I am on the return leg of a 4,000 mile solo motorcycle trip. I was determined to visit Albert and Kathy Bork who were married one year to the day before Becky and I. Al and Kathy live in Alpine, Texas. Over the years Al had sent me links to the creative works of their son, Adam. Adam and his wife Krista live in Marfa, Texas. Marfa was on the way and I dropped in for lunch at Food Shark, the mobile lunch truck operated by Adam and Krista. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting both of them and made more pictures and gathered sound for a later blog posting. This picture is a teaser for more to come.
My father saw much technological change in his lifetime (1906-1991). He was raised in the Ozarks of Missouri but extracted himself from his farm heritage by earning a Ph.D. in Chemistry. When he was a young professor, he used to lecture on things that were not possible but quickly stopped doing that when astounding inventions proved him wrong. My generation saw the development of the computer age. The first U.S. Census tabulation via computer was in 1960. The initial calculation of data for my Ph.D. was on a Control Data mainframe at Indiana University. I also used a programmable HP Calculator for some analysis. My first home computer was an IBM PC bought in December of 1991. My initial use was to calculate grades for classes with as many as 400 students. When I brought that computer to my office at Cavanaugh Hall at IUPUI in 1982, it was the first computer in the four-story building of faculty offices. Things have certainly changed in 30 years. I am writing this blog on a MacBook Pro and my mobile device is an iPhone 4. I can't think of a single person who has had a more profound influence on how we work, play and tell stories than Steve Jobs. It is sad that his brilliance is lost to us through his death yesterday. I encouraged Dennis Cripe to develop perhaps the first desktop-published course in the country at IUPUI. We used a Mac and the early tools available at the time, which were very crude compared to the amazing tools now available. Over the years I have used almost every type of computer available, mainframe, mini, and personal. I have owned an IBM PC, a Next and Macs. The ones that held my interest over time were the NEXT (a Steve Jobs invention when he was ousted from Apple) and Macs. But a machine is a box of hardware, it is software that makes the difference in our lives. Can we imagine calculation before the spreadsheet? Can we imagine doing layouts without InDesign? Where would digital photography be without Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture? Professionals in the visual and design worlds cannot work without the amazing software tools that have emerged in the last 20 years. In my view, one of the strongest accomplishments of Steve Jobs and his team was the iLife system of products, iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto, etc. All integrated. All incredibly easy to use. It empowered nonprofessionals to tell their stories with software tools that gave professional quality results. Empowering ordinary people to tell their stories that use sight, sound and motion I believe is the most important contribution of Steve Jobs. Yes, he transformed the music industry. Yes, he created the tablet as a device we have to have. Yes, he transformed the cell phone industry. The list could go one endlessly. But our lives are made up of stories both large and small. It is our stories than endure beyond our own existence. Apple's hardware and software have forever changed story-telling beyond mere words. So mere words cannot express my appreciation but I will try anyway. Thanks Steve Jobs.