I know you probably receive hundreds of email stating "I'm your biggest
fan", etc, however I would like to take this time to formally thank
you for originally designing the best system in existance (yes, the Apple
I/II). I'm a 23 year old Unix System Administrator currently serving out
a 2 year work contract in beautiful Bermuda. I literally grew up (since
age 2) with the Apple ][, then migrating to a Classic, Performa, Powermac,
and now an iBook.
Thanks for the generous remarks. I think that a lot of people look back
on the Apple ][ days because things were so much fun and life-altering
then if you had a computer, independent of how great it really was or
wasn't. For a brief window in history we were masters of this part of
our life instead of slaves to it.
I have a question to ask you. Do you ever feel like technology is getting
the least bit out of hand? I encounter people on a daily basis which scream
"I can't get my email", and make it seem like the end of the
world. Sometimes I wish we could go back to the days of text BBS'ing where
Fidonet mail would suffice for electronic mail. Now it seems that everyone
is strapped down to cell phones, pagers, pdas, and technology simply must
be present in order for them to humanly survive. And as you can imagine
working at an ISP, this is a constant encounter :-) Don't get me wrong,
I enjoy the latest-of-latest electronic gadgets, however I don't need/want
technology strapped all over my body.
I think that the best solution, these days, to most computer problems
is strict adherence to standards like those of email and HTML. Remember
how great and trouble-free HTML was at first? Before Mosaic it was intended
as Text only, with a preference to using Logical tags instead of Physical
ones. In a text based world it's hard to violate the standard, although
other languages can mess that one up too.
As to all the
other technology changes in our life, communication has never changed
so much or so rapidly in all of history. Humans are changing, in how they
live and communicate, more than ever before. I don't like my life being
taken over by so much of this technology. Instead of a leader, any normal
person can only be behind on most technical things, even knowing about
them and their capabilities. I try, in my own life, to find a few gems
that simplify my life in the best way. I use an analog cell phone, even
though I am constantly playing with digital ones. To me, the reliability
of a phone is more important than all the techie and PDA toys. I even
forward my phone to land-line phones at each stop for reliability. So
when people dial one number (it's never changed in a decade) they get
me reliably, no matter where I am. This is worth more than email and messaging
on my phone.
I was trying to
find a way to design a simple web browsing machine, using your phone line
and TV. I wasn't convinced that I'd found the right engineers so I didn't
go ahead. Shortly thereafter WebTV came along and did a good job at the
simplification I was after. So I got that for my mom, rather than have
her first web experience be with a computer that might turn her off to
it for the rest of her life.
I know that many
people speak as we do of simplifying. Someday, perhaps after Moore's Law
has expired and hardware isn't rapidly improving, there should be time
for devices (and things like customer support) to be revived and made
humanistic. I'd call this a renaissance.
I often load up my Apple ][ emulator and simply reminicse over the
good ol' days. I truely believe the Apple ][ stood for something more
than a foundation for the Mac, but rather a symbol of symplicity in general.
You didn't have the clutter of a huge OS, hardware requirements, system
crashes, and best of all, we had long filename support back then! ;-)
I actually look at the Macintosh as an attempt to make things simpler
for users. I do wish that things wouldn't have become as bad as they are.
Looking back, I wish that the Macintosh had come a year or 2 later but
with kernel level routines handling varied things in less complex ways
from the start. Add-ons are always bad, even the Macintosh's multi-tasking.
Being in support field for several years now, I often wonder if people
truely remember where the original roots of the Mac stemmed from? Worst
of all, will the kids growing up today understand how computers evolved?
I truely hope there will be a "Computer History" course rolled
into high-school ciriculum one day. I plan to pursue a more education-oriented
carrer (trainer/teacher), and would be delighted to some day teach a course
along these lines. I strongly believe the history of computers should
be preserved and passed on to the newer generation.
I doubt that people today see that the revenues of the Apple ][ were so
high that a company the size of Apple today was guaranteed. It would actually
have a higher market evaluation if the Apple ][ profits had been put into
grape orchards instead of the company. Sure, the Apple ][ isn't around
or adequate for today, so it's impact is forgotten and will be more and
I look forward to your reply, and realize you must have many other
emails to send off. If you would ever like to come to Bermuda for vacation,
let me know. I'd be more than happy to show you the island. We can even
trade war stories over a cup of coffee ;-)
I'll copy my wife on this! It sounds good to me and I've never been there.
What's the deal with your e-mail problem?
After the "Pirates
of Silicon Valley" TV movie, I was deluged with thousands of emails. Most
were wishing me well and I tried to read all of them and answer most.
I got about 1,000 emails behind at one point but eventually got to them
up to a year late.
I don't have a corporation
with staff to answer my email. I don't believe in being indirect. But
I've lost a lot of my life in the last year due to 8-20 hours of email
a day. I have to ask a favor of all of you, that may allow me to keep
up with email needs. If possible, please make it clear in your email that
you don't need an answer. That gives me the best chance of at least reading
all of them.
E included me in a category of "Billionaires" which is totally backwards
and wrong. They call me a college dropout in their guide info, despite
the fact that I explained to them why that was not accurate. Read "My
Take" if you want to know the real story.