Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Macs and me

I am profoundly saddened since I woke up at 4:00am in the morning, and saw the news headline about the passing of Steve Jobs. I have seen this coming for a long time, as my father died in a very similar way back 1993 with only 52. Looking at the thin appearance of Jobs in the last month or even years I constantly get reminded of him. Basically the same story of suffering, loss of weight, liver transplant (in vain), death. RIP, Dad, RIP, Steve.

I am writing this on a rusty vintage 2000 PowerBook G4 Titanium, I bought on eBay last year, because the video of my own 2001 TiBook went black. By today's web standards completely inadequate, it serves me well for news reading, terminal logins, etc. My son Pedro got his MacBook Pro 15'' delivered just today. An awesome piece of technology.

My father bought the first Mac in 1986, just after opening his practice as a neurologist. This was two years after cutting all strings in Hungary and fleeing to Germany in a pretty bold move. Must have been a moment of total self-overestimation when I promised to my dad "if you buy that Mac Plus I'll write you the best software for it for your doctor's office". A crazy time began. At day the Mac was used to keep patient's data with a DTP program "RagTime", at 5pm I hauled the Mac home (in a big black bag) and started writing the program. Sometimes deep into the night. I used Turbo Pascal (and later MPW) after figuring out that the Lisp environment I preferred simply did not cut it due to insufficient support of the Toolbox. In the morning my father carried the Mac back and powered it up.

Less than year later the program was ready for productive work. A Mac SE joined the party and we had a networked doctor's application with a really neat windowed user interface, that would put even today's programs to shame in this regard.

There was even a time when we fancied marketing this product, but my university duties and the early death of my father simply negated all plans to this end.

When I had my diploma in my hands I picked up the phone and called the guy who sold us the Mac Plus and a copy of "Inside Macintosh" back in '86. In the meantime he founded a pretty successful company around a networked admin solution called 'netOctopus' which was his baby. We occasionally met at Apple developer events and I new that he was a pretty damn good coder. He hired me and I was earning money by programming Macs!

So yes, I love Macs and there is no reason that this will change in the foreseeable future.

I kept telling to myself, should Jobs die one day, I'll put that Mac Plus (now in my basement and still functional) up for sale at eBay. My thought today: "screw it – too many fond memories attached".

3 comments:

MARCO ANTONIO MENELAU said...

muito bonito gabor. Parabens. homenagemjusta a um grande homemn

Cristina Menelau said...

Gostei muito, me emocionei com sua história. Todos lamentamos a morte prematura de Jobs mas, a vida tem dessas surpresas. Um gênio sai de cena, aguardemos que outro apareça para preenchê-la proém, sem jamais esquecer os que se foram.

Rejane Freire said...

Que história emocionante Gabor! Parabéns por conseguir em palavras descrever momentos e histórias como essa. Triste, porém cheia de ensinamentos em todos os sentidos. Agora é esperar o tempo levar um pouco dessa tristeza e continuar seguindo a vida lembrando sempre dos bons ensinamentos que grandes pessoas com essas nos deixaram! Bjs