Tom Kelliher's job would have been much harder without Steve Jobs.
Kelliher, an associate professor of computer science at Goucher College, spent many years teaching people how to use computers and found himself often "telling people that it wasn't them, it was the computer."
"What Steve understood, what he was all about was creating beautiful, useful, easy-to-use devices that really became a part of people's lives," Kelliher said. "He understood that technology should adapt to people, not the other way around."
"Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives," Apple's board of directors said in a statement Wednesday night. "The world is immeasurably better because of Steve."
Outside Jobs' Palo Alto, CA home, well-wishers left makeshift memorials. At the Apple Store in Towson Town Center, it was business as usual, and that might be how Jobs would have wanted it. An anonymous well-wisher left a bouquet outside the shop's glass entrance.
"What was unique about Steve Jobs was he was competing against himself," said Scott Roberts of Cockeysville, there with his son Derek to pick up a repaired four-year-old MacBook.
Roberts noted Jobs' urge to improve upon products that had already reshaped the way people live, work, play and communicate. Kelleher, the Goucher professor, remembered Jobs as a man who knew what people really wanted out of their devices.
"It was visible in all of Apple's products, even the way he introduced them," Kelleher said. "He didn't talk about what was inside the device. He always talked about what you could do with the device, and that's what mattered, his vision."
In the 1990s, Apple was sliding toward the brink. When Apple bought Jobs' firm NeXT in 1997, Jobs returned to the company and began work on game-changing products like the iMac and iPod.
"You don't see tech companies be able to make that kind of a turnaround every day and he did that," Kelleher said.
Jobs purchased the computer animation company later known as Pixar, which he bought from Lucasfilm. Pixar created "Toy Story" plus a string of other hit computer-animated films.
Zeeshan Aslam, an application developer at Towson University who develops iPhone apps in his spare time, said in an email that it may be impossible to assess Jobs' impact on technology and the way people live.
"When you look at his accomplishment on the surface, you see personal computers, Apple and Pixar, but if you look deeper, there are hundreds of businesses that were either inspired by his vision or directly depend on of his innovation," he said.
But where will the next visionary come from? That's hard to say. One thing is for sure, Kelliher said. There won't be anyone with quite the same foresight as Jobs.
"Wayne Gretzky didn't skate to where the puck was. He'd skate to where the puck would be and I think you could say the same for Steve Jobs," he said.