So Long and Thanks for the Macintosh (Steve Jobs 1955-2011)

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak made me fall in love with computers.  Although I had a Sinclair ZX81 in the early 1980s, it wasn’t until my first long term job in Seattle, in 1989, that I met the Macintosh Plus.  Part of it was the frisson of working in a fairly unconventional job – testing condoms – combined with using exciting new technology.  In a word, cool.  But it was more than that.  The Macintosh Plus was beautifully designed, beautifully executed inside the box, and a pleasure to use.  I was also a virgin when it came to real computers, not counting the ZX81.  No surprise, really, that I fell head over heels in love.

I wasn’t faithful, because PCs were so much cheaper, and I couldn’t afford to buy a Mac for home use.  But every Microsoft PC reinforced the divide between ugly, complicated, bug-prone computers, and the grace, ease of use, and elegance of a Mac.  I would stay late at work, just to use the Mac.  Finally, I realized there was no point in settling for 3rd best, and bought one.  I’ve never looked back since.  True, the beach ball is sometimes noticeable on this 3 year old MacBook, but I think of it as an idiosyncrasy rather than a fault.  Usually.

I will be forever grateful to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak for creating the Macintosh, and making the world a more civilized place in the process.  Now Steve Jobs has died, far too young at 56, and from a disease that claims far too many people.  I just wanted to say, thank you.

Here is Steve Jobs’ Commencement Address at Stanford University in 2005.  I like what he has to say about living as if you were going to die the next day.  Hard to do, but worth striving for.  A fascinating insight into his life and motivations.

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