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Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Fanboi Diary - ][

The late seventies and the early eighties in the United states. The era of subcultures had just passed by, the hippies by then were confined to the few who roamed around college campuses, smoking weed, preaching love. The punks had their identities diversified and converged themselves into the rock music they played. America and its youth were again getting ready for the mainstream, for the materialist, consumerist culture. Seeds were being sown for the next big revolution, this revolution was similar to all other revolutions except that it did not have an end date or it never will. The revolution was called the personal computer.

Technology then, belonged to the rich. Computers were not personal, they were the symbol of the rich and the affluent. A few technology majors like IBM, which were born in the world war II era still ruled and dictated on how people perceived computers. For the new generation the computers looked outdated and they were still hanging on to the 1950’s. There was this crave for something new in computers, something fresh, something which challenged the confined design principles, something which was a symbol of rebellion, something which had a life and character of its own, and then the Macintosh was born. It challenged everything that the world believed would ever be possible to achieve on a personal computer. Unlike the IBM computers which were DOS driven, and had only command line interfaces (imagine this, to go to My computer you had to type in $cd My computer, to open a file - type your keys, to delete a file - type your keys) The computers came with huge and bounded user manuals.They were way too complex to handle and they acted merely like type writers which had a monitor attached to them.But the Macintosh was different, totally different. It had a graphical user interface for the very first time in a personal computers. Words were now replaced with pictures. It introduced to the world something called the Mouse and interacting with the machine was changed forever(imagine this, now to go to My Computer all you had to do is point to the icon with the image of a computer and click your mouse, that’s it). The first mouse click was nothing but a revolution and the Macintosh brought it to the common man. It challenged the products of the so called giants in every single department, in processing speed, in ability, in design, in price (IBM had priced its computers at 10,000$ while the Mac was under 2000$). More than anything else the Macintosh had a character of its own, in design, in looks and in the interface.  It was the symbol of freshness, of change and of rebellion. For the Macintosh was not the brainchild of a suit and tie wearing engineer who had a degree of computer science at Harvard, but It was that of a college dropout, of a man who was addicted to grass and weed in his early days, of a man whose world was filled with the music of Beethoven and the literature of Russia. It was the Brainchild of Steve Jobs, a stoned hippie who arrived in Benares looking for nirvana. It was the the brainchild of the era which had passed by, it was the brainchild of the countercultures, it was the brain child of defiance. The Macintosh happened when spiritual ecstasy met technology. It was not a project done with the motive of gaining financial momentum but it was the project done with the motive of changing the world. If you observe closely Macintosh was the collective expression of the Hippies, the punk movement, the skin head subculture and the various other counter cultures which challenged the status quo. It was for this reason Apple and Macintosh was accepted(also marketed) to be different. Soon, It slowly garnered a cult following across the world. And it was for this obvious difference in character that the Macintosh till date has not become the mainstream computer of the Mass market, it was not embraced by general public because like the Hippies, like the Punks, like the Skinheads it questioned authority, it represented a change of view, it represented a fundamental difference in thought, it represented liberation. For Apple is not just a company, it is a culture. For notice closely in every apple fan, and you may end up finding a peace loving hippie or an eccentric punk or a violent skinhead.

Think Different campaign was launched in 1997 to reiterate to the world what Apple as a brand stood for, the screen opened with moving images of people in the likes of Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, Alfred Hitchcock and Picasso… a intriguing voice over then recites the below lines,

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do”.

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