Letters-General Questions Answered
Woz: I am greatly honored. Don't forget that my contributions to the earliest popular home computer wouldn't have been noticed if Apple hadn't done well as a company...Woz
Comment From e-mail: I want to thank you for all the things you brought us ...
Woz: I know that you want to thank all the people of the world that helped these computer things come along, but thank you for considering me as a symbol of that...Woz
Comment From e-mail: I read that Steve Jobs became an egoist but you stayed as you were...
Woz: I think that Steve is level headed. His reputation for being an egotist is probably not because he sees his own greatness. That probably helps him do the things that make him great with enough confidence that he succeeds a lot. It's probably more due to the way he has treated others as though they are worth very little and not as great as he. I had a very strong head, with good philosophies that I believed in deeply. I knew who I was and what I wanted from life and what I wanted to be. It sounds unbelievable but it's true and I'm very lucky for it. I don't do what others think I should, I stick to being who I want to be. That's the reason I seem that way...Woz
Comment From e-mail: I also am a hacker but with the old meaning of the word...i like to explore all systems...especially unix-liked...I run Linux on my pc 'cause windows :]
Woz: You're in with the right sort of people today.
Comment From e-mail: I want very much to answer my mail...i will be very proud if you will do this.....
Woz: Please remember that I am deluged with lots of email all the time, so don't write all the time or every other fan will lose out.
Comment From e-mail: Could you give me some good advice?
Woz: Do what you really love to do. Do it hard and try to be the best you possibly can. Forego a lot of other things in life, particularly things that can make your interest less serious. Know that you don't have to argue with people and prove every point, you can just know that your own thinking is right and good by your own standards. You can just walk away from someone that doesn't hear you or see things your way, and you can be polite and don't have to stoop to saying bad things about others. Your victory is in knowing that your own brain is good and that you know it even if others don't. Be forgiving. When others are bad to you, be good to them. The internal peace and happiness that being a good person brings will get you further in all other aspects of your life.
Comment From e-mail: A couple of my friends and I have been wondering where exactly did the Apple logo come from, and why is the Apple somewhat bitten? A friend said that the logo is in memory of a famous man who committed suicide by poisoning his Apple and thus only taking one bite. He was found with the apple at his nightstand. Is this true and why the name Apple?
and I wanted a color logo with the Apple theme and the Regis McKinna agency,
which we were just hiring, came up with it. Steve Jobs rearranged the
colors with the darker blue at the bottom and lighter green at the top,
rather than keeping them in rainbow order.
Comment From e-mail: First of all I just wanted to say you have been a personal hero of mine since I was a young kid. Now my question is solder safe? I have always enjoyed fiddling with electronics but I became real paranoid about coming in contact with it since reading the warning label. Do you still do anything with electronics?
Woz: I assure you that you can use solder all the time, just like I did, and you won't ja.d altkjglu ks ,soot ansfk ak appe
Comment From e-mail: What kind of a job do you think Steve is doing at Apple?
Woz: I think that he is doing a good job of belt tightening first, getting the company healthy, and then moving forward from there. Apple is doing more than any other company to advance what computers are.
Comment From e-mail: What was Steves position at Apple when he brought Skulley in as President?
Woz: He was looking for someone to relieve Mike Markkula in that position.
Comment From e-mail: What did you think about Gil Amelio/ Deisel Spindler?
think that Amelio had the management approach to stabilize Apple if not
the vision of Steve Jobs. Amelio was more like a lot of Mac owners but
that can be a defect too. We see things from the point of viewing of keeping
the Macintosh 'past' alive and working and have trouble scuttling it.
Comment From e-mail: My favorite computer is the Apple IIgs. To me it was a nice blend of the future(Macintosh), and the past (Apple II). How involved were you in the development of the IIgs?
dropped the Apple ][ from it's own concerns between 1980 and 1983, years
in which it was the largest selling computer in the world. Every ad from
Apple in those years is of an Apple ///. Every employee had an Apple ///.
Very few Apple ][ projects were approved. When John Sculley joined Apple
he reduced the Apple /// attention. I came back to Apple at the same time
and worked on a new machine, the Apple ][x. It saved a lot of jobs, my
being associated with a new computer project. Finally, this advanced Apple
][ was cancelled. But shortly thereafter the same engineers came up with
the Apple ][gs with a much improved graphics and sound system. I was primarily
inspiration. Perhaps I helped these engineers be willing to risk new and
better development than otherwise.
Comment From e-mail: After accumulating lots of knowledge on you and Steve in the beginning of Apple, I've come to the conclusion that you should be more credited than you are. I mean, you're the one who created the Apple 1. You're the one who made it all work, and work inexpensively, something that no other individual or person could do. So why aren't you credited with being a genius or something?
Woz: The world tends to remember those who are business leaders over engineers and scientists. Newspapers and magazines don't as much have current material to write in which they can use my name, but they have lots of current things to say about many others.
Series of Questions
I'd advise you to have some clear ideas of what your purpose is and what
you want to achieve. This should be in terms of what characteristics of
the schools and students you want to promote. Let's call it a mission
statement. Educators and Administrators have to be included in forming
this statement. It should have about a dozen or so key points ('acedemic
excellence' might be one) and should be written. Perhaps your school already
has a mission statement to work from. From that you can derive technical
goals for your committee. When questions arise (platforms, access, services)
you can answer those questions (sometimes) by looking at your overall
Woz: Personally, I believe that students learn more and faster when educated rather than restricted. But I believe that these things should be the choice of each individual parent. That generally leaves schools no choice, especially after parents complain. If all students have to log in then you could possibly 'record' access to such sites, using the protective server software, and report it to parents. A better approach might be to make a contract with the students that they are given more privileges than at most schools as long as they don't do certain things. In my own classes, for example, I've always put out the goal of accessing other student's computers over the network to have fun, even to mess up the computer a bit. But I make the deal that they can never touch another's computer directly, only over the network, and that any changes can be undone easily. In 8 years my students have never violated this, but they do have a close relationship with me.
3) In an interview with MacAddict, you said that you hoped computers "would get simpler, but they always get more complex." Do you still feel that way?
Woz: Yes. It's hard to explain many functions and error messages. Even the words are very hard to understand. The basic simplicity and the sophisticated features of powerful programs are hard to find, especially since menu and setup wording is not the best. More than almost anything else is the problem of having lots of interesting and fun and useful programs that don't go well with the latest OS upgrades. It's sometimes very hard for anyone but an expert to solve such problems. So the students wind up being slaves to the technology, less important in some respects than the administrators. For a while, when we started, things were reversed.
4) What do you think about Steve Jobs being CEO again?
Woz: I think that he has a good head that does common sense things. Even his experiences away from Apple helped him see other important aspects of the world and markets.
5) Who has made the biggest impact on your life?
Woz: My father, followed by my high school electronics teacher who hand the most excellent course and who arranged for me to program computers at a local company since our school had no computers. My father taught me electronics whenever I needed the knowledge and gave me strong ethical and educational values.
6) Can you tell us about "Dial-a-Joke" and some of your recent practical jokes?
Woz: Dial-a-Joke was
a GREAT thing. I did it all alone, a little before Apple. I did a lot
of great things back then. Dial-a-Joke was the first one in the San Francisco
Bay area ever. It cost a lot because you couldn't buy answering machines
back then. You could only rent an expensive machine from the phone company.
7) I helped someone visit their first website last week. It was almost as if this person was afraid of technology. Would you like to give this person any advice?
Woz: If the person has time, they can become an expert browser and advisor to others. It's the future and they can be a leader, even with very little experience. Try not to have dissatisfying experiences at the start. Computer setups can be a total turnoff. I got my mom WebTV and all she does is push one button and is connected. She's been on the Internet and sending email every day since. I get jokes from her all the time. If you want to do it with a computer and you're timid, please use an iMac or iBook. If you don't want to get into 'ISP' get America Online, which comes pre-installed on all computers. It has a front end that helps you learn how to use this extensive world.
8) Some people claim that Bill Gates will be given credit for creating the personal computer in the history books. What do you think about this and Microsoft in general?
Woz: That's ridiculous.
Bill did have an important part. In 1975 when I was in the Homebrew Computer
Club and designing my computer, Bill's BASIC brought a usable computer
language to those technicians that could now afford a cheap Altair computer.
Tons of games were the starting point for this revolution.
9) What kind of an impact have kids had on your life?
Woz: It was the greatest goal of my life to have kids and I am very lucky. The happiest and most important day of my life was the birth of my first son.
10) What would you do if you were 17 years old today?
Woz: I'd learn everything I could about computers that isn't easily encountered in school. I'd try to write programs that aren't in books just to figure out how to write them, using any books or references I could stumble onto. If the passion is strong enough, you learn no matter what.
11) What is your favorite quote?
Woz: A family of five
deserves five votes. It's my own quote. Schools get funding from government.
Government spending is in accordance with voting power. The kids that
we are trying to help in schools don't get counted in this money allocation
method. In California (50th in class size, 43rd in $ per student, 47th
in computers per student) we require 2/3 of the vote, not 1/2, to pass
property tax overrides for a school district to get more funding, yet
only 1/3 of the families have children in the schools. If a family of
5 had 5 votes, these override issues would pass with 67% a lot more. Now
they often fail with 63% of the vote. It's a shame.
12) How would you like people to think of you 50 years from now?
I was a great engineer and a free thinking person about my designs and
that I cared about people too much to go for the politics of business.
a bit short here, but you can grab pictures from my web site, woz.org.
Woz: Thank you very much and Happy New Year (in a few hours for myself).
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