I recently learned my old friend Al Micheli had passed away at age 86. Al had been a good friend going all the way back to the days of the Peninsula Apple User Group computer club (PAUG), and a longtime supporter and booster of summitlake.com.
Al was a U.S. Navy veteran and electronics tech. He worked for decades in the telecommunications industry, loved his pioneering work, and had that rare ability to talk about technical topics in a nontechnical way. He raised a family and was very proud of his four sons.
In remembering those twenty years we knew each other, it occurred to me that I never could remember whether Al had been a Republican or a Democrat. Sure, we talked politics, just as we talked about Apple Macs, electronics, radio transmitters and amateur radio, satellite communications, cats, kids, pipes and tobacco, and life in general. But we never talked partisan politics. We just talked the issues, and had one heck of a great time doing so together.
Al cared about his family, his country and his friends, and I’m proud to have shared his acquaintance.
I would like to say a few words for Steve Jobs, who passed away today. With their Apple II, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak brought personal computing out of the science labs and back offices and into average American homes in the 1970′s. The Macintosh, a brilliant synergy of great hardware and a user-friendly software interface, created a sea change in home computing which still raises our expectations today. Under Jobs’s iconic leadership, we live today in a connected world led by iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Mac – with multiple continents of competitors whose very imitation of Apple’s pioneering human interface standards is itself a tribute to the company and employees that started it all.
Steve Jobs put Cupertino on the map. Cupertino sparked the whole Silicon Valley explosion – and ethic – that remains such an inspiration and model for American business and engineering, as well as for the rest of us. I grew up with Apple, so to speak, from my first Apple II in 1979 to the iMac I’m using to write this. Ironically, I happened to order my first iPad2 earlier today. Apple set the standards for human interface design: never because they said so or because they did it first, but because the Apple design was so logical and intuitive.
I’ve no particular fear for the corporate future of Apple, which should be rosy. Jobs built an insanely great team and design philosophy. His was the legacy of an idea: deceptively simple Zen-like design of powerful and well-thought-out software. We recognize corporations sometimes lose momentum when the founder departs. In Apple’s case, the idea of excellence became an integral part of the corporate culture. It promises a brilliantly innovative future.
We will read and see a great deal more about Mr. Jobs now that we’ve lost him, as people begin to realize anew how much he gave us.
I would like to say thank you, Steve Jobs. My condolences to his family and to all who knew him and looked up to him.
I have lost my lifetime partner, and all of us who knew him have lost a wonderful friend. In his honor we have posted a brief memorial page, Bob Sibley in memoriam 1945-2005.
Bob Sibley passed away peacefully in his sleep, in the early hours of the morning, Sunday, November 6, 2005, at Valley Pointe rest home in Castro Valley. Bob was a wonderful, wonderful person and dear to our hearts. All those of us who knew him will keep that memory alive, as a part of him lives on in us forever. During his long struggle with cancer and its complications he continued to bring sunshine into our lives.
(This notice is also posted in My Notes).