Tonight I have finally finished reading the biography of Steve Jobs (it is very hard to do when there are so many books I have to read at the same time). I know most people know him through one of (if not the) his most evolutionary and popular products, the iPhone. For me in fact, it was the MacBook that brought me to know Apple’s products over 10 years ago.
Back then, not that many people would use Apple computers. Mostly graphic designers and musicians (composers) used them. The first time I laid my eyes on this one MacBook (old version) and saw the beautiful graphics on its screen, I was dumbfounded. How come I was not using this laptop but one of those ugly IBM Think Pads? I really wanted to change to use one of the MacBooks but I was strongly discouraged to do so as some of you might know that Apple computers (and other products of it) were not compatible with the softwares (or hardwares for that matter) out there. And for those who had been using PCs, it prompted problems when transferring data to an Apple computer, on which (especially back in those old ancient days) one could only use software specifically written for it but not for Windows. Thus, I gave up the precious chance of transferring to use a much more user-friendly, creativity-inspiring and beautifully designed computer.
During those years in the States and the first few back in Hong kong, I was still using this ugly and bulky IBM Think Pad and then yet another Lenovo Think Pad. I hated them, not only because of the stupid heavy and ugly design, but also the fact that I never liked to use anything computer- technical. Now that I look back, I think those stupid ugly designs and the user-unfriendly (/-hostile) interface of PC computers must have contributed to further deepening my hatred towards /alienation from using computer technology.
But I guess my connection with Apple products had been deeply soiled since our first amorous encounter. Along the way, I got myself a iPod Shuffle (because it was small enough to be clipped on a tee-shirt for workout purpose), and a iPod Nano, Product Red : I was absolutely in love with that vivid deep red color that I even took the risk of ordering it online (I hated buying anything online) from the States when Product Red was not sold here in Hong Kong, and had it engraved with, “adesso o mai”, meaning ” now or never”, taken from the lyrics of “Now or Never” by Josh Groban. (Why “now or never”? That was just to remind myself to accomplish things now or they would never be done).
One summer a little over two years ago, I finally got a MacBook Pro. It completely blew my mind. It gave me a completely new experience of using a computer that I had never encountered before. Things I found nonsense were now making complete sense. Even there was a lot of trouble using it at the university in giving presentations and teaching lectures (I wonder if the schools are actually paid to use PC products), I still was happy to finally dump my stupid ThinkPad and any PC related products. And after I got my first iPhone (3GS, which I used for two complete years before recently changing it to 4S), I found the two products were working seamlessly together. I used my iPhone to record my students’ playing, which clips were transferred to my MacBook Pro and edited into captioned videos using iMovie. I even revolutionized myself to setting up my first website (a big achievement to a complete computer illiterate and hater like me), on which I also wrote posts about my teaching and posted performance videos of myself and my students. And it is precisely the same website as we see here right now.
Other than setting up a website, I also started to compose some songs using Garage Band, playing with not only piano sound but also exploring other instrumental sounds provided. I could even introduce this music-writing software to my kid and teenage students who have been thrilled to try their hands on composing on computer and exploring the different sounds of instruments that they seldom encounter in real life. I do hope to spend more time on this area in the near future.
The most recent development linking computer technology and music education has been the making of iPhone applications on the subject of aural training program. I have so far developed an aural training program (of two versions, one in English and the other in Chinese) based on the syllabus of ABRSM grade 5 level. From this as a stepping stone, I will launch a series of aural training programs on iPhone/iPad, next starting with a solfège training application, useful for music students of all levels.
With the whole website matter, I have been able to reach a lot of readers, not just locally in Hong Kong, but those overseas located in different countries and continents of various ethnics and nationalities as well. To that, I owe much debt to the marvelous products created by Apple, by a genius like Steve Jobs.
I trust that one’s passion on what one truly believes in is the driving force to what one is able to achieve and excel in. Although I am no Steve Jobs, I do believe in what he adhered to:
We try to use the talents we do have to express our deep feelings, to show our appreciation of all the contributions that came before us, and to add something to that flow. That’s what has driven me.
-Jobs in his own word, from “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson
And so that is what has driven me as well.
For those who only like to criticize, it is not working here anymore. You can say whatever behind my back and I really do not care what you think about me otherwise. Je n’ai pas peur de la puissance du mal.
© Teresa Wing Yin Wong, 2009-2011.
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