inessential by Brent Simmons

My personal VisiCalc moment

Every successful computing platform has to have a “VisiCalc moment” — the moment it goes from fun toy and technology demo to “holy crap this thing is useful.”

For the Apple II Plus that moment came the first time people saw VisiCalc. Imagine never having seen a spreadsheet on a computer — imagine always having done that stuff by hand. Then, for the first time, you enter some numbers and formulas into a computer and watch it calculate. Then edit some numbers and watch it recalculate. Pure magic. PFM.

I don’t think there’s a single VisiCalc moment that everyone will have for the iPad — but, for me personally, it was OmniFocus. That’s when my iPad went from toy to indispensable tool (oh, but still a fun toy, too).

Before OmniFocus, my iPad wandered around my desks without a real place. Now it has a place right next to my dev machine’s keyboard.