Monday, 10 October 2011

Unripe Apples

It was the summer of 1985. I was working for a financial institution as part of my degree in an office made of grey. The walls were grey, the suits were grey and the floor was grey. Ties were pink or yellow though.

We had two computers in the department - an IBM XT and an IBM AT. One was better than the other, but it was hard to tell which, as they both had green screens and ran DOS. They were hooked up to an enormous dot-matrix printer that would go "screeeek, screeek" as it spewed out reams of stripey paper.

Down the road was a computer shop that had just started to sell things called Macs, which didn't look at all like the PCs. I persuaded them to lend me one for a couple of weeks. I think it was a 512k running System 1.1. Over that two weeks the entire company must have crowded round my desk.  

"Look at that nice screen"

"Wow, it has pictures on screen"

"What's that box on a wire on your desk? What you move that box and that little pointer moves at the same time?"

"Do that thing with the font again".

It just changed everything. Computers moved from the domain of the data-processing guys to everyone. We could suddenly envisage them being useful in all sorts of ways, not just as gigantic calculators.

You know the path we've trodden since then and it doesn't need revisiting here, but I wouldn't be doing what I do now if it wasn't for Steve Jobs. 

For which I'm grateful.

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