- The first computer I ever owned was an Apple IIc, and I put it through just about every pace I could think of - noodling around with Apple's ProDOS operating system on 5.25" floppy drives, writing BASIC programs for my high school programming class, playing games, and also using my first hex editor to hack my way through my father's grade book program. I still have it and all of the disks I used - they are safely stored in a climate controlled section of my basement.
- I am also the proud owner of a first generation Mac (the 1984 one) as well as an Apple IIe - these are also safely stored away in the same room as my IIc.
- I have one example of every iPod that has ever been produced - scroll wheels with separate buttons all the way up to the current iPod Nano that acts as an AMAZING hybrid watch-iPod-Pedometer; it's a really impressive piece of technology.
- My house boasts a 2006 Mac Pro (which I am writing this entry on) with an Apple Cinema Display, a 2008 Macbook Pro, an older Core Duo Mac Mini, and a second generation Apple TV.
- I currently use a second generation Macbook Air for my day to day job.
So needless to say, my consumer-to-provider relationship with Steve Jobs has quite a long and distinguished history. And, like so many other tech fanatics, I was saddened to see him recently pass away at 56 after fighting for seven-ish years with pancreatic cancer.
As I reflected on all that Steve had contributed, I found my self sharing words with other writers you would expect - "visionary", "innovative", and "avant-garde". At the same time, my reflections also conjured up some other words like "egomaniacal", "narcissistic", and "paranoid". But that's who Steve was - to live with his genius, you had to shoulder his madness as well.
And it's with that last thought that I suddenly realized that Steve's passing also saw the sun set on the last of public-facing technology CEOs who dared to be bold and edgy in person and product with customers, analysts, and investors alike. And to me, this is saddest loss of all.
If you watch public appearances by modern technology company CEOs, they behave BEYOND what would be a conservative norm. John Chambers of Cisco looks and sounds like a banker from Goldman Sachs; Steve Ballmer, despite being a little more vibrant in earlier days, drones through his newer public appearances like he's picking up a dry cleaning order; and even the typically "rockstar" Larry Ellison is reduced to such a high level of monotony in his presentations, it's a wonder he doesn't fall asleep onstage while he's speaking.
Of all the things Steve Jobs represented, I will miss his showmanship and panache most of all. The technology world is almost always in a state of being an exciting "New Frontier"; more of its leaders should behave accordingly.
Via con Dios, Mr. Jobs.