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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Steve Jobs May Not Love Us, But We Love Ourselves

By Cristael Bengston

In January at the 2010 MacWorld, there was one great big no-show, and that was Steve Jobs. Everyone expected MacWorld to be a flop. Apple was absent. Adobe stayed at home. Almost all the big guys were in absentia. MacWorld was a pocket-show, with barely enough floorspace to turn around in. Gloom and doom were the order of the day.
But on opening day, as I came slowly down the escalator to the doors of MacWorld, I glanced over at the showroom, and I saw people crowding the aisles. And as I walked from one booth to the next, I found myself in the middle of wall-to-wall MacUsers.
I looked all around me, and I realized that not that many young people were there. I didn’t see that many business suits either. Instead, there were 20,000 middle-aged and older Mac Users, all jammed up against the booths.
That was when I said to myself, “Baby, I’m home.” Because that was the day all of us diehard middle-age and older MacWorld fans turned out. We proudly confounded the pundits, and we brought a gleam of hope to all those who sport the occasional gray hair.
And that’s what makes it such a challenge to be President of MacValley, a User Group that, like all user groups, has been through monumental struggles over the past six to eight years.
Jobs and Apple’s Marketing department do not wish us well. There actually are a few Apple Geniuses who belong to User Groups, but when they’re at work at the Apple Stores, they have to keep their membership a deep dark secret. Sort of like being gay -- Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Hackers and Geeks regard Apple User Groups with unmitigated scorn. Everyone in the press keeps on predicting the imminent demise of User Groups. If they notice us at all. And yet we Mac Users survive. We keep right on going to User Group meetings, even though we’re smack in the big middle of one of the worst recessions in American history.
So how come us pesky User Groups haven’t all humbly closed our doors and gone home to weep about the good old days?
Because our Macs are still our dream machines. And because as we get older our dreams don’t die. They just get more intense.
We may never be in today’s Major League of Geeks and Hackers. But we are as passionate about our Macs as anyone out there. Our Macs bring us programs for writing our novels and screenplays, for doing our artwork, for turning out our calligraphy, for designing a winged bicycle or a one-person spaceship.
Small business owners, home office workers, or domestic users, bare-bones beginners or advanced users, as long as we have our Macs, we know we are individuals. We are important. We are unique. We have something to offer.
So, go ahead and sneer, all you twenty-seven year old zillioniares. Stick your noses up in the air, all you babyfaced hackers and geeks. And Steve Jobs and Apple Marketing, for all we care, y’all can stay home from MacWorld and sit around and suck your thumbs.
Because us User Group types, we don’t care about any of you. That is, unless we are closely related to you. Do geeks and hackers have families?
All of us User Group types passionately love our laptops and our iMacs. We’re hooked on our iPhones and our iPods and even our brand spanking new iPads. And we are here to stay.
So, all you overaged Apple executives and all you underaged geeky geniuses, just you-all go and deal with it.

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