06 October 2011

Getting Things Done

I'm not sure that I have anything to add, but I need to say it anyway. The first computer I owned was a Macintosh, bought in 1985, for about $2500 – which would be about $5000 in today’s dollars. It had two floppy drives (one of which was an external add-on) and no hard drive, and a tiny 9” black & white monitor. The dot matrix Imagewriter II and an old-fashioned modem – the kind you snuggled your telephone handset into – completed my technology holdings.

I met my now husband shortly thereafter, and he – with the chip still implanted in his brain from the 2 years he’d spent working at IBM – he dissed my Mac as a toy.

Bit by byte, he was won over, and today, our house is thoroughly populated with iMacs and a MacBook and iPods and iPhones and an iPad, and we’re networked to the gills with Apple TVs and Airport Expresses, and iTunes is the soundtrack to our life. Yeah, we’ve swallowed the Kool-Aid.

This morning, I read David Pogue's eulogy of Steve Jobs, and was struck by something. Pogue talks about out how Jobs "refused to go with the flow" and swam upstream "in pursuit of an unshakable vision" - he did what he wanted to do, without pandering to focus groups or politics. And in a way, it's like Robert Moses, who - though never elected to public office - rebuilt the New York City metropolitan area in many ways, through sheer force of personality. Not everything he did was good - in fact, a lot was downright evil - but he built an enduring infrastructure and gave us fabulous public beaches. But the thing is, despite whether your final decision on Moses is good or bad, he got things done.

Singular visionaries are rare birds.


Anjali said...

It's so, so sad. Jobs' vision has altered billions of lives, and will influence so many generations to come.


YourFireAnt said...

Thanks for writing this, Maggie. My first computer purchase was also a Mac, and I still use them. In fact, the laptop I lug up to NS and back every year is a 16 year old PowerBook, that when at my house is hooked up to a Stylewriter inkjet printer that you can still actually get cartridges for.

And I've written two books and two chapbooks on it.

So, this is one of the things I have to be thankful for on Monday, which is Canadian Thanksgiving.

mayberry said...

We had one of those little Macs, too, and I keep thinking about the sound the floppies (but they weren't really floppy) made when they popped out!

flutter said...

he really was something amazing and special

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I've never been a Mac person (really for financial reasons) but he truly did change the world.

shrink on the couch said...

I had a very similar, if not very same, Mac setup in 1985. State of the art then. Space age.

Stuck with Mac for 15 years or more. Eventually switched to PC due to software need, kicking and screaming, against my better judgement. Fortunately, I can honestly say I have not missed the Mac in any important way, the PCs I have owned have been perfectly adequate for my needs, with the exception of hard drive crash ... in all my Mac years, never had that happen. That was an important issue at the time, however.

Antropóloga said...

Over the last year my husband has steadily gotten more and more into Apple products. Now he has an ipod, ipad, and imac, and I'm sure an iphone is next. He's always telling me how awesome Apple products are, and yes, they are truly impressive.