IBM

Apple in schools

in
Comment from E-mail

I'm a teacher too. I work in Clovis California, for the Clovis Unified School District. Recently the technology direction of my school district has been under a former Silicon Valley "techno-it-all". Under his regime we have no longer been able to purchase any Apple product at all because "the real world" uses PC's and Apple is going out of business as everyone knows. My school is a lone member of the dwindling rebel alliance that still survives (barely) in this oppressive climate. It wouldn't bother me if other schools chose on their own what they wanted to use. If they wanted IBM's, well that's fine! I would at least like some creative autonomy. What I want to know from you is would you work in a school district like this ? What would you do ? No one seems to be willing to stand up for the individuals. It's all about conformity.

Woz

We've heard that abused children grow up to be abusers. If the technical staff of a school and the individual teachers are treated with a lack of respect their self esteem is lowered. This gets passed on to their students. Teachers that prefer Macintosh should be allocated Macintosh. The technical support group should not override this as long as the teacher is willing to provide the needed support, or knows that the technical staff may not be able to provide it. If your school district is large enough to justify even a single Apple technical support person, one should be added for this purpose. Macintosh/PC networks work a dozen ways.

We work that way in our own, primarily Macintosh, district. Basically, a single person and a few part time techs keep 600 Macintosh computers running, using a file management tool to keep the computer software maintained automatically. Macintosh NetBoot, available for newer Macintosh computers, helps minimize the maintenance for Macs as well.

You could have started Apple. Clearly.

in
Comment from E-mail

Steve, Hey, I just found your web site! I have always wanted to be able to send a maser to you, but it took discovery of your site with its nice invitation to send letters to get me going.

I have been an Apple fan since in high school. Dad bought a very early apple II (before the plus) It was about serial number 3700. I got started in electronics tech school shortly afterward and the Apple was great for learning hardware/software development. Printers were very expensive back then, and as a near kid ended up getting a IBM Selectric IO terminal (upper case only) and designed, built and learned assembly from the built in monitor. Got it to print just fine!

I ended up with a genuine Apple I computer in college, and used it to learn more about digital h/w. Ended up banking some DRAM's piggyback, added a Write protect jumper for the back to keep my buggy as code from trashing everything. Added Parallel ports, timers, and a DAC to do that sinusoidal waveform synthesis stuff. I remember reading that there were folks making touch tones with DAC's...

Most of all I am to this day still telling folks how efficient Apple computer was at designing hardware. The Apple I was only the size of a terminal board, but was a full computer. The Apple II was miles better integrated than anything else, and even when IBM came out it was SO FULL OF CARDS to do the same work. The Mac was a again really excellent.

So I went from electronic tech, to engineer and was always thinking and talking apple - like the story of how you re-laid out the disk controller to get rid of a few feedthroughs. Everything was so good for the day - the Apple I disk controller, the II disk drive I/O card gee the little 256byte monitor for the Apple I was cool.

Steve - , and I really liked the back page Fine Home-building piece on the cave you built for your kids. That magazine went to work and we all sat around the lab talking about it.

P.S. I've got a basement of old stuff, the apple I, a few apple II's, a few IIe's a few IIc's, an Apple III, an IMSAI and an Altair. And a bunch of Mac's, Just can't bear to part with them. However due to space reasons, gone are the KIM-1, AIM-64 and a whole bunch of other computers. I'm glad I saved what I did, just thinking about the KIM and AIM has got me a bit wistful.

Someday I've got to take a photo of the Apple I. It looks so cobbled up, I feel bad about the cuts and jumpers on it now, but it sure helped a me learn about computers - and besides it looks like a hobbyist who really did use the thing.

Woz

Your story is one just like my own life, learning by seeing and modifying and having technical skills. With a couple of years difference you could have started Apple, clearly. You are so lucky to have the old equipment. I can hardly believe that you actually have an Apple I. I got rid of a lot of my old stuff because it was taking up 4 storage lockers, and I've regretted it ever since. I had about every Apple ][ program and peripheral ever up until some point.

The cave that I built didn't really work out. It wasn't attractive enough for kids to use as a hangout. But some secret spaces through the walls and in hidden attics with peep holes and more, things that had no practical reason in a home, turned out great for the kids.

Why does Apple comp's cost more ?

in
Comment from E-mail

I am a huge Apple fan, favoring the old Apple //e. I'd really like to own an Apple computer, but due to the cost, I can't. Why do Apple's cost $3,400 or more, when I can pick up an IBM for around $400???

Woz

We just give you more for the buck than PC clones, that's all.

Cloning

in
Comment from E-mail

Do you think Apple would Now be in a much stronger position [in the market place] if someone had allowed the cloning of machines earlier than the decision was taken to do so .... and would allowing the deals set in place in the late 90s to be brought to fruition have helped the numbers out there?

Woz

I think that Apple would be primarily a software company now and would be the size of Microsoft, which would be greatly diminished. I'm not sure that cloning would have given businesses the incentive to pass on IBM but we would have owned the consumer market.

David vs. Goliath

in
Comment from E-mail

Knowing your time is at a premium, any feedback you might supply to the following questions will be greatly appreciated.

I'm writing a story about the rise of the computer industry for our millennium series ( http://www.usatoday.com/2000/2000.htm ), and was hoping you could answer two questions.

1) Is there any other field that would've allowed a company as imaginative as Apple to thrive? Why or why not?

2) Did you experience a David vs. Goliath-type triumph over some of the larger computer companies when your Apple computers began to take off?

Thank you for your time, and great site by the way. (We check out the WozCam a few times a week.)

Woz

I think that a company as imaginative as Apple, coming from youngsters and not established companies, could only be started in a very rapidly and unexpectedly growing field. Of course this happens once in a while, maybe once in a decade. Surely early times of the steel industry and railroads must have been like this. Not to mention the gold rushes, and in more recent times, the internet and it's many facets.

When we started Apple, the Goliaths didn't think that the industry was worth much or going far. So there was really no triumph. Our first competition was with Radio Shack and Commodore, and we did feel a great triumph over them because their products were so much less than ours. But IBM was a bit tougher, even after we had the majority of the market.

Apple should be more open

in
Question from E-mail

Do you think Jobs will ever "Get it"? Let me explain what I mean. The PC was a bad computer. It was slow and had a poor OS. What I feel made the PC take off was the fact that the systems were open. Within a year of the release of the first IBM you had several other companies making the same products. When IBM went to the PS/2 (Micro BUS) to cut out competers, the PS/2 failed, so IBM learned and went back to the ISA/EISA/PCI bus and now IBM is doing better. Apple allowed Clones 3 years ago and did badly (I think because the quality went down on the MAC for a while then it came back). My point is do you think Apple will ever open it's system again? I feel they should have opened the first MACs back in 84. If they had, Apple might own part of MS, not the other way around. I would like any of your comment or personal observation.

Woz

We did so well in the days when we had extremely open products. But Steve Jobs has always tried to make them tighter and more closed. He says that it's beneficial to the user not to have all the many permutations of configurations.

We basically only had one disagreement over the Apple ][ design. He tried to get me to go with 2 slots instead of 8. I stood for 8 and told him he could find another computer. Call it artistic license. It paid off in the long run. But from that day on, he always tries to have less flexablitiy and variation possible in our computers than PC's have. He tries to define a machine for one purpose and precisely configured for it. But people always want other things too.

You find a ton of people like I was once, engineers and technicians, who can buy PC subassemblies and chips and can make breadboards and you don't even have magazines telling how to do this on Macs. I have no further comment.

The ][c

in
Question from E-mail

I just wanted to say, that really appreciate everything you have done over the years. My dad got me a IIc when they first shipped in 1984, and I used that wonderful little system until 95 when I upgraded to one of your Limited Edition "Woz" IIgs systems. but I chose to stick w/ the past & not only did I get a IIc+ later that year, but a rom 03 IIc.... Lately I have a custom built IBM system, but I still have my IIgs which has been greatly updated thanks to Alltech Electronics and several other companies.. And have helped a couple friends reawaken their old GS systems and bring them up to date as much as a IIgs can be updated. on to other subjects, I watched "Pirates of Silicon Valley" last night, and found it to be very reveiling about the past......and was wondering what you thought about everything that had happened.... ack....blasted server.....gotta go...lag is killing me..

Woz

 

I loved the ][c the most of all the Apple's.

All of the early Apple's had the laptop to typewriter size right in front of you. This is what I like. I broke with tradition for this 'look'. I have nice minitowers but I rarely use anything but a laptop, a PowerBook, as a computer. I just like it all in front of me, it's hard to explain why.