Q From e-mail:
Just wondering, Woz... Did you actually play a 2600 in the hospital after
the crash? If not, why do you think the writers placed on ein there? Also,
I noticed that the game on the film was nothing like any 2600 game I've
ever seen-- could that be due to any refusal by Atari/Hasbro to place
a real 2600 game in there?
have no memories of my hospital stay, but I have seen pictures of myself
playing games on my Apple ][. I've never played a game on a 2600. I think
that I was playing the first ever "Choplifter" game around this time.
me that I had them sneak in pizza and milkshakes to the hospital. I can't
remember the hospital food, but I'm sure it was bad and I'm sure that
this is a true story.
Q From e-mail:
This question regards your interest in flying.
I wonder if
you gave up flying after your accident? What drew you to take up flying
and what have you learned from your flying experiences. Also what was
the technical cause for your accident. I vaguely recall, from the book
'The Woz' that it was a loss of power during climb out.
I kept flying after my accident. I had no memories of the accident or
pain or hospitals or anything. A type of 'forward' amnesia kept me from
forming memories during the next 5 weeks. So there was no anxiety when
I got in a plane again. I was just going flying for another time, that's
all. The best explanation for my crash is that I didn't have enough speed
for a takeoff. I wanted so badly to find out what had happened that I
even underwent hypnosis, to no avail.
Q From e-mail:
I am 16 years old and I am running a small web business out of my
house .Do have any good advice on starting a business I heard many stories
about you such as creating the first usable computer for home use? All
I can say is that you and Steve Jobs have change the world and I thank
you. My company is called http://www.angelfire.com/ny2/invid/Invid design
its nothing much I am still not used to creating sites. Before my business
I was doing webgrapghics which I am still offering to people.Well I hope
you get a laugh out of my site it is still experimental. The graphics
still have problems they may be unveiwable. Send a responce onwhat can
do to make it better. Your friend Andrew P
More and more I encounter young computer users like yourself trying to
start a company and put their talents to good use, most often in web site
design and maintenance. For many close to me I've been able to provide
facilities (my office) and internet access and servers and workstations.
Even if I can't see the likelihood of success, the right ones don't need
In the days of
our first computer, the Apple I, Steve Jobs and I attended PC-76 in Atlantic
City. We were so young that it was my first time out of California, except
for a year of college in Colorado. We met many other young people like
ourselves, all trying to make something out of computers, which were their
interests. I remember talking with an older, white-haired, gentleman.
He was helping out some kids that were trying to start something. He had
helped them use some machine tools to make cases and had helped them get
a business plan and had helped them with things like tax filings, as I
recall. He was retired, he just did this to help out youngsters.
I thought that
he was the most amazing person, to give to some young people for no obvious
or visible reason.
Q From e-mail:
Woz, I was in contact with Captain Crunch a while ago, do you have a link
to his homepage? ..He mentioned you in one of our conversations. Take
it easy. --Neil
actually host his server, on an iMac, in my 'office' home. His domain
is webcrunchers.com and his email is: John Draper firstname.lastname@example.org
Q From e-mail:
I saw John [Draper] at a 2600 meeting a few months ago. He is doing good,
he was off to India the day after. he is big into raves now and meditation.
he was trying to get me to go to some meditation session with him. Hes
a funny guy. Even though he is alot older than us (i'm 22), it's like
hanging with one of the guys :) --ryan
Thank you, even though I happened to know this one. I have helped John
a lot recently. I gave him a PowerBook to use and sent him a better one
in India (had to pay 45% import duty). I host his web site on an iMac
in my 'office' home. I hear from him all the time.
John Draper (Captain
Crunch) always had amazing stories about flaws in Ma Bell and ways to
take advantage of them. Once he showed me how to tap the FBI and I did
it myself, from a normal phone. That's just one of many many things. John
was a little to weird and dangerous to be a close friend but I always
wanted to see him every few months to catch up on interesting hacker stories.
Life wouldn't be as fun without this sort of thing, even though I didn't
really do it myself. I originally believed that John was an ethical hacker,
only using a blue box to find flaws in the system. So I was that way,
in his stead. I learned how to do all sorts of stunts with the blue box
but I paid for all my own long distance calls from the dorm. That's true.
I was so careful only to do what I considered right that I told my parents
everything that I did with the blue boxes and other boxes. That's true
also. In later years, I found that very few phone phreaks were this 'ethical'
type, even John. Check out his domain: www.webcrunchers.com
Q From e-mail:
Well i've been interested in computers since my dad first bought a
386 and at the time it was the most up to date thing available. I never
knew much of the history of computers (well not the time of the movie
was based). I mastered the BASIC language (seems like ages ago) and have
moved on to much more advanced languages.I'm sorry i do tend to drag on.But
i just want to say i don't like mac programing but i love the hardware
and from what i understand your the man behind it and i just want to say
that I can't express in words what i think you've done for the world and
inderectly for me. So thank you for your genius.I just want to ask you
if you've had an active part in the designing of the new macs. and if
you ever had any idea that computers, software, and the internet would
ever amount to what it is now.Thank you on behalf of me and everyone at
www.archaic.net (still getting out the kinks) :)
I'm glad that you appreciate the Macintosh hardware, but you're wrong
to credit me in any way for it. My hardware design talents were applied
to the Apple I and Apple ][ computers and related peripherals. This occured
long ago. It was the basis for Apple's start and fame. The Apple ][ kicked
off the personal computer recognition, and legitimazed the market. Although
I was the sole logic designer and programmer and 'inventor' in this sense,
the contributions of others, primarily Steve Jobs, were critical to how
this computer struck the world. Without a nicely packaged product in an
attractive, acceptable plastic case that said "I'm OK in your home" this
product would have died like the other hobby computers for Nerds. Apple
was successful not just because of a great piece of hardware but because
of the right communications and the complete product (including manuals
and ads and our employees and priorities) the world got the message that
it was time to change a lot of things in our lives. Steve Jobs truly deserves
the visionary credit here. The Macintosh came about in later years and
it was truly Steve's project. There were actual hardware and software
engineers that did the equivalent of what I'd done on the Apple ][ but
I was not among them. At that time I'd returned to college and sponsored
some huge rock concerts. (Just to set the record straight for you)
Q From e-mail:
What would be a good source for a guy like me to learn from in order
to write an electronics oriented visual hardware design program for linux?
And where the heck are the specs on them hardware languages?
I'm thinking of some sort of open hardware project.
One of the itches I need to scratch is namely a two way radio (stereo
system/LAN compatible) that evolves out of the restrictive linear addressing
scheme used these days. The other itch is to get it secured under an open
patent. (whatever that means)
It bothers me FM can only carry 100 regional stations because it's limited
to 88 to 108 Mhz at 200khz boundaries.
I have a design (still a bit vaporware) that allows a user to create their
own radio signature. Through two carrier waves and one "scaling" component,
it creates a complex carrier pattern. It then shifts the pattern into
the FM radio range. Finally you modulate your message onto the carrier.
It also takes the 100 station limit and pumps it up to 10^6, as long as
I can prove mathematically that the carrier patterns are unique. Funny
thing is, I can only get uniqueness if I go for the million station design.
However, it is vapor, but hopefully not for long.
I know we have the Internet. However it seems we're not going to get better
bandwidth including a true peer to peer global system unless we have phone
companies put us through their satellites as soon as they feel like it.
They're already scaling back modem bandwidth since they're only required
to provide voice service. Besides the words "Big Satellite in the Sky"
are as comforting as ... "Echelon Satellite in the Sky".
By the way, have you noticed some schools have been favoring homework
on computers but still place actual learning of computers (C, ASM, COBOL)
at the college level. I get slightly miffed when people tell me they learned
assembly in High School.
If I had time, I'd want to meet you. You are very bright and trying to
do things beyond the limits. It's fascinating. I agree with you about
computer technology as belonging in all school levels, and I speak out
on this at many speeches to education groups every year. The biggest problems
are in the politics and bureaucracies of schools, but the major problem
is lack of funds to allow changes or get more done in the same time. For
example, one teacher with a handful of students can cover material many
times faster than with a class of 30, and every student in the tiny class
gets enough attention to guarantee success. Public schools set the level
of how much we spend per student. Public schools are funded through the
government. Government moneys are parcelled out according to voting strengths.
But maybe only a third or less of families have kids in schools. The kids
are the ones that need the schools but they don't get to vote. A family
of five should have five votes. Then all of this would change and education
would get more respect and there would be time for computer science.
In the meantime, why teach cursive? Why upper case? How many times have
you calculated where two canoos will meet? Someday we'll sacrifice something
for the sake of teaching computer science. It's important and beneficial.
So is driving and so is TV but cars and TV aren't the primary educational
tool of the century (this statement has a Y2K problem). Best wishes, Steve