NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The final straw for the personal computer was more than five years ago with the introduction of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone. The iPhone encapsulated a vision that was many years in the making. The genesis of that vision happened decades before in the mind of Steve Jobs.
Steve saw the future when he realized that people weren't meant to be planted in front of a big, clunky computer that was tethered to a desk. No, that was all wrong! He knew back then the potential of a personal computing device. It wasn't going to be realized in a shrunk-down mainframe; it needed to be simple, powerful, friendly and mobile. That's exactly what the Macintosh was.
By today's standards, the original Mac was a brick -- no, a cinder block! But back in 1984 it was pure nirvana. The Mac opened us all up to the possibilities, the freedom to express ourselves in ways we could never imagine before.
I remember when I bought my first Mac, just two days after it was introduced. I would have picked it up sooner -- I couldn't contain myself once I read about it -- but it had snowed that week and the tires on my 1967 Buick Special were a shade on the bald side and I needed to go to the bank to empty my savings account.I was a young engineering contractor, a consultant that bid for jobs, and there was a fair amount of competition for a young man like me. I was always looking for an edge. Like Steve jobs, I was a college dropout, and found myself having to compete against engineers with advanced degrees. I was completely self-taught, yet I managed to land incredibly interesting jobs such as working in research and development for a defense company, designing laser-based inertial guidance systems for intercontinental ballistic missiles. Yes, I was a rocket scientist. When I read about the Mac, a computer that let you put text and graphics on the same page, I had an epiphany. I could create proposals that would stand out from the competition and me win engineering contracts by dazzling them with professionally illustrated documents. It was crude by today's standards, there were no laser or ink jet printers, only this noisy dot matrix printer called the ImageWriter. That first Mac only had 128K of memory, no hard drive and a single-sided floppy disk drive. You had to load the operating system with each boot-up from the floppy, then eject the disk and insert another disk that held your programs and files. Back then there were only two programs, MacPaint and MacWrite, but that's all I needed to create spectacular documents...again by 1984 standards. If I didn't have time to print out a proposal, I could bring my Mac, in my MacSack, right to the client's office and dazzle them with an on-screen demonstration. It was a really tiny 9-inch screen, black and white with slick icons, a desktop and trash can, operated with a single button mouse. The clients barely paid any mind to the content of the proposal, they were so blown away with the Mac. I could have shown them anything and I would have landed the contract. I won a lot of great jobs back then. The Mac freed me in more ways than one. From then on, I was a Steve Jobs disciple.
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