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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 

 

Q From e-mail:
I saw the "Pirates" movie. From what I can see, it seems that "Job's" and "Gates" were both cut from the same piece of fabric. Hard driven and power hungry. It seems that you were more level headed and into the actual design and research end of things.

WOZ:
Good observation...Steve

Q From e-mail:
By the way, I love Mac's. I am getting ready to get the latest G3!!! I think it is great that you are involved with helping so many school kids use Mac's. My mother is an elementery school Counselor. I am trying to convince there school to lose the PC's and go to Imac's.

WOZ:
Our district is currently Macintosh and we have to fight the battle every now and then. Our former high school principal was the sort of beaurocrat that was brave enough to make exceptions. Instead of the http://school.districe.level.state.us and principal@school.districe.level.state.us he adopted the shortened lghs.net form and wouldn't give in on it. I wish more people used their own heads once in a while. Our middle school and elementary schools went the long way.

Q From e-mail:
Hello Woz, It'll still be a while before the movie will be aired in Europe but the reactions and shots look very promising. I smiled when you mentioned 'Hackers' by Steven Levy as I'm currently reading his book and very much like it. Movies and shows about computers are unfortunately still very rare. With all these Emails, doesn't the idea of producing something similar (Or a series of portrayals) sounds very appealing ?

WOZ:
Yes. I have incredible stories and what's been told here is only a small part of it. My book will be much more like "Hackers" if I ever get the time.

Q From e-mail:
Honestly, what do you think of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs? In the movie, there seemed to be alot of stealing of ideas and all. and Steve Jobs seemed to have been a very cut throat and mean when it came to dealing with people and his workers. I know this is a braod question, but what personally did you think of them? Thanks.

WOZ:
I think that Steve is very smart and sees the world and the future clearly. But he's impatient with others that don't see it the same or as quickly. Steve is very pressing on good engineers. Walking into Xerox was sure not to be missed by Steve. I can't say if Bill Gates would have seen the Xerox stuff and it's future impact as clearly without Steve showing him the way. These are just opinions.

Q From e-mail:
I few years back, I worked with a really nice computer guy by the name of Jim Grammar, who said he worked on the Lisa project at Apple. I had no idea what he was talking about until I saw "Pirates of Silicon Valley. I was just wondering if you know/knew him. Also, after watching the "Pirates of Silicon Valley," I wondered: do you really work in schools now? Do you own any Apple stock?

WOZ:
Sorry, but I don't recall the name. But I regularly think of the LISA project every time I pass the beautiful brick building that they worked out of.

I do own Apple stock and I do believe in the company and I'll never desert it. If I had to use Windows, I'd switch to WebTV or retire forever from using computers. Even though WebTV is owned by Microsoft, it's a better alternative for humans.

Q From e-mail:
I get the impression from "Pirates" that Steve Jobs himself may be partly responsible for fanatical aspects of Mac ownership. Would this be accurate? Further, I get the impression he would be what some call a narcissistic personality (if I understand the term correctly). Overall, the portrait was not very flattering, but accurate if I've read your responses to similar questions correctly.

WOZ:
Without Steve, Microsoft might still not be supporting a GUI. What more can one say? I don't really know what narcissistic means. When I don't quite know what a word means it's probably far from my own life. What most people might call unflattering, some might still call flattering, maybe even Steve himself. I'm embarrassed when I hear of or see these things, but it probably comes from my shyness too. For example, I don't know if I could actually fire someone that is not performing great feats. Yet, when we hear Steve talk, we all agree that we only want the great ones.

Q From e-mail:
Hello Laura, I can tell that the Woz is buried under tons of email right now. The Woz is one of the most important men in the world. I would not burden him with any more trivial questions to satisfy my curiousity. What I hope to offer is food for thought. Please forward this to him if you deem it worthy of his attention.
---------------------------------------
Dear Steve, I have spent the last two days reading your comments and replies on the Woz website. I haven't seen either "Pirates" or "Triumph". I think that your website gives a much clearer picture of who you are, what you believe in and how these led to your huge contribution to this industry, than any movie or ducumentary ever could. I want to thank you for making yourself available for this dialogue which will inspire countless people, young and old alike. You are the MAN Steve. I never realised it was really YOU who had THE VISION before. Others somehow seem to have gottten most of the credit but you got the satisfaction of knowing it was YOU, no matter what anyone else said or did. I'm not saying no one else contributed. I'm saying you are the one who really concieved and gave birth to what started this industry. And here in your pages, you seem to be saying it too. Thanks for clarifying all this finally. I was particularly moved about what you have said here and in other places about simplicty and about being completely in control of the interface and the hardware again (someday). About the fact that computers should be made that follow one simple rule "thou shall not crash"!! I know how much you long to use this kind of computer again and still have all the power and creativity we have available with Mac OS today. My question to you is: Where do you think the vision and impetus is going to come from that will begin the movement in this direction? As a student of world history, it has always seemed to me that persons with the ability to conciously move the world in a specific direction are extremely rare. You are one of those people Steve. The others (Gates, Allen, and even Jobs) really just took advantage of what was already happening and used it for their own advantage. I dont think any of them really cares much what is good for mankind or the world. They are mainly intersted in more empire building. The needs required for empire building and the needs of the common man have never been particularly harmonius in my opinion Linux is certainly not a step in the direction of simplicity. Even though it rarely crashes it is certainly not an OS for "the common man". I know how busy you are and how much you put yourslf into everything you do .even taking a child to school. I have a feeling for how much you love life. But I am going to suggest to you there there is perhaps only ONE MAN in the entire world who has the necessary vision, respect, industry clout, and is uniquely qualified to lead us back from THE WILDERNESS. Please as always, continue to do what your heart tells you... Always be happy! Your friend and admirer,

WOZ:
As for your question, where do I think the movement toward computers that don't frustrate their users will come from, here's my speculation. Right now so much crap gets out the door that should not even be legal. It doesn't behave in an intuitive way at all, only after you've mastered it and do the same things over and over does it seem intuitive. Until you don't use it for a while or have to do something new. There are far too many specific examples to get into here.

But I think it's mostly a result of what we customers will accept, not being in a position to challenge the experts, and partly a result of the big money in this fast changing business. Every product has to be rushed out with competitive features and there's not much value in making things work properly for humans. I'm sorry but that's how I feel.

What pushes this tremendous need for quick development is Moore's law. As long as the hardware is more capable each year, but costs the same, the big profits are in taking advantage of this change in the system. When will it stop? Someday. What do we do then, when you have the same amount of computer and the same speed and the same HD and the same RAM each year and it actually gets more expensive like everything else. Then there will be value in the programmer that can make better use of the fixed resources. There will be time to look at ease of use and politeness of the computer and intuitiveness of software as profitable features.

I'd call this a renaissance, when the humans once again become more important than the machines. But it's still quite a ways off.


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