STEVE JOBS: The End of an Era

While technology giant Steve Jobs lost his battle with cancer yesterday at age 56, thanks to his revolutionary contributions to the Information Age, the world will never be the same.

Words: Aimstar

I remember when I got my first computer, I think I was about five or six years old. We were one of the first families, if not the first to have a computer in my neighborhood (mom has always been ahead of her time). We—my extended family of grandparents, uncles and aunts who all lived with us back then in that family house—would schedule who could use our Tandy (the brand of our computer), for how long and when every day. It was a bit disorganized and nerve-wracking, everyone always wanting the computer now and since I was the smallest and youngest, my vote didn’t even count.

That computer mainframe was huge! It took up the whole tabletop! The screen was always black, the fonts went schizo between white or green depending on what stage of the booting process you were in. It had these chunky white-ish grey keys, which back then, didn’t really matter to me because I was limited to only the number and arrow keys anyway. Armed with one or two computer games, I spent most of my evenings after kindergarten finishing up my homework, inserting floppy discs (blowing floppy discs and reinserting into computer if computer couldn’t read the data) and then happily, clicking away (when it finally worked). Digger was my joint.

It was 1984; the same year that a young, talented and aggressive entrepreneur named Steve Jobs introduced the “Macintosh” computer to a room full of stakeholders. He was 29 and his company, Apple, was just eight years old. Still, Jobs was digging, challenging the leading computer companies, like IBM (the Microsoft of the day), to re-envision the purpose for and use of personal computers. That same year, his company released “1984”, a commercial which aptly used the premise of George Orwell’s book of the same name as the draw for new consumers to their brand. Steve Jobs was pushing the envelope.

But still, no one I knew had an Apple, let alone a computer other than my family. (That wasn’t popping in my Laurelton, Queens neighborhood, around the corner from Springfield High School.) My first experience with Apple came in the computer lab of my private elementary school. It was the day our school traded up from Commodore 64s. I remember liking the rainbow apple logo, but not giving that much thought to it. It seemed more simple and by this time, we could type our short stories on word processing programs and even print them out (but you had to remove those perforated edges if you weren’t going to bind your documents, otherwise it was just annoying.) While computers seemed to be getting smaller, typewriters were slowly becoming a thing of the past. Still by the late ’80s, we were the only family in our neighborhood with a computer in the home. Still wasn’t much you could do with them; computers had a long way to go.

Post college, circa 2000, I had at least four email accounts. While every college student didn’t have a personal computer, they knew how to use one and knew someone who had one. Me on the other hand, I found myself lugging around a four-piece PC—monitor, tower, keyboard and mouse—everywhere I moved (eight times between 1996 and the end of 2001. -_-) Knowing that I was still young and that I really hadn’t found the right place that I was going to stay in for the long haul, I started thinking about the shit that I could get rid of or sell. Long story short, that PC was NOT going to the next place. So I called in a few of my design friends (who were also tech geeks) and we went hunting for something a bit more compact. They introduced me to the all-in-one fluorescent iMac (a friend ended up giving me his when he moved to London). I was in love.

Eventually, 10 years later, I evolved into an iBook girl (though my eyes are set on a Macbook Pro right now), who owns an external keyboard, two iPods (a nano and a 2nd gen’er) and an iPhone 4. I need my iTunes playlist and my iCal to keep my life in check. I wanted to be an the girl shadow with the afro in the iPod commercials. The iPad is on my wishlist of things to get (have no idea why I’m bullshittin’) and I damn sure couldn’t tell you the name of four PC companies right now or what they offer. Point is, I can’t live without Apple. I don’t know how it happened or why I love it, I just do and it’s probably due to the hustle of Steve Jobs, the man behind the curtain at Apple. The man that higher ups didn’t believe was ready to man the throne back in 1984 because of his age. The man who proved them ALL wrong and kept winning. The man who proved that passion trumps everything if you breathe it everyday; and that if you use passion to create the things that inspire you, your creations will change the world. Steve Jobs is the man whose inventions forced everyone, no matter the sector or level, to step up.

Steve Jobs changed the nature of the world. He single-handedly defined the parameters of the Information Age and gave Generation X and the Millennials the tools to create the jobs they wanted for themselves (just as he had). Steve Jobs, the man who made the future real and put it in our hands, passed away yesterday after his battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. The news comes just two months since he stepped down from his post as Apple CEO, and just hours after we waited for news on his latest invention, the iPhone 5. And sure enough, Steve Jobs left the same way he came in: with a bang.

So, as he taught us (paraphrased a bit): here’s to the crazy one. The misfit. The rebel. The troublemaker. The round peg in the square hole. The one who saw things differently, and was not fond of rules. The one who had no respect for the status quo. You can quote him, disagree with him, glorify and vilify him. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore him, because he changed things. He pushed the human race forward. And while some may see him as crazy, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Thank you, Steve Jobs, for changing our world and inspiring us to do and be more.

…May you rest in peace.

Watch the Steve Jobs documentary on Bloomberg’sGame Changers here

What’s your story? As per Apple’s request, if you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences, please email Apple.

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