Comment from E-mail

What is your favorite quote?

Woz

A family of five deserves five votes. It's my own quote. Schools get funding from government. Government spending is in accordance with voting power. The kids that we are trying to help in schools don't get counted in this money allocation method. In California (50th in class size, 43rd in $ per student, 47th in computers per student) we require 2/3 of the vote, not 1/2, to pass property tax overrides for a school district to get more funding, yet only 1/3 of the families have children in the schools. If a family of 5 had 5 votes, these override issues would pass with 67% a lot more. Now they often fail with 63% of the vote. It's a shame.

If a family of five had five votes, schools would wind up with perhaps twice as much money and we'd have the great education that we say we want and that we are wealthy enough to afford. We'd have a lot fewer students fall through the cracks and be 'lost' with unproductive lives. Class size is the biggest key to this.

All terms: Vote
Comment from E-mail

What would you do if you were 17 years old today?

Woz

I'd learn everything I could about computers that isn't easily encountered in school. I'd try to write programs that aren't in books just to figure out how to write them, using any books or references I could stumble onto. If the passion is strong enough, you learn no matter what.

All terms: Teen
Comment from E-mail

What kind of an impact have kids had on your life?

Woz

It was the greatest goal of my life to have kids and I am very lucky. The happiest and most important day of my life was the birth of my first son.

All terms: kids
Comment from E-mail

Some people claim that Bill Gates will be given credit for creating the personal computer in the history books. What do you think about this and Microsoft in general?

Woz

That's ridiculous. Bill did have an important part. In 1975 when I was in the Homebrew Computer Club and designing my computer, Bill's BASIC brought a usable computer language to those technicians that could now afford a cheap Altair computer. Tons of games were the starting point for this revolution.

I'd spent a couple of important, earlier years of my life teaching myself to program a computer language in machine language, even though I never had access to a computer to even start debugging my programs. They were just written on paper, generally during college math classes and the like. I awe Bill Gates' BASIC and decided that was the language for me to use on my 'second' computer, which became the Apple I (the first had been built a few years earlier). In the end, I spent a lot more time on this than on the hardware designs and other things.

Do note that I did all the hardware and software and keyboard control programs and BASIC and graphic programs and apps and demos and peripherals (cassette interface, printer interface and driver, serial interfaces and drivers, floppy controller and driver and boot code and OS kernel, and more). Bill Gates gave up engineering (programming) after one program and made all of Microsoft's programs as a businessman, primarily 'buying' them.

Once in a while history credits the scientist or engineer over the businessman. Einstein is an example of this. But usually the measure is in terms of dollars and power and longevity in the business.

All terms: Bill Gates, Microsoft
Comment from E-mail

I helped someone visit their first website last week. It was almost as if this person was afraid of technology. Would you like to give this person any advice?

Woz

If the person has time, they can become an expert browser and advisor to others. It's the future and they can be a leader, even with very little experience. Try not to have dissatisfying experiences at the start. Computer setups can be a total turnoff. I got my mom WebTV and all she does is push one button and is connected. She's been on the Internet and sending email every day since. I get jokes from her all the time. If you want to do it with a computer and you're timid, please use an iMac or iBook. If you don't want to get into 'ISP' get America Online, which comes pre-installed on all computers. It has a front end that helps you learn how to use this extensive world.

All terms: America Online, ISP, Web TV
Comment from E-mail

Can you tell us about "Dial-a-Joke" and some of your recent practical jokes?

Woz

Dial-a-Joke was a GREAT thing. I did it all alone, a little before Apple. I did a lot of great things back then. Dial-a-Joke was the first one in the San Francisco Bay area ever. It cost a lot because you couldn't buy answering machines back then. You could only rent an expensive machine from the phone company.

I can't even start on pranks. I still pull good ones all the time. This would be too long a story. Perhaps I'll get to my book some day.

All terms: Dial-A-Joke, pranks
Comment from E-mail

What do you think about Steve Jobs being CEO again?

Who has made the biggest impact on your life?

Woz

- I think that he has a good head that does common sense things. Even his experiences away from Apple helped him see other important aspects of the world and markets.

- My father, followed by my high school electronics teacher who hand the most excellent course and who arranged for me to program computers at a local company since our school had no computers. My father taught me electronics whenever I needed the knowledge and gave me strong ethical and educational values.

All terms: Steve Jobs
Comment from E-mail

In an interview with MacAddict, you said that you hoped computers "would get simpler, but they always get more complex." Do you still feel that way?

Woz

Yes. It's hard to explain many functions and error messages. Even the words are very hard to understand. The basic simplicity and the sophisticated features of powerful programs are hard to find, especially since menu and setup wording is not the best. More than almost anything else is the problem of having lots of interesting and fun and useful programs that don't go well with the latest OS upgrades. It's sometimes very hard for anyone but an expert to solve such problems. So the students wind up being slaves to the technology, less important in some respects than the administrators. For a while, when we started, things were reversed.

All terms: MacAddict
Comment from E-mail

I read an aritcle on ram magazine (greek mag.) about you and steve jobs...:) I read that you are a guru of computers and I thought that if you weren't around, probably there will not be many things as they are now ... sorry for my english but I am from greece so you know...I am 16 years old and I like pc's very much...

Woz

I am greatly honored. Don't forget that my contributions to the earliest popular home computer wouldn't have been noticed if Apple hadn't done well as a company...Woz

All terms: Greece, guru, Pc
Comment from E-mail

A bunch of my friends are now Macintosh fans. Do you use a Mac? What kind? Do you like it? Why do you use Outlook Express??? Have you met Bill Gates? I hear he isn't the nicest of people is there any truth to that? Do you read the magazine Mac Addict? Do you know anything internet based that I can do to earn a little cash? Do you like RPG games like Dungeons and Dragons Visit the best web sites in the world?

Woz

I use Macintosh computers exclusively. I mainly use a PowerBook (G3/400) but also have a G4 minitower. My family uses lots of other models, including iMacs and iBooks and even the incredible 20th anniversary Macintosh.

I do use Outlook Express. It doesn't have a lot of things that I want (like dragging email addresses into the address book) but it's clean for what it does have.

I've never met Bill Gates.

I occasionally read MacAddict. I have so little free time, that's my problem.

Sorry, I don't have any specific internet based ideas for you.

I don't have time for RPG games (beyond a bare minimum) but my boys and their friends have always gone for RPG games in particular. That's the sort of game I would get into if I had the time and was younger.