Thursday, October 06, 2011

He's Gone

At 8:30 last night I got the news. It came from somebody who knew me quite well and knew my hardcore loyalty to Apple, enough to call me a "Steve Jobs Apple toady bootlicker." A good friend, yes. He told me: Steve Jobs was dead.

Wow. I remember when John Lennon was killed and I'll remember getting this news.

Steve Jobs has been part of my professional and personal lives for 25 years. I got my first Mac in 1986, during my second year of medical school. It was a huge decision, and even with a student discount a tremendously expensive thing to do. It was a decision I've never regretted. I still have that machine.

The day I went to pick up my new machine they held a special event at the university hockey stadium. The whole place was filled with aisles of Macs stacked six feet high. People were lined up around the block to pick up their new machines. The only time I've seen anything like that was at the opening of the first Apple store in 2001. I was standing in line at Tyson's Corner, fortunately not at the end which curled around the second floor and down the stairs. The waiting time to get in was rumored to be three hours, and there was security in place to make sure the store stayed below the fire marshal's limit of people in the store.

The Apple years without Steve Jobs were grim. A series of five CEO's successively drove the company into the ground. The quality of the machines dropped, there were recalls for broken parts, bad monitors, stuff that never would have happened under Steve. (OK, the Apple Newton eventually became the prototype for the Palm Pilot---using an operating system designed by former Apple engineers---but it never quite got it right.)

Then he came back. Just in time, like Superman coming back just as the bomb is about to explode, to save the world. We got that weird-looking first-ever all-in-one pyramidal iMac. We got OS X, one of the most stable operating systems I've ever used. We got iPods and iPhones and iTunes (without which our My Three Shrinks podcast would never have happened). We got the iPad. We got the software. It just happened.

So here we are. We three Shrink Rappers all use Apple products. We edit podcasts with Garage Band, have iPhones, use MacBooks. Our iPhone edition of Grand Rounds was one of most popular posts (complete with clickable iPhone buttons). Technology for non-geeks.

There's not much else to say. If there is, the Twittersphere has it covered---it's been nothing but mourning for hours after the news broke.

He's gone.


And thanks.