OCT 7 — His passing will be missed by the whole world as his influence is everywhere.
Steve Jobs’ foresight led him to develop the first commercially viable personal computer in the late 70s, the Apple I and II.
I have been reading Time magazine since my teens as a way to improve my English, as well as my general knowledge.
I remember I was still a young man in the late Seventies, just out of university, when one day, I read in Time magazine about two young men who had designed a computer, in a garage, that was small enough to be used in homes and small offices.
Never did I dream that what I read then was the beginning of personal computers and that my whole life as well as millions of others would be changed by this invention.
The two young men were Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, who together put out the first commercially viable personal computer, the Apple I and later an improved version, Apple II.
After reading about the computer, I wanted to own one. I finally managed to get one in the early 80s, as a gift from my eldest brother, who travelled often overseas then as an engineer/businessman. He carted back one Apple II, together with a tape drive for storage, for me.
I can still vaguely remember that the computer had only 32K RAM, which is so small by present-day standards, and the screen was monochrome.
I did learn to do simple programming then, using a simple programme called “BASIC”, and I was able to design a simple programme to do simple calculations on the computer.
I also enjoyed tremendously a game called Lode Runner. It is still available over the Internet, and I still have a version in my netbook, and I think it is more fun than other arcade games.
My two oldest kids grew up playing this game, and my daughter as a small girl could usually beat me by attaining level 30 and above, while I would be struggling at level 10 and onwards..
It was well-made and lasted for many years. I still have fond memories of that machine; unfortunately, after it broke down and I couldn’t get anyone to fix it then, my wife dumped it.
I went on to own PCs in the XT series, 4086 and 4088. Later, when the XT machines broke down, I migrated to AT 286, 386, 486 and finally 586. Finally, we have the Pentium chips, and then Pentium 2, duo cores and what have you.
All in, I must have spent a fortune on computers and migrating to another and yet another. The money is well worth it since it has given me a good background on computers and the related cyberworld, the Internet.
Among my contemporaries, I was glad that I was one of the more computer savvy ones, and in fact I was one of the earliest one to subscribe to Jaring which started the first Internet service in the country in the early 90s.
I was also one of the earliest to move on to Streamyx broadband from Jaring. Now I am on Maxis-Fibre-to-the-home, downloading games, movies, concerts and TV serials from the various file sharing sites on the Internet, as well as blogging and networking.
All these habits of moving up and keeping pace with the vast changes in the tech world started with the gadget invented by the two Steves in a garage many years ago.
I bring out this point because there are millions like me, all over the world, who have Steve Jobs to thank for the gadget he invented and the habits he influenced.
Even among the younger generation, their lives are influenced by Steve. Many of them have gadgets such as iPods, iPhones and iPads. Even if they don’t own one of these, chances are the handphones they use are influenced by Apple, too.
Most of the handphones sport a big screen covering almost the whole of the phone, a hallmark of Steve Jobs’s influence. Then there is iTunes and the apps that have given millions the pleasure to live.
To me, he is someone who really makes a difference to all of us. Without Apple I and II, perhaps the PC revolution would not have been as fast.
Nowadays, even though mostly I use a simple netbook run on Windows software (since it can last many hours on one charge compared to other notebooks), I play games (my favourite is fieldrunners) on an old iPod given to me by my daughter, and I do own a Mac which can run on Mac OS as well as Windows.
I shall miss Steve Jobs and the innovations he brought to this world. He has helped make my life, and that of millions of others as well, more meaningful and more purposeful.
May his soul rest in peace... Amitabha! (Steve Jobs was a Buddhist!)
* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.