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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 

 

Comment from E-mail:
1. Where were you born? Year, city, date, extra stuff, like in a car.... what-have-you.

Woz:
1950.08.11, San Josˇ, California, is where I was born but my parents lived in Palo Alto.

Comment from E-mail:
2. Did you move around when you were young, if so how many times?

Woz:
Only when very young. We moved to San Diego, where my sister was born a year and a half later. We eventually lived in Sherman Oaks and then Granada Hills, moving to Sunnyvale when I was 8. I consider Sunnyvale the city of my youth, although I was near the border and was in the Cupertino school district.

Comment from E-mail:
3. What got you hooked? (electronics, programming, ect.)

Woz:
Electronic kits that I received as presents, science fair projects, computer articles that my father showed me, my engineering father's influence and help, Tom Swift Jr. books about an engineer that built things to solve any problem, a book about ham radio operators that got me into that (ham in 6th grade), an excellent electronics class in high school, an electronics teacher that arranged for me to program a computer at Sylvania once a week, accidental computer manuals that I came upon, electronic projects in the neighborhood like house to house intercoms, short wave radios, walkie talkies, chip manuals, pranks that I played using electronics, electronic friends, etc. Also a high aptitude in math and science including the many school awards I won at these.

Comment from E-mail:
4. Did you seem to have an inate knack for such things, or was it all learned through hard work?

Woz:
I had an interest in such things that got inspired the right ways. That led to the hard work. Of course it helped being one of those that doesn't have to study math or science or electronics long to get good grades.

Comment from E-mail:
5. How much, and what kind of influence did your parents, have on you?

Woz:
My mom and dad were very good at letting me do the things that I was interested in. My mom contributed my sense of humor and enjoyment of life. my father contributed my values (education and ethics primarily) and technical support. I'm very thankful for both of them, but I'm also happy for all that I picked up on my own.

Comment from E-mail:
6. What were your parents like?

Woz:
My father was an engineer for Lockheed in Sunnyvale. He drank a lot of martinis but was known for top engineering solutions that saved many programs where he worked. He would work on a project for weeks on our tables, very intensely. My mother was involved in a lot of community activities including politics (once a Republican, later a Democrat) and community theater.

Comment from E-mail:
7. Did you ever do drugs/Drink? If so, how often?

Woz:
Drugs never once. I didn't have a drink until I was 30, primarily because I abhorred the taste. In high school I would avoid doing things just because others did them. And I had a good brain and didn't want to take these risks. I have never been able to drink alcohol other than beer or white wine, and then only some of those. The taste is still the factor. A weak drink I don't have problems with. I drink very seldom (sometimes a pizza demands a beer) and can't remember the last time I was drunk, but it has happened. I don't consider drinking as healthy as marajuana, which I've never tried.

Comment from E-mail:
8. How did you meet John Draper/How did you hear about him?

Woz:
I read articles about phone phreaks in 1971, and Captain Crunch was the greatest legend among them. Then Steve Jobs and I heard that he'd done an interview on a Los Gatos radio station. We left them a note but never heard back. Then a friend from high school dropped by my dorm room in Berkeley and told me that Captain Crunch was John Draper and worked at KKUP in Cupertino, where my friend had worked. It was pure luck to stumble onto this very interesting character before the FBI, before he was ever caught and arrested.

Comment from E-mail:
9. You rode the first wave, (of the technological revolution) or should I say created it. How did it feel at the time? How does it feel now? Any regrest or wishes?

Woz:
I worked designing calculators at Hewlett Packard. I designed computers and many other projects for fun and to share my engineering abilities with others, to help them, usually for no money.

Comment from E-mail:
10. What's the real scoop on you leaving Apple.

Woz:
I never left. My badge still gets me in. I wouldn't leave Apple voluntarily. There's been a lot of reporting that tries to make more interesting and sensational stories which don't exist.

Comment from E-mail:
11. Do you remember the actual Plane Crash, or just heard stories? What kind of Plane? When did it happen?

Woz:
I had a Beechcraft Bonanza, V-tail, single engine, turbocharged, and crashed on takeoff at Skypark airport in Scotts Valley, California, on 1981.02.07. That airport is no longer in operation. I had 3 passengers and was flying to San Diego to have my fiance's friend or relative design us a wedding ring. I have memories of the events right up to moving my hand to the throttle, but not of pushing it. It's accepted that we have to keep an event in our head, in our short term memory, for a certain time, a certain number of seconds, before it can be coded into a long term memory. The crash occurred just before the memory of pushing the throttle was to become long term and remembered. For the next 5 weeks I formed no long term memory. I'd see you and act somewhat normal, as I had been before the crash, but if you left the room and returned I'd have forgotten seeing you the first time.

Comment from E-mail:
12. Did apple really have to pry to get into PARC Xerox? What type of machine(s) did you look at? Were you there?

Woz:
My understanding is not the most direct but I felt that Xerox was letting us in for free. We saw mice and windowed work areas pop up on the screen, and saw some object oriented programming examples. We saw their custom and expensive hardware. Steve tried to persuade them to be friendly and see Apple as the best way to get their technology to the masses. I was only there once. I believe that Apple later paid Xerox with stock to keep things on the level.

Comment from E-mail:
13. Who invented the Apple //e, Did you work on the Apple III, and Did you have anything to do with the Apple //gs?

Woz:
Walt Broedner wanted to design a single chip for most of the Apple ][. He told me that Steve Jobs let him do it if he made the chip to work in a smaller version, the Apple ][c, as well. I hung around as the Apple /// was under development but I was working on other projects. I had no design role in the Apple //gs but had worked with many of that group on an earlier project that was advanced but didn't have the graphics and sound well defined as in the //gs.

Comment from E-mail:
14. Why was the Special Woz Edition of the //gs made, and what was special/different about these. (I had the chance to get one for a few bucks last summer, and now I'm kicking myself that I didn't...)

Woz:
I don't know why the special, signed, edition was made. But of all the products in the world that have a signed edition, I'm glad that one of them was from an engineer.

Comment from E-mail:
15. What happened to CL9?

Woz:
Contact:Robert Retzlaff 50 Mitchell Blvd. San Rafael, CA 415-472-2393
www.Celadon.com

Comment from E-mail:
16. What do you do today? (job? lectures? school? Answer annoying questions from school kids who think you're great?)

Woz:
Email all day long (like this one), speeches all over about Apple's history, education speeches, teach classes, fix computers, buy new computers and accessories and software, maintain dozens of computers, administer a WAN with RF links between sites, provide facilities and computers for friends and local school kids to have servers, pay bills, rtons of mail, transport 3 kids in middle school and high school, attend many of their activities, walk my dogs, eat, go to some basketball games, attend every concert at the local amphitheater of which I'm one of the owners, perform in the high school plays and musicals - and put on the cast parties, travel with kids on vacations, keep 2 houses running (electrical, plumbing, AC, utilities, etc.), and take care of whatever needs immediate attention (like seeing doctors).

Comment from E-mail:
One more thing I just have to know. Did Jobs really split Apple up into 2 camps? How did that affect your relationship with him.

Woz:
I never saw things that way. I did see the company split and not communicating well. I also saw corporate favoritism for the Apple /// and the Macintosh, while the Apple ][ was the bread winner. Steve Jobs was not alone in failing to do more to avoid the split. Because I had returned (after a year of college and a year of concert promotion) to the Apple ][ and /// division, I was more aware of the bad effects of this split than Steve would have been. It may have affected my thoughts of him a bit in the negative direction for being associated with the split, but I never thought of it as being under one person's direction. I think that Steve had strong misunderstandings of my comments, seeing me for a while as anti Apple. This was fueled by an article in the Wall Street Journal that portrayed this as my reason for leaving Apple, even though I told the reporter the truth, that I was leaving as a loyal friend and employee of Apple's. The reporter asked if there were things at Apple that I didn't like and, because I answer questions very fully and don't dodge them, I told him that I didn't like the split. But I said that was NOT the reason I was leaving.


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