Here's to you Steve….

I guess everybody who has looked at any news source yesterday know that Steve Jobs, one of the founders of Apple Computer, passed away this week of pancreatic cancer.  He was only 56 years old.  Steve was definitely not one who was afraid of pushing the envelope of life and particularly our technology life. In that regard he was a hero of mine. I myself pushed the status quo a few times in my technical life but nothing compared to him.

In 1970, when Steve was fifteen years old, I started out my career as an electric engineer. Then in the early 1980s desktop computers were coming on the scene. I quickly latched on to one and spent hours writing programs for it. Soon after we “young” engineers had Apple Macintosh computers sitting on our desks.  The computer center frowned on them but basically ignored them. They said they were not real computers. It wasn’t long before we managed to network our computers by stringing wires in the ceiling. About then I started to write programs that my fellow engineers found useful in their work.

Fast forward a few more years and I was spending almost all of my work life developing applications for our “unofficial” Apple network. As the years went by the computer center folks finally gave in a declared that maybe this Macintosh stuff was here to stay and reluctantly agreed to start supporting our “outlaw” network.  That is when my official transition from electrical engineering to information technology took place. I was never too happy with my EE hat but couldn’t get enough of the computer stuff. I felt like a kid again!  If it hadn’t been for Steve I might have dredged through thirty years in the electrical field instead of finding my true career path.

In the early 1990s an edict came down from corporate headquarters that everyone would be moving to Windows PCs. It was quite a fight with us in the engineering division but of course the big bosses won out and we said goodbye to our Macs. I have been using Windows PCs since that day but have recently decided to move back to a Mac.  I think it was Steve Jobs who called the Windows PC a “giant hairball” and there is certainly some validity to that statement.  Due to having an open architecture and having to support many versions of computers and software the Windows operating system is indeed a very complex hairball.

Steve Jobs and Apple chose a different route and that was to maintain control of their own software and to let old legacy computer go to their natural death. For that reason there are basically no virus issues with Macs today. I look forward to once again being able to leave my computer on for days at a time without having to do a system reset or a check for the latest virus software. So, here I am a previous “Mac” guy getting ready to return to the fold. I continue to be somewhat of a renegade today so Macs fit right in with my rebellious personality. So, here is to you Steve for making my life a lot more enjoyable even in my senior years.

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