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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Look Through any Window

I'm going to cut across the grain with this, but don't get me wrong, I mourn the passing of Steve Jobs, just not with the same sense of sadness as Mac users. I never joined the cult of Macintosh, my preference for computers is utilitarian.  They are after all simply appliances, in our household they are no different than televisions or radios.  The first computers I ever owned were a trio of Tandys that I picked up at The Barrett House Thrift Store for $20 each. The lady was kind enough to toss in a box full of 5" floppys, some how-to books and a tangle of cables that resembled the nine heads of the Hydra.

I'm partial to HP or Compaq, my first operating system was Windows 95, which to me was mind blowing compared to the black & white screens on the Tandys. From there I quickly progressed through Windows 98, Windows 2000, XP, Vista and now Windows 7.  Computers are like cars, some knuckleheads will argue all day over which is better Ford or Chevy (Ford is better) Some computer geeks will argue the merits of Apple over PC's, same thing! 

All arguments aside, the goal is to get from point A to point B. Ford or Chevy will get you there, a Land Rover will get you there in style. However, we all arrive at the same place, no matter what mode of web browsing or transportation we use. When it's all said and done, we're all standing in line at some big box store, or on You Tube looking for music videos to post on Facebook. 

I bought a used Macintosh computer for my niece once. (1996?) I couldn't even tell you what version it was, all I know is that we could not find any software for it. When we did find software, it was priced well above that of Windows. After a long search I finally found a printer, but ink cartridges ran $49 each. I found Mac to be tiresome and overpriced, we soon gravitated back towards Windows. Apple has always rubbed me the wrong way, their sales pitch has long boiled down to "Be a part of the cultural Illuminati, buy Apple."

That recent ad campaign that depicted Mac as a smug young hipster and Windows as a bumbling nerdy fuck-up really got on my nerves. I use Windows simply  because it fits within my budget, I don't have a couple thousand dollars to buy a Mac and I don't need Apple to rub it in my face. What those ads really did was turn Windows into the underdog. That brand came off as the champion of the people making computing affordable and easier for the befuddled common man struggling to keep up with all this new technology.  

To a person like myself, the bottom line is price and affordability.  Apple priced itself (by design) out of most people's reach, to some that could be considered elitist. The I-pod was good, but the Sansa player can do what it does. The I-phone is great, but when you drop it into a swimming pool, it gets just as wet as any old Samsung.  iTunes, when compared to  Rhapsody, is tedious and invasive. The products Apple introduced are high end, the Rolls Royce of their respective markets, I just wish they had kept us po' folks in mind. 

And so it goes, ultimately Steve Jobs' legacy will be well rounded and not just limited to the iMac or Macintosh. Music, movies (he founded Pixar) and the business world were changed forever due to his unrelenting drive towards innovation. His impact goes beyond just computers, he revolutionized the way the music industry sells music, he changed how Americans listen to and store music, and he changed how people around the world use the internet to communicate. 

Steve Jobs was a private man, a demanding boss and a fierce competitor. He once said that Bill Gates would have been more of a visionary if he had dropped acid and gone off to an ashram, the way he did. Under his leadership, Apple became a world leader and helped make America great. He was without a doubt, an innovative genius and a great American.

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