How Steve Jobs Affected Me

I do not own a Macintosh. I will never own a Macintosh, iPad, or iPhone unless someone else buys it for me. I will never spend my dollars on one of Apple’s devices.

I do own a Generation 6 iPod (I think at the time it was called iPod Video because you could watch Ask a Ninja videos on it) and I use it all the time.

I find it interesting that my Facebook feed is overflowing with all sorts of sentiments concerning the death of Steve Jobs. I personally, am focusing most of my media consumption on other matters, but it’s not unreasonable that this should get a certain amount of play. Indeed, it managed to elicit a bona-fide spin from yours truly.

This was my family’s first computer. The Macintosh 128K. I believe the 128K part refers to its RAM. My current home (Windows) PC has 4 gigabytes of RAM. A little perspective. Also relevant: the Mac 128 debuted in 1985 and cost almost $2500.

By today’s standards, it was an utterly useless and overpriced machine. But it was great. I am pretty sure I am the person I am today because of that machine. What did I do with it? MS Paint, for one. Hours disappeared. But I think the lion’s share of my hours were spent playing this text-based game. Didn’t know it was a book until several years later, but it captivated my mind. I spent hours and hours and hours typing my way around the Heart of Gold. I didn’t actually beat the game until I was 25. Had to. Closure, you know.

Anyway, that machine introduced me to Douglas Adams. This is absolutely crucial as far as I’m concerned.

I will not buy an Apple product if I can help it. I think they are over-priced and under-functional. This is partly because I like to play PC games and Macs just don’t do that thing. It is also partly because I like the feel of putting together my own machine from parts I picked myself. My home PC was lovingly assembled in my home by my hands. I installed Windows 7 on it and crossed my own fingers while waiting for the BIOS to post. And then heaved a sigh of relief when it did, in fact, post on the first attempt.

I just purchased an Android Tablet. This one. My phone is a Droid X. I like its customizeability. I like that I can root it and hack it and do what I want with it. I like that they are the machines that I want them to be. Not the ones that Apple thinks I want them to be.

But, we must ask, would they exist if it weren’t for Apple? Would the tablet computer or the droid be the objects they are today without the iPhone or the iPad? I don’t think so. Apple kicked the industry into high gear with innovation on a staggering scale. They forced the industry into a whole new direction by demonstrating two things: what is possible and, more importantly, what the market will want. No, they didn’t just find out what the market wanted. They created the market’s demand for all things “i”. And it was brilliant. And it worked.

I have a lot of respect for Steve Jobs. I like what he did for and to the industry. I don’t want his product specifically because it is overpriced and cookie-cuttered. But the product I do want is available because of him.

A closing thought: I own that Gen-6 iPod and still use it because it is hands down, the single best dedicated digital music player that has ever been manufactured.

PS: I sketched the comic at the top on my Android Tablet. Fun fact!

Gute Nacht, süßer Prinz

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