Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Apple is crying today.

We lost an icon. A true, genuine American icon.

Whether you liked him, hated him or just ignored him, you cannot naysay the impact he made on certain segments of our life.

I remember when Apple launched the Macintosh. I remember a year or so later, sitting in the basement of the University Center at Texas Tech University and getting a "Welcome to Macintosh" tour.

That was the neatest damn computer I had ever seen, and I knew then I had to have one.

At the time, it was cost prohibitive for a full-time college student going to school on a GI bill plus working two jobs, sometimes three. The computer geeks were lining up to use the DOS machines at the UC at Tech--and carrying around their huge floppy disks. That meant that there almost never any waiting to get on one of the new Macs that the geeks all said "were just a fad and would never go anywhere."

I was not then, and am not now, in the "geek" mentality or crowd. In fact, I've always waited for several generations of "new" technology to make its way into the consumer market before purchasing an earlier version of that same technology.

Several years after graduating from college, I met my wife-to-be, married her, resigned from the federal law enforcement agency I was with and enrolled full-time in graduate school. That first semester, I purchased my very first Macintosh. It was a Mac Classic II, and at the time, one of the most powerful machines built.

It had a staggering 80mb hard drive and an incredible 128k memory. You could hook it up to a modem and get on computer bulletin boards (as they were called then), you could send and receive faxes through it and you could even hook up external speakers. I also bought an Apple Personal LaserWriter.

I was in absolute hog heaven.

We still have that Mac Classic II in its original box up in our attic and it still looks as new today as the day I bought it.

The LaserWriter gave us almost ten years of use before it decided one day that it'd had enough. We replaced it with another (used) Apple laser printer that we still have and use today. (We have two other printers in our home network that are on the wireless, both laser printers plus an ink-jet printer--none of which are Apple.)

Since then, I've had an Mac LC, three Quadras, five laptops, a G3 and a G4--which I still have and use pretty much only for Photoshop and Quark Xpress.

For our present Apple machines, we have the Apple Airport Extreme (wireless base station), Apple Time Capsule. Our present computers that are our "daily drivers" consist of my beloved G3 Wall Street PowerBook--which to date has THE best damned keyboard of any computer I've ever owned or worked on. The PowerBook G4 12" is the perfect size for my flight bag and goes everywhere with us in the Cessna, not to mention to coffee shops and libraries and book stores where there is WiFi. Upstairs in our office, we have the big iMac G5 with the huge screen and built-in camera and all that jazz.

I still don't know how to use half the stuff that machine has on it, but as full-time retirement looms closer, some friends of ours have figured out this video on the internet while you talk stuff, and we're game.

We don't have an iPad because we want to wait for at least two generations to come out, maybe a third. I like this second generation iPad and I'm tempted, but right now I don't really have time to take advantage of an iPad. We also want to wait and see what the future of eBooks will be and in whose format will there be the most books (Kindle, Nook, iPad, et al).

iPhone? I hate cell phones. However, Jobs and Apple revolutionized another market. iPods, same thing. Apple TV was an early front-runner, now there are a host of boxes out there.

I also remember scrimping and saving so I could purchase some Apple stock when it was made public while I was in the Air Force. I think I paid something like $3.50 a share for it. Kept buying it while in college when I could afford it, and continued buying afterwards. I never sold it and now it's worth something like $395 a share. Maybe it's time.

So like him or not, like the company or not, there is no disputing that Steve Jobs and Apple have made a tremendous impact on our society and our nation.

Rest in Peace, Steve.

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