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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 



Comment From e-mail: I know that the Mac isn't really "your" computer (like the II) but you still seem pretty fond of it so I wonder what's your take on Apple's "plans" for the Mac. It seems that Steve Jobs is going to kill off the Mac and replace it with a "superNeXTcomputer". The Mac of today doesn't really remind me of the early Mac (from a hardware perspective). Perhaps it's the big screen (mine's 21", not quite like the "SE" sat to my right), perhaps it's the shape (a blue tower?!) perhaps it's just the PowerPC. All I know is; "It's Mac Jim but not as we knew it!". With the ripping out of the MacOS early this year (if all goes well) surly the Mac is dead in all but name. It's simply not the same beast.

What do you think of this? Would it be more accurate to call today's Mac the NeXTcomputer][? And what about OpenStep (oh MacOS X excuse me!) what do you think? Is this OS from the late 80's (or the 60's if you really trace it back) is this a good replacement to MacOS? I mean being crude; will you want one on your desk? What about the UI, how much Mac should they keep - what about "Finder" vs "Workspace Manager"?

I'd really like to hear your take on this. I have may happy memories from childhood of "playing" with my friend's Apple II (I actually wrote a program that did his billing for him - it was a scruffy little program but saved him a lot of time!) and knowing the a guy like you designed it makes those memories all the more special (we played a lot of games too!) Thanks in advance.


Woz: Your comments represent a lot of fears that loyal Macintosh owners have. To a large extent you are correct. But let's say that we took the Mac and tried to improve and fix it one step at a time. We'd likely wind up with something closer to OpenStep anyway. I'm sure that a great effort is being spent to make it feel right to Macintosh owners.

Then again, Steve Jobs comes from not using the Macintosh closely for some time. This can be an advantage in terms of moving on to a good machine for the future and leaving the past behind. We were too stagnated for too long. A lot of new Apple products are marketed to computer novitiates. The iMac and iBook are in this category. The effort is to reach new buyers, not former Macintosh users. To do this you have to have an exceptional machine and the past look and feel, and the past connectors, don't belong.

Comment From e-mail: By the way, I forgot to mention that I read an article on you about you being at the macworld expo. Here is a piece of it:

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was spotted walking over to the exhibit hall after the speech. "I cried," said Wozniak, in reaction to Jobs' decision. "It felt just like the old days, with Steve making announcements that shook my world."

Come back to Apple computers Woz! It would help the company and give it some good publicity!!!!


Woz: Well, I did actually cry at two places. The imovie with the kids was so good, and then when Steve announced his CEO plans it felt like yesterday's dreams had returned.

Comment From e-mail: Over the last few years, I've noticed Sun Microsystems has been trying to get into the home computing market by introducing NC and the Sun Ray (thin client computers). Apple computers has been doing something similar. The iMac and iBook are not true thin client computers; but, the idea has been the same where they are trying to get their computers more Internet-oriented.

In my opinion, Sun should get out of the home computing market and stick to what they do best with their enterprise servers. However, I think apple has a better chance at introducing the thin client concept than sun does. What do you think? After all, apple is the 2nd or 3rd largest computer manufacturer in the world...


Woz: A lot of smart people are seeing the world go the same way, that's all.

Comment From e-mail: Woz: I never thought I've have the opportunity to say "thanks" for what you did. You made a remarkable contribution to the world. Now, watch what I'm going to do with what I learned because of you. Better yet..... join me and perhaps eclipse your previous accomplishment.

Woz: I believe that the persons that believe that they are going to make it are the ones that do. I will join you but only in my heart as I have no time at all beyond just barely keeping up with email (about 14 hours of it today, and still not caught up)

Comment From e-mail: Hello. I was fooling around on my Apple ][e the other today and finally noticed it's monitor says "monitor///" on it. It's a bit wider than the ][e, so I guess it's an apple /// monitor. I wanted to ask you: what was it you think about the Apple /// that just didn't work? I've heard it wasn't all that bad a machine, but I've seen pictures of it and sure looks big and bulky. The built-in 5.25in floppy drive idea wasn't seen again, as far as I know, until the apple ][c Plus (which I used to own, w/ a built in 3.5in floppy on the side of the keyboard). I also heard there were some heating/cooling problems with it. Is what I have heard true?

Woz: The Apple /// had a lot of hardware problems, including heat problems and PC traces that were too thin for that time and which shorted out. Also, the clock chip had to initially be left out due to a chip problem. There was very little software at first. Of the 5 main programs that we'd planned, only one was ready, the one being written outside of Apple (Visicalc). It had an Apple ][ mode but we actually added chips to disable functions, like the 80 column display and extra RAM. This was done so that users wouldn't think that the Apple ][ was good for business. It was a marketing concept.

Comment From e-mail: I have a question which I have been pondering for a while and I think you mgiht be a man that can answer it. I have seen a lot of movies in my time and when a computer is involved in a movie say an actor is acutally using it or it's just in the background it alwyas seems to be a Macintosh computer never a PC. You don't see Windows 95/98 running on these computers in the movies for example in American Pie that kid is using a Mac for transmitting video using a netcam. What gives? Is it Apple's marketing? or is it that Macintosh screens have better refresh rates? I'd appreciate an answer

Woz: There are lots of reasons like Apple actually lobbying to have it's computers in movies. But the most likely reason to me is that the sorts of people that make movies use Macintoshes. Most of the real interesting people like that whom I meet seem to use Macs.

Comment From e-mail: What I'm interested in is how you learned all you did about electronics and such. I've always been interested in electronics but for some reason I just can't seem to quite understand how I would go from reading a schematic and building a cuircit to drawing my own diagrams and creating a device that actually does something. Every time I'm reminded of how you built a whole computer from scratch in your garage, I just sort of sit in awe for a few seconds. Granted, you are probably the most popular of the garage hackers, but others have done so as well. Where do you start on something like that? How do you know where to start?

Woz: Although I'm not current on this stuff I have some suggestions.

You could look for electronics industry magazines. They aren't on popular magazine shelves but you can find them in companies and libraries. Try to subscribe to some. Start filing interesting electronic component ads and articles and notes. Order any chip manuals or the like that you can. Get current with what's going on there.

If you get a manual for a microprocessor it will have lots of schematics of how to construct a working device. You can buy some microprocessors with pre-programmed languages and I/O built in, ones with pins that you can attach to.

You might start with simple chips like counters and registers and shift registers and gates and try designing some simple projects like frequency generators or frequency counters. You'll probably need to use an oscilloscope for this. You'll learn so much even if you don't build this. Then you'll be ready to look for better chips for the same thing.

You can probably buy chips that output graphics and video from a microprocessor to your TV for the next step. These projects will cost a little and take some time but the learning will never be forgotten, and the techniques by which you achieve your goal will remain forever.

I used to think that when I came up with an approach to a certain circuit, I couldn't really assign what was in my head to a company that I worked for. All the little pieces of computer circuit learning, and coding too, that was in me was all I had to go on for my future.


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