commodore 64

You made a difference to a lot of people

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Woz, My dad bought an Apple //c back in 1982 (I think) after our Commodore 64 failed to impress him. We had a neighbor who had a //c as well, so we pirated software between us, based on what we could find on Bulletin Boards (with my 300 baud modem). Yes, we also made some purchases, but at the time, none of us had any real appreciation for what we had.

I used my //c to play a bunch of games, make posters and signs, and write school papers. I thought I was the coolest kid in school, because I had a "computer". At the time, I had no idea what Apple was about, and had someone mentioned the names Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or anyone else mentioned in "Pirates", I would have given a dumb, blank stare in response. To me, it was this cool toy that did just about anything I could imagine wanting to do.

I took a BASIC class in high school, and learned on IBM computers. When I discovered that I could write BASIC programs on my //c, I was ecstatic! I started writing simple programs to flash names of girls on the screen who I had crushes on, and so on. We're talking really simple here. But seeing these things work gave me such a feeling of happiness and confidence, I can't begin to express it.

When my dad decided it was time to get a newer, better computer in 1987(?), I figured "ok, something bigger and better than my //c". I had no clue what I was in for. He bought a Mac SE, and the first thing I remember saying to him when he showed me the interface was "Why do I have to click the mouse twice? Shouldn't it be once? That's stupid!" When I left for college in 1989, I took my //c and a handful of games (my favorite being "Below The Root", which I used to LOVE), along with AppleWorks (the original AppleWorks). I used it for two years, and then came back home to finish my degree.

In the next several years, living with my parents, I graduated with an MBA, and started using a 6100/60, and just before my parents moved to Florida (leaving me to pay rent in our house in Staten Island, NY), I bought a Mac Clone (PowerBase). I set up my //c on my desk right next to my PowerBase, and at one point in time, I even got the //c to call the Mac (using that old 300 baud modem). It stayed connected only long enough for me to write "Hi" to myself, and when I saw it appear on the Mac screen, I couldn't believe my eyes. Here was a 16-year-old computer talking to a 16-day-old computer. At the time, Steve Jobs was just returning to Apple, and I started to hear his name a lot more frequently. I researched him, found out a bit about his past, and discovered your name, and your involvement. Prior to this, I really didn't follow the computer industry much, except to know that I was using the better, less popular platform.

I now own a Yosemite G3/400, and my PowerBase is connected via Ethernet and sitting under my desk, but the //c sits proudly on the desk next to the Blue G3. I now know and appreciate who it was who created the //c, and who wrote the BASIC that I used to make Stacey and Laura's names appear flashing on my screen. I now understand who you are, and what you are about, and I feel foolish for calling Steve Jobs my "hero". Granted, as a current AAPL shareholder, and Mac user/evangelist, he is a hero of sorts, but when it comes to computers in general, my early involvement, and the joy I got when I was a kid, I now know that it is you I have to thank for putting in the blood, sweat and tears (not to mention putting up with Steve Jobs!).

I almost never use the //c anymore, but even at 17 years old, it still boots up, and still runs programs off those flimsy floppies. I even found a girl recently who had a //e and used to play Below The Root! Too bad, she was not interested in going out with me. Her loss :)

I have a "cool" Web site at http://www.stealth.net which you will find amusing, if not creative and cool, just for the navigation metaphor.

Thanks, Woz, for inventing the machine that made me love computers, and helping start the company that has shaped so many important details in my adult computing life. Whether you wanted it or not, whether you cared or not, you made a difference to a lot of people, and I, for one, will forever cherish that. You're my hero.

Woz

For quite a long time I laid quite low and had no idea that so many people were fans for the right reasons. I figured that many were fans just because they had the Apple Macintosh and loved it, as I do, and heard my name. But so many were touched the right way by the Apple ][. It truly had an impact that no modern computer can. In your own story I see that a couple of simple things (games, BBS, flashing names, etc.) that truly inspired you. I look back to my own such experiences in my youth, largely before computers but related to science and electronics, so emotionally that I know that those experiences truly shaped my life. Even my father, an engineer, is very important to me now, more so than when he was around. I'm even thankful for the 'right' books that I stumbled on that gave me direction here.

Before computers, many fewer of us typed. But I was a very good typist, even acing out the girls in typing 2 in HS. I'm not so fast anymore, because I switched to Dvorak and use a tiny PowerBook keyboard, but...Anyway, at one point in my life, my third year of college, the most important thing I owned was an IBM Selectric Typewriter. Steve Jobs and I got a couple for a blue box, The next year, my most important possession would be my HP-35 calculator. But when I got to designing what became the early Apple computers I had to have the circuitry complete and in front of me and usable like a typewriter. Being around HP calculators was a boon to seeing computers this way too. So I always liked computers that sat right in front of you, like a typewriter. I use only PowerBooks these days. The Apple ][c was truly my favorite Apple ][. It had to be plugged in, but with an LCD screen it was incredibly small in it's day. I'm always glad to be reminded of it by people like you.

Your web site is VERY cool and really grabbed me instantly. Instantly it seems a lot more negotiable than almost any others, even if you're a Windows user. If mine gets done in this style you won't sue me for violating your look and feel, will you? (kidding)

Good luck, and don't get fooled as to what is good and what is junk.

Accept my gratitude

in
Comment from E-mail

I've gone from a Commodore 64, my first computer, to my iMac RevB, my second computer. With a 12yr absence from computers. Needless to say, there's some catching up to do. All this conflict between Wintel and Mac's is beyond my understanding, nor do I care why it exists. I want a reliable, user friendly home computer, period. I have no predefined prejudices for or against either macintosh or the other machines. But the history of all this is what I missed in the past 12-15 years and that's very interesting to me now. especially your side of things.

First-off thanks for getting the ball rolling all that time back. And please keep your comments coming, most interesting to hear your side of it. I did not watch the "Pirates" movie for many reasons, most of all because Hollywood made it. Now if PBS had done it I may have watched... I really like my Mac. I do hope in the long run as I learn more, that I will come to admire my macintosh as much as my guru friends do. Talk about rambling.....I'ld send money, but I know you don't need it, so please accept my gratitude for doing what you've done. Regards

Woz

Thanks for having a clear head and not caring about what everyone else might have. That's to your benefit and it's a benefit to you also. My part of the history is very unusual as major business success stories throughout time go. Someday it may be told in a book. But Apple may only be in the background!

Congrats on sticking to your guns

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Comment from E-mail

Hi "Woz,"
I've had a great time reading your website. Good stuff, all around. I esecially liked your one response:

"I can lose all my money or get no credit for inventing the personal computer that started things or many more things. But never should my ethics and moralities and principals challenged in a way to make it seem that I sold out or acted out of less honesty or just looked after my own interests or was selfish."

A very honorable and rare stance it seems, nowadays. :-/ This resonates for me, as I'm slaving away in the "ivory towers" of academia, amidst people who are driven primarily by ego and to whom the truth is mutable and stretched by careful phrasing and hand-waving. I'm certainly not as niave as when I started my PhD degree five years ago, but I'm hopeful I can emerge from this with my ideals in tact, and not having to screw someone else to finish my degree.

It's sad when so much emphasis is put on results ("publish or perish") and the desperate pace at which they much be attained. The business world can be much the same, if not worse, I know. It doesn't matter if someone is a total jerk and chews up and spits people out, if he/she can produce results and bring in the cash.

Anyway, congrats on sticking to your guns and going the direction you want to go; it's not easy at all. I hope I'll find my niche out there with a minimum of politics and conflict. I suppose I'm a "sensitive soul" as well, because conflict and posturing among coworkers really kills my productivity and makes me want to be anywhere else.

I'm really surprised that people have written and called you egomanical, etc. There's a huge difference in being proud and self-assured in one's accomplishments versus recognition-seeking for "ego stroking." I think the authors of those posts need a good dose of maturity and some psychological counseling.

Anyway, I think I'm starting to ramble at this point, so I'll just close by saying that some of my fond memories of first being exposed to computers and learning to program involved a "Bell and Howell" all-black Apple (I or II?) and later a "signed" Woz-edition IIgs. Fun stuff!

It's also fun to look at what I've owned since then: Commodore 64, Commodore 128, Amiga 500, Amiga 3000, Mac IIvx, PowerMac 7100, and now a "beige" G3. Too bad the Amiga didn't catch on. Lots of potential there with full pre-emptive multitasking in 512K of RAM. :-)

Best wishes,
B

Woz

Thank you

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Question from E-mail

I just wanted to write you this letter to say thank you. I'm 23 years old and have used Apple computers for ever, except for a little time with the commodore 64 and 128, and the atari, because they had cool games. Oh yeh I also used a computer called a laser it was a Apple clone of some type I think. I joke with people sometimes about how happy I was when we got our new Mac at my house and it had 2Mb of RAM and a 20 Mb hard drive and I thought what am I going to do with all this space, and know it is all about Gig and more. I design websites and I do editing for local tv commercials and corporate videos, for a company that me and my dad own together (he owns more cause he is my dad). I basically would like to tell you thanks for making the Apple I and the Apple II they were great computers and you will be glad to know I still have a working Apple IIe and have over 20 old Apple and Mac computers in storage basically for posterity and to never forget where i came from so to speak. Now I use a G3 266 for editing and I have a iMac, a 6300, a 6500,a LC 580 and a Powerbook 5300cs still going strong at my office. Wow is that iMac G3 fast compared to my LC 580 and my 6300 but I still love the slow ones, but what's slow really compared to my Mac classic storage now that's slow. I don't know if you will read this whole letter, but if you do thanks for everything you done. 

P.S. I don't know how hard core a Mac user I am but I've only used one microsoft program in my life and that was because I had to in my computer lab in college, but I always go back to the best computers ever made my Apple's. Thank you for your time Matthew.

Woz

I can write a few people back, but not everybody. So far I've managed to read all my email but it gets very tough at times. I have other things that I used to do, like sleep and eat.

On a personal note, you'll go further and be more motivated because of your reason, your bias against Microsoft. A lot of people can't say exactly why they feel this way. Maybe it's just because Microsoft was overly successful selling junk, while Apple would only sell good stuff. Microsoft has learned that you don't have to make something good to sell it.