Thank you, Mr. Jobs

On January 24, 1984, this happened...


I never saw this unveiling. But only a few months later, my father's employer (one of the first purchasers of the Macintosh) allowed him to bring home one of the first Macs for long-term off-site use. That evening, there was a much smaller unveiling at our house as my siblings and I were introduced to the Macintosh for the first time.

My world changed that day.

At first I wondered where the C:\ was (otherwise called a "C prompt"). I wanted to enter basic DOS commands to make the computer do tricks like the ones I'd played with at school. I was frustrated and thought this "toy" wasn't worth much if I couldn't interact with it and make it loop with some simple BASIC code. This couldn't be a true computer if it didn't have that C:\. My younger siblings were less jaded than I and immediately loved the Mac. I took a few days to embrace it.

I didn't know that I was in a unique position. I was 17 years old--old enough to embrace technology but not so old that it intimidated me. I didn't realize that the little box without the C:\ was going to change my world (and everyone else's too). I was going to be one of only a relatively few of the world's population that straddle the transition between life before the Mac-led PC revolution and after.

I became an early adopter by default. When the first version of Microsoft Word was released (originally for the Mac), I learned it so I could work at temp jobs during my breaks from college. When the first version of Microsoft Excel was released, I did the same. When on one of those temp jobs an employer handed me a box and said, "No one has time to learn this. Can you?" I took it and taught myself the first version of Adobe PageMaker and entered the world of desktop publishing.

I graduated with a two-year degree in Commercial Art having received all my graphic design training without touching a single computer. My fellow students and I were probably one of the last groups to do that. I was learning how to do layout using "old school" techniques with t-squares and waxed paper bits. All the while I was creating with the Mac on the side knowing there was an easier way to do things.

It doesn't seem that long ago.

As I sat here today in front of my beautiful trusty iMac with its gorgeous display that lets me post-process digital photographs with the utmost color accuracy, I reflected on all the ways that Steve Jobs' vision of the Mac and his passion for pushing the limits of technology has touched my life. It was very hard to contain the emotions that welled within me from the gratitude I felt for someone being willing to tenaciously push forward despite multiple setbacks, the odds being stacked against him so many times, and the voices of critics on all sides.

Thank you Steve Jobs for continuing to believe in your passion. Thank you for following that inner drive that pushed you to see what others couldn't. I thank you with tears in my eyes and the fullest heart.

It is because of you, Mr. Jobs, that I can sit here in the comfort of my home studio and be a creative professional today. It is because of that little box without a C:\ that I can do things I couldn't have dreamed of doing back on that day in 1984.

My world changed again today... because my world had to say goodbye to you.

Steve Jobs 1955-2011

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3 comments:

Kylee said...

This is a lovely tribute to Steve Jobs, Cindy. Your personal story is echoed by billions this week. Though we've only owned two Apple products (Some sort of all-in-one monochrome Mackintosh which my daughter won in a Design-An-Ad contest in 1991 and a 5th generation iPod), I have the highest respect for Steve Jobs and as someone tweeted earlier this week, "iSad."

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Oh Cindy, what a perfect tribute to an amazing man.

The world has lost another light.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Joanie said...

What a beautiful tribute, Miss Cindy-Mac.

Love you

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