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.
My name is Lisa L. I am interestd in setting up a computer program in West Virginia like the one Mr. Wozniak has set up for the Los Gatos schools. I have the funding to buy the computers, but I was wondering if it would be possible to sit in on some of the classes so I can see how it's being done here.
I am a tech support engineer for Calico Commerce, and have recently graduated from Cornell University.
It is possible to sit in on some classes. My current class is on hold until January due to one son's wrestling schedule. I'm doing less of the teaching than ever before this year because I'm so busy. But I direct the program content and teach some subjects.
The current class is not my starter class, which I think relates more to other schools. This is an advanced class. We touch on semi-professional uses of the computer and much greater skill than in just a 1-year (200 hour) course.
Woz, I read the book West of Eden. My son has been a ardent follower of your cause for a long time. I'm 53, disabled, and looking for a midlife career change. The only friends I have is my wife, my dog, Georgia Tech, and my Computer. Would you chat with me about exploring different avenues open to people in this situation? Maybe we could start a Old Fart's School. Any help and counciling that you can give me will be greatly appreciated.
I wish that I had the least bit to contribute to your suggestion, but I'm barely able to keep up with just my heavy email load. It does seem to me that community colleges have done a good job over our lifetimes of making education available to us older folks...although I've only taken advantage of it for leisure, like learning other languages.
Hey Woz, my names Brian Dressel I'm from Minneapolis Minnesota I just wanted to thank you so much for the kick ass computer you people designed called the Apple 2, In so many ways I still enjoy that better than any IBM game out there.
I fell in love with games like Sherlock Holmes Another Bow, Wings of Fury etc etc :)
Thanks for all the fun you provided with that great computer :)
Good to hear from you. I think that all interesting people fell in love with computer games. Just my 2...
We pooled all of our resources and bought one of the first Apple G. S's to hit the stores up here in Alaska.
On the front of it is a strange signature, "WOZ". I have never seen another G. S. that had been signed in this manner. Did you per chance sign the front of any of the early ones as a lark? If you did perhaps you would be interested to know this particular model ended up in Anchorage Alaska and brought our whole family into the world of technology and I still dearly love the little fellow and keep him in a place of honor in our library. (Of course both he and I are retired now but he's still good for a fast chess game now and then with my grand-kids and I.
Thanks for the opportunity to inquire about my little guy,
When Apple asked me for a signature for a special limited edition of the Apple ][gs I figured that it was for a few hundred computers. But they made 50,000 with the signature.
Occasionally I'm asked to sign, with a Sharpie pen, one of these or one of the ones without the "Woz" signature.
Thanks for letting me know of your respect for your little fellow.
I just wanted to write this to tell how grateful I am that Apple Computer was developed. Mainly because there would be no such as the personal computer and many advances never would've happened if it wasn't for Apple. I also wanted to write because recently I was watching A&E's top 100 hundred and was disappointed to see that you where not named and Bill Gates was. I sat there and said to myself what did he do to deserve that besides make a lot of money nothing. I would've at least to of like to of seen at least Steve Jobs or at least a mention of Apple but when they rounded out the top five I knew it wouldn't happen and was deeply disappointed that the two people or even the person who changed the daily lives of everyone was not even mentioned at all during that.
Well, I just wanted to thank you for helping change my life and the way I live it everyday. If it was not for the Apple Macintosh computer I would not have a job or hobby anymore and am grateful for having it around. I am always exited about the new developments coming out of Apple and just have one question for you. As an original developer of the MacOs and with the new version of it coming out next year MacOs X I was just wondering what your comments on it and how it will change it from where it started and how you feel about it? Thanks again, Spencer Parker
I'm glad that you see things this way. It is fair to say that Bill and Microsoft did a bit of engineering (writing BASIC for the Altair computer) at the start and did take risks in setting up and running a business. But we at Apple did much more to bring computing to people and we took much greater risks and we did our own designs and used our own money and time a lot more. We worked to create the hardware and the software that would do new things. We didn't merely buy others' programs and find a way to sell them at a profit. Apple even popularized (and largely created) the technology that Microsoft makes it's money off of.
I think that MacOS X will be very very great but will, at first, only reach loyal Macintosh owners. I think that it will be well accepted by the Macintosh users by the time it comes out and that the grumbling about differences will be short lived. I think that differences like fast graphics and more game software will be even more important than a more stable OS though.
Just a few questions regarding your opinion of various technical differences between MacOS and Windows:
What do you think of Macs having only one mouse button?
Also, do you prefer the Macintosh re-usable menu bar, or do you think a separate menu bar per window (like MS Windows) is a better design?
As you will be aware, with Macintosh, when a dialog box is displayed the user cannot switch applications - the dialog box must be dealt with first; but with Windows the dialog box still allows the user to switch and use other applications, they just cannot do anything with the application to which the dialog box belongs to until it is dealt with. Which do you see as a better design?
We only have one brain, and for many that are new, or just not computer savvy, or old, or slow, the single button is much more comfortable. But when you look at the cortex of the brain, the amount of space allocated to your fingers outweighs almost any other part of your body. Fingers are very efficient and controllable. It's a shame to restrict this incredible operating plus. After all, we use all 10 fingers just fine to type. I love a 2 or 3 button mouse and find it as easy to use as going for command keys. I also love the scrolling wheels.
I don't always have only one answer on the menu bar question. I think that the MS way is the more logically correct way, but I find myself getting lost much less on the Macintosh. You don't have the desired menu per app or menu per window, but you always know where to go. Your fingers often learn to just instantly go somewhere, like on a video game, without having to partner with your eyes to see exactly where they are supposed to go this time.
Everyone hates modal dialog boxes, but a lot of them can be skipped. Often the application menu is not grayed out, and even if it is, command-tab might work.
I just wanted to let you know how impressed I am with you.
In 1984 I bought a Apple //c, and to this date I view it as one of the best computers I ever had. It was so easy to use, and it just has a look of quality!
While I am now using a 'PC' I still think that the //c was an awesome machine! I think you guys had a wonderful machine in the // series, and I was sad to see it go.
Also while I never had a //GS, I did get a chance to see one and I was amazed with it's beautiful graphics, and it amazing sound abilities!
I also liked the way you were shown in the movie. I thought you were shown as a kind and gentle person, someone whom I would like to meet someday.
I wish you the best in all that you do, and I hope that you are still creating new machines. Some day I would like to see you create the next Apple //!
Thanks for your generous remarks.
I'm glad that you liked the way that I was portrayed in the movie. I'm exactly like that. I can't understand how so many get so rich and forget about the few that were around joking with them and helping debug things from the start.
I especially liked my ][c, with an LCD panel to boot. It was so great and transportable.
How do I contact Woz or his school? I would like to find out about elementary school curriculum.
Sorry, but I'm totally overloaded with email every day. My own computer classes take students from the local schools, including the local elementary school, but I have a very different curriculum than is appropriate for almost any other school. I buy totally new equipment and software to help my class run smoothly each year, without constant problems or excess work to take a wider range of equipment and needs into account.
I found your web site through a series of events:
1) I read an article about Gary Kildall in Dr. Dobb's about a year or so ago
2) After the "finding of facts" in the Microsoft trail came out, there was generally two thoughts on the matter; Marketing people said "Ohh.. so it's OK to be successfull, but don't be too successfull etc. etc." while Engineers generally would say that Microsoft is a completely amoral company. Being an engineer myself I wrote a letter to ComputerWorld in Denmark, who printed my letter
3) I was approached, and challenged, by a co-worker about my views, and we started talking about who invented "Windows". I told him that a) Windows was created by RankXerox's PARC, b) it was succesfully tested and implemented by Apple and that c) Gary Kildall designed a lot of the stuff that Microsoft called MS-DOS.
4) I revisited the Dr.Dobb's article and saw that Gary (may he rest in peace) was "pissed" that Steve Jobs was known as Mr.Apple while You are known "only" by engineers.. So I started looking and found your site!
That's kind of a short analysis of things, but in that many words is about as accurate as you can get in regard to the foundations of Windows. Don't forget that the first versions of Windows were built on top of DOS, a product that Microsoft didn't even create.
I, as many others, wish that Gary Kildahl had been in the place of Bill Gates. He was a very nice person and wanted the computer industry to proceed. I doubt that he would have pursued the monopolistic courses that Microsoft travelled.