When I first started learning Photoshop back in 2002, I was learning about the process of blending, color correction and other skills you need to get good results. But by the time Photoshop came out, I was already having a hard time adjusting to digital workflows when I saw that the “highly customized” user interface (also known as the “Gimp”) was no longer a one-size-fits-all design tool. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it made me rethink many of my previous assumptions. I quickly realized this was not only why I was working professionally, but why I was working at all (and was even earning more money).
It started with the fact that I’d never heard of Mac OS X. Now, if you remember, it was all a mystery to me. But when I went to take a class in 2003, Apple introduced Mac OS X — a “one-stop shop” for all the “dumb” desktop software that used to be available via mail order catalogs and other channels. After I clicked the icon (or copy & paste it to my clipboard) to install it, I realized the whole thing was pretty simple compared to the stuff available for Windows and even Linux (and some proprietary software like Microsoft Word). But, after installation had finished, I didn’t find my Mac anywhere. I never had a clue as to what sort of software was available for it. In fact there were a couple of apps for OS X that looked just like Photoshop. What could they do, and where were they?
I figured there had to be some sort of web tool or similar that could help me figure out which of several thousand applications was being used on a typical laptop. I mean, I had to write a list of hundreds of applications to have a shot at finding out what applications were being distributed by Apple and/or third parties. I also knew that Microsoft would be doing something similar but probably a lot less accurate (and hence possibly not as useful).
And then I stumbled across my favorite website — a well-done article by the famous Steve Jobs back in 2003. I remember seeing one paragraph from it that started this way:
“I have been to a lot of conferences and I have seen some amazing new applications that were coming out in the industry. But I don’t remember having to make an appointment anywhere to use any of them; all of them were either in the mail-order catalogs or in the office supply stores. I was disappointed.”
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