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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 

 


Comment from E-mail:
In the beginning of the movie, were you actually at the filming of that famous commercial introducing the Macintosh? If so, I guess you got to meet Ridley Scott..

Woz:
I wasn't there and I doubt that Steve Jobs was. It was a symbolic introduction.

Comment from E-mail:
Did you find the first one to meet your expectations as a mix of technology and rock?

Woz:
Absolutely. It was amazing that we were able to hold a tech fair under the conditions (tents, extreme heat) and I felt it was a good diversion for the times.

Comment from E-mail:
Did you pick the acts in either of the festivals? Who were/are your favorites?

Woz:
Pretty much, there are only certain top groups available. I tried to influence the bookers (Bill Graham in '82, Barry Fey in '83) to try to put together a semblance of 'real' country/folk/bluegrass but they persuaded me to go with the larger draw rock groups. We did have Jerry Jeff Walker right after the Greatful Dead in '82 and a top flight country day in '83.

I visited a couple of high schools in L.A. for ideas and recommendations but these excursions generally resulted in the standard groups, some of which we had and some of which were unavailable.

Virtually every group on the main stage was a favorite of mine. We had few lesser known groups, but even they were outstanding at the show (like Berlin, Oingo Boingo, etc.). I'm pretty shy but did make a few performer friends, generally when they introduced themselves to me.

Comment from E-mail:
And would you/ could you do it again for the right reason ?

Woz:
Yes, if I had enough money. I'm glad to have been the someone out of the computer/internet success stories to have done this.

Comment from E-mail:
On a pc track, did you develop the apple 2x, and did the gs (I've never seen one ) come from the x project and prove to be the ultimate apple 2 ?

Woz:
I'd mostly agree with that observation. But the openness of the Apple ][, it's beauty for learning about and studying and trying computers was a tiny bit less in the Apple ][gs. It was more a machine to use than to learn how to program or design on. The gs would have been a great product to start with, but in 1977 color monitors with video in would have cost many times the price of an Apple ][. The home color TV (via modulator) was the only cheap display then. That affected my design as I couldn't afford anything, but it insured a low cost satisfying result. It also coincidentally led to thinking about color. If the Apple ][ had been designed for a [higher resolution] video monitor it would have been a B&W one in 1975/6 and there would have been no incentive to come up with a simple cheap color advance for years. I think that the next one was the IBM PC around 1980. That's a 3 year technology lead we had. Remember, the early Commodore and Radio Shack computers were B&W only. Of course, the NTSC output of the Apple ][ didn't satisfy the resolution needs that came about later, especially when businessmen needed 80 columns of text across.

Comment from E-mail:
Why have you or others not written a biography of you ? You always come off as the genius behind apple then you dissappear.....

Woz:
I've had such book contracts for years. I assure that most of the book would be a surprise to everyone and full of very incredible and entertaining prankish life stories with the technology things like Apple in the background. My planned book would be similar to 'Surely You Must Be Joking, Mr. Feinman' in this sense. But I haven't been able to come up with the time and I finally decided that I won't be satisfied with a ghost writer. That realization may lead to it happening some day. A book publisher had faith in me and I owe them something.

Comment from E-mail:
I really love it when you respond to the emails sent you. You have proven to be a very noble man. Or even NOBEL caliber, if overlooked....

Woz:
I think that more people would do it than you imagine. Even a businessperson could have agents do a good job of answering things properly. I enjoy it, although I'm scared to get even a day behind (which happened a week ago when I had LASIK eye surgery and had to forego computers for a day).

Comment from E-mail:
I remember waiting for what seemed like forever for the KINKS to come on.The sun was just starting to set and Ray and the boys ran on to the stage. Maybe because of the time of day the music seemed to echo and sound almost magical. Later I found out that the late Bill Graham almost did'nt let the kinks on because they were late. Maybe it was a magical thing. thanx Steve and thanx Bill Graham where-ever you are. RUSS

Woz:
That was the most magical day of all the US Festivals.

Bill Graham had some other dispute with the Kinks, particularly their manager. BG even had a crane ready to move the manager's car out and wouldn't let that manager in the stage area as I recall.

Comment from E-mail:
When I was 21 and a senior in college I desperately wanted to drive out to the '83 US festival. Especially for "heavy metal" day. But it would have been too far from Philadelphia and I wimped out. I regret it to this day.

Woz:
Bummer. That was so memorable for all.

Comment from E-mail:
The reports said you lost a lot of money on the festivals. I'm sorry to hear that...but I'm sure that your loss brought a lot of joy to young rock fans everywhere. You're not only a PC legend, but a rock & roll legend too.

Woz:
I lost a lot on the first concert but after all, I had to spend about as much as I lost just grooming the facility into an amphitheater. We had no hard counts of the attendance, but not as many tickets had been purchased as the number in attendance according to press estimates. We hadn't kept the ticket stubs and we didn't have turnstiles with counts and we didn't have aerial photography so we didn't know the true attendance. A big 10 accounting firm did an audit for me and reported a lot of ways that people got in free. I was sure that by having the good vibes from the first Festival, and a stronger lineup, and better control of tickets we would surely make a profit on the next one. But it turned out that the ticket counts matched the turnstiles and aerial photographs and that the attendance was perhaps only 60% of what the press claimed. It was a learning lesson. I figured that I was not putting on the show that people wanted enough if it wasn't profitable so I stopped.

Comment from E-mail:
I'm curious as to how you got the idea for Integer basic, how/where you started with it, and so on. Do you still have the original version(s) on tape?

Woz:
I wrote it all in machine language without an assembler. It was the only way that I could afford. I looked at the sort of software that I wanted - games and puzzle solvers and logic simulators. Floating point wasn't the way to go here. My first syntax table was for floating point but I saw that I could make the language faster and tighter, and I could complete it perhaps a couple of weeks sooner, if I went integer only, so I backed off. Just because of this I did include some floating point routines in the Apple ][ ROM.

Anyway, I used a condensed syntax chart to scan lines that were typed in, to allocate tokens corresponding the syntax elements of a good statement. The interpreted collection of tokens would be executed from left to right, with a couple of tables holding 'push' and 'pull' priorities for each token (operators, parens, etc.). Numbers and variable names weren't tokenized. This way I could just add commands or other items to a near-ASCII syntax table and then write small routines for each new token added. It was a very efficient approach that broke up a large task in a very orderly way.

I'd never studied compiler writing. I'd just worked out ideas on my own back in college days. I had read some papers and books on it, but never wrote one before or did any homework or other exercises in this regard. I feel very lucky that I was able to do it. For me it was a larger task by far than both the Apple I and Apple ][ combined.

The original version of this BASIC is in a binder in my own handwriting.


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