Steve Jobs: The Man Who Changed Everything

In my Wednesday October 5th memorial article I said a few words for Steve Jobs:

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.

As I predicted in that article, only days after the passing of Apple’s Steve Jobs, even hardball political commentary broadcasts like Inside Washington were rediscovering how many ways Steve Jobs will continue to influence how we conduct our daily lives. One commentator said that people who used to read real newspapers and real magazines now read the online edition on their iPad. I’d like to take that a step further and say I know people who never used to read real newspapers or real magazines, who’ve started devouring serious professional news resources on their laptops and iPads.

It really doesn’t matter if one does or doesn’t “like” Apple. Some of us have a contrarian distrust of anything that becomes too iconic, too popular, or attracts anything that smells like a cult. Some people may feel all the credit given to Jobs somehow diminishes the real innovations of the many others in other competitive industries. And of course most homes, and the entire business community, still run on the Windows platform. Continue reading

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Back In The Day

“The more things change, the more they remain the same.” – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

My mom used to irritate the heck out of me with this old quote, attrtibuted to caustic French critic, journalist and novelist Alphonse Karr (1808-1890). I will grudgingly admit that, with the passage of time, it seems as true as ever.

Digging through some old notebooks, I found a forgotten printout from ten years ago. I bolted from the Mac platform to the PC in 1997. I upgraded my first PC hardware in 1999. Principally, I replaced the original Micron motherboard with a newer, faster ASUS board. My letter to a friend follows below.

To: Richard
From: Alex
Subject: Back On The Air

Richard,

The motherboard upgrade went very well. The mechanical part was a piece of cake, and I took my time.

Windows took awhile (several restarts) to get used to the new motherboard. It wanted to install a few drivers that should have already existed. It didn’t help that I got confused about which drive letter it had assigned to the CD-ROM with the Windows disk and drivers. I put in a different Ethernet card, and had to reconfigure the TCP/IP to get back onto PacBell DSL.

And that’s about it. Total time was about five hours. The machine does seem faster. With the 100MHz bus, the 500MHz CPU should seem roughly twice as fast. I can see a difference in the apps. Startup never seems any faster no matter what machine or platform, although no Mac has ever been as slow on startup as any Windows machine I’ve ever used …

Alex

I think we must all admit we’ve come a long way in the past decade of technological breakthroughs. With 45-nanometer chip architectures and 3.0+ gigabyte CPU clock speeds, Windows startups do seem slower than ever.

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What’s In A Signature

I’ve long used a “signature logo” to help Summitlake readers connect with the fact a real person pens these pages. The signature is “Alex”. I just realized this graphic is 24 years old!

You’ll often see it at the bottom of those of my posts with a more personal flavor.

With quite a bit of practice, I created this on my new Macintosh 512K in 1985. At the time I bought that machine, there were no other models to choose from. The mouse seemed to be one of the most ergonomically “natural” I have ever used. I used a huge drawing nib, probably about 18px, to scrawl this out in the original Mac “Paint” program.
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CD-ROM: 10 Years Ago

Plug & Play – Good, Bad & Ugly

This is a tale of two distinct tones: CD-ROM recorders, and “plug and play” on a Windows machine.

A market shortage of old 1MB JAZ drives caused me once again to “Think Different”. I bought a Hewlett Packard HP7110e CD-Writer Plus.

CD recorders come in two flavors, “write once” and “re-writable”. Write-once blanks are commonly seen for as low as 99 cents. That price is a “steal” for 650MB worth of media storage, or 74 minutes of audio. You can load as many different files as needed, so as long as the CD blank remains in the recorder.
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