratitude that the man walked the earth and graced us with his inventions that have changed us in so many ways.

No comments: