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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 


Comment from E-mail:
Woz, the other day I was surfing about sites on the history of the Mac. I read through the part where you were involved in a plane crash. From then on, I did not notice any mention of you. What had happened after the plane crash? Were you sacked from Apple? Not that I'm curious though. Sorry. Another thing: I heard you were 'crying' at Macworld Expo. What happened?

Woz:
After my plane crash I had a 5 week period where I didn't remember from minute to minute and didn't know that time had passed. I had all my old memories and got around but was a little weird to friends and family who didn't know about this forward form of memory loss. When I came out of it and found out that I'd been in a plane crash I realized that it was the perfect time to return for my last year at Berkeley. I also embarked on a couple of huge rock concerts for the year after that. I then returned to Apple, but I went where I could best contribute which was to the division working on the Apple ][, which in 1983 was finally being overtaken by the IBM PC in sales.

At MacWorld I did cry when I saw the video of Sina's (?) children and again when Steve announced that he was becoming full CEO. It felt like something very right from the past had been repaired, especially since Steve was very much the same as back in the beginning.

Comment from E-mail:
Some friends and I have been wondering if you still have any Apple 1 units left over from the original 600(?) you originally produced in that garage so long ago. We'd go nuts if we could build one, but I believe that getting the system ROM would be a dreadful task. There's been an emulator for the Apple 1 released recently, but I'm not much of an emulator fan. I remember hearing about the Apple 1 when I was fairly young. My older brother told me it was a big, wooden box that spat out binary digits unless you loaded BASIC. Heh. Other than that, I never actually saw the glorious system until one day when a book entitled, "BASIC and the personal computer" gave me a good-sized pic of the wonderous unit. Ever since, I've been waiting for the day we win the lottery or similar, so I can find one for $40,000 or so... ehh... maybe someday, right?

Woz:
We built a total of 200 Apple I's. Perhaps 175 were sold. I don't know how many Apple bought back when the Apple ][ was introduced with a buyback program. I still have one or two Apple I's, fortunately, but I don't know if they are complete enough to work. I also probably have my original handwired breadboard.

The Apple I had a keyboard in place of the binary switches and lights that all previous small computers came with. But when you turned the Apple I on, it only used the keyboard to do what those switches had done on the others. You could enter data into memory, examine memory, or run a program at a specified address. It was all in hexadecimal, which was easier to type than binary. I used it as a stepping stone to developing my BASIC in hex, typing it in for each programming session. All memory was lost when the unit was unplugged, so I could type 4KB worth of hexadecimal into it in about 40 minutes. Once the BASIC was done, I developed a cassette interface to read in the BASIC.

The Apple ][ was the first low cost computer to offer BASIC in ROM, ready to use after turning the computer on. It was the first product ever to be shipped with 2 KB ROMs.

Comment from E-mail:
I was wondering if you offer any kind of college scholarship. If so where can I find the specifics, and apply for it? Also, I would like to say I loved pirates of silicon valley which lead me to read fire in the valley. Writing breakout in four days. wow! This webpage is really cool, thanks for your time.

Woz:
I don't offer scholarships and even though I have a high school senior right now I don't know anything about them, so you'll have to find help elsewhere for that. By the way, my Breakout wasn't 'written'. It was designed with TTL chips before games were made with microprocessors. There was no program. I deliberately added the hardware (paddles, sound, color, graphics, hi-res) and software (BASIC commands) that would create this game in BASIC. It took less than an hour to write. Within 10 minutes I'd made enough variations in brick size, colors, playing characteristics, score position, etc. that I got to see a new world for arcade games once they were software. These variations would have taken me months to try in hardware.

Comment from E-mail:
Do your cameras make a sound when they pan and zoom or is it accomplished with a solid state apparatus that changes angle and focus electronically?

It would seem to be a great distraction if there was a device (especially a camera) that periodically hummed or buzzed as people were looking around when you were in the room.


Woz:
The camera makes a slight sound but I seldom notice it anymore. Often I have music on anyway. Also, I can look over at a monitor of what it's viewing. I do this maybe once a week, almost never. But out of my peripheral vision it's sometimes my best reminder of the WozCam.

The other cams are in other rooms. The ClassCam, in the classroom, was dismantled after some viewers were zooming in on the wrong parts of the students.

 


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