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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 



Comment from E-mail:
Will the US festival footage ever be released on VHS or DVD?

Woz:
Extremely unlikely

Comment from E-mail:
Did you really offer your first PC to Nolan to sell as an Atari product?

Woz:
Yes. Steve and I demoed it in Al Alcorn's home. But Atari was about to take a giant stride with the first home video game (Pong) and had their hands full and didn't have room for a computer at that time. Then again, we never got to talking a specific deal, like how much money or what royalties or what employment, etc.

Comment from E-mail:
I know you believe that the Apple II "started it all" but I believe it was the Atari 2600 that made a "computer" friendly enough to bring home. But its ok, some say Joe Namath was the greatest QB ever, others say it was Joe Montanna. :-)

Woz:
The Apple ][ and a couple of other machines were the first real sellers to non-techies. The Apple ][ was the first million seller. It's available accessories and software and documentation made it stand out. The Atari 2600 came much later and never caught the Apple ][ in sales.

Comment from E-mail:
What Atari products were you involved with?

Woz:
I showed them a Pong that I'd designed with very few chips and they offered me a job. They considered it for their home Pong but made the right decision to integrate it onto one chip.

Comment from E-mail:
Do you agree that Nolans role in the silicon revolution was severly overlooked in "Pirates"?

Woz:
No. The story was the story of the PC business in it's most recognized and popular story, that of Microsoft and Apple. Atari followed in this market, as did a ton of other, more successful, companies.

 

Comment from E-mail:
What is the Atari game cartridge your character was playing in the hospital in "Pirates"?

Woz:
I only played games on an Apple ][ in the hospital. I only know this from pictures and first hand stories, as I have no memories of that period. I may have had a Nintendo machine at that time but I never had an Atari anything.

Comment from E-mail:
Why didn't the Apple II have a slot for cartridge based programs?

Woz:
First, the Apple ][ was very much the leader in low cost computers for including the concept of games. It was the only one with color (before Atari had any color arcade games), paddles, sound, graphics, hi-res bit mapped graphics, and even commands in BASIC to use these. The Apple ][ put it's BASIC in the first 2KB ROM's ever made (by Synertek). These were state of the art and quite expensive. Cartridges would have been way too expensive to consider in 1976 for a machine that used cassette tape for mass storage. The concept of needing to protect software from piracy wasn't even around then. On the list of priorities, cartridge games (or other software) was quite low. Things like a floppy disk were higher.

Comment from E-mail:
Why did the ROM cartridge format die?

Woz:
I'm not sure what you're referring to.

Comment from E-mail:
My TRS-80 and Mattel Aquarius came with Microsoft BASIC Built in, who wrote the code? Did other early PC's use this BASIC?

Woz:
I would presume that Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote that BASIC. They had written it for the 8086 processor.

Comment from E-mail:
How many Apple I "kits" were made? what are they worth now?

Woz:
At one point I knew that we'd made 200, and had about 25 left over when we decided to totally switch to the Apple ][. They are worth between $10,000 and $40,000 now.

Comment from E-mail:
What did you think of the processor in the TI99 computers?

Woz:
I don't know which one it was. Was it the ??? TI 16-bit processor with a simple instruction set? I kind of liked that one.

Comment from E-mail:
When I went to school in the 80's you were donating computers to schools yet my school had TI99s and TRS-80s what is your estimate on the % of Public schools with which brand of 8bit computer?

Woz:
Apple always led the school market in those days. That was more true in the United States than any other country. It was also extremely true in California, which is the state that altered it's laws for a year so that we could give an Apple ][ to every school in the state.

Comment from E-mail:
What did you think of the Famicom?

Woz:
I first saw it in Japan, a couple of years before it came to the U.S. as the Nintendo. I stayed with a family there and saw the kids play game after game on cartridges. I didn't see it's value because at the time (1981?) the U.S. press focus was on computers and I was with computers and I was narrow, as everyone must be to some extent. I felt that the single-game machines were worth as much.

Comment from E-mail:
I am building a classic computer and video game collection and web page, I would be honored if you payed a visit to my site and shared your thoughts!

Woz:
Time to share thoughts is harder to come by but we'll see...


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