I just heard on the radio that Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and the force behind Apple’s recent wave of innovative products, the iPhone and iPad, has passed away at the age of 56.
There are going to be hundreds of testimonies to Steve Jobs popping up shortly, giving details of everything the man had done in his too short life, but I just wanted to talk about how his work affected me.
You see Job’s and Wozniak directly influenced the path my life took.
I was in high school in 1981 happily working my way to a career in electronics. I was planning on studying for a degree as an Electronic Engineer at the time, and was quite the keen hobbyist.
But in 1981, the school purchased two Apple 2e’s and put them in the annex to the physics lab.
The competition was immediate. Most of the guys interested in using the Apple’s during recess and lunch sat there playing games, and to be fair I did that too. But I ended up taking the manuals home most every night, and poring over every detail of the electronics and learning how to program. I spent as much time in the computer room as I possibly could.
I ended up writing two programs.
One, the second project, was a clone of the arcade game Defender.
The first was a practical joke on another student who was trying to get a program that broke copy protection on games. I wrote a simple little 6502 program that accessed the floppy drive and spun it up, while printing “please wait” on the screen. That’s all it did. I had this guy on the hook for two whole lunch periods trying to work out why his games weren’t being cracked, until another student whom I told about the joke, let him off the hook. I would have had him going for a few weeks if I could!
Anyway, that experience led me to the love of programming. And from there my parents purchased my first computer a Vic 20, and the rest is history, a 27 year (so far) career as a software developer.