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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 


Comment from E-mail:
[regarding the Apple I terminal] Did that solution come to you in a flash, or did you dream it, or was it on the top of your mind upon awakening  one day, or a serendipitous confluence of events, or  .... (you can see I am very interested in the creative process). May I send this email to Terry White for our club newsletter? : )

Woz:
The terminal portion of the Apple I was designed a year before I even started designing a microcomputer. I built it to access the ARPANet after seeing my phone phreak friend John Draper (Captain Crunch) accessing this incredible thing. I even let a timesharing outfit in Mountain View (Call Computer, Alex Kamrodt) build and sell these terminals but he didn't go far with it. The ideas for it were a blend of trying to minimize chips and cost. With the Apple I this TV terminal was just tacked on. The only integration was to use the terminal's horizontal and vertical counters to provide complete sequences to refresh the dynamic RAM of the Apple I. Oddly enough, the Apple I and Apple ][ were the only early hobby computers to use dynamic RAM. It took a bit of engineering but saved me tons of RAM chips because the DRAMs were 4 times as dense as SRAMS (Static RAMS) that others used. The 4K DRAMs used in the Apple I were the first RAM chip ever that was cheaper than the core memories of every computer before (minicomputers and mainframes).

Sure, you can do what you want with the email. I copied Al, my webmaster, on it and he could have posted it on my website. I never have time to check on what he posts. I figure that I'll have a lot of my book written if I get enough good questions.

 


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