Home
Home
Education
WozScape
All the Macintosh links you need!
Woz answers your letters
Conventions, past and present.
Friends of Woz
Some businesses
Unuson
Festivals and Fun
See Woz, if he's home.
 
Letters-General Questions Answered  

 


Q From e-mail:
You mention that many of the incidents in "Pirates" were out of order or happened with other people. As I remember the story, Capt. Crunch was pulled over in one of the Manhattan tunnels when police did not recognize the "blue box". Did this happen in CA or NY and were you in the van?

WOZ:
I don't know this exact story. I do remember when he was arrested in a NY YMCA while making a red box call. The FBI didn't care about the red box, they just wanted him for leaving California in violation of his parole.

Once, Steve Jobs and I tried to make our first blue box call ever from a pay phone. This was while I was a student at Berkeley. Steve's car had broken down about 1 AM while driving from Berkeley to his home in Los Altos where my Pinto was parked. We walked to a nearby gas station and were making our blue box call back to the dorms to get Draper to give us a lift.

We got very scared when the operator kept coming on the line. We didn't yet have the right operator BS down pat. Then 2 cops pulled up. Steve's hand, holding the blue box, was shaking. But our looks led the cops to search the bushes for drugs or something. With their backs turned, Steve passed me the blue box and I got it in my jacket pocket.

The cops then patted us down and found the blue box. We know we'd been caught. The cops asked what it was and I said "an electronic music synthesizer" and told them that you got tones by pusing the keyboard buttons. The cop asked what the red button (phone line seizing!) was for and Steve said "calibration."

The cops were very interested in our blue box. They held on to it and asked us to get in their car while they drove out to our broken down car. We were in the back seat, shaking. Finally, the cop in the passenger seat turned around and handed me the blue box, saying "a guy named Moog beat you to it." Steve responded, saying that Moog had sent us the schematics. The cops actually believed us.

We got our lift back home from Draper. This was the very night we'd met him. Then I drove back to Berkeley. I fell asleep and totaled my Pinto in Oakland about 3 AM. i walked to my dorm and told my roommate how lucky it was I hadn't paid the $25 quarterly parking fee that quarter.

Losing this car (no insurance) was one big reason that I had to work after that school year to pay for my fourth year of college. My career kept going up and Apple got started and I didn't get back for 10 years....Steve

BTW, the first time I met Draper was at a scheduled meeting at a Burger King at the corner of 45 and Lex in NYC. I asked how I could be sure it was really him, and he showed me his picture on the front cover of the latest Village Voice.

Q From e-mail:
Dear Mr. Wozniak, I just recently watched the "Pirates" Movie, and I was wondering do you still have the plans for that blue box you were making? If so please send me a copy of them I am interested in there function and purpose. I intend to use them for intelectulal purposes only I do NOT plan to do any "Phreaking" with it .I would greatly appreaciate it.

WOZ:
I don't think that the blue boxes are usable and safe to use anymore. If you were to try you might be very unlucky right away. I don't have the time to pull out a schematic, but it's a design that I'm still extremely proud of. Some of the design appears in the video circuitry timers of the Apple II.

You might contact Captain Crunch, John Draper, crunch@webcrunchers.com. I actually host his websites.

Q From e-mail:
You mention that there are books out there that don't really portray the early days with much accuracy. What books could you recommend for an insight that's closer to the real history? - Any plans on writing an autobiography?

WOZ:
I remember liking "Hackers" by Steven Levy.

I've had an autobiography contract for a couple of years but don't have the time yet. It's based mostly on a very unusual life with things like Apple in the background of the story, along the lines of "Surely you must be joking, Mr. Feinman."

Q From e-mail:
I recently saw Pirates, and I have to admit, it gives me a creepy feeling. Here I am, 29 years old and using my Mac to express myself. At times I make women look thinner and wonder who I am giving an eating disorder too. I paint as well. If Jobs ever really quoted Picasso like that, I have 1 thing to say, that you will understand, and Jobs would most likely ignore. Real artists create. Picasso sucked. I paint for myself, and for nobody else. You my friend, are a real artist. You created something, and should be seen as the hero that you are. You invented a tool, for everyone. You are the bright spot in a pool of theft and temptation. As a real artist, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for creating a platform where everyone can express themselves. You created a platform where I and others now make our living. You have done more than anyone else to promote creativity. I wish I had been born earlier, and been there with you and Jobs. I wish I could have made a difference, and I applaud you for being a star, a hero, a guiding light for myself an others. One last thing....what should a kid like me do these days? Thank you for your time. Keep it real bro,

WOZ:
In high school I always favored and did best in math and sciences (lots of 800's) so more subjective courses, like English and History, weren't as important to me. I didn't see why I'd get a lower grade just based on which words I'd used to describe a book. I wrongly interpreted this as being an undeserved inaccuracy of sujectivity. To me, objective courses equated to truth. A math problem has a right answer that is calculated identically by different people. An electronic circuit can be calculated identically by several people. These things were good to me. And so, therefore, was truth. Artists were like the student that sweet talks a teacher into a better grade, and not my favorite type of people.

In the early 70's I was designing circuits with fewer parts and more tricks than anyone else that I saw. A lot of this culminated in the Apple designs. By this time I had dozens and hundreds of inter-related facets of each design in my head and would carry them all day and night. I'd sometimes wake up with a new solution. I many many times knew that my approach to logic design and software was equivalent to great musicians and artists. I saw how many minute details they had to combine into larger building blocks and eventually, piece together into the final work of art. I could tell that if either I or the artist used extreme mental energies to keep so many aspects fitting together, the final result was beautiful. I felt like, and know that I was like, an artist.

Funny thing is that I still can't draw anything worth a damn. Fortunately our computers give klutzes like myself 3D programs that make a small effort look like much more.


Back
to questions about "Pirates of Silicon Valley"


Home | WozCam | Education | WozScape | Unuson | MacLinks | Friends | Business | Conventions | Festivals

©Unuson Corp. 2002 | Los Gatos, California | v3.0 | Last Updated:January 18, 2000  
Design by Al Luckow

Made With macintosh