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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 

 


Comment from E-mail:
A column in the editorials section of the April 2, 2000 Orange County Register stated that you chose the 6502 over an Intel processor because it cost $4 less. The author cited this as one of the fateful decisions that forever linked Apple to Motorola, and was a curse on Apple. My guess is that you were always a "6" processor type person, and that cost was almost not a factor in your selection. What was your thought process on selecting the 6502 over an Intel processor?
Woz:
The 6502 was close to $400 less, and I couldn't afford the more expensive one.

Apple was never linked to Motorola. Motorola didn't make the 6502. The LISA looked at processor options and wisely chose the new 68000 from Motorola because it was heads and tails superior to any other, not just a little better. A new machine and OS didn't have to choose it's processor for any other reason. At that time, if you wanted to be compatible with the greatest installation of microcomputers, you'd have had to choose the 6502 for the LISA. Later market events didn't curse Apple because of it's having chosen the 68000 for the LISA and Macintosh. The citing that you reference makes me wonder about that article.

The 6502 was much superior to the Intel 8080. I had studied computer architecture as the primary interest of my life. The versatile addressing modes of the 6502 meant more than even if the 8080 had been a 16 bit machine. I did have some woes in later years for the 68000. It had efficient direct addressing modes that I wish Apple programmers had never used. Programs should be transferable to machines with more and more RAM exactly as they are, and that is only possible if every instruction uses a base address register plus an offset, as in the IBM 360 series.

Comment from E-mail:
Woz, it seems you actually respond 50-100 (maybe more) email messages = a day! How can you cope with the overwhelming mail? Unless you're SuperWoz or your wife helps you out...
Woz:
For a while I was responding to more than that. Many of my responses are private and not posted on the web site. But I got so exhausted and behind on personal matters (setting up computers, working with kids) that I was looking at the calendar each day to see what appointments I had coming up. I got so exhausted that I've cut it back a bit right now, and when I'm finally rested and ready I'll figure out how to do it.

Comment from E-mail:
What do you think of Mac OS 9? All the bugs it contains... is it worth the $79.95 it's worth in the stores?
Woz:
Well, I don't run into the bugs much. Every OS has hundreds of bugs. I don't think that it's worth much over MacOS 8.6. I can't say that I benefit from it, compared to my friends that didn't upgrade. Except that I use Sherlock and for some reason it just wouldn't run, except a few times after a restart, when I used MacOS 8.6. I have no idea why.

Comment from E-mail:
Apple Computer and I hope you wouldn't mind if I ask you a few questions. Most of the resources I've looked at cover a lot, but I think you are one of the only people that could answer these ones. So they are: Why was the computer industry so important in California, instead of somewhere else? Why was the market ready for the Apple I when you, Jobs and Wayne made it? And what do you think Apple's role will be in the next ten years? Thanks for your time.
Woz:
I don't think that the computer industry was particularly large in California when the first microcomputers started appearing. There weren't many places in the world where silicon chip companies abounded, that's why this area was already called Silicon Valley instead of the older Santa Clara Valley. So a lot of the early microprocessors were being produced here. But not computers.

In fact, it was a Pennsylvania company that made the 6502 processor that I chose for the early Apple computers. Most other early microcomputers used the Intel processor, which was from California. But some used processors from Motorola in Arizona.

Computers were introduced by companies all over the country. These were all small operations and only a few were in California. We had lots of computer engineers in our area but these early computers came out of New Mexico, Utah, Massachusetts, Texas, and many other states.

When the computer revolution got going, Apple was the biggest early success. A lot of people had really missed this technical revolution and missed out on investment opportunities. They didn't want to miss out on any more aspects to the growth of this new business.

So funding of companies with products in the computer area was very successful and very abundant from some point on. Why were so many of these companies in California? Well, for one thing, they all started with certain types of engineers that were already omnipresent here. Companies find it easier to expand than open offices in other states. Venture capitalists value closeness to the rest of this fantastic business climate. New companies can always find tons of engineers already here. A company that makes a graphics board has trained engineers in the art and sometimes they will start a new graphics board company, or go with one. So you can see a lot of reasons why an industry would tend to be lumped into groups, like traffic on a highway, or swarms of bees, or flocks of birds.

Comment from E-mail:
You are probably the one person on the planet who can answer this question, because I think of you as the Father of the Macintosh paradigm. I write about the Mac Continuum for My Mac Magazine, and I run the Critical Thinking Forum you cite on your links page The more I look at Aqua, the more I see the ultimate "NEXT OS". It is obviously an excellent operating system, but is it still a Mac? This is a critical question for me, because I believe that the essence of the Mac, and the whole paradigm of the Macintosh Way might be lost or diluted in the coming of this new OS. Are we looking at the end of the Macintosh?
Woz:
I was not anything close to the father of the Macintosh paradigm. I was just a side supporter. Steve Jobs had the real excitement over this technology but it was implemented by Apple first in the LISA computer, even though 1 MB of RAM cost $5000 when the LISA was introduced. The Macintosh was partly an effort to outdo the LISA, perhaps for negative reasons as well as positive ones. Jef Raskin had gathered an outstanding group of excited computer people at Apple in the Macintosh project, including the ones who had become my own best friends there, the ones that wanted to do very special things. So Steve Jobs had a very good group to carry out his project with.


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