My very first computer was an Apple //c. My sister and I received it as a present for xmas '85 after my mom deposited $4,000 in a 10 year CD from a local bank. They were giving away the computers and a printer as an extra incentive to buy their CDs.
I still have the //c in the closet next to me. I'm very fond of it.
11 year old Gus had no idea who Steve Jobs was. Nor did he care. But he was happy playing Lode Runner and writing programs in BASIC and wow this Apple //c is pretty awesome. He even eventually convinced his mom to move the computer into his room.
In 1996 I was going to school at MU and working for the central IT department (Campus Computing), mostly doing web stuff but also doing a bit of Mac programming. It was fun, and I loved using Mac OS. At the time we all thought Apple was going to buy Be, or rewrite the OS in Java, or maybe be bought buy Sun.
None of that happened, and it was Christmas break when I found out that Apple had bought NeXT.
At the time I lived in a house with 3 other guys, all Mac fans. Tim even had a NeXT machine he got off eBay (it was pretty awesome to use). I still remember listening to the message he left on the house answering machine when he found out Apple bought NeXT. Crazy happy doesn't even begin to describe it. Tim was the guy with a picture of SJ on his door. Tim was unreasonably ecstatic.
And luckily for me my department at the University was on very friendly terms with the local Apple reps, and I got in on the early Rhapsody betas, and even a couple of trips to WWDC.
And then I discovered Cocoa, and that was that.
I'm sure in the alternate universe where Apple bought Be that I'm perfectly happy writing ruby code or C++, or whatever the hell it is I do there. But here in this universe I can't think of a better job than playing in Objective-C and writing Mac apps and seeing my ideas come to life.
I realize Steve didn't create Apple by himself, and that the engineers and artists and everyone else at Apple deserve 99% of the credit. But Steve had a vision and was in the position to make things happen and stuck to his guns when times were hard.
Thanks for the dedication, hard work, the long hours, and the relentless pursuit of perfection which has been an example and inspiration for everyone.
We'll miss you Steve.