Steve Jobs’ Impact on One Fan

Where does one start? I’m not sure if I would consider this a research blog post. In the sea of comments and chatter today, it just feels right to say something. It feels right to “Think Different.”

Like many others, I was raised an Apple faithful. Later I came to embrace and believe in not just the products but also the culture and philosophy behind the products and innovation.

I was in first grade when my father brought home an Apple IIe. Everyone in the house woke up early the next morning, when it was all set up in the den, to take turns typing our names. As my finger movements were translated into green lettering, I was both transformed and enlightened. It’s safe to say from that point I was hooked. We all became proficient in BASIC, ProDOS internals, and all the rest of it. I started attending occasional HAAUG meetings with my dad, and did all the usual fan/enthusiast stuff.

Fast-forward to 1984, with the release of the original Mac. Again, like many I was heavily attracted to the platform, the interface, the “it just works” and “fits like a glove” aesthetic, and more. As I grew more and more familiar with the early Macs, I started to be the “go to” kid for friends and family who needed help and support (foreshadowing, eh). I even spent time assisting my mother’s school district in maintaining their Mac labs, all as a young punk kid.

As a young teenager I took a few years hiatus and devoted myself fully to the world of Amiga. I still to this day maintain an unhealthy enthusiasm for the Amiga platform, but back in 1993-94 the Amiga was doomed. In the wake of the Commodore failure, I (and many of my peers) were faced with a choice. Where do we go now? As Amiga users, the worst and most unimaginable thing to do would be to adopt Windows. Going back to the Mac was the next best thing. To Amiga users, it was not so far off as there were some shared hardware components and other things that made it “okay.” Also, there was much excitement around the Mac’s move to the PowerPC chip.

At this time I made a deal with my mother to go in halves with me on a new PowerMac 6100. As a junior in high school, this took some time. If I recall my half was somewhere around US$1,200. Lots of pizza deliveries went into that machine, but it got me though the rest of high school, as well as college. It just so happened that my next-door neighbor in my first college dorm had a 6100 as well. There was much bonding as we tricked out our machines: maxing out the L2 cache, fooling with RamDoubler and other silly utilities, and lending each other Zip drives to recover from the fatal Netscape disk-corruption issues.

Over the years I’ve continued along the same route. It would be impossible to list all the Apple computers and devices that I have accumulated over the years. For some reason, I still have all of them.

I’m now raising my kids on the Mac platform, just as I was raised on the early Apple systems. I think we have one Windows laptop in the house, but it’s the “use this when no others are available machine.” The point is that I see that same spark in my kids’ eyes that I had; they “get it.” They will not grow up as technophobes or bitter Windows users. They have a choice, but I can already see that they gravitate toward the Mac, and I like it.

It’s safe to say that I would not be doing what I love to do today without the influence of Apple and Steve Jobs (and Woz, too). Even my entry to McAfee (then Network Associates) was Mac-influenced. I came on board in 1998 to assist with support on the newly acquired Dr. Solomon Mac products. At that time it was the Anti-Virus Toolkit, Virex, and the highly underappreciated netOctopus.

Throughout my career with McAfee I have inserted myself into our Mac-related business and dealings, even when my position had nothing to do with it. Why? I’m not sure, other than the fact that I truly love the platform, and I enjoy evangelizing our offerings on it.

I could probably write on this topic for several more hours. The real bummer now is that I’ll be spending a great deal of time over the next 72 hours closely watching for social engineering lures that exploit the death of Steve Jobs with malware and spam campaigns. We’ll be scouring social networks and other channels for the like. It’s the sad state of malware these days, but we’ve seen it time and time again. Any newsworthy event, especially celebrity related, will be exploited to prey upon the masses.

So that’s my story. The Apple legacy, in my opinion, will live on as strong as ever. It’s much larger than one man or one machine. It’s a culture and lifestyle. Even those who do not use or prefer Apple products are still reaping the benefits of their innovative style and technology.

Goodbye Steve Jobs, and “MOOF”