I just found out that Steve Jobs has passed away. His creations and company have had a huge impact on my life. I was in 8th grade when the first Apple computers were introduced at school. We learned to write programs in BASIC that allowed us to print out whatever was on the screen. We could make text flash and put lines of color on the screen. The more important thing was when we had computer free time we got to play an early text version of Oregon Trail. We had to share computers and I got to share the computer (and chair) with the first boy I had a massive crush on while he played the game. Oh, the hormones, giddiness, and angst that ensued.
I started college in 1986, two years after the Macintosh arrived on the scene to crush Big Brother. I went to an engineering university to learn technical writing. Macs were just beginning to be used for graphic design and desktop publishing and we did most of our coursework on them. It seemed like the arrival of Gutenberg's press all over again. I was working in the Mac lab on a project when a mutual friend came to find me to let me know that my best friend from elementary school had died. She wasn't there when I got married six months later and there are Kristin-shaped holes in the wedding pictures and in my life moving forward.
I married an engineering student and we got our first Mac so that he could do his Master's thesis on it. (I named it Frisbee.) Our apartment was so small that he sat on the edge of the bed to type on the Mac. The Mac moved with us and a couple of years later I used it to do my own coursework for my Master's at library school. Watch out, here comes the internet.
From there, it was a Mac at work until our state government got a deal on Gateways and all the cow boxes arrived. We upgraded the Mac at home and then there were iTunes to find songs that had been half-remembered earworms for years. My daughter arrived and the Mac seemed like the last remaining connection with the world outside of diapers and housework. Now it's there for homework projects on plant seeds and tigers, YouTube videos of crazy Muppet skits, and LJ. There's an iPod for podfic while walking the dog and an iPad so I don't have to stay at the keyboard to get bills paid or watch SPN. I can read in the dark after lights out.
Thanks, Mr. Jobs, for creating technology that's been easy to learn to use and has expanded my world. Thanks for giving me the ability to bring ideas from my head to print. Thanks for using color and sleek, clean lines for things I look at every day. Thanks for Pixar and my kid's first movie. Thanks.
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