Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A PC-Raised User Learns About Steve Jobs

Growing up, I was one of the lucky kids whose father was a programmer and got to bring home older PCs from the office. I remember playing Qbert and Burgertime on giant five inch floppies on my dad’s DOS machine, and I remember being one of the first kids in my class to turn in an assignment typed up in a DOS document program and printed on the perforated printer paper that used to feed through old printers. These are all great memories for me, and ones that I am glad to have experienced.

One thing I did not get to play with growing up was an Apple computer. This is mostly likely because Apple tended to be more expensive, as well as unable to integrate with many of the external plugins and software that my dad preferred. Of course, I knew that Apple was Microsoft’s big competitor; however, I never knew much beyond that.

My first big experience with Apple was my freshman year of college. When I walked into the computer lab to print out a document, all the PCs were taken and only these strange green machines in the back were available.

I knew they were Apple computers, but I am embarrassed to say that my lack of Apple experience was immediately evident when I tried to run a regular floppy disk on one. My face turned beat red as I struggled to remove my incompatible floppy, and the experience kept me away from Apple products for years. I’m actually blushing a little bit right now remembering this event. LOL

Since then, I have become a little more familiar with Apple products. I am on my second iPod and am still happily fiddling with the iPhone I purchased last year. As I got more exposure to these products, I became more curious about the man who built and developed this innovative company.

Recently, I picked up an audio copy of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I did not really know what to expect as I started listening to performer Dylan Baker read through the book, but what I heard was all-together fascinating, horrifying (at times), and inspiring.

My first observation of Steve Jobs is that he was an asshole, but I will immediately follow by saying that he knew how to bring the most creative skills out of the people around him. His story shocked me with how hurtful, inconsiderate, and self-centered he could be, but then, I would be fascinated at how he was able to just walk up to someone he had never met and obtain the information or supplies he needed to produce his next masterpiece.

In short, I learned that he was human, while also being brilliant. Reading about both his masterpieces and his disasters was encouraging, and I loved his intensity for detail and love for artistry. His biography horrified me at times – hearing him doing things that made me shudder and shake my head. But no one can deny his amazing contributions to our society.

I definitely recommend this biography to anyone who has a love for technology, creativity, or artistry. You will learn a lot about life, both good and bad, and at the end, you will have hopefully gained a new perspective on what our future can be.

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