Steve Jobs and My Grandma

by Rene Siegel on October 18th, 2011

My life was changed by Steve Jobs. And my Grandma Hoshi.

I was an engineering major at San Jose State when I first saw a Macintosh computer. At the time, I was enrolled in a FORTRAN computer programming class that required middle-of-the-night trips to the computer lab to catch an open punch-card machine, then standing in line to hand over my rubber-banded stack of cards to a “computer operator.” The DEC computer filled half the sterile room, with a loud droning hum and intermittent card-shuffling sounds. Seriously? Punching in lines of code at 2 am and waiting 20 minutes to find out if I was right or wrong?

It was clear I chose the wrong major.

And then the Macintosh came to Spartan Bookstore. It was putty-colored magic and I wanted it more than anything, but it was far more expensive than I could afford. At our annual New Year’s Day family gathering, I was talking about this newfangled personal computer to my mother and grandmother. My mother rolled her eyes to let me know once again it was out of the question, but my grandmother heard my passion and went to get her checkbook.

She said, “I can give you money after I die or I can give some to you now when you really need it. Take this and go buy your computer.” I nearly cried. I was an early adopter. macintosh-plus

Over the years I’ve owned every major model of the Mac: the luggable models, the jewel-toned space pods, the orange clam-shell laptop, the white desk-lamp model, all the way up to my trusty MacBook Air and iPad today.

The simplicity and intuitiveness sparked creativity in ways I never dreamed, including starting my own Mac-only business. I vowed I would NEVER, EVER have to use a Windows PC again and then I made it so at High Tech Connect.

In fact, several years ago I did buy a Dell laptop with Windows. It lasted four days before I shipped it back. It was either that or Child Protective Services would soon take my children for the stream of profanities they were exposed to at home. Not pretty.

Even my husband, a security sales expert for Cisco Systems, has been converted. He’s quite protective about his tools of the trade: MacBook Pro, iPad and iPhone. My children have all been forced to use Apple products by their mother, as well.

Steve_JobsSo when Steve Jobs died, I felt a gaping hole in my heart. This man had me giddy for every press conference, like an impatient kid on Christmas, in awe of his showmanship and breathtaking surprises. I suppose this is what it felt like for my parents when John Lennon died. It was far too soon for this much brilliance to flicker out.

Rest in peace, Steve. I am incredibly grateful to you and my grandma, for bringing joy, creativity and independence to my life and my company.

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