Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Thanks Steve

Tonight I was in the kitchen, waiting for my husband to get ready to walk with me. As I was waiting I was listening to my iPod and dancing happily away, when he walked in and told me, "Steve Jobs has died."

On the off chance you've been living under a rock for the past 25 years or so, Steve Jobs is one of the founders of Apple Computer and was very much the man whose vision brought us not only an incredible line of personal computers with the best operating system around (How good? Well Bill Gates based Windows on it and I personally consider Windows to be a poor shadow of the original concept), but iPods, iPhones, and iPads. He and his company certainly changed how I work. I go way back in the printing/graphic design industry. As a child I watched my father and uncles set type by hand and with a linotype machine. When I was in college, taking advertising design courses, we did layouts by hand using markers and tracing paper, which was then mounted on white board. When I started work at an ad agency in 1979, I would work out the type specs, order the type from a type house, which would send over photo paper galleys coated with wax on the back. These would be cut apart and pasted on white mechanical board, then sent out to a company that made veloxes (again photo paper) which went to the newspapers. All by hand. No email. No or minimal computers except maybe for writing and accounting. Certainly no graphic programs.

I bought my first Mac, a IIci, in 1990, when I was pregnant with my third child. I paid $10,000 total for my set up, which included the IIci with a blazing 4 MB of RAM, a black and white 13" monitor, a grayscale HP scanner, and I believe one of the first HP laser printers (and no, it did not print in color). I would have paid considerably more, but since Larry worked for a company that sold HP, I got a 50% discount on the scanner and the printer.

I also invested in Pagemaker, Photoshop, and Freehand. I took a basic course in Pagemaker and I still remember the first time I went to that class and used a computer. After I got my system, I set it up in our dining room. I remember sitting at the screen, working on a layout, remembering my father setting type on a linotype machine in a crowded, unairconditioned newspaper office in South Texas and I wondered what he would think about me arranging type and graphics into a finished work on this one little machine in my dining room.

Over the years, I've remained loyal to my Macs. I can use a PC, but if I have a choice, I'll always choose a Mac. Always. From the very beginning, Apple embraced and appealed to artists and designers. I also love my iPod and my iPhone. No iPad yet, but it could happen. Designers are drawn to Apple products not just for their ease of use, but for their elegant design. And that elegant design attracts others as well. When I got my first Apple flat screen monitor at work, people would walk into my office and their jaws would literally drop first in awe and then in jealousy.

I truly hope Apple stays true to that vision of seemingly effortless design while continuing to pursue the innovative thinking that Steve Jobs made a priority. That innovative thinking changed my life. I would like to think that somewhere down the road it will someday change the life of my prospective grandchild, if not my own life again.

Rest in peace Steve. And thanks.

1 comment:

jsthorson said...

I realized that day too that much of his innovation is what brought computing into schools. I have worked in the graphics industry and education, both of which were revolutionized by the vision of Steve Jobs. I too owe him much thanks. Janet Thorson