Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward.
While some may see them as the crazy ones. We see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the >world, are the ones who do.
-- Steve Jobs, The Crazy Ones
It's 7:00 a.m. in the morning, EST. My wife is taking our 6 month-old son to the Hospital for an Echocardiagram to see if the hole in his heart is shrinking, we pray so (and it is). She just called to tell me that Steve Jobs had passed away. That news hit me like a ton of bricks. She says to me, as she's pulling into the hospital parking lot, "I just thought you would want to know." She knows me so well.
I'm an Apple "Fan Boy". I've been one since 1984. Growing up as a kid in the 80s I had lots of opportunities to join the "computer revolution". There was the TI-99/4A, which was the first computer my parents purchased for me. There was the Atari ST, the Amiga 1000, and of course the IBM PC.
I really didn't like my little Texas Intruments computer. I wrote some basic programs, they ran. It didn't excite me. I played some text-based games. They didn't capture my imagination. I quickly got bored with the system and it started collecting dust. My parents could see that I had an interest in computers, but I wasn't satisfied with what was available.
Then one day I saw the advertisement for the Macintosh (the original 128K). It was georgous. It had a mouse. The display was built into the computer as a single unit. It was graphical.
I fell in love.
If you can fall in love with a computer, then I'm guilty of doing it over and over, all with Macintoshes. That day in 1984 when I saw the advertisement, I took it to my parents and I said "There, that's the future of computing, that's what I want."
My feeling about the Macintosh was visceral, it was emotional. I knew in my gut that the computer displayed in front of me, all 9", 512x342, black and white display of it, would change my life.
And it did...
Looking back on my life, I can see it reflected in Apple products. Many of those products designed and marketed by Steve Jobs. I have had an Apple product in my life, every day, since 1984. Those products have been with me at the best and worst times I've experienced. Thinking backwards through time to each of the Macintosh (and Apple) products, I can reflect on times long forgotten until now.
1984, Macintosh 128K, the year I started High School. My family purchased an original Macintosh 128K in 1984. I was 14 years old. It came with MacWrite and MacPaint and I couldn't believe my luck to have it. This year was different, and not just because of the Macintosh, you see, we didn't move. This was my 9th school and I was starting the 9th grade. For the first time in a long time, I got to stay with my friends as we went to a new school. I immediately began using my new computer to write documents for school and create graphics on the screen. My family purchased an ImageWriter dot-matrix printer so I could print out my creations. I ended up taking Typewriting in high school my Freshman year (1984). By the end of the year I was typing 60 words per minute and I never turned in another handwritten report again. Innovations: Graphical User Interface, Mouse, 3.5" Floppy Drive with Auto Eject, software for "Publishing" that came with the computer (MacWrite and MacPaint).
1985, Steve Jobs leaves Apple Computer to found NeXT. NeXT Computer is to have a profound impact on my life as well.
1988, Macintosh Plus, the year I started college. My parents purchased this computer as a present for my graduation from High School, to take to college at Miami University. I used it to earn money as a Freshman, typing papers for $1 / page. I had the only Macintosh on my floor, there was one other Apple IIc, and a few IBM PCs. Innovations: first computer to have an external SCSI port, which launched a plethora of external devices and created a "standard interface" for expanding the system; first Macintosh to use SIMM (Single Inline Memory Module) RAM.
1989, Macintosh SE/30, the year I switched my major from Manufacturing Engineering to Systems Analysis. While in college I got a job working in the School of Applied Science. The main reason I was hired is that there were a few Macintosh computers in the School and no one on the computing staff knew the platform. I did, so I got hired to help provide support. That money allowed me to purchase a Macintosh SE/30 my Sophomore year. Believe it or not, I used to use a "backpack" to haul that computer from my dorm room to meetings of the Miami Computer Users Group, which I helped found and served as Treasurer. My favorite game on the SE/30 was Shufflepuck Cafe. This was the last Macintosh, influenced by Steve Jobs, to be released for the next 5 years. The next Macintoshes will all look like their PC competition, embracing the "pizza box" type designs. Innovations: first Macintosh (the SE, which stood for "System Expansion") to be able to have an Ethernet card.
1990, As a Systems Analysis major, I was able to get a job my Sophomore year in the computer labs. Most of the computers in the lab are terminals to our IBM Mainframe and our DEC VAX (running VMS). However, tucked over in the corner are 8 gleaming, black, magnesium NeXTcube workstations. These run BSD Unix and I quickly find myself spending hours and hours working on these systems and learning the NeXTSTEP operating system. These systems led to my passion around the Unix operating system and gave me the skill sets that I still use today. My work in Unix and on the NeXTs leads me to success in the Systems Analysis program at Miami University and my winning of the Senior Systems Analyst of the Year award for my work with the Talawanda Learning Community Network (TLCNet). I still own a working 68040 Color NextStation. Innovations: NeXTStep. In 1990, these are the underpinnings of Macintosh OS X to come 11 years from now.
1991, Macintosh IIcx, the first year living in my own apartment. My Junior year in College, I was really getting jealous of those Amiga and Atari ST people and their colorful graphics. So, I went out on a limb and purchased this computer. This was my first color capable computer and it was great! This was also the first computer I had owned with a separate monitor. Innovations: First computer case able to be modified (adding cards, replacing drives) without tools or screws, first to be able to be oriented in either a horizontal or vertical position.
1993, Powerbook 180c, the first year of my Masters program and my first laptop. My friends began to migrate away from the Atari ST platform in favor of the Macintosh (after running a Macintosh emulator on them just to play Shufflepuck Cafe). I was so happy each time one of them purchased a Macintosh, it brought us closer together as a group. My fondest memory of that time was when one of my close friends, Peter Murray, abandoned his IBM PC and purchased a Macintosh. We all looked at him and said, "Well, it's about time". Innovations: Palm-rest built into the keyboard with a trackball as a pointer. Try to find a laptop these days that doesn't have the keyboard up near the top with an area for your palms to rest, now thank Apple.
1994, Macintosh Quadra 660av. This computer was special because we were still using dial-up modems to access computer networks at the University. The AV in this Macintosh referred to the Digital Audio Video (DAV) port that enabled one special product, the GeoPort Telecom Adapter. That little "pod" became my modem and I used it to have my Macintosh be our telephone answering machine at the house. I bought this computer because Apple had announced their move to PowerPC technology and while it came with a 68040 processor, we were promised an upgrade to the PowerPC. That upgrade never materialized for the "AV" model, as the upgrade card made available for the non-AV model Quadra systems conflicted with the DAV port. This was one of the few times I was furious with decisions Apple made, I felt betrayed and that I had been lied to by Apple with regards to the upgradability of this system. Innovations: video in and out made possible by the Digital Audio Video port.
1994, 10 Years after Apple announced the Macintosh, I was still a "Fan Boy". So much so, that I even purchased my first non-Macintosh (non-printer) from Apple: the Newton MessagePad. Over the next few years I upgraded my Newton from the original, to the 110, and then to the 2100. It was my first Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) and I knew electronic organization was how I wanted to work and that it would further define me as a "Geek". We're still waiting for good handwriting recognition and with all of its flaws, I would say the Newton is still the best we've seen. This is also the year that John Scully leaves Apple Computer, to be replaced by Gil Amelio for the next 500 days.
I look back at this point and see that in 10 years of Macintosh, I've owned 7 different systems. One new system every 18 months or so. It helped over the last 6 years that I had a student discount on Apple hardware. Innovation was happening rapidly at this point in time. The Internet was beginning to explode. I was in the thick of things and I was about to get absorbed.
1995, Power Macintosh 6100/66 DOS Compatible. This was the year I was recruited to work at Cincinnati Bell Telephone developing Fuse Internet Access. My first "real job" outside of the University. I made having a Macintosh on my desk a contingency of my employment and they agreed (something I did quite often in my future positions). I was the first Macintosh user at Cincinnati Bell. This computer was purchased so I could have both Macintosh and Windows running side-by-side and provide me the most compatibility possible. Innovations: First computer to use the PowerPC RISC architecture, also two computers in one, two CPUs, two RAM banks, etc.
1995, Powerbook 5300CE/117. My second Macintosh laptop, I purchased this computer shortly after starting at Cincinnati Bell. My first PowerPC-powered Macintosh laptop. This system was ill-fated from Apple and many people reported multiple problems. Me? I actually never had an issue and when I found this system in my belongings 10 years later, the system still booted, the display still worked, and I sold it on eBay. Innovations: First line of portables to use the PowerPC processor, first to have an expansion bay (I had a Zip drive in mine), and a color Active-Matrix LCD screen.
1996, Powerbook Duo 2300c and the Duo Dock. This little combination, in my opinion, is one of the best ideas Apple ever realized. The Duo Dock was basically a huge laptop dock, with a monitor stand built over it. You'd insert the Duo into the dock and it would electronically pull it into the dock and latch it in place. The Dock could also have a separate 3.5" Hard Disk drive installed and the computer could boot from either the internal or the "external" drives. You'd then push an Eject button on the dock and it would spit out the Duo. I loved this system, but ultimately, the Duo screen was too small for practical use. Innovation: An electronic docking station allowing use of the laptop as a full-blown desktop system.
1997, Power Macintosh 7300/180. This was the year all of my friends were on Macintoshes. They came from a variety of platforms, but by 1997, they were all Macintosh people. Innovation: "Outrigger" case design allowing for ease of maintenance.
Following this purchase came a light shining down on the Macintosh and Apple, Steve Jobs. On July 9th, 1997, Gil Amilio stepped down, and Steve Jobs stepped up. Steve immediately made several changes at Apple, the most notable being a call to end the failed Mac OS licensing to clone manufacturers, discontinuing the Newton (a pet project of John Scully), and then releasing the PowerMac G3 line of computers. He also rebranded the Macintosh to just "Mac".
2000, Blueberry iMac G3 (sold 2001). Released on my birthday in 1998, the iMac ushered in a new era at Apple: Color. I purchased mine shortly after purchasing my first home, I can still see it sitting in my office by the window. I had been down on Apple for a couple of years, even flirting with abandoning the platform all-together, but this computer got me excited again. The iMac became the world's best-selling single computer. Something Apple got a taste of, and didn't look back. This was also the year that Apple unveiled Mac OSX in a Public Beta, the OS was based on NeXTSTEP, an OS with which I was very familiar. Innovations: All-in-One Computer, Slot-Loading CD-ROM Drive, and the end of the floppy drive.
2001, 500MHz 15.2" PowerBook G4 (Dual Layer SD). This was a tough year for me personally and professionally. I broke up with my girlfriend of several years, met someone new and had my heart broken, multiple times, by her. I ruptured a disc in my back, sold my house, lost my job, moved into an apartment, in that order. I wasn't happy, but the highlight of my time was my "TiBook". I also purchased my first iPod. Innovations: Wide aspect screen, 1" "thin", revolutionizing laptop form factors and made out of Titanium.
2002, 647MHz 17" PowerBook G4 "TiBook". New apartment, new Macintosh. Living alone at the time, this was an upgrade to my 15" PowerBook from the year before, and my first 17" screen (something I basically kept until Apple discontinued that size in 2012, a decade later). Innovations: 17" Display.
2002, 1GHz 17" PowerBook G4 "AlBook". An upgrade to my previous TiBook, the old one having been sold to my mother. This year saw me finding a new job, re-establishing myself in a very different career (Director of Marketing), and traveling every other week to Chicago for work. I had no friends at the office and felt very isolated from everyone around me, I hated my job. In May, I lost my job again, but was able to turn around and find another immediately, at a significant pay cut. I was basically at rock bottom. However, I also met my first wife and things seemed to be turning around for me, as we got engaged later this year. I bought my second house and moved into it. Innovations: First PowerBook to have a DVD burning solution (SuperDrive), possibly the first laptop to burn DVDs period.
2004, 1.5GHz 15" PowerBook G4 "AlBook". I didn't have this system that long. Lost it in the divorce after my 1 year marriage. I only miss the PowerBook, and my Great Dane. Otherwise, this was a life-changing event for me and led me to the love of my life.
2005, 1.42 GHz Mac mini. Purchased as a home computer this system became a home server. I loved the new "Bring Your Own Keyboard and Mouse" aspect of the mini. Then, on June 6th, Steve Jobs made one of the most significant announcements of his career: Apple would be migrating away from the Motorola PowerPC architecture and all future Macintoshes would run on Intel processors. I remember calling my parents, "Sell all of your Apple stock, get out!" I yelled. I couldn't believe that Steve Jobs was eliminating one of the clear differentiators of the Macintosh platform. How could he abandon Motorola? Of course, he was right, and it was a move that would create a period of prosperity in the Macintosh line that had never been seen before. I learned then, "Never bet against Steve". No longer would you have to "emulate" an Intel chip, now you would be able to binary compatible. Innovation: One of the, if not the, smallest desktop computers on the market. This little 2" thick, 6.2" square desktop system packed a SuperDrive, USB Ports, Firewire, Bluetooth, Wireless, Ethernet, and Video out.
2006, 17-inch Early 2006 MacBook Pro. This year saw me moving forward with my career again. I took the job I still hold today and again made a Macintosh a contingency of my employment. The result was this system which I held for 3 years. Innovation: The first MacBook Pro, meaning the first Macintosh laptop to run on Intel processors.
June 28, 2007, 6:00 p.m., The iPhone, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. in the morning and drove to the Kenwood Towne Centre to stand in-line to get the iPhone, I had taken the day off from work. I was the 22nd person in line. I stood in that line the entire day, because, since I had seen the original Macintosh, I hadn't been this excited about an Apple product in my life. I knew it would be revolutionary and I wanted to be a part of it. I was interviewed by a local news station. I saw lots and lots of people I knew, we all shared a common understanding that we were part of something special. When my turn came, I got to high-5 Apple Store Employees, I was cheered and celebrated as I went to the counter, in the back of the store, to purchase my iPhone. It was everything Apple has ever meant to me, and I would have paid them double for the privilege of purchasing that device. If you've never owned an Apple product, you cannot understand. If you do, then, well, you understand. Since this time, I've had every iPhone model released (iPhone 3, iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, (just ordered my iPhone 4S). They are all better than the previous version, but that original iPhone still has a special place in my heart. This is the first picture ever taken of my son, it was taken on an iPhone 4. Update 20141021: Just got my iPhone 6 Plus a week ago, and yes, I've had an iPhone 5 and 5S prior. I was also able to get an original iPhone (8 GB) from work, I'm keeping that device, as well as an iPhone 4S for the foreseeable future.
2007, Late 2007 2.2 GHz Macbook. This was also the year I met my future wife. Shortly after meeting me and seeing my passion for Apple products, Deb purchased her first Macintosh, a white MacBook. So, technically, it wasn't mine, yet it is another fond Apple memory associated with a life event.
2007, mid-2007 2.0 GHz Mac mini. Rounding out the year, I upgraded the Mac mini from PowerPC to Intel. This system went well with my new Apple TV though the Apple TV was a bit of a disappointment (at least until next year).
2008, iPhone 3G. Deb and I were married on 08/08/08. There were no major computer purchases that occurred this year. Deb converted to the iPhone 3G and I upgraded my original iPhone to the iPhone 3G as well. I had rolled out iPhones at the office as an officially supported phone and that spelled the end of Blackberry at our company. iPhones today outnumber Blackberries 3:1 in our company. Additionally, I upgraded the Apple TV to the new 160GB version (which I still have) shortly after Steve Jobs announced the new "Take Two" software upgrades. The combination of 160GB of content and being able to purchase that content directly from the Apple TV is what enabled Deb and I to "cut the cord".
2009, Early 2009 Mac mini. Deb and I had decided to "cut the cord" in late 2008, we cancelled the cable television service and we did not have satellite. We had embarked on a full year of watching television and movies solely via the Internet (XBox 360 for Netflix, AppleTV for everything else). I used our new-found wealth as an excuse to upgrade the Mac mini again and it continued to be the center piece of our entertainment network along with our Apple TV. That experiment actually worked, as we saved enough money to purchase both this new Mac mini and the upgraded Apple TV in the prior year.
2009, 17-inch Early 2009 MacBook Pro. Our company is on a 3-year refresh cycle and as such I got a new Macintosh in 2009, holding my previous system for 3 years. Both Deb and I upgraded to the iPhone 3GS. Innovation: the first Unibody construction laptop. The entire "base" unit was milled from a single block of aluminum.
2010, Apple TV 2. We ended our "cut the cord" in mid-2009 when it was clear that we missed some of the benefits of broadcast television, specifically News and live Sports. Both Deb and I also upgraded to the iPhone 4.
2011, Late 2010 13-inch 2.13 GHz MacBook Air. This was Deb's computer, she upgraded her aging MacBook to the new MacBook Air (2 months before the mid-2011 MacBook Airs were released) this year. We will both also upgrade to to the iPhone 4S that was just announced last week. In a pretty significant change for me, I'm moving to Verizon with my service.
2012, ???, I don't know what my next machine will be, but I can guarantee it will be a Macintosh. I'm also looking forward to what Steve did with the iPhone 5, because it will probably be the last iPhone that he helped to design.
Not covered elsewhere in this article are a plethora of other Apple devices I've had over the years. I still own a Bondai Blue Clamshell iBook and a Macintosh G4 Cube. I've had iPod Shuffles (both kinds) and iPod nanos, but not a Touch. Two original iPads (one 3G, one WiFi), and two iPad 2s (one 3G, one WiFi). An AirPort Extreme Base station and two different Time Capsules. Magic mice, wireless keyboards, and a Magic trackpad. I have read the words, "Designed by Apple in California" more times than I can remember, and every time I read that phrase, I knew I was going to be pleased.
Rest in peace, Steve. You will be remembered and missed.
Here are some other goodbyes to Steve Jobs from around the Internet:
- Apple Computer
- Woz reflects on his experiences with Steve Jobs
- NY Times - Apple’s Visionary Redefined Digital Age
- NY Times Opinion - Against Nostalgia
- Forbes - The Top Ten Lessons Steve Jobs Taught Us
- Wired - Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011
- The New Yorker - Steve Jobs at the Pearly Gates
- Remembering Steve Jobs: TUAW looks back
- xkcd - Eternal Flame
- Outside Steve Jobs' home
- Sad Goodbyes To Steve At The San Francisco Apple Store - Cult of Mac
Here are some powerful examples of Steve Jobs in action: