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NeXT up, a letter to Mr. Jobs

 

 

Even back in 1988, I had excellent taste in computers.  I'd often ride my bicycle down to the local Businessland on De Anza Boulevard in Cupertino and play with the computers.  I still don't know why the sales staff never kicked me out, as I was not going to be able to afford their offerings.  It was at this computer store that I was first introduced to the NeXT computer.  At that point in my life I hadn't had access to any real UNIX machines.  I mean, I had played with A/UX running on a Macintosh II, but that wasn't a real experience.  The sexy magnesium case, the futuristic optical drive, and the high resolution display was enough to make a young boy's heart go aflutter.  At $6,500 USD this was nothing that I would be able to own, but I could still covet it.   In junior high school, you tend to think (or at least I did) that you are filled with incredible insights.  Due to the fact that I was not encumbered by attending high school yet, or being told that some ideas are stupid, I sat down and wrote Steve Jobs a letter.  In said letter I let Mr. Jobs know that he would have a better chance selling the computers if he added a 3.5" floppy drive and added support for a dot matrix printer.  I just didn't get what he was trying to do.  I wanted a cool computer that was inexpensive, while he was selling the design for the future, which nobody was buying in quantity just yet.  Whether or not Mr. Jobs read that letter directly, or even knew it was from a nerdy 7th grader, I will never know.  Sometimes I wish that I saved a copy of that letter, other times I am glad I didn't since I would most likely come off as an arrogant little twit.  I did get a nice form letter back from the corporate offices and a marketing poster that I cherished for many years.  

When I entered my professional life of providing IT services to various parts of the government, I saw the tail end of the NeXT legacy.  I almost had a tear in my eye when I was visiting a nameless government agency that was a large NeXT customer.  They were dumping several thousand NeXT cubes and pizza boxes to move to Windows NT.  The computers were stacked to about chest height along the hallways, waiting for destruction. Oh, the humanity.

If you are nostalgic, you might want to check out the original brochure.

 

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