In 1983, I was a community college student, preparing to write a monstrous term paper for English 1A. Back then, we laboriously poured over and flipped through library card catalogues, periodical journals of literature and real live books to research a paper. And burned the library’s midnight oil to scratch out our notes on index cards.
Well, my instructor insisted that I learn to use a word processor in order to write my 40 page paper (I told you it was monstrous). I was so resistant to all things computer, but dutifully signed up for an intro to the Apple IIe lab at the college library.
And vividly remember sitting in front of my assigned Apple, fighting tears, as the other students happily typed away. I was frustrated and embarrassed that I didn’t know what to do when the lab instructor said, “OK, go ahead and boot up your computers.” (She was very kind when I asked her to show me what to do …)
Everything changed from that point on.
Then came the Macintosh – the height of cool. Macintosh desktop publishing – loved! Monster papers happily written using the college Macs, stored on my handy floppy disks – loved!
In 1990, I discovered the PC. Everything changed again.
In 1992, I was teaching health professionals in the Silicon Valley to use PC’s for the first medical information system in the hospital that I worked for. I wrote technical training manuals (tech writing being a relatively new field), customized computerized training programs by user type, developed back up processes, reformatted hard drives, installed software, knew DOS (the pre-Windows operating system) inside and out.
Then came Windows. Everything changed.
In the early 90’s, I bought my first PC, learning how to code simple HTML, discovered email (with apologies to all those recipients of the email jokes and cat photos), electronic bulletin boards and search engines. Everything changed.
Mid 90’s brought Mosaic (soon to be Netscape), David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web (soon to be Yahoo), and a host of now defunct search engines. Wow. This former library research nerd girl information junkie started to see all new possibilities.
Fast forward to 2005, when I caved in and bought my first ipod. Talk about everything changing. And 2008 when I bought my first (and only) iphone (I’ve been holding out for the 4S!). And 2010 when I replaced my PC laptops with my beloved 17″ macbook pro.
I’ve lived in the Silicon Valley since 1989. I swore I would never, ever live in this area, and here I am, 22 years later. I’ve never met Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak or the many other technical visionaries and entrepreneurs with whom I’ve undoubtedly rubbed elbows, while watching them “grow up” in the news.
The 20 year old kid that swore she would NEVER use a computer now can’t imagine life without wifi connections. My life has been changed in ways unimaginable to that kid near tears in the college’s brand new computer lab. Look at how knitting has grown, thanks to the online community.
It’s hard to imagine a Silicon Valley without Jobs’ vision, genius and black mock turtleneck. I know that millions of people are expressing their appreciation and paying their respects in honor of Steve Jobs. Count me among the millions whose life took a huge left at Albequerque thanks to that clunky black display with the glowing green retro characters.
Thank you Apple. Thank you, Steve Jobs. You are already missed. Well done.