“Earlier today, Tim Cook posted a tribute to the late professor Stephen Hawking, who passed away on March 14, aged 76,” Luke Dormehl reports for Cult of Mac. “‘We will always be inspired by his life and ideas. RIP,’ Cook wrote.”

“Apple and Hawking share an interesting connection: It was an Apple machine that first gave him the ability to verbally communicate using a computer,” Dormehl reports. “After developing ALS in the 1960s, Hawking’s physical capabilities slowly worsened until, by the late 1970s, he was barely able to speak. At first, he was able to verbally communicate sufficiently that friends and family could understand him, and relay this information to others. He lost his ability to speak entirely in 1985, however.”

“In 1984, Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh. In Jobs’ onstage demo, the Mac introduced itself using a synthesized voice. For the first time, the idea of a computer speaking for someone entered the public consciousness,” Dormehl reports. “That same year, an MIT engineer named Dennis Klatt created a synthesized voice for Hawking to use. Using a program called Equalizer and a Speech Plus synthesizer, Hawking could select words and commands that would then be spoken out loud. The first version of the program ran on an Apple II, Cupertino’s most popular computer at the time. It gave Hawking the ability to ‘speak’ at 15 words per minute.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: R.I.P., Stephen Hawking.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. — Steve Jobs

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. — Steve Jobs