Thursday, October 6, 2011

Remember When?

IBM Selectric's were "the bomb" and if you had the latest one that would backspace and ERASE the typos, you were seen as being of great wealth.

Remember Radio Shack's TS-1000?  And the sole game on it, "How Many Petals On the Rose" ?

Remember Visi Word?  or Visi Calc?

How about Word Perfect and it's Shift+F7+P to print a document?  on a daisy wheel that whirred and spun to take ink from a blotter, splat it on paper, and print the paper?

My uncle was the general manager of IBM's Rochester, MN plant back in the late 70's and early 80's, eventually being moved to Boca Raton's facility.  He took me by golf cart around the plant, showed me the latest computers that were being made, "PC Jr"'s, what he claimed would change the world of typing as I knew it.  I was at most, 17 and computers seemed like "Star Wars" toys.

Then, I met my first, Apple.  It was a HUGE hunk of space-age white plastic with a keyboard and something tethered to the back of the machine called a mouse.  I was hesitant at first to use it, let alone play with it.  Seemed interesting but overall, not very useful yet.

Until I started trying to type my master's thesis on an IBM Selectric with white tape that had to be changed out to type over (and correctly type) the errors.

My friend Jennifer, borrowed me her Apple hunk of space-age junk to type.  And type I did.  And while the useful programs out there had not measured up quite yet to those being launced for 8088, 8086, eventually 386 and 486, and beyond, Apple stole my heart.

Single handedly, Apple changed my vantage point on computers.  Single handedly, one person changed all of our lives.  Excel worked flawlessly on an Apple at my first job for a large, highway/heavy construction company who had been utterly manual invoicing subcontractors, until I asked for a MacII.  Word was used to create invoices and Excel was used to compare amounts for the project.

Bill Gates left Apple to form Microsoft and took with him GUI to build the Windows platform for the IBM set of the world. 

I migrated to the cheaper IBM PC, as did countless millions of others. 

The genius behind Apple saw that people loved Apple's computers but were either too cheap or too poor to own one.  Apple became a status symbol.  The genius then created products for the common man - me - to use - the iPod, the iPhone, and more.

When the genius resigned his CEO position in August... and now, iHurt, iSad,  iHope.

Mr. Jobs was the genius behind Apple and also its charasmatic leader, selling products we mere humans did not know we needed and quickly found, we could not live without.

iHurt for his family, iSad for his throngs of followers across the planet, and iHope that Apple continues to be the creative genius building products we don't know we need but know that we will want.

That would be a fitting legacy for the man very few knew.

R.I.P. Mr. Jobs


MamaDoodle said...


I was trying to explain the concept of a typwriter to my daughter yesterday after hearing of Mr. Jobs' death. I wished for the coveted Selectric but settled for the "portable" no-brand that I received as a high-school graduation gift.

My daughter couldn't comprehend that people would type on a machine that allowed no correction of errors. She was speechless when I told her that I earned my college spending money by typing term papers for others on my little no-brand typewriter. Why would anyone pay someone else to type what they had most likely (in her mind) created on their computer?

Like many, I got the sad news on my iPhone. The irony was not lost on me and was a poignant testament to Mr. Jobs' lasting influence on 21st-century civilization.

Slamdunk said...

Sad. I was never an Apple user, but I married into a family of them--so I saw the brilliance then.