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Made on a Mac

by Bill Cawthon on

Comment by Bill Cawthon

It’s hard to find a facet of our modern connected world that wasn’t impacted in some way by Steve Jobs. Even Automotive News ran a piece about his influence on modern transportation.

Allpar is made on a Mac, or more precisely, Macs. Has been since Dave Zatz posted the first page. Every page since then and almost all the photos and graphics on Allpar were created and/or edited on Macintosh computers.

My association with Apple goes back a bit farther. I was with Motorola NMOS applications in Austin, Texas, when the then-awesome 16-bit MC68000 was selected for the first Apple computers. That was back in the late 1970s, when 16K was a lot of RAM. Funny thing is, Radio Shack also selected the MC68000 for the TRS-80: because of Tandy’s clout and the fact no one had heard of Apple, we all figured the “Trash-80” would be the wave of the future. That’s okay: we also thought the day was coming when people would use plastic cards instead of currency to pay for things.

Then my Dad got a Lisa (remember them?) for his office. He also got a Macintosh for home use. You may not remember what personal computing was like 25 years ago, but the Macintosh was a revolution. An expensive revolution, but a revolution nonetheless.

Back in the early days of Windows 95, when the Mac was going to be banished from the earth, I was still an unabashed Apple fan. I still have the Mac Evangelist polo shirt Guy Kawasaki sent me fifteen years ago. When I heard of Steve Jobs’ passing, I went back and pulled it out and remembered those days. Because it wasn’t really Steve Jobs, the charismatic CEO, that made me a partisan, it was what he and Steve Wozniak created.

You see, while the Windows 95 computers were busy crashing at the drop of a hat, I had a Mac Performa that could be counted on to work. Day in and day out, it did things the Windows PCs couldn’t imaging doing. You added a component and it just showed up. You added software and it was easy. Macs still work that way. And that’s the key to Steve Jobs’ lasting contribution.

Jobs understood something nearly thirty years ago that the technocrats and geeks still haven’t truly grasped: most people consider what they are doing to be more important than what they are doing it with. The PC world demanded the user conform to the machine; the Mac world required the machine to conform to the user. The PC was confining, the Mac was liberating. The same is true of the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

A lot of people are wondering about the future of Apple, but the legacy of Steve Job’s too-short life doesn’t require his presence to live on.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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