The Computer World we live in owes Steve Jobs a thank you for his leadership and innovation over the past 35 years.
The Computer Age beginnings date back to Jack Atanasoff, a mathematics professor from Iowa State College, while he was having a drink at a forgotten bar on the Iowa-Illinois border in the late 1930s. Atanasoff developed the linked ideas of electronic logic circuits, binary enumeration, capacitors for regenerative memory and computing by direct logical action that would culminate in the world’s first computer. (See, The Man Who Invented the Computer, Jane Smiley).
Fast forward to the 1970s: The “Computer Revolution” began at 2066 Crist Drive in Los Altos, California in 1976. It was in the garage of this house where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the Apple 1 (along with other significant work done in Woz’s apartment in Cupertino).
The “Steves” might not have invented the computer; however they focused on making sleek and functional computers available to everyone. The stories of both these men is the stuff of Silicon Valley legend.
Like many of my Generation X counter-parts, my first computer experiences were with different Apple computers that began in elementary school and continued through high school (I graduated from the same high school as Jobs and Wozniak, Homestead).
My first Apple computer was a Power Mac 7600. It served me well throughout all of my time at UC Davis. I remember many research papers on foreign policy, US History and political science being drafted on that computer, in addition to my first email messages.
My second Apple computer was the PowerBook G3, which spent many long hours at the McGeorge Law Library with me briefing cases and creating class outlines. Both computers were indispensable in my college and law school years.
From the release of the Macintosh in 1984 to the first iPad, Steve Jobs has been one of the leaders in building the computer world of the 21st Century. Few individuals have had that sort of impact on society, unless you are discussing the likes of Henry Ford or Walt Disney.
Mr. Jobs, thank you for your innovation and leadership. Not to mention, wearing a bow tie when you introduced the Macintosh.