Comment from E-mail

I knew that you guys (Apple) got the GUI from Xerox... But why on earth would Jobs let Xerox and Co. even get a look at the Mac before it hit the streets? I mean, jeez... I understand why Xerox let you guys see the technology.... The Xerox 'Brass' had no vision, but Jobs did.

Woz

Steve wanted Microsoft to write some apps for the Macintosh.

Comment from E-mail

As far as personalities go... I know Steve was/is your friend, but was he really as much of an A--hole as depicted in the movie. You seemed to be one of a hand full of people to keep a cool head and remain 'true-to-yourself' once the $$$ started rolling in.

Woz

Well, Steve pushes to get greatness. It turns a lot of people off and burns some out. I'm just too polite with people, shy actually, to behave this way. I decided when younger that the thing that was most important was having people like you.

All terms: Steve Jobs
Comment from E-mail

If possible I'd like to connect with you there at MacWorld in SF...and bring you over to the Club Photo booth...they would be thrilled! They are releasing the newest Mac version of the Living Album, (1st in over 2 years) which we will be adding onto the LGX CD. I have been their major Mac proponent....I am glad they stuck with the Mac platform! They will be doing live uploads so we can publish any photos taken that day... Let me know if this works for you? If you don't have lunch already booked, I'd be honored to invite you for a bite...

Woz

I will definitely catch the Club Photo booth. I think that it's clearly time for this product to get better known. I looked in a catalog today and didn't find it. Also, my wife had horrible time reducing some pictures she took of our daughter's dog in order to email the pictures. PhotoShop wasn't behaving and I'll have to find out why later. There's a real need for people to start keeping and organizing their photo albums on HD.

Comment from E-mail

Currently I do not own a MAC. The main reason for that is because I am a hardcore gaming enthusiast. I think that that might change in the future and I am considering buying an iMac for my wife and daughter. I work as a Network Administrator, primarily with WindowsNT. Strangely enough, I do not advocate the use or purchase of Microsoft products. I make a living solving problems with these products. Needless to say, there is PLENTY of work to keep me busy. But on a personal level, (when I am not playing computer games), I am working with Linux. If I do purchase an iMac for my wife, I will dual boot it to Linux for my own use. I have also seen BeOS in action on an iMac and was very impressed.

I have a question for you if you have time:

One thing that I think could really help Apple right now, would be to go completely open source with its OS and possibly move its OS to one based on Linux or FreeBSD. Over the years I have heard only two complaints from ANYONE about the prospect of owning a Mac. The first is a lack of applications. While this is not wholly true, I think that the number of apps available could be dramatically increased if they moved their OS in the direction that I suggested above. The second complaint was the difficulty or inability of upgrading your Mac as opposed to a PC. Firstly, I don't know enough about Mac hardware to know if that is true or not, but my guess is that if it ever was true, its not so today. The reason being that most PC's (Mac's included) are at a point where they are so far over powered for today's applications that upgrading is totally unnecessary for at least 3 or 4 years which is the expected life of the machine anyway.

Woz

Apple prides itself on keeping greater compatibility by strictly controlling the hardware and OS and having less configurations to deal with. That might go against Open source. I would certainly favor Open Source though. I think that a lot of future OS 'improvers' would get educated this way. Examining code and trying to understand it is a better way to learn than from books. Associating the Macintosh with Linux would be the most positive thing Apple could do to be accepted everywhere. But Linux is UNIX and the underlying kernel of MacOS X will be MACH, which is also UNIX. It just may not be as popular as Linux.

While upgrading Macintosh hardware is often not easily accomplished, the basic elements (RAM, HD, Keyboard, peripherals, PCI cards) are easy to upgrade. It's just not so in the consumer models, the iMac and iBook. The audience for these products is better off not including upgrade in their vocabulary. Upgrading causes more problems than it fixes. Isn't that why you are working with WindowsNT and not willing to buy Microsoft for yourself?

Comment from E-mail

What I'm interested in is how you learned all you did about electronics and such. I've always been interested in electronics but for some reason I just can't seem to quite understand how I would go from reading a schematic and building a cuircit to drawing my own diagrams and creating a device that actually does something. Every time I'm reminded of how you built a whole computer from scratch in your garage, I just sort of sit in awe for a few seconds. Granted, you are probably the most popular of the garage hackers, but others have done so as well. Where do you start on something like that? How do you know where to start?

Woz

Although I'm not current on this stuff I have some suggestions.

You could look for electronics industry magazines. They aren't on popular magazine shelves but you can find them in companies and libraries. Try to subscribe to some. Start filing interesting electronic component ads and articles and notes. Order any chip manuals or the like that you can. Get current with what's going on there.

If you get a manual for a microprocessor it will have lots of schematics of how to construct a working device. You can buy some microprocessors with pre-programmed languages and I/O built in, ones with pins that you can attach to.

You might start with simple chips like counters and registers and shift registers and gates and try designing some simple projects like frequency generators or frequency counters. You'll probably need to use an oscilloscope for this. You'll learn so much even if you don't build this. Then you'll be ready to look for better chips for the same thing.

You can probably buy chips that output graphics and video from a microprocessor to your TV for the next step. These projects will cost a little and take some time but the learning will never be forgotten, and the techniques by which you achieve your goal will remain forever.

I used to think that when I came up with an approach to a certain circuit, I couldn't really assign what was in my head to a company that I worked for. All the little pieces of computer circuit learning, and coding too, that was in me was all I had to go on for my future.

All terms: chips, I/O, microprocessor, TV
Comment from E-mail

I have a question which I have been pondering for a while and I think you might be a man that can answer it. I have seen a lot of movies in my time and when a computer is involved in a movie say an actor is actually using it or it's just in the background it alwyas seems to be a Macintosh computer never a PC. You don't see Windows 95/98 running on these computers in the movies for example in American Pie that kid is using a Mac for transmitting video using a netcam. What gives? Is it Apple's marketing? or is it that Macintosh screens have better refresh rates? I'd appreciate an answer

Woz

There are lots of reasons like Apple actually lobbying to have it's computers in movies. But the most likely reason to me is that the sorts of people that make movies use Macintoshes. Most of the real interesting people like that whom I meet seem to use Macs.

Comment from E-mail

Hello. I was fooling around on my Apple ][e the other today and finally noticed it's monitor says "monitor///" on it. It's a bit wider than the ][e, so I guess it's an Apple /// monitor. I wanted to ask you: what was it you think about the Apple /// that just didn't work? I've heard it wasn't all that bad a machine, but I've seen pictures of it and sure looks big and bulky. The built-in 5.25in floppy drive idea wasn't seen again, as far as I know, until the Apple ][c Plus (which I used to own, w/ a built in 3.5in floppy on the side of the keyboard). I also heard there were some heating/cooling problems with it. Is what I have heard true?

Woz

The Apple /// had a lot of hardware problems, including heat problems and PC traces that were too thin for that time and which shorted out. Also, the clock chip had to initially be left out due to a chip problem. There was very little software at first. Of the 5 main programs that we'd planned, only one was ready, the one being written outside of Apple (Visicalc). It had an Apple ][ mode but we actually added chips to disable functions, like the 80 column display and extra RAM. This was done so that users wouldn't think that the Apple ][ was good for business. It was a marketing concept.

Comment from E-mail

I never thought I've have the opportunity to say "thanks" for what you did. You made a remarkable contribution to the world. Now, watch what I'm going to do with what I learned because of you. Better yet..... join me and perhaps eclipse your previous accomplishment. 

Woz

I believe that the persons that believe that they are going to make it are the ones that do. I will join you but only in my heart as I have no time at all beyond just barely keeping up with email (about 14 hours of it today, and still not caught up)

All terms: Thank You

Mac

Comment from E-mail

I know that the Mac isn't really "your" computer (like the II) but you still seem pretty fond of it so I wonder what's your take on Apple's "plans" for the Mac. It seems that Steve Jobs is going to kill off the Mac and replace it with a "super NeXTcomputer". The Mac of today doesn't really remind me of the early Mac (from a hardware perspective). Perhaps it's the big screen (mine's 21", not quite like the "SE" sat to my right), perhaps it's the shape (a blue tower?!) perhaps it's just the PowerPC. All I know is; "It's Mac Jim but not as we knew it!". With the ripping out of the MacOS early this year (if all goes well) surly the Mac is dead in all but name. It's simply not the same beast.

What do you think of this? Would it be more accurate to call today's Mac the NeXTcomputer][? And what about OpenStep (oh MacOS X excuse me!) what do you think? Is this OS from the late 80's (or the 60's if you really trace it back) is this a good replacement to MacOS? I mean being crude; will you want one on your desk? What about the UI, how much Mac should they keep - what about "Finder" vs "Workspace Manager"?

I'd really like to hear your take on this. I have may happy memories from childhood of "playing" with my friend's Apple II (I actually wrote a program that did his billing for him - it was a scruffy little program but saved him a lot of time!) and knowing the a guy like you designed it makes those memories all the more special (we played a lot of games too!) Thanks in advance.

Woz

Your comments represent a lot of fears that loyal Macintosh owners have. To a large extent you are correct. But let's say that we took the Mac and tried to improve and fix it one step at a time. We'd likely wind up with something closer to OpenStep anyway. I'm sure that a great effort is being spent to make it feel right to Macintosh owners.

Then again, Steve Jobs comes from not using the Macintosh closely for some time. This can be an advantage in terms of moving on to a good machine for the future and leaving the past behind. We were too stagnated for too long. A lot of new Apple products are marketed to computer novitiates. The iMac and iBook are in this category. The effort is to reach new buyers, not former Macintosh users. To do this you have to have an exceptional machine and the past look and feel, and the past connectors, don't belong.

All terms: Macintosh, NeXT, PowerPC
Comment from E-mail

By the way, I forgot to mention that I read an article on you about you being at the Macworld expo. Here is a piece of it:

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was spotted walking over to the exhibit hall after the speech. "I cried," said Wozniak, in reaction to Jobs' decision. "It felt just like the old days, with Steve making announcements that shook my world."

Come back to Apple computers Woz! It would help the company and give it some good publicity!

Woz

Well, I did actually cry at two places. The imovie with the kids was so good, and then when Steve announced his CEO plans it felt like yesterday's dreams had returned.

All terms: iMovie, MacWorld, Steve Jobs