Hi Woz! My first experience with computers was in 1982 when I was 12 years old. Shortly after that my Dad bought me an Apple // clone (sorry :) ... The Franklin Ace 1000. I kept that until the ][GS came out and drewled over it (and bought one). I still have it (Woz limited edition). Between 1983 and 1991, my life revolved around the Apple // (I've grown up now and have more important goals in life, such as my wife and children), but at the time, every waking moment was spent hacking my clone or my GS... discovering different softswitches, entry points into ROM, etc... When Apple started wayning in its support the the Apple //, it was extremely discouraging to me and my fellow Apple // "buddies". It seemed that they couldn't actively kill the // line for fear of loss of loyalty, but that they made every effort to let it die a slow death and that it continued to out-sell the Mac for years with absolutely no marketing for the // line. I've always wondered since then what was the reasoning for letting the Apple // die instead of continuiing that line with upgrades so that today, the current Mac would actually be the latest version of the Apple //? I had been hearing rumors at the time that Steve Jobs didn't like the "game" reputation the Apple // had and wanted a "business" competitor and that you were actually more of a // fan and you were the only reason the // line lasted as long as it did. What's the real story behind that? Why didn't Apple make the Mac Apple // compatible? Thanks,Michael Q. (previous graphics editor for GS+ magazine... If you remember that mag?)
The Apple ][ certainly was an excellent machine to get into the hardware and software and the basic levels of the computer. It made a lot of what a computer is understand to very many like yourself. But Apple's leadership had a very strong direction toward making the geeky parts as hidden as possible. That has it's benefits but it also takes away a very fun part of our lives, figuring out how to do our OWN things.
Apple never was very good at carrying on two lines at one time. Apple actually totally ditched the Apple ][ from 1980 to 1983. Every ad was for the Apple ///. But the Apple ][ was the best selling PC in the world in those years. It was also ignored when the Macintosh arrived because it was not the future and we can't have two high priorities at once. It's just too bad. Even though the Macintosh platform has a low market share, we keep supporting it enough to keep it working. But we didn't do the same for the Apple ][.
I don't have a strong personal 'side' on this issue. But I do receive continual email talking about how much the Apple ][ meant to people that could play with software and entry points and the like.
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. :-)
Hello Mr. Woz. I am a 14 year old fan of yours. I admire you and Steve Jobs and I was wondering about your relationship with Steve today.
I've always considered Steve a good, if not close friend. We have quite different lives and goals in some ways but we share many great memories of the times when our lives were forming, even before Apple. I enjoy chatting with Steve once in a while. He is always polite and respectful. He doesn't ever offend or intrude on my space. I try not to intrude on his. Many times I wish that we were close. Steve can relax and enjoy my many stories, whereas a lot of business driven people can't. He is more trapped to his job responsibilities and partly wishes that he could be like myself, with freedom and time for experiences with students and family. I don't long for his success and daily notoriety and running of companies, but I'm glad that Apple is in his unusual hands and hopes that it continues in that fashion even when he's gone.
Do you go to the MacWorld shows?
Do you think they [Apple] are on the right track?
I can't think of a better track. My biggest concern is the road to MacOS X. It's much easier to do than to make it Mac-like enough to please our biased users. We all want UNIX underneath a usable and simple GUI shell.
Are you still involved with Apple in any way? (one of the rumors sites claimed Apple registered Woz.com)
I'm a low paid employee. I'm loyal to the company. I like Steve Jobs and support him. I could not do what he does: I'm a techie who likes to do techie things all the time and there's not time left over to stay up on the latest technologies and the big picture. I would be too soft with other people, regarless of what's called for. I appear at various places around the world and like being an Apple employee. In these cases I sort of represent Apple. At least I always remind people of the company. I'm not officially or directly involved in Apple at this time.
I hope I'm not exploiting access to your e-mail (it may be readily available, I don't know), but I'm the sole Mac user in a company of hundreds of PC users, and I'm very encouraged by Apple's last two years. I'm wondering if you can give me some encouragement for the future.
I can't add to what you can deduce for yourself. At least we Macintosh owners aren't experiencing the level of fear now that we did before..
Thanks so much for talking to me during my recent phone call. Trying to contact [you] via the website is virtually impossible! As I explained, I am on the board of a new Museum of Computing which is going to be built in Lubbock, Texas. I have been asked to take charge of the Apple displays to include Apple 1, Apple ][, Apple III and Lisa and Mac. We would like to recreate the famous garage where the Apple 1 systems were assembled. We are convinced this would be very interesting to all of the visitors, especially the young ones! But there is a problem...I have no idea what the layout of the garage was! If we recreate this famous scene, we would like it to be fairly accurate. Can you help me? Here is my home address and home phone and e-mail address. Thanks in advance and waiting to hear from you!
First, the Apple I (and Apple ][) computers were entirely designed and tested and debugged in my Cupertino apartment (not the garage) and in my cubicle at Hewlett Packard in Cupertino (that 'calculator' division is now in Corvallis, Oregon). The PC boards of the Apple I were made in Santa Clara. As soon as they came off the production line (only 200 total were manufactured) components and chip sockets were inserted by workers and the board were wave soldered there. This was the major manufacturing step. We'd drive down and pick up a batch of boards and then drive them to the garage. We'd pay Patti Jobs and other friends $1 per board to insert all the chips from boxes of chips that we had. The garage had a single engineering workbench with a mylar top and a shelf. A monitor and transformers and keyboard, the other 3 pieces of an Apple I, were on it, as well as an oscilloscope of mine and maybe a soldering iron. I'd hook up a PC board and try it out. If it seemed to work, it would go in the 'good' stack. If it was bad I'd look at the microprocessor data and address pins with the oscilloscope. If I saw a missing signal it meant that a chip had a pin out of a socket. If a signal seemed like two fighting signals (halfway between high and low) it meant that two traces were shorted on the PC board. About half of the boards had such problems.
The workbench (lab table) was mounted right up to the garage door. So if you were seated at the workbench and someone opened the garage door you'd be looking straight out. We also had a small container of spare parts, like chips, in small pullout drawers. It sat on some table behind the workbench. There were no manuals or drafting tables or other design aids here. I can't tell you much more.
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.)
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.
Wow! I stumbled onto your site when doing a search about Apple things, but am I glad I did! I've done a LOT of studying about the history of Apple (I read the book "On The Firing Line" by Gil Amelio, watched "Pirates of Silicon Valley" and even saw a few documentaries about Apple) And YOU are the man that made it happen.
Anyway, I take it from your "comments" section that you're a Hypercard fan. Well, hey, so am I! I think it's a wonderful tool to work with... except for one lil nagging thing. Color. The Color Tools stack simply doesn't work well with manipulating buttons and icons and things..
I assume that you've got your own solution to that since you're a genius..
I have no solution. Apple does have a color kit that can do a little but it's hard to use. I've had my own students use it for games.
Bill Atkinson developed hypercard for Apple, and they didn't even know that he's color blind.