When I went to university in 1986, the VUB (University of Brussels) was one of the first in the country to have a computer room with about 15 Macintosh computers.
For a kid whose parents couldn't even afford a Commodore64, walking into that room was like walking onto the bridge of the Enterprise. It had a mouse, a graphical user interface and 128kb of RAM.
I dropped out of college in '89 and drifted away from computers for about a decade, but I was a Mac convert since that day. In '99 with the rise of the internet I got a G4 (which lasted me a long, long time) and back into working with computers. In the decade that followed we saw the iMac, G5, G4 Cube, OS X and Apple's expansion into consumer media with the iPod, iTunes and eventually the iPhone and iPad. In '99 people would roll their eyes when you said you were a Mac user, nowadays all my friends and family own an Apple product of some kind. The success of the company since Jobs' return to the helm has been unprecedented. Today that man is no more but I'm sure his spirit lives on in the company he created.
Visionary, consummate showman and public speaker, charismatic dictator (the famed reality distortion field); Jobs has been called al these things and more and probably was all these things and more. Trailing through some websites today, reading the comments, a few petty souls still can't help jabbing him one last time. I guess you can't get to the level he was without at least annoying some people. So be it.
I for one am going to miss the keynotes, where Jobs introduced new soft- or hardware, the unbridled enthusiasm with which he showed off yet another Apple device or innovation. It's clear that Apple was his life's work and his passion.
I'm grateful for all the cool stuff he unleashed and for giving me the tools I work with every day. Rest in peace, Steve, you will be sorely missed.