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Comment from E-mail:
Hello, I wrote most of this before the "Pirates of Silicon Valley"ā exploded your mailbox and I planned to hold it a few weeks while things died down ... I should have figured that would not happen for quite a while :-) I apologize in advance if this gets a little rambling, but I guess the idea of writing a letter to an inspiration and a hero has me thinking in several directions at the same time. Anyway, I consider you one of my heroes for 2 reasons: your place in history (Iāll talk more about how that has affected me) and your current conviction to live your dream (and be a tremendous asset to the children you encounter at the same time). First, the Apple bit. When I saw the Apple][ I KNEW I needed to buy one. Okay, one small problem: I was in elementary school and did not have the cash handy to get one ... so I got a paper route and eventually saved up the money to buy an Apple ][. I then toted it through HS, college, and brought it along to grad school (at that time I decided to get a new machine .. an Amiga). My Macs have much better specs than that old //e, but I still have fond memories of using it ... Iām not sure Iād be a programmer today if it were not for the fact that I had a computer that early on. (sorry, my interests lie in software ... I am all thumbs with hardware :)

I had to save and get parts as cheaply as I could just to build the early Apple computers. I didn't even have enough money to have a choice of buying another computer.

There are different types of software. So I was primarily skilled at low level software, where things behave much as with hardware. I developed my skill and applied it to both areas.

Comment from E-mail:
Second, nut no less important, is what you are doing now. I really admired how you could make your money at Apple, remain true to your dreams, and leave it to help teach children. I was telling my wife Andrea about you and told her some other anecdotes I had gathered from the web and books and she is just impressed as I am. This is a topic that touches the two of us as she is a grad student in Social Work who did an internship in an inner-city elementary school last year and I am volunteering in the computer room in a tutororing program for underprivileged children.

Well, heck, one person now and then has to think this way. It's odd that so many exclaim the virtues of education and of educating the needy, but don't opt to when they can, preferring business instead. Perhaps that will change someday and softer people will run businesses, but I doubt it. Our capitalist system makes success a competitive thing, and competitive people are at the top. It's hard for them to just give up that pursuit.

Comment from E-mail:
Something you might find amusing: when Jobs was brought back to Apple my reaction was well, they got it half right, they just got the wrong Steve ...ā :-) I sometimes wonder what things would have been like if that had happened ... maybe Jobs is what they needed business-wise right now, but I would have preferred seeing an Apple with your guidance (Apple would be a cause again, not just a company) to smiles from Wall Street brokers. For example, the very > idea of Be not getting hardware specs from Apple would be unheard of. Hmm ... maybe you could arrange to telecommute with the understanding that Apple was secondary to the children? :-)

A lot of times things don't make sense to me but when better explained I agree with what was done. This is true of many things in today's Apple. Some things that sound crazy, like not sharing hardware specs with Be, probably have good reasoning but we just aren't inside enough to see it.

Comment from E-mail:
Hopefully you were able to get through all that ego-stroking ... if email is the closest I ever get to meeting you I wanted to at least let you know how much regard I hold you in and how your actions have affected my life. Okay now, OB question: do you have any advice for working with children and computers?

First, be aware that not all people (children) are the same. Some will adapt easily to computers and some will benefit greatly from computer usage. But computers won't have the same importance in life to everyone.

Second, isolate some key things that are the desired result of using a computer. Ones that I come up with include learning how computers work, learning how to maintain a computer, learning how networks operate including servers and data packets and physical wiring, experiencing the online world, making homework look attractive, utilizing integrated apps, etc.

Third, allocate a lot of time to regularly practice over and over important computer skills. Have room for some students to go further. Have a lot of patience. Don't have such a large class that you can't be on top of where each student's head is at. Ask a lot of questions and have regular quizzes and homework for accountability.

Comment from E-mail:
As someone who aspires to be a hacker you are like an idol to me ... but the thing I most appreciate is that I use you as an inspiration in my own work with children and computers.

Hey, the essence of creativity is in those who can joke and play tricks. I inspire it in kids all the time and I'm sure that it helps them be creative.


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