Gone, but certainly never forgotten


On October 5, the world lost a tremendously innovative man….Mr. Steve Jobs. 

The name itself is synonymous with technology, advancement, and the level of achievement someone can reach.  The opinion cannot be argued that he was one of the most influential people of the 20th century into the 21st.  His ideas and determination will never be rivaled.  Not taking any information…except this picture…about Mr. Jobs from Apple or another website, I wanted to share my experience with the brand made productive and famous by this man.

I can remember being first introduced to the world of Apple.  I was in first grade when our school was given quite a few Apple IIe systems.  I remember playing Oregon Trail and dying from typhoid fever or drowning while trying to cross a river and using the arrow keys to move my monster around the screen to make him eat prime numbers on Math Munchers.  I remember the lecture from our teacher as she demonstrated the correct way to hold the floppy disk and how to get the machine started. 

“Carefully, remembering NEVER to flip the door up hastily, place the disk into the disk drive.  Push it all the way in and lower the door on the front.  Now, reach up to the top of the screen and press the button to turn it on.  Reach around back with your other hand and flip the power switch up.  You’ll see the red light appear on the disk drive and you’ll hear a clicking noise in the computer.  That means it’s thinking and reading the floppy disk you inserted.”

You would always hear some child forgetting the “careful” part of opening the disk drive.  You would also see the look of worriment in the teacher’s face as she wondered if the librarian or the principal was walking by at just that time.  I was an angel and never wanted to see it hurt.  Those machines were priceless pieces of gold.  I became much better at using them as I grew older and started to use Apple Works.  Who knew I could use the same machine I played games on to create pages of written words…of course printed out with thousands of tiny dots on a noisy dot matrix printer on never ending paper with stringy pieces I had to tear off the sides.

As I worked my way through high school, I started to realize my dream of working on a computer full-time.  I wanted to know everything there was to know about computers.  I knew there were more out there than this trusty computer from my childhood.  Why couldn’t I work on them?  I had to find something new.  I had seen Radio Shack computers covered with the plastic for protection.  Not even with a manual could I make those dinosaurs work.  So, I set out to learn more and more with the IIe, everything from word processing, spreadsheets, and database.  Not to be forgotten, I also gained my first knowledge of programming as I used QBasic.  10, 20, 30, etc., as the lines traveled down the screen.  I was fascinated!  The Christmas of my Senior year, those machines were taken away from me as the US Army decided to upgrade their systems to 486s (Oooo!) and gave our school system their shunned Zenith 286 systems.

What I saw shocked and confused me as when I turned on the computer…not by reaching in the back…I saw color.  It took me by surprise and I realized at that moment that I had reached what I wanted.  I was learning to use another type of computer system.  A few weeks later, another teacher and family friend introduced me to an even newer computer, one of “those Army computers”, to see how easy it was to use.  Also, he had been connected to this thing called The Internet, something I had no idea as to what it was.  One of his jobs, appointed by the principal and the superintendent, was to see how easily it was to find pornographic material on this vast “information superhighway.”  It was not hard at all.

Weeks turned into months and I entered college with most of my computer knowledge invaded by pretty desktops, double-clicks, X’s, and all that jazz…called Windows or Microsoft.  Things seemed easier.  Things seemed like I had found what I was looking for.  A quick visit to a MAC lab at the university taught me that I had done something wrong; I had not kept up with my roots.  My roots in Apple had took off and left me behind.  The Macintosh computer had evolved from a set of three boxes stacked together to a rival of what I had settled with; a rival I didn’t understand and I felt taunted and intellectually hated.

Almost 15 years later, here I am at my desk, typing this entry on a Windows computer, as I listen to music, watch movies, create my podcast, update my phone, my calendar, and my resume on my iMac.  I have gone full circle in my computer knowledge and training.  I find myself dependent on both platforms, but when it comes down to the computer where I feel the most comfortable, I find myself sitting at my Mac.  The ease of use, the amount of creative projects I can produce, and the amount of information I can logically keep track of on my Mac is unsurpassable.

Mr. Jobs, I may have used too many words to say this, but you helped bring me back home.  Your dedication to technology and to making computer usage easy for everyday man has allowed me, someone without a college degree in computer technology, the opportunity to further myself, to challenge myself, and to place myself into a category of advanced knowledge.  With your creation, I can put my voice out into the world of the Internet and let people know that someone from the country can have intelligent conversation.  I can use a platform of podcasting to share my point of view with the world because you shared iTunes, iPods, iPads, and iPhones with us.

Rest in peace, man of intelligence, man of hope, and man of determination.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *