In memory of Steve Jobs

    It was only fitting that I would hear the news via a Facebook update on my MacBook Pro. First it was a post by the Associated Press. It didn’t hit me quite then. But I felt my gut tightened reading the New York Times’ front page ticker that confirmed the reality for me: Steve Jobs, Apple’s Visionary, Dies at 56.

    Even though his name and company have become standard in tech world lexicon, to fully appreciate his work, we must respect Steve Jobs the person as much as Steve Jobs, one of the greatest technical minds of our generation. His products, the stuff of his dreams, are aiding me in my own ambitions, but not just as tools for journalism. It’s my MacBook Pro, coupled with the ingenuity of this man, that inspires me in my own unpredictable life.

    I am by no means a technologically-savvy person. My early grade school computer classes held instruction on clunky off-white 90s PCs. I’m an aesthetically-minded person, so the intimidating magic boxes probably contributed to my general dislike of the class and technology. My Barbie Princess computer game stayed in its packaging.

    It wasn’t until fifth grade that I learned to stop worrying and love the computer. My teacher put A Bug’s Life (once again, props to Steve) into the huge Granny Smith green iMac, and I beheld my first taste of beautiful, accessible technology. “I can watch Green Day videos anytime I want,” I bragged in junior high when the iPod became video-compatible. I got my first MacBook in high school when I decided I wanted to be a “real journalist.” Armed with my essential tool of the trade, I really felt as I tapped out articles on my computer for my high school newspaper. Don’t get me started on the iPhone. The brilliance packed into the under-an-inch-wide design still boggles my mind as much as it did when the cool girl at summer camp showed hers off to a group of wide-eyed peers.

    This lifetime of Apple loyalty is certainly not unique, and knowing this brings me comfort. Most of my friends my age have had their own Apple moments. We all remember when iMacs were in vogue, and we all feel some nostalgia for our first iPods. As much as it sounds like I worship him, I swear I don’t pray in Jobs’ name every time my Macbook Pro powers on. But when I step back and consider all that his vision has gone into, I see how his work is ingrained into our daily lives in an indirect but powerful way.

    One could say that Jobs was merely a great businessman, but I think that on a deeper level, he saw the need to help people experience the joy of efficient yet stunning technology. He combined his creative gifts with scientific prowess, bringing his personal touch to every product he stood behind. I think about the calligraphy class he took in college that taught him about the fonts that would make his computers so unique and user-friendly. He took inspiration from all facets of his world, constantly striving to do better and dream bigger. Someone who has never touched an Apple product in his or her life still understands the creative passion he possessed throughout his life.

    It’s strange to go on without the visionary, but as Jobs has showed us, it’s all right, even rewarding at times, to be unsure of the future. From dropping out of college to getting fired and rehired at your his own company, he pressed on. It’s wonderful to take risks, because the same people who laughed at the prospect of “a really big iPhone” now acknowledge the iPad as a ubiquitous part of our culture. It turned out OK because as Jobs said, he trusted in something and loved what he did. And it will be OK as long as we stay hungry, stay foolish.


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