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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 



Comment From e-mail: Hi, I watched the movie again today, and as everyone else, it brings back memories. I do not have any questions for you regarding the movie since you have answered most of them for me, but I do want to say thanks. I am the CEO and owner of a Microsoft Solution Provider company that develops custom applications. I am the proud owner of an Apple II+, IIE, and believe it or not, an Apple clone I bought in 83. I was 14 years old when my father bought my first computer. I quickly became submersed in the computer world. I lived on the BBs systems and ran one called "The Trading Post" in the south for years. We had over 100 calls a day and it was exciting. Obviously I have moved over to the Bill Gates world, but only because I felt that Apple did not have the business applications I needed to do what I was good at, which is developing business applications to solve business problems. Anyway, it was your computer that kept me going and made me what I am today. Thanks for everything.

Woz: Good people work for Microsoft, and Microsoft develops some good products too. It's just not fair when they use their power to keep others from doing so. The important thing is that your important formative memories involved the Apple ][.

Comment From e-mail: Hello,
Ummm... I have no idea if you'll even read this, but here goes.

Thankyou *so* much for putting time into woz.org, through which I've been wading for the last couple of hours, reading the comments and so on. I've read other things about you through other sources but few actually made me as happy as your own site.

That's my prize comment of the day and it truly makes my day. My site was floundering and not kept up for years. All it had was the WozCam. I've sacrificed a lot to spend so much time answering so many questions. It's kind of like the performer that actually takes the time to do that sort of thing. You remember it in a good way. A similar story was when I saw Barry Manilow, whose music I don't even love or really care for. He was so respectful to the audience that it showed and he became sort of a hero of my own. At one point he brought a random stranger on-stage to sing a sing with him. He even wrapped his arms around her as they sang. At the end of the song, a helper ran out from the side and actually presented the audience member with a VHS tape of it. How thoughtful! I've seen many performers bring audience members on stage but never saw another hand them a tape.

It is so good to be able to hear what you have to say about things rather than having it painted by someone else's brush (I remember hearing somewhere that you don't read books on Apple because they have a tendency to stuff up some of the details), and the sheer amount of replies you've written practically answers all the questions I would have asked you anyway. Thankyou. And again: thankyou. A round of applause. I'm looking forward to your autobiography, if you ever get round to it.


Woz: Well, that relieves me of as much email, I hope. But if some big thing happens, like another "Pirates" movie, I'm sure that I'd have to miss answering most email due to lack of time.

Very little of the stuff on my website gets close to the heart of my autobiography, which has been postponed for years despite interest and contracts from publishers. It's similar to "Surely You Must Be Joking, Mr. Feinman." Apple and things like that are only in the background of a very entertaining and interesting story. I know that I want to write it myself. Some tries with ghost writers failed because I didn't want to contribute much time and I knew that I'd not likely be satisfied with the results anyway. Without putting in a lot of effort on my own, they never even got me samples of what they might write.

Comment From e-mail: I had sent this to Laura back when PoSV had just aired, and everyone in the world was sending you tons of email. I can understand why you either never got it or never replied. However, in light of reading your interview on Slashdot, I figured I would reasoned it to you, since it is likely something you would appreciate seeing. The only thing I can think of which would sum up how I feel about you is "Thank you for being who you are." You're simply amazing. If the world were made up entirely of people like you, there would be no wars, no violence, and everyone would just be happier. Not to mention that technology would likely be superior to what it is today. You rock my world, Woz.

Woz: Here's what may have happened. First, Laura and one other person failed to forward a ton of email to me promptly after the "Pirates" movie, and they hit me with far too many to answer. The unanswered batch grew to 1,000 and I still have it. I've since changed the main web site mailing to hit me directly so that doesn't happen again. Laura is a very good person, it's just that the email deluge from "Pirates" and my revamped web site (thanks to the webmaster, Al Luckow, who does it voluntarily to help me out) was unexpected.

But in your case something else is more likely. Someday, when the email is too heavy, I answer the short ones and print the long ones to get to later. Sometimes I have to pass them up altogether as they get outdated. I assure you that the ones that get missed are less than 5%, maybe as low as 1%.

Your original answer is in a separate email.

Comment From e-mail: I realize you're swamped with emails, but I had to send this...

I was first introduced to computers (Apple //+ at the time) when I was 12 years old, and began programming in BASIC on the Apple at age 13 (this was back around 1982/83)... Since that time, I've been hooked on personal computers, from the Apple //e, the Mac, the Amiga, and of course, the PC. I've used them all.

However, if not for the Apple //, and the opportunities that it opened for me, I don't know what job I would have today. The thought of not using computers, quite frankly, disturbs me...

Today, I too am a teacher. I teach a number of computer courses (computer graphics, design, video editing, etc), as well as media courses such as television production and broadcasting. It's a great and satisfying feeling to be able to share my computer knowledge and experience with my students - I truly enjoy it.

I'd like to thank you for opening that door for me by designing and building a computer that was affordable enough for my parents to buy, with an elegant design that allowed seemingly limitless experimenting and tinkering.

And here's a personal account for you. I still remember the first time that I ever saw an Apple //. The memory is still vivid, even from age 12. My father had brought me into a new college computer lab outfitted with Apples, and was typing in a BASIC program. When he backspaced over the text to type in a correction, I asked how he did it, and he showed me the backspace key. That was all it took - I was entering my own programs the next year.

I respect the fact that you're teaching children now. I respect that very greatly... You're opening doors for them in the same way that you opened a door for me some 18 years ago, and hopefully, many of them will find their own career path in the same way and return to thank you as well!

Woz: Your first Apple ][ memory is a good one. Those of us who were there can see what it means to have an outstanding memory from age 12. It's a very life shaping thing to see a program correction made for the first time ever. I remember the time I ran a wire up the block to a friend's house and we hooked up telegraph keys (we could both do Morse code, and I myself was a ham radio operator) and speakers. I heard my friend talking and was shocked. The speakers were also microphones. That took our neighborhood intercom to a new level and we got mikes and amplifiers from then on. Unexpected surprises are the best way to learn, because it means more.

It's this exact sort of experience that I've wanted to bring to young kids my whole life, and which is a major part of the reason that I like teaching. It doesn't happen every day but it's wonderful to see when students unexpectedly 'get' something.

Keep up the good things that you do.


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