Steve Jobs, the child (biologically) of a Syrian father who partnered with a Jewish kid with roots at UC-Berkeley, died yesterday. I was never a fan of Apple products, but it is hard to deny the immense impact Apple (thanks in large part to Jobs’ energy and talent) had on my life.
I first encountered the Apple II computer while visiting my good friend Richard Grossman in New York’s Greenwich Village in the early ’70s. A friend of Richard brought it (strapped on his back) and demonstrated what it could do with games and other software. I lusted after this machine immediately, but I couldn’t afford one.
The cost problem forced me to consider lower cost computers that could do things that I was beginning to understand could alter my daily work and career. Adam Osbourne was in his way more influential on me than Steve Jobs because Adam figured out a way to make computing affordable. But I did lust after the fun that was always associated with Apple products. And Steve Jobs was always at the root of that fun.
When the Mac appeared in 1984 I not only lusted after the fun but also the desktop publishing and foreign language character potential for doing a new version of my Hebrew book. But once again, my meager salary as a Hebrew teacher did not allow me to purchase a Mac. Fortunately, others found a way to provide the technologies of desktop publishing and foreign language characters on the machines I was able to purchase.
The long drought finally ended in 2008 when I purchased an iPhone. Finally, I owned a bite of the Apple. It’s been a good friend to me these past couple of years and I’ll probably keep using one even though Apple’s first post-Jobs iPhone announcement didn’t satisfy the critics.
Even though I didn’t personally purchase Apple products in the heyday of the Revolution, Mr Jobs deserves credit and thanks for being one of the very few that made the Information Revolution possible. I still believe that the personal computer will prove to be the most important invention of the twentieth century, and I think that the ability to communicate which has been fostered by that Revolution is “insanely great.” Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.