I'm a High School senior and an avid Mac
user. I also enjoy writing, specially science fiction (not dark science
fiction- I'm Star Trek fan) and I believe I have many good ideas, which
I've refined since childhood.
Also, I have several ideas on a new computer (platform) design, and software,
but as far as hardware and software is concerned, I lack the capabilities
to see these ideas through, although I have a great desire to do so.
My parents would like me to go to college, and they have the economical
means to pay for it (they enrolled me on the Florida Prepaid College program),
but I am undecided. The time is coming when I will have to make a decision
about what to do and where to go. I'm afraid I'll not fair well in college
because I have a very strong tendency not to put attention on things that
do not interest me. So, I'm not sure if I want to go right away, at least.
I don't have any money- I don't have a job (although I am working with
a Macintosh related website which has yet to debut). But, I have my ideas.
I would like to learn true programming (beyond BASIC, which I learned
on the Apple II) and start programming for Mac OS X, and learn some basic
hardware design, both of which I think will aide me in seeing my ideas
through. But I don't know where to start or what to do.
I'm afraid college would distract me from my focus and, ultimately, although
I am interested in other subjects as well, I don't want to spend four
more in school unless this can help me achieve my goals. I am very eager
to begin to realize what have simply been ideas and concepts in my mind
and on paper for all these years.
Ironically, many of my ideas focus on education and betterment of education
through technology. I believe that informal education is just as important
as formal education and that today's (and tomorrow's) technology could
be used much more effectively for both.
Thank you very much. I am thrilled that you are answering so many personal
letters via e-Mail. This is truly a great opportunity for many people
who respect and admire you, like I do, for what you done and what you're
You should go to college. Everyone will tell you that college was the
most fun time of their lives. Don't miss the fun, even if it's joking
around or whatever. Your ideas and dreams will have time to become more
real. You will continue to think about them and work on them and modify
your approaches. It has nothing to do with college, but that turns out
to be a good place for your internal interests to grow too. Even if you
drop out, what you got will be worth it.
You don't have to get straight A's. But you shouldn't skip college either.
Even a little will introduce you to people that may be important contacts
later in life.
I'm 26, and worried.
Worried that I will soon have children, and regardless of the efforts
I will make to ensure that my kids grow up right, society will force frames
of reference upon them, with which I will not be able to compete. I am
worried that business and profit seem to be the only reasons people live
today. Worried that there is no loyalty and no more honor in doing what
you do for the betterment of humanity as opposed to the betterment of
the bottom line.
One of my own keys to happiness was discovering that I didn't have to
conform to societal definitions of who I should be; as long as I knew
why I was who I was and why I did what I did and why I believed in it
and believed that it was the right way to be, I'd be happy. It's like
an internal religion, something that I'll be very true to because it comes
from me and not others.
I hope I do not sound silly, but at 26, the way things are going, I really
don't see an end to hyper-commercialism, and the creation of the entertainment/retailing
era that coming upon us. People no longer feel good unless they buy something.
I don't know why, but it bothers me more and more.
That's how some of us feel. But everyone is different. I don't believe that
we can make our kids think this way. All we can do is try to set good examples.
But people that are in it for the money rewards are not bad, they're just
Enough ranting.... here are my questions...
Was it different 20 years ago? When you were building this great little
machine, why did you build it? Did you intend to become rich off it, or
did you just build it for the sake of learning more and providing something
greater for the rest of the people to see and use?
I was just doing what I always did in my life, constructing impressive and
useful electronic tools. I had no plans to start a company, just to show
technology to others and to help them advance with it. The company came
about later. I didn't feel guilty about a company until it started looking
like big money. I still wonder why I was so richly rewarded for things that
I enjoyed doing for free. But I don't have to feel guilt since I couldn't
really do much about it.
Where do you see this absurd commercialism taking us twenty years from
I think that this sort of commercialism has always been with us and always
will. How do you attack it when today's heroes are results of it? Clearly
the past, like the steel ages in the U.S., must have been similar.
Did you ever think that the Mac OS would eventually have advertisements
real estate placed within software modules (banner ads in sherlock)?
No. But it makes sense. Every magazine we buy (almost) has ads. We grew
up loving our great free TV with ads. For a while the Internet looked better,
but it has to play to the lowest common denominator, to those that can't
pay much for it.
Do you ever think that we as a culture of "consumers" have gone too far?
I don't ever think about this. I don't think it's inefficient or unproductive.
I think that we probably have better products because of it. Consumers should
rule though, and should always have good technical support and relief when
things don't work. The problem is like the used car salesman. We can be
deceived into a lot of things that we thought were more or that we really
didn't want. So I guess that we haven't gone too far, but that there should
be stronger ethics enforced on the providers, the ones that get paid cash
Thanks for your time, and thanks for being a great person. Tough to
find these days.