design, technology

Thank you, Mr. Jobs.

I’m fairly upset tonight, having first heard the news, as usual, via Twitter.

The cause of Steve Jobs’ death is of particular interest to me. I’m fairly certain that had he not existed to advance the state of personal computing, I’d have been exposed to a lot more toxic chemicals while employed in print production (and later, design) than I actually was. I’d have been smack in the middle of workplace environmental hazards that would have significantly increased my chances of dying from some form of cancer.

Sure, something like Windows might have come along eventually. But nobody in Redmond would ever have released any product that could excite me as much as the prospect of doing my work on something like the Mac.

At best, I believe I’d be slumming somewhere composing company newsletters in Wordperfect on a proprietary microcomputer while odd news of a peculiar military project called “Arpanet” was percolating into a few oddball computer magazines that I’d never read.

Back in 1980, people who knew me seemed surprised that I wasn’t studying what was then charitably called “computer graphics,” because they didn’t understand that, back then, it was all just math. Didn’t interest me.

I wanted tools that would help me do the stuff I was already doing with type and art supplies. I didn’t want to learn programming to draw wireframe shapes on a green screen and pretend it was artistic.

I was waiting for what Jobs would eventually be working on without knowing it.

I’m very upset tonight that we’ve lost this man. We need a thousand more like him in positions of authority and influence if we’re to survive the problems we’ve allowed far less imaginative individuals to create.

I wish he’d had more time with his family. And I wish we’d had more time to benefit from his good taste.

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