It's Friday. No one can take it away from you, but this one is a little sadder.
I'm sure many of you are tired of it at this point, and that's fine. I just wanted to express myself on it, feel free not to read it.
The first computer I ever saw was an Apple II, back in 1979 or so. Maybe 1980. I was in a summer school class on computers, and we had a few of those, as well as some teletype terminals that hooked into the University of Minnesota's mainframe using a coupler modem at 120 or 300 baud. Both were cool to me, but yeah, the one with the screen blew away the one with the paper feed. Also, BASIC way rocked over programming punch cards.
Those Apple II's started my love for computers. That whole class did, really. I mean, we went to Control Data and saw a system known as Plato, with what has to be one of the first touch screens. It started us on BASIC programming. It got us logging into mainframe computers, Oregon Trail and BBS's. It turned on the nerd gene and I was never the same. But really, it was that Apple II.
I don't think people born after 1990 really understand how exciting the 80's were. Everyone was building a computer. Apple, IBM, Texas Instruments, Radio Shack, Atari, Commodore, Timex, I mean you couldn't spit without seeing a different model of something. But, at least in schools, most peoples first computer they got to touch and see was an Apple II or IIe. Hell, IIe's were so ubiquitous they built them into the 90's.
If I'm really honest, part of my attraction to a certain goofy high school girl was her IIe. BBS'ing at her place after school oddly set the tone for our marriage, as here I am, yet again on the computer. To be fair, she's on one too.
Initially, the Mac was a failure when it came out. Way too expensive, with too little in the way of software support. But it lead the way to what we all use now, GUI interfaces.
Yes, Xerox pioneered it, but it took Steve Jobs to bring that idea to everyone else. And Bill Gates to do it yet again, though maybe not as elegantly back then. Not saying it never would have happened without him. It would have. But he's the one that actually did it. He was the one that had the actual passion to do it.
That's what innovation is, really. It's not always coming up with the great idea. It's recognizing it when you see it, and doing something about it. In fact, that's really how Microsoft got it's start too. A lot of fanboys really miss that Microsoft and Apple are really 2 sides of the same coin. And that they made each other better.
The competition between Apple and Microsoft, that love/hate relationship, gave us all the tools we use daily without thinking about it, from Windows/Mac OS to Word, Excel, etc. Sure, some of those ideas were just taken, maybe even stolen, from others. But no one really cares that Visicalc came first, or that Xerox invented the mouse. Again, innovation is sometimes seeing the great idea, and doing something with it. Inventing it is only half the solution. That mouse wasn't doing a darn thing before Apple.
Find a picture of yourself from 2001. In 10 years, mp3 players have gone from a nice idea to common to irrelevant because now, our phone does it. Palm Pilots and Ipaq's? Our phone does it. Computers? Our phones do that too. Today, smart phones are everywhere, and every one of us who has a smart phone cannot remember a time when we didn't. But they've only been around a few years. And every one of them before 2007 and the iPhone blew chunks. We surf the web, read our books, play our games, watch our movies...on a phone. Smart phones are radically changing our life. And tablets like the iPad and now, Android tablets, are further making PC's irrelevant.
Jobs was Henry Ford, in some ways. Not an inventor. But Ford brought cars to the masses. Jobs made us all nerds. Not alone of course, Bill Gates deserves credit, as does Google and a whole host of people, ideas, etc. But out of all of them, I think Steve was the most unique, and had the most consistency of vision. Yeah, he could be a jerk. I think that's a pretty common failing. Yeah, that reality distortion field could get silly. Yet it worked.
Even if you've never touched an Apple product, the products you do touch have been affected by the technology, the design, and the vision of Apple. I think it's smart to respect that, no matter how you feel about the company, or the person. You have to respect the vision.
There will always be another. Another innovator, another with a grand vision, another who frustrates and amazes at the same time. But exactly like Steve Jobs? I don't think so. That dusty Apple II in the lab at the local high school set the course for my entire life, in some ways. Thanks for that.
You go have a weekend.