Thursday, October 06, 2011

My love/hate relationship with Steve Jobs

Last night at youth group, my phone went crazy. I pulled it out of my pocket to look down and see 4 messages, all sent within minutes of each other. Steve Jobs was dead. Now there's a reason that people would send me this note: I'm a bit of a geek and considered an apple fan boy by some.

My love/hate battle with apple and my appreciation for Steve Jobs began when I was in at MSU studying Computer Science. I worked at a computer store called CompuAdd selling computers, windows machines (in the days of DOS and Windows 1/2/3.1) and selling a few Macs. Prior to the sales job, I in high school worked at a basement PC builder, building and troubleshooting computers for customers. I came to the world with a very PC centric view of the world, working in DOS, OS/2,and Windows 3.1 and I was thrilled when I got my first substantial interaction with a Mac (not an apple, a Mac. Growing up, the Apple IIe/c's were all the rage, but these were not the graphical beauties that the Macs were). Even then, people were in Apple or PC camps, and the Apple camp really didn't have much of a case. The Mac's were new and cool, but it soon tapered as Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple by Woz & Sculley.

One of Jobs next ventures after being publicly booted and humiliated by Apple was NeXT computers.  This image doesn't capture the asthetic beauty of the computer or the operating system.  Nothing like it had been seen.  It was built on the MACH kernel, which we studied in our Operating Systems classes at MSU and that later came to become the core of the Apple OS.

Towards the time I graduated and got my degree, Apple computers came to represent a tiny but vocal clique (normally headed up by Graphic Designers) that believed that their technology was superior, regardless - just because it was apple (it wasn't even that pretty at the time).  As a newly minted computer science major who had studied most major systems and felt like I knew everything, I was disgusted by the Apple groupies.  There were good things about apple, but no better on the whole than other systems.  Microsoft had become the 800lb gorilla and everyone was taking shots at them, especially the apple fan boys (Noel).

I bought one of the first iPods and loved it.  It drew me into iTunes, which wasn't too shabby either.  From there (just the way Jobs intended) I bought my first mac computer I bought was a mac mini.  I bought it as a multi-media system to hook to my tv for video.  It worked great and I loved it for multi-media, especially iTunes.  Apple then released the Apple iPhone, but it was slow and buggy, as most new products are.  After seeing my friend Noel giddy as a school girl about his 3G, it seemed like it had finally realized it's potential and gotten rid of its bugs, so I jumped in with both feet.  I loved it and even shifted my work laptop over to a MacBook Pro, followed a few years later by my iPad.

I felt like Steve Jobs and I had an understanding.  Apple products were good, but not perfect.  They were beautiful and more focused on the user experience than any other product I've ever experienced.  I respected and even enjoyed the audacity of Jobs to beat the hell out of every other product.  They were great and they knew it.  Jobs's vision created a brand new market with the iPod and iPads that didn't exist before.  His company single handledly changed the way music is purchased.  All very impressive stuff.  I think this quote sums him up best:

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.” — Steve Jobs

No comments: