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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 



Comment From e-mail: Can you describe what you saw when you went to Xerox PARC. In your mind what was or is the best product Apple has made. Also if Apple offered you a job today to design products for them would you ? How would you fell about working w/ Steve again?

Woz:
I cannot describe with certainty all that I saw at Xerox. I was working on Apple ][ products at the time and only visited one time. I remember being so impressed that I saw that anyone who used a system like theirs would never go back. The mouse and windows on a screen, with a lot of software working on it, plus the SmallTalk language stick out the most in my mind. Steve Jobs had a great determination to make this available to the common people buying masses of personal computers.

It's significant to note that Apple may well have developed such a machine without the Xerox visit, or any knowledge of their products. A few outside companies were already marketing bit-mapped software shells for the Apple ][. These only ran one program at a time, as the Macintosh was at first, but were mainly text based. A few graphics-included examples were popping up. The LISA and Macintosh just took this to a very complete level, with the base GUI functionality programmed into the OS.

I would work with Steve Jobs as long as the capacity were one in which I could contribute. I think that the problem is that I've been away from technology for a while, concentrating on making computers understandable within the schools, and maintaining computer and network (LAN/WAN/Internet) operations. So I'm not sure where that would fit. It would have to be a perfect fit to drag me from my home and kids too. More likely Steve would not want to work with me, due to my having sort of 'dropped out' of current advanced technologies, with the risk of having low energy for it.

Comment From e-mail:
My name is Matt S., I had come to your web site after searching for information on a unix file format. I have no idea how. Anyway, I have a few questions about you if you have a moment or two. I have seen pirates of silicon valley a few times and enjoyed it, I am glad to see that the movie has accurately reflected you (I'm not sure our worlds richest man is quite that stupid however). I want to know how you can work so much? Do you just view working with computers as a game or is it just extremely interesting to you? I am a programmer in a few different languages however I don't care much about money. That is unfortunate in that everyone today cares about getting rich and it becomes disheartening to enjoy computers with everyone caring about starting the next IPO and making millions. I would love to know what motivates you. How many hours can you code in a day and how do you keep going like that. I hope that I have not inconvenienced you and I understand if you cannot reply. I thank you for your time.

Woz:
Working with computers was a lifetime passion for me.

At one point it came time to accept a lot of money and start a real company. But I had to leave my 'real' job designing calculator chips at Hewlett Packard. I thought deeply inside to what I was meant for and what I wanted to do with my life and I concluded that I wanted to design computers and other things, and to write software. I could easily do that with no company, and keep my job with the company that I loved. So I told Steve Jobs and Mike Markkula that I wouldn't start Apple.

I changed my mind upon being relieved of the stress of thinking that I had to run the company. I could still do the things that I loved to do within it, and make money too.

Comment From e-mail: CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHY APPLE CONTINUES TO IGNORE ITS CUSTOMERS WHO PLACED ADVANCED ORDERS LONG AGO?? One thing to I've noticed about Mac users over the \past 15 years that i have been one, is their intense LOYALTY. Loyalty to a company that continually abuses that loyalty....What did i do other than spend tens of thousands of dollars on apple products over the years, to deserve this abuse??

Woz:
One very bad side effect of the technology revolution that we're in is that we get very poor customer support and communication. Voice mail is an example. Look how many times you have problems and companies keep telling you that it's another company's fault? Or that you must be mistaken.

Well, if you've been led to expect a certain shipment date then that's part of a contract with you. Gross miscommunication about when you'll get your product is wrong. But people these days have a hard time getting anything done about it or changed. I'm sure that it violates some laws, it's certainly close to fraud. Small claims court is a very cheap way to go but you'll have to indicate that you had good reason to believe that you'd have the computer long before now. One guy got $5000 in small claims court in San Jose for having 2 bad pixels on his screen (Apple couldn't show any public documents referring to their 'spec') so it can be won.

But, why don't you just buy an iBook at Sears or somewhere and not deal with Cyberian Outpost again. I myself don't deal with them after a weird credit card dealing on their part. Chalk this one up to a learning experience.

I'll share another story. On the few occasions that I arranged to get something early from inside Apple, I got horribly let down. Once it was for a LaserWriter, which was available in stores a few days later. It finally showed up, from Apple, 8 months later at twice the price. Right now I've been promised the new large LCD screen from a top person within Apple, but I really doubt that I'll get it. In the meantime, I didn't place an order elsewhere for this product so I probably won't see one until very late in it's life span. But at least I know what to expect from prior dealings so I'm not mad like you are.

As a loyal customer, you deserve the best treatment possible from Apple and Cyberian Outpost. But Apple would probably say that they can help you best if they are profitable by selling lots of iBooks to first time buyers.


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