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A sad week for the tech world

August 26, 2011 - Art Smith
Steve Jobs, the iconic founder and director of Apple, announced earlier this week because of health reasons he is no longer able to serve as the CEO of the company. He will remain as the head of the board of directors.

Jobs’ vision of technology has shaped how we communicate with others in a variety of ways. Products created by Apple, and influenced by Jobs, have had a profound influence on many people and on many careers.

I’ve been an Apple fan for a while. A long while. I first used an Apple at Ohio University in 1982. Of course then an Apple was an Apple II. To use it required a pair of floppy drives and a small TV-type of monitor. The Apple II helped me get through an impossible course load and the papers that went with it.

A few years later the MacIntosh came along and we were lucky enough at The Marietta Times to get one of the early MacIntosh Plus computers. With its nine-inch black-and-white screen, 20 meg hard drive and giant laser printer it looked like an alien object had fallen into the newsroom.

People called it a toy until we started producing informational graphics for the newspaper on it. Several years later we would start producing the newspaper itself on later version of the Mac. We still do.

Since we got that first Mac back in 1985 I have worn a few of them out. Between desktops and laptops, home and work, I have used a total of 16 Macs. One got struck by lightning, a few simply died, most just got old and were given to someone else to use. Five are still in use. Before I worked on the web I worked as a designer and as a photographer. The Mac and the software that runs on them had, and continue to have, a strong influence on how I do my job.

For a long time Apple computers were consider a niche product. That slowly changed when Apple started to come put with products other than computers. When the ipod came out they sold by the millions. The halo effect, as it was called, raised the sales of Apple computers as well.

The introduction of the iPhone pushed Apple even further into the mainstream.

The latest invention to “change the world” was the iPad. Slightly late into the tablet market, Apple quickly owned the sector.

Steve Jobs has only given one commencement address, speaking at Stanford in 2005. During it he told the graduates you have to find what you love. He also spoke about the fact sometimes very negative things turn out to be life-changing positive moments.

For him, dropping out of college, getting fired from Apple and getting cancer, all turned out to be events that changed him, made him more focused and helped him find exactly what was important to him.

Apple has grown into a huge company full of some of the most-talented people in the tech industry. His departure from the daily grind of running a company may indeed help him find yet more things about which he is passionate.

Jobs has frequently challenged others to “change the world” – why not, he did.


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