With the passing of Apple’s Steve Jobs yesterday the question becomes: where were you on Super Bowl Sunday 1984?
If only a gleam in someone’s eye, or still spitting up Gerbers all over your parent’s kitchen floor, then you missed the revolution. Sure, you embody what came after, from point-and-click to tweeting boorishly to the world about every uninteresting detail of your life – but you missed the revolution that made possible all that came after.
Epitomized in Apple’s iconic “1984” super bowl commercial – where one individual woman threw a “monkey wrench” into the entire machine, freeing us all from Big Brother – is the vison Jobs had for the technology he was instrumental in bringing to to the world. He didn’t invent the graphical user interface, he didn’t solder the boards on the first Macintosh, but it was Jobs that saw how far it all could take us.
Before Jobs, people banged away on typewriters to write letters, manipulated protractors to calculate equations, listened to songs with a sharp needle scraping over ove 12-inch vinyl disc – songs that were recorded on strips of tape embedded with tiny rust particles.
My first gig as a soundman was working for a garage band – now I record music on a program called Garage Band.
Sure, there have been revolutions since the 1984 introduction of the Macintosh – internet, cellular communications, mobile technology, social networking. But the vision for a brave new world built around powerful personal technology that would level the playing field and make us all (for better or worse) writers, musicians, publishers, activists, and creators began on a cold day in January, 1984, when a slightly confused public looked on as Steve Jobs pointed the way to the future.
Featured image credit: Jason Michael, courtesy flickr