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RIP Steve Jobs

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs today. My first memory of computing was on an Apple II in my 3rd grade “Discovery” class. The Discovery program was for students who tested “gifted” in elementary school, and gave 6 or 7 of us an outlet twice a week to break the normal curriculum and explore. Part of this exploration was done on an Apple computer. I learned to program in basic and still remember drawing on the screen using hlin and vlin. Remember peek(addr) and poke addr,x? And who could forget the reward for all that learning? Playing Lemonade!! Even at a young age, I was a technologist AND a business mogul. Yes, I have a lot of fond memories of the Apple II.

It’s strange that it took a passing of 30 years before I would own my own Apple computer. I love my MacBook Pro! When I bought it, my goal was to unleash my creative side. My primary use was going to be with my photography hobby. Over the past year I’ve found myself tinkering in Xcode and even doing some Java development.  Starting with my first iPod, I have now come full circle and fully understand how Apple and Steve Jobs have impacted how I think about human computer interaction. They shaped it when I was young, and continue to refine it as an adult. These truly are tools that I love to use, and a company that I admire greatly.

Unsurprisingly, as I sat here looking back at some of the “greatest hits” of Steve, I felt compelled to visit the Apple careers site. What would it be like to work for a great software company? You’ve got to find what you love – would this be it? As I ventured through the site, I noticed a sleek look, great search experience, and a nice integration with my Apple ID. Yes, they already know all about me – what music I like, my favorite apps on my iPad and a host of other information that I’ve permitted them to learn – and that’s now all linked to my resume. My only criticism of that process was that it seemed un-Applelike. I guess government regulation over hiring practices imposes a number of constraints that add to a lot of submission confirmation screens. It doesn’t take much to ruin elegance and simplicity.

Steve has left a lasting mark on the computer industry. Elegant user experiences and reductive feature design approaches are now understood and embraced. This was one of the great periods of invention. I hope that we can connect these dots looking backwards and continue to do great things. And make them “just work.”

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