Steve Jobs

There will be countless valedictory words written and spoken about Steve Jobs and his influence on modern life, indeed I have heard already this morning on the day of his death.

But while the commentators have focused on Jobs the innovator for the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, most have overlooked his greatest contribution to our lives — the personal computer as we know it.

I saw my first Mac in 1986 and was completely blown away. I thought we were pretty advanced at the time with our IBM word processor, but the Mac Plus rewrote the rulebook of expectation.

All the word processor did was mechanize the typewriter — the Mac Plus gave us WYSYWIG. It is too easy to forget that what came out of the printer was exactly what you saw on the screen was nothing short of miraculous.

The first Mac I bought for work cost £7,500, although £5,000 of that was for the laser printer, and it transformed the world of work for me. I used both the Mac Plus and SE30 you see on the right in the 1980s.

And then it went on to transform home life too with the coming of the PC which was always playing catch-up with the Mac that had a certain cachet. Microsoft defined what a home computer was, Apple defined what it could achieve. Bill Gates was the Nerd, while Steve Jobs was the Geek.

That cachet continues today. You only have to watch Spooks in which the clever, urbane MI5 spies use Macs and iPads, while the bad guys have only unbranded Windows PCs.

History will remember Steve Jobs as the man who ushered in the Information Age and rank him alongside the likes of Caxton, Gutenberg, Ford, Baird and Bell who changed the lives of everyone, while I suspect that Bill Gates will be largely forgotten.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

3 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 6th October 2011

    laregly? Bad boy Lankie! See me after prep!
    The main thing I note about Steve Jobs is that he went out with Joan Baez who was fourteen years older than him. Interesting that the pure voiced doyen of folk song should collide with such a gifted innovator from the techno-world. Like chalk and cheese.

  • Mr Parrot 6th October 2011

    That was just me checking that you read my posts trhough to the end!

    Given that Steve Jobs was the rock an’ roll of silicon valley, it doesn’t surprise me that he and Joan Baez would have got on.

  • john gray 7th October 2011

    your last comment on my blog made me larf!


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