Remembering a Legend

I, of course, love my big Steve Jobs inventions like the iPad and iPhone. But two things that he gave us impacted me so profoundly in the 1980s that I have to mention it. My first computer was in 1980 and it was a Compaq portable issued to me by Arthur Andersen. The thing was a monster but I was in a test group to move from doing work manually to using a computer. I adored my Compaq as it saved incredible time.

But here is the opening screen that greeted me each morning on my 28lb, 10MB computer. Note the directory for DOS, the operating system. It was so fun to spend my days looking at green type and searching through the list to find what directory I needed. Luckily Steve Jobs did two things—took a typography class when he dropped out of Reed and insisted that the Mac would have multiple typefaces. And then Windows copied the Mac. And Steve Jobs visited Xerox and saw a graphical user interface so we didn’t have to look at directory listings. Years ago, I heard Steve Jobs say in an interview that if we were going to have to look at a computer screen all day, we had an obligation to make it as beautiful and pleasant as possible. Not just utilitarian.

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