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Remembering Steve Jobs by the timeline of technology

October 9, 2011
By JOSHUA S. FLESHER ( , Tribune Chronicle |

Being a child of the 1980s, I have had the opportunity to grow up during the technological boom that has changed our country and world in ways that we may still not realize.

With the death of Steve Jobs last week, many have taken pause to think about the man that is responsible for so much.

Jobs' Apple brand is, arguably, the most recognizable corporation in the world thanks to the invention and popularity of things such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod.

Ten years ago, during my early years as a college student, I got my first cell phone. It was a small blue phone that was no bigger than a brownie and had the technology to both make phone calls and receive them.

It was a phone that I could carry in my pocket, and one that changed my life from that of a part-time hermit to an always-accessible man of technology.

In the past decade, the way that these devices have changed can be attributed in large part to what Steve Jobs and his company were able to create.

I had an assignment earlier this year covering the launch of the new iPad 2. I stood in freezing rain and talked to the line of people standing outside Best Buy waiting for their turn to purchase the newest and greatest device from Apple.

A few of the people were there because they were tech-heads. They wanted to latest and greatest technology. Others were such fans and dedicated Apple consumers that they would have purchased just about anything with an Apple logo on it.

I even met a retired professional basketball player who was waiting in line like everyone else, and that made me realize that no matter who you are, what you do for a living or how much money you have, something like this was bigger than everyone.

Think about it this way: The biggest stars in Hollywood or in sports still had to wait in freezing rain to get a hold of this product.

Steve Jobs was a rock star's rock star.

Looking back at my nearly 30 years of life, I can almost chronicle my life into a timeline using Apple products as a guide.

In elementary school, we had Apple II computers that we were allowed to use only after we finished our daily work. Such enlightening games such as "Oregon Trail" and "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" filled my mind with thoughts of international police hunts, the loss of my wagon's horse and typhoid epidemics.

Fast-forward a little ways and I'm in high school, getting ready for college, and every single person I knew who was going away for school had an iMac computer in any number of colors.

I was resistant to the iPod when it became popular because I like having CDs and the packaging that came with them, but soon, the ease and ability to download every CD I own onto a pocket-sized device became too great to ignore.

And since then, the introduction of the iPad and the iPhone and all the ways that these have made life closer to the technology Gene Roddenberry envisioned, has changed the world infinitely.

When I was born, computers took up entire buildings and rooms and only the smartest people could use them. Now, a dunce like me can find the answer to just about any question I have within seconds on a small, hand-held device.

I believe that as I get older and see the world change a million more times over, I will look back at this time, right now, and see that I was fortunate to live during the greatest tech-boom ever.



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