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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 

 

Comment from E-mail:

Just a quick question for you.... Did you ever live in Apple Valley, California, and if so, is this where the name "Apple" came from?

Woz:
Just don't tell anyone...

Comment from E-mail:
Hello, Well I talked to you a few months ago and I just wondered what's been going on in your life... My Name Is Douglas D., I'm a Grade 12 student in Coquitlam B.C. Canada, My interest in computers is something that I truly enjoy and, well tonight I finally sat down and watched Pirates of Silicon valley, Is Jobs Really that hostile?... anyways the reason why I contacted you was I am interested in your work with elementary school students, I'm Interested in working in the computer field and I wondered what you thought about working with children and exposing them to technology.... I have an interest in the computer industry, but my options seem to be limited when it comes to finding a job... I was wondering if you have any suggestions for exposing myself to the I.T. industry or even just some general pointers...

Woz:
I think that young students should all be taught electronics and logic and computer designing and programming. I think that these concepts are easy to teach to most of them and are extremely interesting to many. We might as well give some a head start toward their life goals. Logical thinking and problem solving and mathematics and communication are entwined with these topics.

Frankly, the years that we spend learning things like history are more for our parent's benefit. They had to learn it and now find it interesting, like good movies, and want their kids to be like them and experience the same things. Fewer people wind up working in history, or writing about stories that they read, than wind up programming. Fewer have to calculate where two canoes will meet on a river than wind up having to understand how fast a web page will load. To get more real we have to change.

Comment from E-mail:
Do you believe that HP still maintains the same standards as when you worked there? I was surprised by the poor quality of the hardware, software, and documentation when I purchased their latest model.

Woz:
I doubt that the HP quality reputation for fine test equipment, and the like, carries over to personal computers. Personal Computers are mostly manufactured and designed by Intel and Microsoft, and a quality oriented company can do to little to improve these things.

Also, computers, and especially computer software, are far more complex than hardware devices of the past. Let's say that a complicated mathematical proof has 30 steps. This is very complicated. But a computer or a program has hundreds or thousands of things that all have to work to make the final product. No human is a God, therefore all computers are buggy.

The real problems come when we add things to our computers, to have a little 'more' than we had before. It's like the nice car I once owned and showed. I was always spending my time to make it more perfect but I never had a working car to drive. I finally got tired of always trying to have a 'better' car and changed my habits to only trying to buy a car that was good enough from the factory without any changes. That's worked well for me. It also implies that eventually I will try to buy a computer that I don't have to add any hardware or software to, just use it reliably. The problem with your HP computer is better judged in terms of how it worked right out of the box, without additions, but even then you're counting on Intel and Microsoft.

Comment from E-mail:
Greetings from a Canuck living in exile in Tokyo for more years than I wish to count.

Couldn't help but notice you mentioning Tokyo lately on the PowerList. So, I thought I'd say hi and offer an open invite to go cruising the backstreets of Akihabara together sometime, if you find yourself in town and free to stroll. I doubt anybody's at home in "Akiba" as your humble correspondent, I'm completely fluent in the language, and I think we could have some fun getting away from the big stores on the main strip. Of course, we can always follow it up by slurping noodles or something if you like 'em.


Woz:
Thanks very much.

I'm behind on dozens of things right now and in play rehearsals so I can't chat much right now. But I'll keep this note and hope to see you sometime. Perhaps in the summer or next year.

Comment from E-mail:
I had an idea I wanted to pass by you because you might best know if this is "doable" (I based that leap of faith on your interest in Shoreline). I thought it would be cool if, after attending a live concert, you could buy a CD of that concert on the way out. It's probably not practical to to expect a professionally pressed CD, but with CD-R becoming faster and cheaper, it might be possible to "press" a CD-R while you wait. The equipment to burn CD-Rs could be made pretty easily, the expense would be in mixing the concert as best possible "on-the-fly" which would require a really good sound guy and some top equipment. The hard part is not really the CD-R part--its coming up with a good mix "on-the-fly", getting artists to allow recordings to ship without their approval of the recording quality, record company approvals, etc.

The CD could sell for as much as $15-20 and would require no post-processing expenses or marketing expenses. I've often been to a great concert (a good many at Shoreline) and wished I could share it with friends or just enjoy the experience again at a later time. Maybe someday. :)


Woz:
I think of a lot of problems with this suggestion. First, its hard to say that many people would buy such a CD. Concerts end late and the thoughts are on getting home as soon as possible. Also, not that many people would want a recording that might not be as good as what their own memory is. And those that record concerts (bootleg) and trade tapes and all probably wouldn't want to go the commercial route, even though it would be better quality and less hassle and expense. The big deal to these people is in making a recording themselves. Perhaps you could pre-purchase a CD in the ticket price, but it's hard to pre-sell something like this. People don't know in advance which will be the most special concerts (emotional) that they'd like a CD of.

Lets say that there might someday be a lot of online concert ticket sales, where your identity and address can be easily supplied. In those cases, tapes of concerts could be marketed to the exact people that attended, via email or paper mail. I know that if someone called me and said they had a tape of a certain concert that meant a lot to me, I'd buy it right away. But I couldn't have told you before the concert that I'd want it.


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