Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

My Steve Jobs memories

Posted by shannonclark on August 25, 2011

My Steve Jobs memoriesAs a kid I learned to program on Comodore64’s and on the Osborne “luggable” my father had from his work. My mom was a mainframe programmer but we were relatively early adopters of computers – however as we didn’t have a TV we didn’t get an Atari or other home computer for a while. But I did use Apple’s at various schools and learned to program them.In the 1980’s my parents bought one of the very first Mac’s, a Mac512 which we later upgraded to a MacPlus with a whole 1mb of memory! (they still have this – likely now it is a collectible).

In 1991 as I prepared for my first year of college I bought my first computer of my own – it wasn’t a Mac, nor was it a Windows PC, I bought a used NeXT cube. The bit over $6000 I spent on that NeXT was probably among the best purchases I ever made in my life – more than college, more then my first condo. Okay not more than a certain ring I just bought but other than that, one of the most long lasting purchases of my life – as the skills I learned connecting that NeXT to the Internet have lasted to this day.

In 1991 from my college dorm room which included wired Internet access I had a static IP address and had nearly 1000 users from around the globe playing the MuCK which I ran for some friends on the NeXT (named Collatz). While I wasn’t ever a highly active player of the MuCK I helped to run that experience and the ongoing experience of the NeXT OS as an interface to the Internet in 1991 has shaped me and my technical interests to this day.

I purchased the NeXT largely because it came bundled with Mathematica (I thought I was going to be a Math or Physics major and had been an avid Mathematica user while working at Argonne National Lab). There are still UI and software elements of the NeXT which I think still would be innovative today – the multi-dimensional spreadsheet for the NeXT OS was really impressive and the mail included the ability to link photos to addresses (something only gradually available today via add-ons such as Rapportive to Gmail though Google is also making some strides to add this – but it still is far from standard).

A few years into to college, however, i sold my NeXT and bought my first laptop, which wasn’t a Mac but a PC. That served me well as a writing tool but less well as a technology tool and the various PCs I owned in the 1990’s and early 2000’s weren’t much better.

Finally fed up with Windows I switched to first an iMac for my home computer a few years ago and then added the MacBook Pro I’m writing on at the moment. Earlier this year my fiancee and I each bought an iPad and I’ve had an iPhone since the first version.

I’m still not a full power user of the latest MacOS (Lion) and I don’t do a lot of coding these days (though I did hack up an iPad app a while back and may try my hand at that again later this fall) but I’m appreciative of the power of the Mac platform and the reinvigorated Apple company that is Steve Job’s legacy.
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