Apple co-founder and Chairman Steve Jobs died today. He was 56.
Jobs had been suffering from various health issues following the seven-year anniversary of his surgery for a rare form of pancreatic cancer in August 2004. Apple announced in January that he would be taking an indeterminate medical leave of absence. Jobs then stepped down as chief executive in late August, citing his inability to "meet my duties and expectations" stemming from his illness.
In a statement, Apple said paid tribute to its one-time leader as " a visionary and creative genius" adding that the world had "lost an amazing human being."
Jobs "died peacefully today surrounded by his family," the family said in a statement, which went on to thank the "many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve's illness" and promise a website for those who wish to offer tributes and memories.
I've been an Mac user and lover since my first year of college when I went into the computer lab and couldn't figure out how to use the DOS-based machines -- that was, literally, the first time I'd ever tried to use a computer outside a little night class taken during 10th grade. The person at the desk then handed me a little blue disk and said, "Try this intead.."
Five minutes later, I was happily typing my paper.
Three days later, I bought my first Mac at the Campus Bookstore, using the student pricing. It was a Macintosh SE with a built-in hard drive.
I later upgraded to a Mac IIci. From there, I went to a Powerbook 5300c. That little gray beast served me until 2000 when I got the blue and white Clamshell iBook... it looked like a toy, but it served me well the next several years until I upgraded to an iBook G4. Apparently, there were all sorts of problems with that model, but that little white box has never given me any trouble, other than the letters have been worn off on many of the keys from all the typing I did. It still serves as my back-up machine, and there is some graphics editing software on it that I like and which I've not found any that let me do the same sort of cutting and pasting that works under OS10.5.
Speaking of which, that brings me to my most current Macintosh... my wonderful MacBook Pro.
I'm not a big techie, and I'm not an early adapter (or an adapter of many things period... the Smart Phone thing is still something I'm staying away from) but I do love my iPod Touch. And I've loved working on each and every Mac I've used, from all the machines listed above, to the ones that sat on my desks at The Chronicle, TSR, and Wizards of the Coast. (I hated the DOS machine at PBS, and I only have slightly less disdain for the Windows machines at Cencon Corp and H&R Block.)
Thank you, Steve Jobs, for making my college years and working life so simple. May you rest in peace.