Wednesday, October 5, 2011

So long Steve Jobs, and thank you

This afternoon I learned that Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer, has died.

The Apple Macintosh had a major impact on my life and career. I was in college when I first encountered the Mac, around 1986. The engineering lab at the University of Houston had all Macs, and a few Mac SE models. The killer Mac app that got my attention at the time was Hypercard and its Hypertalk scripting language. I was enthralled with the idea that ordinary people could create interactive applications that anyone could download and use for themselves. Those applications probably look quaint now, but they got me excited.

Before that I had little interest in computers, and even less in programming. I had learned other languages like Basic and Fortran, but I did not see programming as something that had much relevance to my life. I did not see the things that could be done with computers as cool or interesting. The Mac, and especially multimedia applications like Hypercard, changed that. I bought a Mac SE in 1988, and the rest as they say, is history.

As it turns out, I didn't use computers to make history. I didn't write a killer app. But I did use computers to make a career and a good living. That was pretty cool.

Thank you, Steve Jobs, for your part in the building the personal computer industry and the other innovations you played a part in changing the world. Big changes are the work of many hands, and yours was one of them.