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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 


Q From e-mail:
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!

WOZ: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.

Q From e-mail:
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.

WOZ: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..

Q From e-mail:
Are you still involved with Apple in any way? (one of the rumors sites claimed Apple registered Woz.com)


WOZ:
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.


Q From e-mail:
Do you think they [Apple] are on the right track

WOZ:
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.

Q From e-mail:
Do you go to the MacWorld shows?


WOZ:
Very seldom...Steve

Comment From e-mail:
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.

Woz:
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.

Comment From e-mail:
Hi "Woz,"
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. :-)

Best wishes,
B



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