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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 

 

Comment from E-mail:
Now to the point of my email. I am probably around the same age as you. When I was a student at the University of Colorado during those tumultuous days of Viet Nam, campus protests, so forth and so on, I observed that the issues that the leaders of the counter culture were bringing to the forefront were real. However, "their naive flocks" were blindly following and trusting those that were good at pointing fingers and stirring things up, but not offering any solutions.Many of those who did have vision, organizational skills, and the ability to recognize true genius are now heading up multinational corporations (you know who they are), making zillions of dollars, still preaching "power to the people".Which people?Them.I am gravely concerned that the rhetoric flowing from high-tech companies who have CEO's preaching to consumers, stockholders, and their own slaves (employees) that they are going to free us all from "the enterprise" and at last make us a global community; are really doing nothing more than setting up a new order of their own, replacing the old-robber barons of the industrial age with the new robber barons of the tech age.The scarey part is that the public is buying into this and setting these guys up as their heroes.Their hero worship is based on how much money these guys rack up in the shortest amount of time possible and how well they monopolize the market. Moreover the end justifies the means, with the real end being $$$$$$$$$$$$, not any real concern over how easy all this technology is suppose to make my life.

Woz:
This is very disturbing, mainly because I agree wholeheartedly. It's just as interesting to look back and see how the memorable industrial giants must have really operated. As for today's technology, it's hard to bring power to the people if it means that you may be eaten up by other corporations. I'm offended at how complex computers are. Many things that are well recognized failings of software and hardware go unfixed for a decade all the time. Really inhuman things. The focus of management is to get something new and proprietary to market quickly enough to 'trap' a market of users, not to fix existing humanistic shortcoming that are not critical. Everyone talks about how complex computers are but we seem to want it. I, for one, got my mother a WebTV instead of a computer for this reason. Perhaps the Linux/proprietary conflict will play out and give us a clue as to another way of technology business...Woz

Comment from E-mail:
I am not a Luddite, but I don't buy these tech leaders motivational rhetoric either. You don't seem to fit into that mindset and I bet you know a lot of other people who do not either. You are in a position where some worship you like a god. You seem to have your feet on the ground enough to keep things in perspective and the technical knowledge, to head up a group of people who can unbiasedly look and compare different OS systems and come up with interoperablility solutions and/or recognize the good ones from the bad ones. Here is the key....You are a good teacher. Your knowledge and the attitude you have to tell people to think for themselves needs to have a wider audience, especially engineers and business management types and the everyday consumer. Techies, moneycrunchers, consumers, and stockholders must get on the same page and start talking the same language. Even people who care about nothing else but money will have to start doing the right thing to make money if the consumer market quits buying crap and rhetoric. Consumers will do that when they understand that they are overpaying for the crap they are buying now and being trapped into buying more crap in the future.

Woz:
Product directions are set by what consumers will buy. But consumer tastes are partly under control of the marketing arms of companies. Technical companies most often wind up with the lowest level of customer support these days that they can get away with. I guess that the laws and regulations are not strong here. This also lowers customer expectations for products. It's hard to find honest independent salesmen that really care more about their customers than making the sale...Woz

Comment from E-mail:
I appreciate that you have wanted to be able to raise your children and have prioritized that for now. Good man. (My husband and I made that same decision for our own family and chose them over money). BUT- your youngest from what I have read is 12. In 6 years you will not need to be so hands on with them. So..........I would like to plant a little seed in your head and encourage you to come up with a plan that will impact and educate the general public substantially. Moreover this tech movement needs some sincere people impacting it to the extent that big business will have to do the right thing to be profitable, because they won't do it, unless the public demands it by the choices they make in their purchasing of stocks, products, and the education they invest in for their children. Moreover, "the little people" already have the power, we just need to see it for ourselves and quit hopping on the next dogma train. I have gone on long enough. Think about it. Here's to continually striving to find and share the truth, not controlling it.

Woz:
It's hard to say. The technical work that I did once is no longer as important to the world. I just try to stay centered and seeing things for what they really are and not to be extreme in anything, so maybe someday I'd have good advice for a company. But I've never been tested as a manager even and doubt that I'd be able to do it, partly because I have negative feelings about what a manager has to do for the business, as you've referred to. My values and qualities are compatible with those of teachers, not executives, for the most part.

Comment from E-mail:
Hi steve, Its me again, joshua , i emailed you about a month or 2 ago with my wishs of working at apple. And well after reading through your page, I am starting to wonder. Just how did you come up with the idea of the system and finder? ever since like system .9 havent you used the system and finder? I have to give it to you, or who ever came up with that idea. ITS much more thought out then freeking windoze machines. But i hope in the upcoming OSX will keep the idea of the system loading the finder. I truely hope to god that apple's programmers dont go to windows land, and make DLL files and hundreds of 45K peices of the OS. well thanks for listing. see ya

Woz:
I wasn't in the LISA group or the Macintosh group, which developed the Finder concept. In a text based system, like DOS was, you had commands at the startup level for manipulating files. The LISA and Macintosh wanted these common tasks to involve less memory of specific commands, using visual cues and icons and the like instead. Pretty much, the same structures can be implemented both ways. New things weren't done, it's just HOW they were done. Apple spent a long time making sure that the interface was the most natural easy one possible. This included unusual testing on people that didn't already have a handle on computers. We may have disappointments with OS X but I'll wait and hope that I'll like the new Finder approach even more.

Comment from E-mail:
In a commentary on Linux you mentioned something about Mac OS X in the context of Macs server software. I understood the comment to mean [and I can't recall its entirety or even where I saw it] that the interface for that O.S. would be more sedate and less gaudy than the gumdrop-y aqua-ted release which has been announced, and which, to me, looks suspiciously as if it was designed by 3 year old inspired by a rhythm band and 77 untrained puppies.

For years I have used Macs. OS 9 has so many conflicts with my other things I have never updated from 8.5. And now this interface on OS X. I have this rev D iMac in a law office. Lawyers [I am the para] are not known as the most flippant lot on this planet. There is a reason for thatgeneral line of thought. Now an interface which appears to be brightly colored vomit highly influenced by Toy Story. And the really unfriendly hardware Apples come out with lately.....grrrrr

Woz:
The interface of MacOS X is it's riskiest feature. But it has to be different if Apple wants to invent simpler ways of computing. As someone recently told me, a big risk can pay off big or backfire. Certainly the underlying structure of MacOS X will be valuable. But who's going to predict that it will be extremely compatible with what we have today? I can personally be gung-ho about it but I'm actually afraid.


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