Steve Jobs died today. The man was, perhaps, the greatest innovator of my generation. Although I'm writing on a PC at this very moment, I would give anything to be using a Macintosh, instead.
The first computer I ever wroekd on was a Mac. My college roommate, Dan, owned a Mac and he was the luckiest man we all knew. This was the early 90's, when everyone owning a personal computer was the stuff of science fiction writing. In the basement of the blue house, people would come over and type their research papers on Dan's Mac and then print out the documents on his dot matrix printer. It was the coolest fucking machine in the world.
True story: I once put off writing a paper for an English/film class until the very last minute and couldn't find the energy or will power to spew out my amateurish opinions. I never completed it! The next morning, when it was due, I approached the professor and explained to her that I'd been writing my paper on my roommate's computer and we lost power. Everything was lost! Since this was the age before anyone really understood what a computer could do, the prof bought my load of crap. She even gave me a week extension. That was one of just two times in college when I skimped out of my work and was a lousy student (the other time had to do with The Last of the Mohicans--- another story for another time).
I loved that computer of Dan's. It was compact, did the job and worked like a champ.
After Jules and I moved to Los Angeles, our first computer was a hand-me-down Mac that the Gardners gave me. The machine had been collecting dust in the loft of the old Alterian shop and I inquired about what they were going to do with it. I asked to borrow it and Cindy flat out gave it to me. I wrote the first version of Finding the Way on that computer, as well every early version of The Mind's Eye. I really loved that computer. When we finally bought our own tower (a PC), I gave that Mac to one of Vill's friends who worked at Alterian as a P.A. I wonder if he still has it.
I resisted the idea of an iPod for years. I didn't want some high priced music player when I could get a tiny little mp3 player that store, you know, 75 of my songs. I was an idiot. When I bought my 8 gig Nano, it changed my life. So much music at my fingertips. It was like the 90's all over again when I carried around a CD case in the car and listened to whatever I wanted while driving. Then, Julie and the kids got me the silver bullet for my 40th. 160 gigs! I placed every CD I own, plus whatever else I could get my hands on into that iPod classic. Suddenly, I was in college again, uploading albums I'd never heard but wanting them in my collection in the off chance that I might listen to them someday. I was discovering new music, rediscovering old stuff, and reliving my youth with some of the crap I enjoyed in my teens. I was a fool to resist the iPod. It may be the greatest invention of the early part of the 21st Century.
Steve Jobs died today after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. They say that pancreatic cancer is one of the toughest to beat. The man held on for a very long time. Jobs really did change the world and make it a better place. If he'd just been the man who helped shepherd Pixar, he would have been a great man, but he was so much more.