I’m writing this post on a MacBook Pro from 2009. I recorded it on a MacBook Pro from 2007. I moved it between machines on an Airport network. FedEx is bringing me a 2011 MacBook Pro in a few days. This project’s podcasts have also been recorded on my iPad, my iPhone, and one of Mira’s two Macs. I’ve done most of my study of the Kaddish text by listening to recordings Reb Deb and Mira made for me on the iPod Classic I keep in my car.
I’ve been using Macs since 1986, and I bought one of my own for the first time in 1994—a PowerBook 180. Between work and home I’ve probably had thirty Macs by now.
I’ve helped countless friends switch to Mac, and a few years ago I even got my mom to switch to Mac. Mom liked it right away. My dad’s grumbling switched seamlessly from “why would you want one of those?” to “what do you mean you’re taking it with you?” to “yeah, get me one, too” in the space of about a week. They’ve had them for two years now, and every so often, one of them finds me on iChat to ask about a problem, and I use screen sharing to connect to their laptops in Montana from mine in California, take control, and figure out what’s going wrong. I don’t mind being their technical support department now that it’s an easy job.
Steve Jobs’ obituary had been written thousands of times before he got around to dying. I think the heap of Apple equipment I listed above will do just fine as mine.
Oh, and one more thing—
Thanks, Steve. Rest in peace.
I drove home tonight from campus in San Jose, past Apple headquarters, through Silicon Valley northward to my home in San Francisco — and on the radio was the announcement of Steve Jobs’ death. And okay, we all knew it was going to come. I mean, pancreatic cancer. He lived so long with it. My dad only lasted three months after his own diagnosis. Steve Jobs lived miraculously long—and yet, he died so young!
Driving past Apple tonight, Steve Jobs’ death felt entirely personal. Like losing a member of the extended family. Losing one of our own. An icon to the vibrancy of this innovative little high tech community between San Francisco and San Jose that so many friends are a part of.
I remember who converted me to Apple. He was a Turkish anthropologist who used to help me every time my IBM would wheeze and whimper and crash. He’d fix what I had, and insist that I switch over.
“All those icons,” I would complain, “they’re so pre-literate.” Apple’s icons made Macs feel like toys to me. Like the machine just wasn’t taking itself seriously. And at the time, I took myself very seriously.
“No,” he finally said one day. “They’re post-literate.”
Post-literate I could deal with, and so I switched. It was sometime in the ’80s. In a galaxy far, far away. Or that’s what it felt like, anyway. And I got hooked. And playful ended up being a very good thing.
So. In addition to everything else, Steve Jobs gave us those neat little pictographic icons—symbols we clutter our screens with, that have become familiar and folksy and friends. He made our high tech gadgets downright animistic with these little icon-critters inhabiting our screenscape. I remember having been so offended at first, especially by the little Trashcan. But now it feels as real and necessary as the can that sits next to my desk (only more environmentally friendly, in that I’m no longer chucking major wads of lined yellow legal paper into the non-virtual can at my side). (Instead, my yellow legal pad is now another icon that inhabits my iPhone).
So. This is me thanking Steve Jobs not just for the universe of need he created for his beautiful machines, but also for filling those machines with animistic little icon-critters. He changed the screen interface/vista from dull uniform grayish-green with that horrid flashing IBM cursor to delightful inhabited landscapes of colors and techie creatures.
Actually, he changed just about everything, didn’t he?