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The first Apple I ever touched was an Apple IIE computer.  I had never touched a computer before, and a friend had one set up at home to do graphic work for her freelance jobs that she was trying to get.

Later on, I remember sitting across from a friend of a friend who was whining about how she couldn’t write her new novel without an Apple because she’d never worked on a pc before, and didn’t want to start trying now.  Apparently, she’d learned everything she knew about computers on her ex-boyfriend’s Apple Macintosh, and she was already drawn to everything Apple — though the pickings were slim back then before the advent of the iPod.

By the time the iPod came out and revolutionized the way Apple does business, I was well on my way to using early Macs to do my video production with.  I was in Brown University then, doing my undergrad work at the end of the 1990’s, falling in love with Final Cut 2 or 3 (I can’t remember which) and working on Mac’s extensively.  Still, I owned a pc to do all my other schoolwork on at that time.  I was still doing all my word processing in Microsoft Word (now available for the Mac, too), and was only making wild things with the Macs in the Video Production lab in the annex of the Modern Culture and Media Department at school.

It would be years before I would buy my first iPod.

But when I did, that was it.  By that time, I owned 2 computers of my own.  A souped up iMac, and a MacBook Pro laptop.

I use both of them extensively.  They are the basis of my career.  I couldn’t do what I do easily on a pc, and I have no intention of trying.  I’m not a Windows fan — even Windows 7.  Hell, I didn’t help create Windows 7, despite what the commercials say.  As far as I’m concerned, all those petri dishes should be junked and a new Apple empire should be borne.

Yes, I’m a diehard All-Things-Apple fan.  And like most of us out there, I’m deeply saddened by the passing of Steve Jobs yesterday at 56.  I’m sure he will be sorely missed at the helm of the crew, though he stepped down already 6 months ago to work with his failing health.

As an entrepreneur, watching Steve Jobs work was inspirational.  He was a great presenter, in his blue jeans and casual shirts and slide presentations that wonderfully illustrated whatever point he was currently making.  He believed that the less you had on the slide, the better.  The slide, in any presentation, was there to make a one-note statement to underscore the statement you are speaking, not the other way around.  And don’t read from the slides — that’s another thing any presenter could learn from Jobs’ style of presentation.

There are other great presenters out there, but none that I really followed their words.  Jobs had a way of simplifying things, and firmly holding his ground when he really believed in something.  It was this vision of his that inspired the whole company he was heading, and kept Apple as one of those enviable places every college grad worth her weight in salt wants to to work.

All day long I’ve watched the support for Jobs’ family and close friends pop up around Facebook.  I’m connected to a lot of people who use Macs, probably because of the field I’m in.  But from the looks of it, he was universally looked up to as a businessman, visionary and inspiration.  It takes a helluva man to do all that in one.

My own take on the whole business is that the world is just a little less bright today.  One of our shining stars has been eclipsed by the darkness.  But I’ll horribly misquote Jobs here, and point out that dying is one of the best parts of life.  It makes way for the young and the new.

Let’s hope so, Steve.  Let’s hope so.