I want to take a moment to say thank you to Steve Jobs. No, I'm not an Apple fanatic (I'm a PC user) but I made a list of the different ways Steve Jobs and Apple has had an impact on my life:
1. My first computer. The first computer I learned to use was an Apple IIc. I even remember the name of the computer class: "My First Byte." We didn't learn any programming or anything -- we were mostly playing games like hangman and such. I probably was too young to learn anything (I recall the teacher having a difficult time explaining division to me, something I had not yet learned in school). But this early exposure to computers made me familiar with them and help me become far more skilled at using computers than my peers for the rest of my education.
2. GUI. Nowadays, we take for granted the graphical interface in computers, phones, and almost everything else. I credit Apple with making the GUI (graphical user interface) mainstream. Yes, Xerox invented the GUI in-house, and yes Microsoft won the OS wars a long time ago and put a GUI on most people's computers. However, Apple was the first to sell to the public a computer with a graphical interface, at a time when the norm was a text-based interface. (The Xerox Alto GUI was used in-house only.) Windows borrowed heavily from the Apple interface and the rest is history.
3. Pixar. Steve Jobs was one of the co-founders of Pixar, one of my favorite movie studios, and the producer of the first CGI movie (Toy Story of course!). I still love CGI movies.
4. Apple stock. Around the time Apple made the Mac vs. PC ads, Apple's market share started to grow and it became less of an esoteric choice. I found the sales pitch appealing and on that basis bought Apple stock, even though I didn't use Macs myself. It's probably one of the best investments I ever made. I only wish I had bought more! Oh well.
5. Mac. Eventually we did buy a Mac. It was a used iMac G4 (the one with the swiveling screen) because I wasn't sure if we would like using a Mac. I was amazed at how stable it was. I could suspend it and restart it over and over and didn't feel the need to reboot except about once a week or couple of weeks. I was also impressed how a relatively slow processor (it was 1.25ghz and this was around 2007) performed acceptably well. I found the OS X interface easy and fun to use, although there were a few tasks that had me consulting the help screen every so often. Then one day we had a strange power outage that turned our appliances on and off several times in succession in just a few seconds. Our iMac was a casualty and it was unfortunately too expensive to fix. Macs still appeal to me though I find them too expensive for my budget.
6. iPhoto. This was my first editing/organizing program (before then I saw no need to organize my photos, much less edit them). Like the Mac in general, it was easy and fun to use.
7. iPhone. I was a blackberry user since 1999. When the iPhone came out, I thought it was interesting but I didn't think I could live without the blackberry keyboard. Plus it was also ridiculously expensive when it first came out ($599 remember? :) ). Then my mother-in-law gave me an iPhone for my birthday this year. The apps and browsing experience made all the difference and I don't think I will ever use a different phone again (except perhaps an Android).
8. iPad. This is not so much me but more about my wife. She probably spends half her waking life reading books and surfing the net on it. The iPad also helped our son get a haircut without crying (my wife and I used to have to hold him down). :)
Thanks again Steve.