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ATPM 18.05
May 2012





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Apple Cider: Random Squeezings From a Mac User

by Tom Iovino,

Look How Far We’ve Come

Pray. That’s what we Apple faithful were asked to do back in the summer of 1997—at least on the cover of Wired magazine. Pray for the future of Apple Computer. Pray that the steamroller that is Microsoft doesn’t just roll over the embattled company and grind it to dust. Pray that we hadn’t embraced the BetaMax of our day.

Heck, I wish I could have gone back in time to those heady days and bought about a hundred shares of stock when it was down below $10 a share.

Incredible how time changes things, isn’t it? Give a river a few million years, and it will create the Grand Canyon. Give an acorn some fertile soil, water and a sunny spot, and it will sprout into a majestic oak. Give a company the leader to seek new, innovative ways forward, and you get Apple.

As ATPM prepares to ride off into the sunset, I have to look back at the Apple Cider articles I have written. Those were crazy times back in those days. In the late 1990s, who could have envisioned how computers have changed the way we look at life here in 2012, and who would have guessed that Apple would have led the way? My last article came out as the iPod was just starting to debut. That device—something that took the world by storm the same way the Sony Walkman did in the 1980s—revolutionized how we listened to and interacted with music.

Follow that up with the iPhone, which took cell phones to a whole new level. While BlackBerry broke the ground, the iPhone’s debut was like lighting the second stage on a Saturn V rocket. Now, your phone was no longer something to call and send e-mails on; it became a personal computer you can carry around on your hip. Heck, one day, I’m betting that desktop computers will simply be docking stations with a large screen and keyboard for our uber-capable smart phones.

Throw in the iPad, and now Apple has created a whole new style of computer. I can remember waxing poetically about the now-defunct Newton line of handheld computing devices, but seeing how its descendant has prospered has been encouraging.

While time has changed, one thing certainly hasn’t—Apple has been at the forefront, leading the way. And, as always, it seems the competition has been running behind trying to catch up. But, isn’t that what we really wanted?

Today, I write a pretty successful woodworking blog. Been at it for coming up on five years now. I do my writing and site maintenance on my MacBook Pro notebook, but I also write on several Windows machines. And, when I’m on the road, my HTC Sensation Android phone keeps me up-to-date on what’s happening with the site. What was some kind of pipe-dream back in the mid 1990s—a cross-platform transparency—has become the norm. The fact that we are able to do this is a testament to finding the better way to do things. Imagine if we were all trying to work on a DOS-type command-line to make our phones work or to use programs to record a podcast. How tough would it have been to get everyone on board to see the rich collection of work out there online?

But, that’s what we lost, misguided Apple fans were asking for back in 1997. And through our efforts, our tireless advocacy for the system—and yes, even some of our prayers—we were able to arrive at where we are today.

While ATPM may be going away, never let that spirit of adventure, innovation, or can-do spirit leave you. That’s how we make the world a great place.

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