These letters provide an insight to who Woz is, however, if you are reading and see somebody ask, "What is your current favorite computer?" and he says something like, "The Powerbook G3", just try to place it in time. Keep in mind, these letters have been collected over time.
Dear Mr Wozniak,
I realize you're swamped with emails, but I had to send this...
I was first introduced to computers (Apple //+ at the time) when I was 12 years old, and began programming in BASIC on the Apple at age 13 (this was back around 1982/83)... Since that time, I've been hooked on personal computers, from the Apple //e, the Mac, the Amiga, and of course, the PC. I've used them all.
However, if not for the Apple //, and the opportunities that it opened for me, I don't know what job I would have today. The thought of not using computers, quite frankly, disturbs me...
Today, I too am a teacher. I teach a number of computer courses (computer graphics, design, video editing, etc), as well as media courses such as television production and broadcasting. It's a great and satisfying feeling to be able to share my computer knowledge and experience with my students - I truly enjoy it.
I'd like to thank you for opening that door for me by designing and building a computer that was affordable enough for my parents to buy, with an elegant design that allowed seemingly limitless experimenting and tinkering.
And here's a personal account for you. I still remember the first time that I ever saw an Apple //. The memory is still vivid, even from age 12. My father had brought me into a new college computer lab outfitted with Apples, and was typing in a BASIC program. When he backspaced over the text to type in a correction, I asked how he did it, and he showed me the backspace key. That was all it took - I was entering my own programs the next year.
I respect the fact that you're teaching children now. I respect that very greatly... You're opening doors for them in the same way that you opened a door for me some 18 years ago, and hopefully, many of them will find their own career path in the same way and return to thank you as well!
Your first Apple ][ memory is a good one. Those of us who were there can see what it means to have an outstanding memory from age 12. It's a very life shaping thing to see a program correction made for the first time ever. I remember the time I ran a wire up the block to a friend's house and we hooked up telegraph keys (we could both do Morse code, and I myself was a ham radio operator) and speakers. I heard my friend talking and was shocked. The speakers were also microphones. That took our neighborhood intercom to a new level and we got mikes and amplifiers from then on. Unexpected surprises are the best way to learn, because it means more.
It's this exact sort of experience that I've wanted to bring to young kids my whole life, and which is a major part of the reason that I like teaching. It doesn't happen every day but it's wonderful to see when students unexpectedly 'get' something.
Keep up the good things that you do.
I had sent this to Laura back when PoSV had just aired, and everyone in the world was sending you tons of email. I can understand why you either never got it or never replied. However, in light of reading your interview on Slashdot, I figured I would reasoned it to you, since it is likely something you would appreciate seeing. The only thing I can think of which would sum up how I feel about you is "Thank you for being who you are." You're simply amazing. If the world were made up entirely of people like you, there would be no wars, no violence, and everyone would just be happier. Not to mention that technology would likely be superior to what it is today. You rock my world, Woz.
Here's what may have happened. First, Laura and one other person failed to forward a ton of email to me promptly after the "Pirates" movie, and they hit me with far too many to answer. The unanswered batch grew to 1,000 and I still have it. I've since changed the main web site mailing to hit me directly so that doesn't happen again. Laura is a very good person, it's just that the email deluge from "Pirates" and my revamped web site (thanks to the webmaster, Al Luckow, who does it voluntarily to help me out) was unexpected.
But in your case something else is more likely. Someday, when the email is too heavy, I answer the short ones and print the long ones to get to later. Sometimes I have to pass them up altogether as they get outdated. I assure you that the ones that get missed are less than 5%, maybe as low as 1%.
Your original answer is in a separate email.
Ummm... I have no idea if you'll even read this, but here goes.
Thankyou *so* much for putting time into woz.org, through which I've been wading for the last couple of hours, reading the comments and so on. I've read other things about you through other sources but few actually made me as happy as your own site.
That's my prize comment of the day and it truly makes my day. My site was floundering and not kept up for years. All it had was the WozCam. I've sacrificed a lot to spend so much time answering so many questions. It's kind of like the performer that actually takes the time to do that sort of thing. You remember it in a good way. A similar story was when I saw Barry Manilow, whose music I don't even love or really care for. He was so respectful to the audience that it showed and he became sort of a hero of my own. At one point he brought a random stranger on-stage to sing a sing with him. He even wrapped his arms around her as they sang. At the end of the song, a helper ran out from the side and actually presented the audience member with a VHS tape of it. How thoughtful! I've seen many performers bring audience members on stage but never saw another hand them a tape.
It is so good to be able to hear what you have to say about things rather than having it painted by someone else's brush (I remember hearing somewhere that you don't read books on Apple because they have a tendency to stuff up some of the details), and the sheer amount of replies you've written practically answers all the questions I would have asked you anyway. Thankyou. And again: thankyou. A round of applause. I'm looking forward to your autobiography, if you ever get round to it.
Well, that relieves me of as much email, I hope. But if some big thing happens, like another "Pirates" movie, I'm sure that I'd have to miss answering most email due to lack of time.
Very little of the stuff on my website gets close to the heart of my autobiography, which has been postponed for years despite interest and contracts from publishers. It's similar to "Surely You Must Be Joking, Mr. Feinman." Apple and things like that are only in the background of a very entertaining and interesting story. I know that I want to write it myself. Some tries with ghost writers failed because I didn't want to contribute much time and I knew that I'd not likely be satisfied with the results anyway. Without putting in a lot of effort on my own, they never even got me samples of what they might write.
Hi, I watched the movie again today, and as everyone else, it brings back memories. I do not have any questions for you regarding the movie since you have answered most of them for me, but I do want to say thanks. I am the CEO and owner of a Microsoft Solution Provider company that develops custom applications. I am the proud owner of an Apple II+, IIE, and believe it or not, an Apple clone I bought in 83. I was 14 years old when my father bought my first computer. I quickly became submersed in the computer world. I lived on the BBs systems and ran one called "The Trading Post" in the south for years. We had over 100 calls a day and it was exciting. Obviously I have moved over to the Bill Gates world, but only because I felt that Apple did not have the business applications I needed to do what I was good at, which is developing business applications to solve business problems. Anyway, it was your computer that kept me going and made me what I am today. Thanks for everything.
Good people work for Microsoft, and Microsoft develops some good products too. It's just not fair when they use their power to keep others from doing so. The important thing is that your important formative memories involved the Apple ][.
Woz, My dad bought an Apple //c back in 1982 (I think) after our Commodore 64 failed to impress him. We had a neighbor who had a //c as well, so we pirated software between us, based on what we could find on Bulletin Boards (with my 300 baud modem). Yes, we also made some purchases, but at the time, none of us had any real appreciation for what we had.
I used my //c to play a bunch of games, make posters and signs, and write school papers. I thought I was the coolest kid in school, because I had a "computer". At the time, I had no idea what Apple was about, and had someone mentioned the names Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or anyone else mentioned in "Pirates", I would have given a dumb, blank stare in response. To me, it was this cool toy that did just about anything I could imagine wanting to do.
I took a BASIC class in high school, and learned on IBM computers. When I discovered that I could write BASIC programs on my //c, I was ecstatic! I started writing simple programs to flash names of girls on the screen who I had crushes on, and so on. We're talking really simple here. But seeing these things work gave me such a feeling of happiness and confidence, I can't begin to express it.
When my dad decided it was time to get a newer, better computer in 1987(?), I figured "ok, something bigger and better than my //c". I had no clue what I was in for. He bought a Mac SE, and the first thing I remember saying to him when he showed me the interface was "Why do I have to click the mouse twice? Shouldn't it be once? That's stupid!" When I left for college in 1989, I took my //c and a handful of games (my favorite being "Below The Root", which I used to LOVE), along with AppleWorks (the original AppleWorks). I used it for two years, and then came back home to finish my degree.
In the next several years, living with my parents, I graduated with an MBA, and started using a 6100/60, and just before my parents moved to Florida (leaving me to pay rent in our house in Staten Island, NY), I bought a Mac Clone (PowerBase). I set up my //c on my desk right next to my PowerBase, and at one point in time, I even got the //c to call the Mac (using that old 300 baud modem). It stayed connected only long enough for me to write "Hi" to myself, and when I saw it appear on the Mac screen, I couldn't believe my eyes. Here was a 16-year-old computer talking to a 16-day-old computer. At the time, Steve Jobs was just returning to Apple, and I started to hear his name a lot more frequently. I researched him, found out a bit about his past, and discovered your name, and your involvement. Prior to this, I really didn't follow the computer industry much, except to know that I was using the better, less popular platform.
I now own a Yosemite G3/400, and my PowerBase is connected via Ethernet and sitting under my desk, but the //c sits proudly on the desk next to the Blue G3. I now know and appreciate who it was who created the //c, and who wrote the BASIC that I used to make Stacey and Laura's names appear flashing on my screen. I now understand who you are, and what you are about, and I feel foolish for calling Steve Jobs my "hero". Granted, as a current AAPL shareholder, and Mac user/evangelist, he is a hero of sorts, but when it comes to computers in general, my early involvement, and the joy I got when I was a kid, I now know that it is you I have to thank for putting in the blood, sweat and tears (not to mention putting up with Steve Jobs!).
I almost never use the //c anymore, but even at 17 years old, it still boots up, and still runs programs off those flimsy floppies. I even found a girl recently who had a //e and used to play Below The Root! Too bad, she was not interested in going out with me. Her loss :)
I have a "cool" Web site at http://www.stealth.net which you will find amusing, if not creative and cool, just for the navigation metaphor.
Thanks, Woz, for inventing the machine that made me love computers, and helping start the company that has shaped so many important details in my adult computing life. Whether you wanted it or not, whether you cared or not, you made a difference to a lot of people, and I, for one, will forever cherish that. You're my hero.
For quite a long time I laid quite low and had no idea that so many people were fans for the right reasons. I figured that many were fans just because they had the Apple Macintosh and loved it, as I do, and heard my name. But so many were touched the right way by the Apple ][. It truly had an impact that no modern computer can. In your own story I see that a couple of simple things (games, BBS, flashing names, etc.) that truly inspired you. I look back to my own such experiences in my youth, largely before computers but related to science and electronics, so emotionally that I know that those experiences truly shaped my life. Even my father, an engineer, is very important to me now, more so than when he was around. I'm even thankful for the 'right' books that I stumbled on that gave me direction here.
Before computers, many fewer of us typed. But I was a very good typist, even acing out the girls in typing 2 in HS. I'm not so fast anymore, because I switched to Dvorak and use a tiny PowerBook keyboard, but...Anyway, at one point in my life, my third year of college, the most important thing I owned was an IBM Selectric Typewriter. Steve Jobs and I got a couple for a blue box, The next year, my most important possession would be my HP-35 calculator. But when I got to designing what became the early Apple computers I had to have the circuitry complete and in front of me and usable like a typewriter. Being around HP calculators was a boon to seeing computers this way too. So I always liked computers that sat right in front of you, like a typewriter. I use only PowerBooks these days. The Apple ][c was truly my favorite Apple ][. It had to be plugged in, but with an LCD screen it was incredibly small in it's day. I'm always glad to be reminded of it by people like you.
Your web site is VERY cool and really grabbed me instantly. Instantly it seems a lot more negotiable than almost any others, even if you're a Windows user. If mine gets done in this style you won't sue me for violating your look and feel, will you? (kidding)
Good luck, and don't get fooled as to what is good and what is junk.
I'm a teacher too. I work in Clovis California, for the Clovis Unified School District. Recently the technology direction of my school district has been under a former Silicon Valley "techno-it-all". Under his regime we have no longer been able to purchase any Apple product at all because "the real world" uses PC's and Apple is going out of business as everyone knows. My school is a lone member of the dwindling rebel alliance that still survives (barely) in this oppressive climate. It wouldn't bother me if other schools chose on their own what they wanted to use. If they wanted IBM's, well that's fine! I would at least like some creative autonomy. What I want to know from you is would you work in a school district like this ? What would you do ? No one seems to be willing to stand up for the individuals. It's all about conformity.
We've heard that abused children grow up to be abusers. If the technical staff of a school and the individual teachers are treated with a lack of respect their self esteem is lowered. This gets passed on to their students. Teachers that prefer Macintosh should be allocated Macintosh. The technical support group should not override this as long as the teacher is willing to provide the needed support, or knows that the technical staff may not be able to provide it. If your school district is large enough to justify even a single Apple technical support person, one should be added for this purpose. Macintosh/PC networks work a dozen ways.
We work that way in our own, primarily Macintosh, district. Basically, a single person and a few part time techs keep 600 Macintosh computers running, using a file management tool to keep the computer software maintained automatically. Macintosh NetBoot, available for newer Macintosh computers, helps minimize the maintenance for Macs as well.
Which Mac do you find yourself using most these days?
The PowerBook G3 series. Ever since the first PowerBook, which I could bring to the bedroom, I've never gone back.
I like the long battery life and DVD movie capability and built in 10/100 ethernet and modem and USB: it's the professional model. I'm looking for the next one with FireWire.
I like the freedom of portability. I've got most of the Macs in my home running on Apple's AirPort RF network, even though I don't have to. I like having a highly networked home.
I disagree completely with you about Microsoft being a monopoly: while Microsoft was hardly improving Windows (3.0 3.11 95 98 NT 2000), Apple did not change anything (besides cosmetic changes) to improve its product and compete! Only with MacOS X will Apple have the same features Windows NT has had since 1994 ! It's unfair to say it is a monopoly just because the competition did not have competence to see what was happening with their competitor and improve their products !!!
The gas station example is wrong. This is better: Imagine 5 car companies improving their cars for years. Four of them were just changing the colors of the car each year, while the other one were improving the engine, brakes, suspension and sound system. Ten years later the 4 companies claims the other one is a monopoly because the majority ofconsumersprefers to buy the other car ! Is this fair?
You should read the judge's determination. Microsoft has an OS monopoly and had it all the way back to DOS days. They use this monopoly illegally to enter other markets like the Web browser market and to exclude other companies from these markets. All the innovation that can possibly occur in these cases has to be attributed to them, as they don't allow others to do a better job. This is what my car example was. Your example is all wrong and has nothing to do with illegal monopoly power. In fact, there's no way that Microsoft could have used their OS monopoly more illegally than they did in their effort to secure a browser market share that they couldn't have come close to achieving on a level playing field.
At least Microsoft had the good sense to see what Apple had and copy it.