Thursday, October 6, 2011

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

Ok, so you've heard by now, Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs died from Pancreatic Cancer yesterday.

To put it mildly, he's an interesting character.  A Game Changer.

As Barack Obama said it, “The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.”.

I'm sitting here listening to a classical music station on an old iPhone that someone gave me.  No, I don't use it as a phone, more accurately I use it as a computer.   That in itself is a statement of the power of the phone/platform/computer itself.  I have a Windows laptop on my lap using what was originally derided as a ripoff of the Mac platform.  The current Windows 7 look and feel is very similar to that of the Mac OSX.

I've also got a serious case of Mac Envy.  It happens when you know what the other guy has, but can't "justify" the expense.   That "Apple Distortion Field" hasn't convinced me to run out and spend $1100 for a Mac Book Air, the machine I truly want since a similar Windows PC would cost significantly less and frankly, money is very tight.

The Mac is, however, the machine I recommend to semi-technical users who are open to trying something different and don't want to have to go through the fiddling around that you have to do to get a windows machine to purr.  My own laptop has a software problem that is stopping it from shutting down cleanly - it's an annoyance that some day I'll try to fix and is caused more from my insistence of using the machine like a server or a desktop machine than a laptop tool.

If I can mess up a Windows PC, no matter how slightly, think of the wonderfully weird things a non technical person can get into with just the right virus mix!

The environment that a Mac has is instantly recognizable to someone who is used to using a Windows PC, and comfortable immediately.  There are some things it does better, and lets face it Apple machines were almost always just a better looking box than the directly comparable Windows PC.

To stop the flame wars of Mac Vs PC, the reality is that most of what 90% of us do today are on a browser or could be so the operating system is secondary.  In fact, that sleek looking Mac could run Windows if you decide you don't want that OSX thing running.  

If you did, I'd do more than raise an eyebrow at you and probably cast aspersions at you loudly.

If you were on the fence about being a "Switcher" and going with a Mac, that extra money you spend on the hardware is a good investment.  They tend to run longer with fewer problems these days, and Steve's "departure" won't change that.  The new CEO, Tim Cook, was running things behind the scenes for years so the direction of the company won't stray too quickly.   Besides, you probably won't have that new machine from the mostly white store with a fruit logo ten years from now.

Although you just may.  They are built to last, as are many Windows based laptops from premium product lines.

If you want to know the future of the whole Mac OSX line, take a look at the iPhone's operating system.  All big icons and touch sensitive.  My laptop is a touch sensitive machine, but since it runs Windows, it does it badly.  I hardly ever use the touch screen.   The experience on an iPhone or iPad is amazing.  Windows will be playing catch-up on the next version of Windows 8.

So for now, I'll stick with my old iPhone and continue listening to the Sousa march on my headphones.  Mixed approaches are the best - pick what fits your needs.  After all, that mindset is what built that company from a garage to the largest computer company today.

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