Letters-General Questions Answered
Q From e-mail: Can you discuss the nature of your relationship with Steve Jobs at this time?
WOZ: I actually like him and what he says. I couldn't treat people the way he does but I've never witnessed it either. He's quite intelligent and makes sense, although he doesn't always listen fully. For example, I might be trying to help and he might hear it more as a worthless complaint. I do not oppose Steve in any way. I'm even amazed if he really pulls off Apple's next decade successfully. I could never manage projects well, as Steve does, now that they are so complex with so many people involved.
Q From e-mail:My first Mac (which still works) was a 512 "Enhanced" with all the signatures inside. Can you tell me more about this model? Thank You, Susan
WOZ:Steve Jobs felt that the early Mac should be very closed to have good control over what it was and did. But that left oversights like memory expansion. So the 128K 'first' Mac had to soon be replaced by the 512K model (as RAM prices dropped).
The original Macs had the signatures inside. It's pretty cool. Despite the fact that my plane crash had taken me out of Apple and through college and into promoting rock concerts, many of the Mac team felt that they'd been so influenced by me that they included me among the signaturees.
Q From e-mail: YOU are the kind of person who is lacking today...I admire you greatly. I have read some of the early stories, and I commend you for being someone we can all look up to!P.D.
WOZ:Thanks very much. I'm glad to have inspired so many not for being in charge of the companies that make their products.
Q From e-mail: I just saw the "Pirates of Silicon Valley" on cable the other day. It made me feel very nostalgic.
My Dad bought an Apple //e (with 128K of RAM *AND* an 80-column card) in 1984. I fell in love with it (having only used a Commodore PET before that). I was 13 at the time and devoted countless hours to figuring out how it worked. I taught myself BASIC, machine language, and assembly language. "CALL -151" still makes me grin.
I eventually bought a ][gs in 1987 and used that until I made the switch to PC's in 1994. Nothing, however, will ever compare with the all-around completeness and stability of my Apple //e.
I still fire up my Apple //e emulator from time to time to play an old Infocom game.
Anyway, just wanted to let you know your computer had a huge influence on my life, my career, and my ongoing fascination and interest with computers.
WOZ: I'm glad that you were well inspired. So many remember how good the //e was. Today's computers are just too frustrating. They don't need to be. Some people even realize that when you added a printer to the //e, with it's mini-OS, the driver was in ROM on the printer interface card. True plug and play. Today we find plug and install and reconfigure and fix conflicts and update versions more than plug and play.
Q From e-mail: Hello, I'm Colin T. I have always been interested in Operating Systems, and like the Mac OS. However, I also like free stuff, mostly because the people who make it are considerate enough to realize that what they are giving is really nothing more than virtual words. Therefore, I absolutely love the Linux Operating System. Now, I have started my own, called FluxOS. It will be giving away freely and is going to be open source. I am writing it in Assembly for the MIPS class processor (a nice little RISC chip). But, since I have little experience in Operating System programming, I can't do much. I need to know how the Kernel works, and other such essential elements. Could you point me in the right direction or show me what could be done?
WOZ:Nice note. I'm glad that you're into some good things and that you really want to be. I'm glad that you are starting, as I did, with the mentality of helping and giving. It wasn't shown, but I passed out schematics of what became the Apple I computer (after Steve Jobs saw $$$) freely at the HomeBrew Computer Club. Who ever heard of such an important product and the start of an industry being given away?
I can't help point you in the direction you want to go. You'll have to find that on your own. I can only do a certain number of things and I've had a family for the last 16 years.
Q From e-mail: I just have to ask you about the Pirate Flag that was in the movie. Was the flag real or was that something they added in the movie? If it was true, who's idea was it? While watching the movie, my only guess was that Apple raised the flag when Bill Gates met with Steve Jobs for a business meeting. On another note, you're a great man. Not too many people in the world as caring as you. If the part of your charactor was real in the movie (i.e. telling Steve Jobs to do the right thing, or you will give away some of your stock), I can only say that you DID THE RIGHT THING!! Right on! -Andy
WOZ:Couldn't be the real flag. It did fly all the time. I gave away a lot of my stock to do the right thing, very rare but true. I didn't go into all this for the money.
Q From e-mail: Can you discuss the nature of the "memory loss" that you suffered?
WOZ: This may be simplified but here it goes. When you see or hear or othewise sense something, it's held in your shortterm memory to be perceived. If you hold it in short term memory for a while (5 seconds? 10 seconds? 15 seconds?) it can somehow (unknown) make it to a long term, permanent, memory. The processing path for this formation is well suspected to be through the hippocampus because people who can't form long term memories, like myself for 5 weeks, often have identifiable lesions in this area of the brain. This is called atereor grada amnesio or some such thing ('forward' amnesia). It is quite common after car crashes and plane crashes and the like. Mine wasn't diagnosed by doctors, friends, family, psychologists, etc. After all, with all my old memories, I could go places and ride my motorcycle, etc. People just thought that I was weird because I said weird things. I couldn't tell you that I'd seen someone 10 minutes before (I'm presuming) but I had no way to know that this amnesia existed or that I had it during the 5 weeks. I couldn't have told Steve that I had memory problems, as in the movie.
It was real. I never got any memories from this period. I would never have gone 5 weeks with my dogs in a shelter, nor left a missing tooth be untreated for this period.
The 'backwards' amnesia with which we are most familiar is called retrograda amnesia, or something like that.
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