Saddened by the death of one of the great visionaries of our time, I want to reflect on how much he and his work has influenced my work and personal life.
1980–83 while working as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Biolabs I worked on the circadian rhythm in bioluminescence on Gonyaulax polyedra, the algae responsible for the red tide but also the co-occuring glowing of the waves near the shore at night. The work was done in Professor Woody Hasting’s lab.
Together with my colleague Walt Taylor who had already constructed the “Taylortron“, a machine that would measure the bioluminescence of vials with the algae (60 channels), we extended the capability of the setup. This machine was controlled by an Apple ][ (via the game port). We then set out to build a network of Apple][ computers with a Corvus disk drive in the center where the raw data of the experiments would be stored. Other Apple ][ computers would then extract the circadian rhythm component from the raw data and display the results for each channel with its data history for the last weeks. A display of the actual flashes of the algae was also displayed for each channel.
We could not have done this work in such a cost-effective way at that time without the invention of Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. I used Apple ][ machines later to enhance the circadian rhythm experiments setup at the Max-Planck-Institute of Cell Biology (Heidelberg). And an Apple ][ was my work computer at home until 1994 when it was eventually replaced by a IBM PS2 system.
2005, when I joined the Marketing team inside Sun Microsystems I could exchange my Windows PC against an Apple Powerbook G4 and am working today on a MacBook Pro. At work I had worked with UNIX 1985–2008. So the step to MacOS was a liberating one. And of course we have iPhones and iPods at home.
Good technology with excellent and intuitive design achieved against many obstacles with a strong vision. R.I.P. Steve. We will miss you.
On 15th of October 2011 a vernissage took place in Basel at the premises of q.media.ch with exhibits of the young artist, Fabian Froehly. In the few days following Steve Jobs’ passing he created impressive pieces of art which are now for sale as originals and as prints. Here the poster from the event: