This week (in fact today and just now) I heard some news I did not expect and I heard it from someone I did not expect it to hear it from… my son. You see my son is 15 years old (and a sophomore in high school) and the news he gave me rocked my world as I did not expect it. He said, “Steve Jobs died”.
At that moment just like someone experiencing those last moments of life (like in the movies) I immediately transported to my sophomore year of high school.
It was 1982… I was a sophomore in a new high school and little to no friends to speak of. News of a “computer” on campus soon caught my ear. I quickly hunted down these two “computers”. Apparently they were donated to the school from a company called “Apple”.
Before I knew it I was spending endless lunch and after school hours at this computer. At the time having a computer in high schools was a new concept to everyone (including the staff and teachers)… they simply did not know what to do with these things.
These two computers were placed in a library closet (yes a real closet) and typing room closet… yes I said “typing room”. Ok for those under 45’ish I’ll explain… in 1982 typing was an actual class to teach you how to type on a keyboard… and it was not typing on a computer it was on a typewriter and if you ask me what a typewriter is I’m going to send you to your room and ask you to Google it.
As much as I hate to saying it today “Apple I” was my first true love… and yes my wife is OK with it.
I spent endless (I really mean endless) hours reverse engineering that Apple computer. I “peeked” and “poked” the memory to understand everything about this puppy (again Google it). I recall one day the typing teacher came up to me and said… “Why are you spending so much time at this ‘Computer’? It’s a big waste of time”. I’m very happy to say I ignored that teacher.
Come senior year of high school (1984) I applied to college and to my pleasant surprise “Computer Science” was an actual major. The rest is history as far as I’m concerned.
In truth… over the years my loyalties were with Microsoft. I was a Microsoft believer and an Apple hater. Today however I can say my Microsoft/Apple religious beliefs are actively changing… and that’s a good topic for another day.
Today however my thoughts and admiration are with Steve Jobs… Not because I was a loyalist to his cause, but rather (and in fact and in truth) he was a true adversary in my personal computer revolution. He (and Steve Wozniak) introduced me to computers. They both gave me something to feel passionate about and at age when I needed it the most.
Thank you Steve Jobs…
Although we did not play on the same team, you made every game something to look forward to.
On a final note…
My son (interestingly a sophomore in high school this year) has a class in “Computer Science” using a Mac and Microsoft Windows emulation… The revolution continues.
Michael Emens is a software leader with a focus on building teams to create Windows, Android, and iPhone based solutions. He has worked for
companies such as Molecular Devices, EMC, IBM Research, SONY, Nortel, Motorola, U.S. Robotics, and Boeing.