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Letters-General Questions Answered  



Q From e-mail:
I'm surprized you have time to reply to email now adays let alone make a web page. I actually think it was a smart idea to have someone doing your page for you I know whats its like to have to keep updating a web page its no easy task now adays whenever I do a web page I use netscape's composer, and I don't think your lazy. A lazy person would not of built a personal computer. I have another question for you do you still teach? A simple yes or no will do I don't want to take up your time as I've done :)

Thanks for the note. I was going to revive an advanced class this Monday but got swamped in email and have to forego it for a while. This class will use Netscape Composer to compose web pages because of the "Edit Page" feature. I'll still have to rigorously teach enough to guarantee that the edited pages get saved to the proper ftp URL.

I was actually not lazy, but I wish I were all the time as I get older. I teach less and less because I don't have a sure 'win' teaching computers, now that the kids are so familiar with them already, and also due to a lack of my own time. Also, I don't have a very good staff to help me with the teaching some years.

Q From e-mail:
1: Did Steve Jobs actually drop that Apple I? I, and my friends nearly cried when we saw that!

2: What was your impression of the Amiga? I own one, and feel that no other hardware/OS combo worked as well... and that includes my experiences w/ the early macs.. (i also own a Mac IIci) thanks! Ron ps.. remind me to tell you about the time i blew my scholastic bowl question concerning the US Festivals! :)

I must have missed the part in the movie "Pirates" where Steve Jobs dropped an Apple I. He was a major influence in dropping internal support for the hot selling Apple ][ line too fast. I never had an Amiga. In early days I might have sneered at it as any competitor would. But for the next decade, over and over I ran into the most die-hard supporters that couldn't find a personal computer that could outdo it's graphics and video (NTSC) abilities. That gave me an incredible respect for the machine even though I never owned one.

The US Festivals were a blast and were the greatest of their kind ever. But they'll never get the same level of publicity as Apple Computer. Nor do they have the same historical importance. So I'm always glad to be reminded that occasionally they are remembered somewhere. So, you missed a question about them. How can you know about these more obscure things? You didn't see the US Festivals mentioned in the "Pirates" movie, did you?

Q From e-mail:
I watched Pirates of Silicon Valley last week with a very heavy heart. I couldnt help but reminisce about the day in 1981 or so (I was about 13) when my father brought home an Apple II. He was a NASA hardware design engineer at the time. I remember learning your BASIC, and writing programs with him. He worked from 4 to 12 pm at the Space Center and would write code before he went to work, and I would write code after school. We would sit down and tinker with our programs on his days off. We later wrote code in machine language as well. We would do this for hours on end. It was so cool! It drove my mom nuts!

My dad and I have lived in different states since I left home for college in 1985 and see each other only a few times a year (my corporate law practice and his consulting business keep us busy and me far from home).

I just wanted to say thanks for the Apple II. It helped bring my dad and I closer than we ever were before or ever will be again. My fondest thoughts of my father will always be learning, programming and using that wonderful machine of yours with him.

I'm crying a bit right now. You are not alone. I have other good friends whose fathers were engineers or scientists that remember such things. I hope that my own children remember me that way.

My own father was an engineer at Lockheed. He worked on comany projects painstakingly at home so often, sometimes cracking horrendous systems of equations after weeks or months of work. I know that this impacted how precise and complete I am on my best stuff. My father was always there to teach me electronics and computers, or at least to get me references if I was beyond him in some areas. He also taught me that teachers and education were important. Most of all, he talked of the importance of ethics, of telling the truth, of keeping your word, of finishing things you start. He was rather strict about this but he was not religious. He was far and away the greatest influence of my life and I didn't always realize or appreciate it enough when it was happening. I consider myself great with my own kids in the computer age, but I don't feel I can do even as good a job as my father did. He's gone now. Some very nice things that Steve Jobs said at the wake mean more to me than any other aspect of our friendship.

P.S. It was at that very wake that Steve spoke to me of the T1 to his home and it wasn't long before I got one. I kept up the networking interest and am the admin for a sizable personal WAN now.


to questions about "Pirates of Silicon Valley"

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