In 1988 I sat at a computer for the first time: some sort of PC running something called MS-DOS. I hated it. I'm a visual person - a right brainer - who is pretty much dyscalculic, and being faced with incomprehensible lines of code made me feel uncomfortable, inadequate and sick. At that time, aged 28, I thought that was it. I thought "If this is what computers are all about I'll stick with pencil and paper, thank you very much".
Then in 1990 I was introduced to the Mac. Everything changed overnight. Suddenly the future wasn't so bleak - there was definitely sun behind those clouds.
The Mac (and Apple) have changed my life in so many ways. I can't imagine my life without having had Apple around.
The biggest single impact that Apple, under the leadership of Steve Jobs, has had is bringing the way we work out of the studio and onto the desktop. Desktop publishing (DTP) with programmes such as PageMaker and later QuarkXPress, both originally launched exclusively for the Mac; desktop drawing and design with Canvas, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (launched in 1990 - again exclusively for the Mac - was an epiphany); and of course desktop video with Adobe Premiere and After Effects, Media 100 and, later, of course, Final Cut Pro. Of course there were other players in the marketplace, some using different platforms but, for me (and many others), Apple led the way, quickly becoming the dominant leader, with the others following their lead.
One practical example of how this impacted on my workday stands out in my memory because it was the first time that impact had really hit home. I was working in the conference industry as a software producer (i.e. producing the visual and audio content for a show), in the late eighties/early nineties.
At that time, if you looked closely and paid attention, you could definitely see the first shoots of the digital age and what was coming. We were just beginning to use computers to produce slides for presentations, and the computers of choice were - naturally - Macs.
To give some sense of scale as to the size of job it was producing a major presentation in those days: we would often have a bank of 36 (or more) rack-mounted slide projectors, each holding 80 slides in a carousel tray and there would often be a "tray change" or two during the show (from whence the term "slide-show"). That was a lot of slides and a heck of a lot of work. So to be able to produce these slides sitting at the Mac was a massive step.
I started editing video in the late eighties and first toyed with non-linear desktop editing with Adobe Premiere 2.0 on the Mac for a while during the early nineties but without much success - the technology was not yet there. Then in 1995 my employer invested in a Power Mac 9500 edit suite running Media 100. If I remember correctly we had an external RAID of 72Gb - which at the time seemed a huge amount of storage - and at around £3000, quite costly too. But that was the turning point for me. I have not looked back. It's how I've earned my living from that point on.
When Final Cut Pro launched in 1999 I was quick to jump aboard and despite the detractors in the early days, have done pretty well on it and have had the time of my life. Like so many others, I have built a career from working on Macs and will always be thankful that Steve Jobs happened along and feel lucky that I was around to benefit from this great man's unbounded genius.
He was a genius but he was also a showman. I'm sure we all looked forward to his keynote speeches with some excitment. It was like watching a magician - you never knew quite what he was going to pull out of the hat. But whatever it was, it was always a bit of a wow moment. I shall miss that now that the curtain has dropped for the last time.
Thank you Steve. May you rest in peace.