Lecturer Ming Chow Reflects on the Loss of Steve Jobs

The company that only Steve Jobs could have founded is one of very, very few things that have made a positive impact on my life, besides family, friends, and Tufts.


Apple was a big part of my childhood, and I'm sure it is true for many of our generation. My first exposure to computing was in elementary school using the Apple II. One thing that still hasn't changed much after all these years: Apple's dominance in education and in the classroom. The constant throughout my K-8 computer education in Saugus, Mass. was using Apple IIs: whether it was for Munchers, Oregon Trail, BASIC, Logo, or Carmen Sandiego. When I ask students in my classes if they remember Oregon Trail or Logo on the Apple IIs, it always brings back fond memories to all.


Apple was also a major part of my adolescence. My first computer was a Power Macintosh 6100/60AVThe whole system was purchased in summer of 1994 and cost well over $3,500. My dad used a lot of his hard-earned money (as a bartender, which he still is by the way). That Mac served me well for five years, and would pave way to who I would become.  I was put into a computer programming course in my freshman high school year by accident due to scheduling mishaps. My sophomore year in high school, I took AP Pascal (better known as AP Computer Science). The first day of class, I remember pirating disks of Symantec's THINK Pascal and put it on my home computer. In that class of about 20 students, I was notorious for finishing programming assignments right after they were assigned because I would just program at home, giving me an unfair advantage. Some things never change, but oh well.


In the summer of 1997, two big things happened: I was a summer school teaching aide for elementary school kids, and I was at MacWorld Boston 1997. At summer school, I networked rooms of Macs via AppleTalk and taught kids how to tinker with Broderbund's Kid Pix. I was in attendance at Steve's "sell-out" speech (with Bill Gates on a big screen) in August 1997. I also worked at the IDG Books booth at MacWorld at the World Trade Center. How did I get that gig? I worked at Barnes & Noble on Route 1 in Saugus and Barnes & Noble folks were asked if anyone could work shifts at the booth.


While I was a big fan on the Mac then, it was dark times for Apple as it was about to go bankrupt. Being a believer in Apple then was like wearing a badge of honor. I knew then that things could only get better for Apple because things could not get any worse. I would have never imagined that Apple would be THAT great down the road thanks to the second and third comings of Steve. I remember taking COMP 272 (User Interface Software) with Rob Jacob back in 2003, and we discussed about the usability of the iPod and what makes it such an incredible product<http://now.tufts.edu/articles/legacy-steve-jobs>. That was the first signal that Apple was back.


I was in complete shock when I read about Steve's passing on my iPad last night after dinner. I guess it is appropriate to close this with one last thing: Steve's legacy shall continue in my life and career. In the Spring 2012 semester, Paul Lehrman<http://www.tufts.edu/programs/mma/emid/>, a lecturer in the Department of Music, and I will be teaching a course on developing apps on the iPad for music and musicians, thanks to a generous gift from Steinway.