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Letters-General Questions Answered  


Q From e-mail:
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.

Q From e-mail:
I am just another admirer of your work. You probably get tons of letters like this, and I thought I'd just add to it. I'm no good at writing or talking to famous people, so this may be a short letter.

I still have our first Mac. I think it started with my uncle, and it was the 128k(may have been more), but he upgraded it to 1MB. I am getting it repaired. Sadly I fried the motherboard as a young child by using it on a nice fuzzy statically charged rug. We still have all the original disks for it, like Excel 1.0, PageMaker 1.0, and all sorts of old programs.

I think what you did revolutionized the computing world. I think the fact that I was born the same year brought me to the Mac side of computers. I still have our collection ranging from the Original, the Performa 550, the 7200/75 or the almost brand new G3 350 Yosemite.

Although I founded Apple Computer and was a part of our early developing corporate image (including 'thinking different) I didn't have much to do with the Macintosh line. The most that I could say is that some of my best Apple friends, including ones that were inspired by myself and others that inspired me, were on the Macintosh team.

For the thinking that took personal computers in the graphical user interface direction (including even Windows) you should thank Steve Jobs. All I can say is that I love the Macintosh and supported it from the first...Woz

Q From e-mail:
I thought it would be fun to drop a line, even though I have never met you and you don't know me. Also, I was talking to someone on TalkCity who said that you were their father. If it really was your kid, say hi for me please.

My kids are online a lot but I'd have to know more to say if one of them might have been the one to whom you refer...

Comment From e-mail:
Is it true that you got the cellphone number 4444444 and got a whole lot of 'prank' calls from babies?


I have sought repeating phone numbers for ages. I did get (408) 444-4444* and it is unusable because I get about 100 calls a day from babies that can't even talk. In October (very soon) our area code gets what is called an area code overlay of (669). Then we well be forced to dial 1-408-nnn-nnnn for every call, even if it's next door. The full 11-digit number will be too hard for babies to dial by luck so I will finally be able to use my (408) 444-4444 number.

Also, after I had 444-4444, they came up with free numbers in the U.S. using (444) as the area code. If people try to call a free (444) number, for a company or something, but they leave off the 'long distance' code of 1 (one) before it, they can reach me.

For example, if they are supposed to dial 1-(444)-444-8526 but leave off the '1' then they get me because their first 7 digits are 444-4444. This only reaches me if they are in my (408) area code. But in October, the 7-digit numbers here (in our area code) will no longer work, so I will no longer get these calls either. It's interesting because I have one 444- number that gets calls about once a week for an escort service, "Bored Housewives." I generally get these calls at 2 AM or thereabouts. I now answer these calls with a very weird sounding voice, like I have a different plan in my head, and tell them that they have to drive to a certain place and wait for me. I tell them, in the weird voice, that I'll pull up and open the door and that they should get in and we'll go "somewhere." So far, everyone that I've done this to has changed their minds.

*Numbers used in the above response have been changed for obvious reasons, but I think you get the idea.



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