Thursday, October 06, 2011

In Memoriam...

I owe Steve Jobs a debt of gratitude for changing my life for the better. In 1987, my partner and I were able to start a comics industry newsletter, Comic Shop News, because of the capability of the Mac SE, the only computer to offer affordable, user-firendly, comprehensive desktop publishing that made it possible for us to produce a weekly newsletter. Thanks to the success of that newsletter, I was able to expand my career as an educator to include a career as a publisher and journalist.

Years later, as my comic shop grew, a key staff member was able to develop a complex Mac-based Point of Sale system for our store--a system that kept the store profitable during a period of industry turbulence. That system was written in Filemaker--a program that wouldn't have existed were it not for Steve Jobs and Apple. It runs on a network of Macs in our store--a network that has never failed us for more than eleven years, growing to meet our needs.

As an educator, I oversaw a writing lab for several years--a writing lab consisting of 35 Macs. While Windows-based labs required constant maintenance, our Mac lab operated nearly flawlessly day in and day out. I also produced the school yearbook using iMacs, Pagemaker, and a staff of students eager to push the Mac's creative possibilities in new directions. At a time when computers in the classroom were unheard of, I was able to use my classroom Mac to prepare full-screen images that could be displayed on a large classroom monitor; while it sounds mundane today, it was unheard of in 1997. It worked, though, thanks to the reliability and innovation of the Mac.

iPods, iPhones, AppleTVs, iPads... all of them have enhanced my life, improved my productivity, expanded my entertainment horizons, and have made inaccessibility a thing of the past. And throughout the years, I could always count on Apple to push the boundaries to make their system more sophisticated, more elegant, and more reliable. Steve Jobs innovated; other imitated.

The only time I had a problem with a Mac (an ill-fated Powerbook 5300), Steve Jobs personally contacted me about the problem, then had an assistant work with me to replace that computer. I will never forget the fact that the CEO of Apple took time from his schedule to ensure that my problem was solved. That's the kind of person that Steve Jobs was--a visionary who looked at the big picture, and a detail man who never forgot his customers.

In the future, Steve will be seen as a technological genius to stand alongside Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, and others greats who changed American life forever. I only wish he could have been with us far longer, to see how his brilliance and drive have continued to reshape our world.

I felt the same intense sense of loss when hearing of Steve Jobs' death that I felt in 1980 when I learned that John Lennon had passed. A world without each man seems emptier. I did may not have known either personally, but I feel as if I did--their influence on my life has been that great.

Rest in peace and satisfaction, Steve, knowing that you left this world a far better place than it ever would have been without you.

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