Good Bye, Steve

I never met Steve Jobs. I was in auditoriums and rooms with him several times, often not far away. But I never met the man. Nonetheless, I'm very sad this evening, like one of the colors of the rainbow has been removed, and I'm diminished permanently by that fact. It's a funny thing.Steve made it possible for the technology that has allowed me to express my creativity for the last 25 years to exist. Nearly every stage of my life has been shaped by the existence of the Mac, and the software that ran so well on it. I first used a Mac in 1985, when my journalism teacher, with great foresight, managed to get the budget to buy them to replace our ancient typesetting gear. I was the newspaper's (paid!) typesetter, and so she sent me home over Christmas break with a Mac to learn PageMaker 1.0. A remarkable thing on her part, and I thank Sue Barr forever for that. I had already been going down the path to graphic design. When I arrived at college, I was quickly sucked into the waiting arms of a newly started weekly publication that grew over the next few years to challenge the daily paper, the Yale Daily News, which was the oldest continuously published college newspaper. They were using older gear for typesetting. We used PageMaker and Macs, initially in the college computer labs. (Apple had heavily courted colleges in those days, and sold Yale piles upon piles of Macs cheaply.) In my senior year, I got a job at the university's in-house printing service, designing and typesetting, and took a full-time job after graduation running the imaging center there. I installed System 7 and troubleshot a million problems with getting output from QuarkXPress and PageMaker to a Linotype 300 imagesetter. I remember excitedly finding out that Apple had an FTP site (ftp.apple.com, probably) and slowly, slowly downloading the System 7 installation disk images over the very very slow Internet of 1991. From Yale I went to Maine, to take a job at the Center for Creative Imaging, which had 100 IIfx Macs, and which was a paean to everything creative in photography, illustration, and design one could do. Which meant, all Mac. A million great teachers and students passed through. Russell Brown. Jay Maisel. Matthew Carter. Paul Davis. John Sculley, who lived nearby, was there regularly. Many of my dearest friends came from a short time there. I left Maine when the center started to falter (a long, long story) and moved to Seattle to take a job as managing editor at a book firm, which produced computer books about using PageMaker, Quark, and other products. Books about Macs and created on Macs. While there, I started one of the first Web hosting companies (hosted on Suns, however) using Macs to design Web pages in 1994, with Peachpit Press as one of my first clients. I sold that firm to join Amazon briefly, but left and went into conference planning with my old book company boss, and then into full-time journalism. Writing largely about Apple and how to use its products. I have been surrounded by Macs in the best and worst times, and thus have had Steve's indirect hand in my working and creative life nearly from start to finish. Good bye, Steve. And thank you.