Steve Jobs died last Wednesday. He had not been well for quite some time having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He seemed to cheat death at almost every Apple product launch, as he always looked weaker and weaker. Still, when I heard of his passing last week, I felt very bad. I am a long-time user of Apple technology having started on the Macintosh computer in 1986. Steve Job’s technology propelled me into space I never ever thought I’d get into. However, within North American agriculture, I was among rare birds. When it came to agricultural computing, everything and everybody seem to have a PC.
I have my opinions about that. It is not often that you are the lone soldier in the game fighting the good fight and come out at the other end, saying I told you so. All of those years when I was computing with my Macintosh computer, being constantly told no agricultural application would work with it never made sense to me. So now with Steve Jobs having left the stage with iPods, iPhones and iPads along with all kinds of Macintosh computers, I rest my case. Apple’s technology has won the day and for those of you left on the farm still fighting with your PC, the war is over. In death, Steve Jobs has been vindicated for the technology that he created.
I have always thought that farmers could make much more money and communicate much better if they embraced Apple computers. However, back in the day those computers cost much more than a PC and the moribund phrase, “IBM-compatible” seem to strike fear into anybody purchasing a computer. In my opinion there were millions of dollars wasted on poor computer hardware through the years as farmers tried to make sense of it. At almost every juncture government extension agents would recommend an IBM compatible computer, which was akin to planting soybeans in the mud. While those people were fighting their viruses as well as their computers at every stage, I was pointing and clicking my way to getting much more work done. I believed in Steve Jobs’s vision. Computers and technology needed to be enjoyed and are meant to enhance your life.
It is so different now. Last week one of my twitter followers posted a picture of his iPad with a suction mount on the window of his tractor cab. When I 1st saw the picture I had to do a double take because I assumed he had been successful in getting his tractor monitor to show his Twitter feed. However, on closer inspection I realized it must be an iPad. He tweeted back to me that he mounted his iPad on the inside window of his tractor and it was a great way to keep track of things during his 16 hour days. I recognized my own picture on his Twitter feed inside his tractor. I tweeted him back and told him he should get the new Skype app and we can talk to each other. We both laughed out loud.
It is outlandish what I am writing about here. For instance could you imagine back in 1994 when I 1st started writing for DTN, that this technology would be available to stick on your tractor window? For instance he can be running the DTN Progressive Farmer app to get his prices, click on the link for the video commentary and even communicate to me to ask my opinion. It is all because Steve Jobs took the Macintosh technology and packaged it in a form for the great masses to use it. Even the Macintosh has skyrocketed in sales and market share.
I find it intriguing that in Steve Jobs death so many people are talking about how he changed the world. However, in my opinion that world was changed much sooner than the last 10 years. Needless to say, when he brought Macintosh technology and its intuitive elegance to consumer electronics, it was pretty obvious the world could see this was the way stuff should work.
Of course I believe the Apple Macintosh Steve Jobs way should work in all our high tech applications. I get so frustrated at times when I work on computer monitors on tractors and combines which I review professionally and the software inside seems to be from the Stone Age. This is verified by some of my farmer colleagues who refuse to use it because it is truly useless. Essentially those expensive computer monitors inside our farm equipment are just ornaments in many cases. We needed Steve Job’s vision inside those farm equipment laboratories.
I am now an old guy but I used to be a young guy. When I was young I embraced Apple’s computer technology. On the farm and within agriculture it helped me make more money through managing my business much more effectively. So now that I am an old guy, I get a kick of looking around and seeing all these young people embracing Apple’s technology. Many of them are young farmers.
It is so refreshing. iFarm. Rest in peace Steve Jobs.