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NewHampster - Posted on 05 October 2011
We all owe so much to this great man. Whether you are an Apple lover or not, he affects our lives every day.
RIP in Peace Steve and thank you for the future you brought us.
I thought this would happen but not this soon.
My first exposure to a Mac was in the summer of 1987, a Mac Plus. I had only just started to use a computer that spring but it was a dumb terminal. Within two weeks of laying my eyes on that thing, I was publishing cover illustrations for policy papers. The reason I took to it so quickly was because of its intuitive user interface made possible by its operating system.
but the competition made the PC and the Mac better. Jobs was and is an inspiration to us all.
I'm sure that can be said about many millions of others but for me, it represented a fundamental transformation. Steve was the driving force behind the creation of the concept of the Mac and that changed everything because it was intuitive. It worked the way you naturally thought it should. That's why it was such a perfect fit for me.
When I saw my first Mac in 1987, it was at a little think tank on Capitol Hill. One of the guys working there witnessed the encounter. I was in a big conference room and that Mac Plus was on the table. It had an internal floppy drive and an external one. No hard drive. You put the system disk in the internal drive and an application disk in the external one to use it. He saw me walk up to that strange little beast and saw my eyes get big. There was on on/off switch in the back so I turned it on. The screen started to glow and a little happy face appeared. There was a blank white screen with some words at the top and a black arrow. A little box with a button on it was attached with a wire but I didn't know what it was, what it was called or what it was for but I poked it. The black arrow moved! Oh, you slide it around and the black arrow moves! Later, I learned the arrow was called a cursor and the little box was a mouse.
Imagine going from that stage of computer illiteracy to being an expert in drawing, painting, publishing, and word processing in two weeks. I took to that thing like a duck to water. It was as if it was made for a creature like me. I learned everything I could about Apple and the Mac and became a consultant, a member of Apple Consultants Network, and an adjunct professor at GW specializing in interactive multimedia.
During the fall of 1989, Apple had a free home trial promotion. I found out about it because I was always going to a nearby computer store that sold Macs to play with them. The deal was, you got to bring home a new Mac to try out for 90 days if your credit was good. The sales woman ran my credit and said I could take a Mac SE and a LaserWriter printer if I would just buy one piece of software so I bought MacWrite. I already had a floppy with MacPaint and MacDraw. The equipment was loaded into my car and I went home a very happy man.
After 3 months of having loads of fun doing cool stuff with that Mac and printer, it was time to either return the equipment or buy it. I returned it and was quite forlorn for the next month. There was no way we could afford to buy that system but I knew deep inside I had to buy the most powerful computer I could afford so I could pursue my dream of being able to do 3D design and animation. We had a tough decision to make but my wife understood what was at stake. We took out a home equity loan so I could buy all the hardware and software I needed. March 1, 1990, I got a Mac IIci, a scanner, a laser printer, a graphics tablet, a couple of monitors, and a bookcase full of software that altogether cost about $17,000. Within two months, I was doing interactive multimedia projects that included programming, 3D color animation, graphics, and sound. A single demonstration of my ability got me a paying project development job that quickly paid for the computer. Later, I did some work for a lawyer to help with a lawsuit and that paid for the software.
The Mac opened up an opportunity for me to become a consultant and a teacher but that isn't all. I knew how it could make a huge impact on people's lives so I thought I should spread the word where it'd to the most good. I found out about education conferences that helped teachers learn how to cope with children with learning disabilities so I signed up to do some presentations at different conferences. I received no money for this and traveled around the country at my own expense. I did presentations and workshops for teachers to show them how they could use Macs to engage students with learning disabilities. One mom who attended one of my lectures was impressed enough to fly me to Nashville to help set up a Mac for her son who had ADHD. The family was very grateful for my help.
A woman attended one of my lectures in Atlanta and suggested I contact GW because they needed someone like me to help set up a new computer lab for interactive multimedia instruction. I really didn't want to do that so delayed a bit but the head of that department called me so I agreed to send something in lieu of a résumé. I made a videotape of me demonstrating some software. That did the trick and I started teaching non-linear digital video editing at first in an off-campus location but later set up a new lab in DC and started teaching all kinds of things.
Around the mid-1990s, I was made education VP of a local Mac User Group so I set up a mentoring partnership between that MUG and a junior high school as part of the county's Partners in Education Program. I was awarded a special plaque for that and presented it to the school. That program is still ongoing and benefits students and teachers.
Steve Jobs had a vision that technology could be simplified so that it could be used to improve people's lives in ways they never imagined.
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