Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thank you Steve

As the CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs changed the world. His vision was to make computers for the rest of us, and through Apple's various products, that is what he did. The original Apple, the Apple II, the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, all these products have brought the power of computing to our lives, enhancing them in ways large and small.

The very first computer I used was a Mac. It was the early 1990s and I was an arts undergraduate at NUS. I had to learn to use a computer because one of my lecturers insisted we handed up typed essays as he was tired of having to decipher our handwriting.

At the time, computers largely meant machines running DOS. Using them required knowing arcane commands that were a complete mystery to me. However, the university had a Mac lab, filled largely with beige Mac Pluses. Thanks to the Mac's friendly graphical user interface, I quickly learned my way around creating documents and pretty soon, I was walking around with my own system diskettes (the Macs had no hard disk so we all had diskettes with software on them).

This was where I fell in love with the Mac. Eventually, I progressed from writing essays to installing stupid tricks on the Macs at the university. (One day, I tweaked a Mac in the library so that it would chime "Hallelujah" each time the user hits the spacebar. The joke backfired though when the person who used that Mac simply continued using the machine, leaving the rest of us to suffer through numerous Hallelujahs as she grimly continued working on her essay.)

The first computer I owned was the Power Mac 6100, which I bought with the meagre savings from my first real job at The Straits Times. The beige pizza box was what I used to first go online. I had a 2400 bps modem that I eventually upgraded to a 28.8 Kbps screamer.

Being an Apple fan boy helped me find a wife. The woman I married was deeply impressed by the Newton I owned (she later bought an eMate herself).

Today, my household has four working Macbooks, four iPhones, one iPod touch and one iPod shuffle. My kids take it for granted that they can access information about anything just by looking it up on the Internet (though they largely use the Internet to read Facebook updates and watch wrestling on YouTube.)

I recently watched a video where a younger Steve Jobs talked about computers as being bicycles for our minds. Computers are tools that enhance our abilities, and by extension, our lives. By making computers for the rest of us, (via the Mac, the iPhone and the iPad), Steve Jobs changed all our lives.

Thanks Steve.

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