I recall being a ten or twelve year old and riding in my father’s car. He was excitedly relying to me the new things that were happening at his job at Xerox, wherein a new computer system was being used that required him to “click” on things… on the screen, if you can believe it… by using something he called a “mouse.” Being already an experienced hand at programming BASIC programming language (Apple IIe and Commodore 64), word processing on IBM machines, and whipping ass on Atari games, I quite naturally assumed my father was losing his shit.
But he wasn’t. And one of the great creative minds of that era has left us. Steve Jobs is gone.
I don’t have a whole lot to say that hasn’t already been said, so I’ll eschew the nobility epitaph. What I will remember is the awe of seeing an Apple IIgs for the first time in a kiosk at the mall in Auburn. Or scratching my pre-pubescent head over the meaning Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards on the nascent Mac computers. And of course, no memory of 80’s computing would be complete without fording a river on the Oregon Trail.
Apple was never the only game in town and I played with every computer I could find, as soon as I could find it. Speaking of which: my apologies to anyone working in the computing department of Sears in the Eighties for the PRINT “My butt stinks!!!” GOTO 10 gag. It was funny, honest to god.
But what Apple did then and continues to do now is impart the sense of genuine wonder to the computing world. That drew me in then and it draws people now. With Steve Jobs’ irrepressible inspiration gone – his “vision” as President Obama today called it – I do wonder what keeps the momentum going. Technology will continue to grow and weave its way into our lives. But will it fascinate us the way it fascinated Steve? We’ll have to wait and see.