February 25, 2013: Today would have been the 58th birthday of Steve Jobs.
He co-founded Apple Computers, and in a commercial during the Super Bowl in January 1984 he unveiled the Macintosh. The commercial was filled with allusions to George Orwell’s 1984. The Macintosh was the first small computer to catch on with the public that used a graphical user interface, or GUI (sometimes pronounced “gooey”). In the past, computers were run by text-based interfaces, which meant that a person had to type in textual commands or text labels to navigate their computers. But with a graphical user interface, people could simply click on icons instead of typing in hard-to-remember, precise text commands. He said his goal in computers was to “create a bicycle for the mind.”
The graphic user interface revolutionized computers, and it’s on almost all computers today. It’s on a whole lot of other devices as well, like fancy vending machines and digital household appliances and photocopying machines and airport check-in kiosks. And graphical user interface is what’s used with iPods and iPhones. The Writer’s Almanac
If you are reading this post on a laptop, iPad, iPhone, or other computer, thank Steve Jobs.