Maybe I am shallow. I like to think that I am unique in what affects me. Hearing on the radio about Steve Jobs passing affected me much like the passing of Bob Hope did in 2003. I just expected they would live on to be part of my life forever, having done things that had been part of my conscious life.
Mr. Hope was an entertainer with class and versatility, a triple threat who was able to connect with all. Even if leaned toward one side politically, he didn’t disengage from the other. Every special, every program he was on – I was there. He didn’t possess classical male beauty nor was he an operatic threat. Bob Hope was endearing, charming and approachable. My model (no, I haven’t excelled at any of the listed attributes but that’s OK). When I was performing on the community theatre stage, doing solos at church and otherwise showing off, Bob Hope was my ideal. Like an angel, he was supposed to be on my shoulder, always.
Mr. Jobs headed the company that manufactured the first personal computer I didn’t return during the store’s return period: the “transportable” Apple //c. It was the first computer that I purchased where the retailer didn’t also sell tires, jewelry or baby cribs. This Apple //c computer took me from the beginning of my junior year at the University of Oklahoma through almost the first year of my masters degree in educational technology, influenced significantly by my work with Apple desktop computers (Apple II and Macs). After having gotten my hands of my own IIGS as part of my public access TV show (see the picture), I moved to the next level. My first public school teaching position – in 1987 – was as the founding full-time computer literacy teacher at Longfellow Middle School in Norman, Oklahoma teaching with Apple IIe and IIGS computers. After three years there I moved to Norman High School to teach television production. The last three years I taught high school television production (1999-2002), we had fully transitioned our advanced students to digital production with iMacs.
I purchased the 3rd generation iPod as soon as it came out; my colleagues and friends thought I was wasteful and frivolous. Who would have enough music to want to carry it around with a box like that (this wasn’t my first portable music player so I knew what I was doing)? This device is still very much in use in my Honda Accord, providing me with the sounds for my daily commute to and from work at UNLV. In gradual succession, my personal collection of Apple products – created during Mr. Jobs second tenure with Apple – expanded significantly. Two more iPods, the first iPhone and the 3GS, the MacBook Unibody and 8-core MacPro and, of course, my iPad (I). All are still in some level of active use as I type. All were made possible under Steve Jobs leadership. They have shaped me as much as I have used them. Even if I use non-Apple products, they are but mere support for the Apple devices I own and use.
As I type this brief and inadequate tribute to Mr. Jobs (not forgetting the contribution of Mr. Wozniak, Mr. Kawasaki, and all of the Apple luminaries from those days) on my Mac Pro, I can only sit in awe at what the existence of Apple has done for and to my life. The tools that I use in my work life, the toys I relax and create with in my other life – Apple’s products have had a significant impact on my world. I don’t feel that that’s too shallow.
For these and, I expect, for more to come, I say “Mr. Jobs: Thank you, thank you…and thank you”.