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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Nice Work Steve Jobs. You did well . RIP

Steve Jobs, Chairman and a founder of Apple Computer, died today.  I've been coincedentally waxing away about the Apple iPhone recently, and feel the need to note Jobs passing.
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The first great thing that Apple did was to popularize the idea of a personal computer.  Other companies had been in the forefront, but it was Jobs who took Steve Wozniak's Apple 1 invention and captured the imagination of nerds like myself who thought a lot about how things might be different if we had access to individual and managable computers.
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Apple came out with the Apple 1, Apple ll and Apple lll.  I never purchased one, having access to a Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80, buy I did do some consulting to teach some clients how to use the Apples.  
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You would not believe how clumsy and technical these early machines were, but they did three things.... they enabled you to automate spreadsheets so you could construct financial models easily, they did word processing, which was a quantum leap over typewritting, and they allowed you to collect and manipulate data in data bases.
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All of the commands were keyboard based, and you moved the cursor by memorizing keyboard combinations.  If you were really nerdy like I was at the time, you got pretty good at it.
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Jobs had a big part in getting people aware of the potential of personal computing... but he took it the next step when he popularized the mouse with the introduction of the MacIntosh.  Once again, Apple didn't invent the mouse, but they... through the marketing genius of Jobs.... captured the imagination of the computing public.   I paid $4,000 for my first Mac, a 128K black and white beauty that stored data on diskettes.
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Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
Apple also had a vastly superior and simple operating system, but lost the advantage to IBM and Microsoft when they disallowed the use of the system on competing hardware.   The world was then divided between Apple computers and IBM compatible computers using Microsoft MS-DOS based software.
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Although Apple lost market share, it stayed in the game because the Mac and its operating system were better, but applications grew faster, particularly in business for the MS-DOS based IBM systems.
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Jobs resurrected the company with the introduction of the iPods and iPhones.   Once again, he popularized and easy to use interface and made you feel cool using it.
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I read accounts that he was a jerk and an egomaniac, and really rode roughshod over the other Founder, Steve Wozniak, who had opted out of management at Apple before the introduction of the Mac.
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But he was one of the rare people of the age who changed the wants and behaviors of his entire generation.
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Nice job Steve.  You did well . RIP

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