I emailed you a couple weeks ago about general stuff; so you don't have
to reply. I was just wondering if you would post on 'yer webpage your
thoughts on Apple's recent developments; Mainly the G4 Cube and Jobs'
peeing pissed over ATI's prerelease (24hrs before Steve's sermon--err,
keynote speech) info on the Mac graphic cards and now cancelling thier
deal with ATI over it. Much obliged man. Later
I'd be happy to give you some quick comments. I haven't thought these
out too much, but here goes...
First, what I read about ATI's pre-announcement of of a hot graphics card
and Steve Jobs' canceling of at least some things related to it. I heartily
agree with this abrupt decision. It's painful for Macintosh enthusiasts
to read every rumor about upcoming products everywhere we go. It makes
being part of the rumor/knowledge crowd more important than enjoying our
machines and getting proficient on them.
It's also not right to take control away from Apple as far as controlling
information about Apple's business. It's equivalent to Napster taking
control away from Metallica as to how their music is distributed. It may
feel good, but it's wrong and disrespectful to hurt others (meaning Apple
or Metallica). Agreements are agreements and should mean something.
It's also easier for competition to mount marketing campaigns to dull
the impact of new Apple offerings when they have advance knowledge.
The new Apple is much more satisfying than the old Apple. I remember the
old days when everyone lived for the rumor sites. It was a bit like the
fanatic world of passing around illegal software or getting beta versions
of stuff, legitimately or not, before it's released. It's like a frenzied
pissing contest that you can never win. I prefer things more mellow. I
don't like to be hearing news all day long about rumors.
I don't like everything that Steve does in an absolutist sense, overreacting
to leaks and the like. But as soon as I started reading this story I felt
the pain of the old days and told myself all the way through that it would
be right even to cut out ATI entirely, or at least come close to it. A
particular high performance card isn't enough of an incentive to me. I'm
pretty sure that if someone needed this card critically, they could buy
one from ATI.
The Cube is very attractive to me. I ordered a few on the web to shrink
space in my own home. I'm more interested in beautifying my home computer
areas than in having the fastest dual processor machine. Lots of people
in our family have to see some of our computers. My approach is to get
rid of ethernet hubs and ethernet wires (AirPort), USB Hubs and wires
(extra ports on the computer, keyboard, and display), unsightly cables
(clear ones), and power cables and associated power strips (devices that
get power from USB or FireWire). The Cube is in line with all of this.
Plus it's attractive like the Cinema Display, and has decent speakers.
The downside, for me, is that it has an external power brick (well, that's
at least out of site, and there would be a power cord regardless). Also,
the previous Cinema Displays (and Studio Displays) of the past, and the
display cards in the towers they came with, are all non-compatible with
the new ones. I'll have to wait until I have one to see what my final
By the way, the new mouse is clearly better than anything else ever, in
it's looks and in the way it operates. I'm always glad when Apple is clearly
the best choice.
First, like everyone else, I would like to thank you for Macs (I love
em, but I like my PC better because its not propritetary and I can build
it myself) and for the blue box (maybe I should be thanking crunch for
that?) and the wonderous inspiration you have provided us all. Anyways,
I am a younger guy (only 15), and I'm learning to program, hack hardware,
and hack my own network and use linux. I was wanting to know if you think
phreaking is dead, becasue I cant remember the old days and would like
to know if the art is dead, or is just beginning. I would also like to
know what you think of Linux, and the entire open source & hacker community.
Thanks for everything.
Phreaking is largely a desire for shy technical-only types to have a type
of social interaction that is denied to them because of their strangeness.
It's like psychological compensation. Social energies have to come out,
even if it's not in phony conversations with all the other people, but
rather in mildly anti-social ways. Phreaking is just a phrase for technically
based pranks, for the most part. It's always been here and always will
One thing that I found is that youngsters like to learn 'how' to phreak
but almost all will obey limits that are agreed upon as part of their
instruction. You can be smart and not be destructive. I like to laugh,
even if somebody is being tricked. But you shouldn't do things for the
money, or that cause irreversible destruction.
I hope that Linux and the Open Source movement encourage hacking and that
it stays on the good side of things. A world that is open is very wonderful
to us technical types. But to have it we have to respect it.
Woz, I consider you to be the ultimate innovator in the creation of
the personal computer of all time. I'd like to thank you personally for
your role in shaping the industry that I work in... it really does mean
a lot to me because I love working with and designing computer systems
so much. I'm one of the lucky ones that absolutely loves his job, and
I owe it to guys like you. :)
Sounds like we would have been great friends.
Continued.: I got into designing about five years behind you and find
myself wishing all of the time that I could have been around at the beginning
there in CA. I actually missed the Apple 1 because I was a poor college
student at the time, so my first computer was a Radio Shack Color Computer
1 (6809E). I had been playing with assembly code to develop a graphical
user interface when the Macintosh came out; when I saw the Mac I knew
that my dreams had been realized and I've been hooked ever since. I know
that you had much much less to do with the Mac, but you still made it
all possible. Thanks again, very much.
Okay, enough of the mushy stuff :), and one more question if I could...
I was reading on your web page about your interesting experiences with
early computer system design, and how you were most concerned with using
the fewest number of parts. (Most of my systems are designed with low
part count held paramount as well.) Did you actually take the time to
do a lot of cost analysis with your choice and selection of parts (in
terms of quantity discounts), or did you find yourself more on the impatient
side of eye-balling costs in deference to low part count regardless of
cost? I guess to rephrase, if you'd have realized how many systems you
could sell, how would this have affected your design approach?
As to cost analysis, yes and no. I always kept in mind that in shooting
for the fewest chips the cost had to be minimal or reasonable. Generally
I did things that took fewer chips of the same general cost. I might have
been a little high on the early DRAMs but it was too proper a direction
to go in. On the Apple I the most expensive chips were to be the video
memory. I chose cheap PMOS dynamic shift registers in 4-pin packages for
this. They were the cheapest solution I could find and were very tiny
for each of 7 bits.
In the end, the resources used are best represented by cost of the parts.
A good designer has a lower cost design. But you can only go so far in
sacrificing the needs of your customers by stripping cost. I see myself
as having been very sensitive to the many tradeoffs in this regard. Otherwise,
it would have been a lot easier. I'm sure that the Apple ][ was cheaper
than any competition, but sold for more because we wanted enough money
to grow and be successful.