There's been a few things swirling around the web this week about Apple's designs and how maybe they're not the pinnacle of everything anymore; in those posts and thoughts are strands suggesting that Apple's stuff has lost its humanity.
I agree wholeheartedly. But I wanted to share a reason why.
I switched from the PC to the Mac in 2000. I've written endlessly about my reasons for switching but most importantly, I put them on phonezilla.net (the earlier version of this website). Over the course of the day I found my lil' "I bought a Mac, yay!" post was picked up by major Mac news sites like Macintouch, The Mac Observer, et cetera. Along with that I started getting emails. There were a few, "YOU BOUGHT A TOY!!!11!11!" types but the overwhelming majority were strangers congratulating me and welcoming me to the Mac community.
It was something I hadn't experienced since my C64 & C128 days.
However, one letter stuck with me. It was a long one. It opened with a hearty welcome, brief introduction, and so on. And then the author went into detail about how, with a Mac, I had an amazing amount of power: the ability to more directly tell stories. Not just my stories, but the stories of other people – people who needed to be heard. He equated the video editing/recording revolution of the early 2000s with the desktop publishing revolution of the 1980s (and, I think, was mostly right). The letter closed by asking, "With a Mac and a digital video camera, you've got this awesome power. What stories will you tell?"
I am sure I replied to him and thanked him. Pretty sure I got no reply. And worse, I no longer have the email (happens!) I also can't quite picture this happening today. Maybe. But it feels unlikely.
Computers and how we use them have changed. They'll continue to do so. But in the early-to-mid-2000s, I think we really closed the chapter on large-scale computer clubs, hobbyists, SIGs, and all of those other community markers from the prior couple of decades.