Goodbye, Steve

I bought my first Apple in 1978; sat down with Woz’s Red Book (which I still have) and taught myself programming. In December of that year, I was awakened by a woman, unidentified, who has seen my advertisement for “Apple programming.” She asked what I thought of Apple’s own accounting software. I replied that I was not in competition with Apple, and that I frequently recommended their software. Still anonymous, she asked nothing else; simply said “Thank you” and hung up.

An hour later, the phone rang again, and I was offered a job as the first outside contractor ever hired by Apple. From that day to this, even in semi-retirement, I’ve made my living with Apple products. Programming; writing for Mac Home Journal; editing TechNotes; consulting. Today I continue to program albeit for the iPhone. My Macs are used for video editing and photography. My day is still spent before a glowing screen.  I estimate that I’ve spent over 150,000 hours “at the wheel.”

It was coincidence of some sorts: I went to school with Bill Atkinson; was taught by Jef Raskin. My sister was in Woz’s plane when it went down, along with Jack and Candy. I was introduced to Apple just after they moved from the Red House to the Bandley Street warehouse. I remember looking over the cubicle walls: “That’s Woz office. Job’s is over there… and back  there is where we glue the rubber feet on the computers.”

Over the years I worked on DOS; the ROM for the Apple //c; the Apple ][ GS; the original AppleWorks and much more. My work, because of Apple, took me on some of my greatest adventures, including whale research in Alaska; work for NASA, and PBS. I met with both Steves several times, and when I “officially” retired from Mac programming a couple of years ago, Steve J called me to chat about the old days. We were not “friends” but long-time acquaintances, and that he’d phoned me spoke volumes about him.

Almost exactly half my life has involved Apple, its people and products. It has been, in a very large sense, my reality.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote to Steve. I got the chance to tell him some of these things, and that he could rest knowing that he not only changed the world, but changed it for the better.

Goodbye, Steve.

Thank you.

Tracy Valleau