Farewell, Steve Jobs

Apple has a lot of ardent supporters, and understandably so. I’m a PC guy, but I can still look at a Mac and appreciate the attention to detail, the simplicity, and the elegance of Apple’s products. This was largely, maybe entirely, due to Steve Jobs.

For those of you who are too young to remember, in the 80’s, WordPerfect for DOS and Lotus 123 were the hot products. Both of these were DOS programs and looked like it. What you saw on the computer screen usually had NO resemblance to the sheet of paper that pops out of your printer. You needed a keyboard template that would tell you what combination of keys to press to perform a certain task. For instance, to print from Wordperfect, you pressed <shift><F7>. There was no way to know that key combination unless you had a template or a manual.

The WYSIWYG interface was Apple’s invention. That stands for “What You See Is What You Get”. This is the look we take for granted now – when you click print, the page coming out of the printer looks just like the document on your screen. Apple had it first, and several years later, Microsoft and IBM had it. Also, the key combinations of DOS programs were replaced by the menu bar. Sound familiar?

Another thing that Jobs was justifiably proud of is proportional character spacing. He maintained that IBM and Microsoft would NEVER have come up with this idea because they were content with what they had. I’m inclined to agree.

The mouse itself was an Apple invention. The first time I saw a 3.5” floppy drive, it was in a Mac. Of course, we all know Apple’s more recent inventions… the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, etc.

The products that Apple produced under Steve Jobs’ leadership were great because of his refusal to compromise, or settle for “good enough”. I’m sure he was a VERY demanding boss, and he always struck me as quite arrogant. Still, he was charismatic and had an infectious enthusiasm that made me like him anyway. Even as a “PC guy”, I have a healthy respect for the man and his accomplishments. Steve battled cancer and left us too early.

Rest in peace, Steve.