Question from E-mail

My name is Peter Jaramillo and I am a Computer teacher at an elementary school in Santa Rosa Ca, I have been trained as a PC specialist and software around the Wintel environment, I never touched an Apple until I got the job in January, well it turns out that I had a lot of studying to do! I bought some great books on Mac computers, the school has iMacs in the classroom. I dont have any money to buy an iMac and they have been nice enough to let me borrow one during Easter vacation, since summer vacation is here, I would very much like to have an iMac of my very own to learn as much as I can about the MAC OS. I would be very happy if you can donate me an iMac, if you cant I will understand. I am still youre fan!

Woz

Apple got a lot of respect in the education market and one major reason was a program long ago in which we gave a computer to every public school in California. Actually, the state passed a law that year that made this very inexpensive for us, so you can thank the taxpayers even more. But I, individually, have given so many computers to schools around the country that I can't keep doing it forever. It's like I'll run out, see? So, I'm glad that you want the iMac and I'm glad that you want to learn, but I'm not able to give you one.

You have to ask for such things sometimes, and it can pay off, so don't feel like not asking others. I remember once when Steve Jobs needed some money and he called Bill Hewlett (or Dave Packard) directly and asked for it. He didn't get the money, but they found a summer job for him.

Comment from E-mail

On a side note: I've become reacquainted recently with my IIe, and after working with PCs for several years, both hardware and software, I'm learning to appreciate some of the small but significant things that made the Apple II such a simple and flexible machine.

Woz

Some appreciate quantity (of menu commands, for example) but others, like yourself, appreciate quality. In today's computers, the sales game tends to favor quantity too often. Many miss the quality difference (of the Macintosh, for one thing) when they just read comparison charts and feature lists and think that's the important measure. Good for you.

All terms: Apple II, Macintosh
Question from E-mail

I use six-hour video tapes to record long radio programs; the problem was, without a video signal the audio tended to glitch (this is a not uncommon problem I'm told). So I needed a video source. I immediately thought of doing a simple display on the computer -- program title and an elapsed-time clock -- but hey! Macs and PCs don't do NTSC video without an expensive peripheral card! Rats!

At which point I turned to the Apple II I thought I had put away for good* and whipped up a lores graphics character generator. Problem solved.

Woz

This is a surprising and amusing story. The best ones are often the true ones.

I, myself, use a PowerBook. Recent PowerBook models, including the one I'm using right now, have NTSC out (U.S. version). Look how many marketing folks have to make presentations. Some are probably still done on TV's. Also, TV's are very popular for the teacher to present in classrooms, costing much less than computer quality monitors (which are smaller physically) and projectors.

Comment from E-mail

My five year old daughter came down the stairs the other morning dressed in long sleeves. I said, "Honey, are you sure you want to wear long sleeves today?". "Yes, Daddy", she replied, "I looked on the Internet, it's going to be cloudy and cool today".

Woz

The best jokes are the true ones...In my case it's my wife who has looked it up...

All terms: Weather
Comment from E-mail

 

My five year old daughter came down the stairs the other morning dressed in long sleeves. I said, "Honey, are you sure you want to wear long sleeves today?". "Yes, Daddy", she replied, "I looked on the Internet, it's going to be cloudy and cool today".

Woz

 

The best jokes are the true ones...In my case it's my wife who has looked it up...

All terms: Weather
Comment from E-mail

I hate to make the unfair comparison, but I like to fancy myself a man along the same lines. I write code and post it (it's not all that great, but it's getting better) in hopes that others will pick it up and run with it. I figure things out and write articles (served freely - without even banner ads) discussing what I did and what pitfalls need to be avoided. Etc. I'm employed to do a job, and I do it. But what I contribute to the world around me I don't get paid for, except maybe in karma.

It's late, and me thinks I've babbled. In any case, I would love to converse with you in greater detail, and with a higher level of coherence. (You've been something of an idol of mine since I was a prepubescent brat hacking away at AppleSoft BASIC and 6502 mini-assembler code into the wee hours on schoolnights.)

Woz

Good for you (sharing code). There's nothing better and the reward stays with you until you die. Please don't start conversing. I'm exhausted and in pain from 22 hours a day of email answering and I have hundreds stacked up still. Short comments I WILL READ, it only takes me a while if there are questions to answer.

Thanks, and best wishes.

All terms: 6502, AppleSoft, BASIC
Comment from E-mail

Reading all the comments has been incredible! Your life, as well as yourself in general, is incredibly interesting. Hopefully your legacy will keep living on for decades to come. But, to keep this short: did you ever think the computer would really become this mainstream? Did you even want it to become this mainstream? Luckily, we had a lab full of Apple IIGS in grade school. My dad sprung to get a IIGS (with a RAM expansion card and 3.5" floppy, which I thought never should've been called a floppy) , so I was the only 2nd grader who knew how to work the machines when something wrong happened. Ah, good ol' open apple-control-restart. Amazingly enough, even when my dad wanted to get a real Macintosh at the time, he instead got a IIGS because I said "I want a color screen!" :) I've still got that IIGS right around the corner here in the house, too... And of course, HyperCard is still high up on my list of priorities...I still get register's from my first game made in HyperCard (fishing game) . Btw, I'm 15 now. Me being able to make a fishing game when I was 13 says a lot about how great a product was put out then. Did you happen to have any input on HC? Thanks a lot for your time! (this got way too long!)

Woz

Back in the earliest days we felt sure that computers belonged in every home and would one day be there, even if they were just 4K machines!

I'm glad to hear about your HyperCard game programming. Hypercard is an amazing system of a very complete environment covering many bases, and the most natural writing programming language ever, that obeys human rules before computer rules. I loved teaching how to write puzzles and games in the HyperTalk language. I'm glad for you if that's what you're doing.

Comment from E-mail

In your mind, has Jobs grown any? And what is your true feelings towards Win9x? i just started using a Mac and OS 8.1. it seems clunky compared to Win9x.

Woz

I knew Steve Jobs from when he was very young. Of course he's grown a lot. But some of the personality traits can be traced back even to those times. I'd say he grew up and lives an adult life now. But that's not attractive to me. I decided when I was young and idealistic that I didn't want to grow up and get the adult evilness in me. I always wanted to have a fun life no matter what I did for work. I did not include drugs and partying in my fun, just humor and pranks and strange adventures and weird friends. I have done the best at staying young of all the people that I know, and I'm very happy.

All terms: Jobs, OS.8.1, Win9x
Comment from E-mail

I also see in the same book, (Infinate Loop) that you lost your drive and your edge, and that some say you got caught up being the WOZ..... I think that you just got tired.

Woz

It's possible that I lost my drive and edge. But did I lose my drive and then go in other directions because of it, or did I go in other directions and find great satisfaction and let some things, like engineering, slip away? The truth is closer to the latter. My kind of intense, best in the world, engineering was very very hard and I knew that no human could keep it up for long. When I departed Apple a second time it was to start a company and make a small programmable remote control. I did engineering and wrote the code for one of the internal microprocessors myself. I used a Mac, an Apple ][c, and an Apple ][e throughout this development, those were my main tools (the Mac for non-engineering things). The code for the second, and main, microprocessor wasn't coming easily so I flew to Hawaii to work on it for a week without phone calls and interruptions. Every day for a month I loved looking out to the sea. I came back and decided right then to hire other engineers for this task. I looked more at my young children. Other personal changes ensued. I've remained pretty comfortable ever since, although I never have a minute without something to do. But what do you expect with lots of kids still in school.

I do feel more tired today than back 'then' and I do want to take life easy. But I remember while designing the Apple I and Apple ][ explaining to people that I was actually lazy, and designed things with very few chips so I'd have less construction to do and less to debug. I used this 'laziness' excuse with my software being tight also. Maybe I believed in laziness even back then, even while I designed 2 computers and peripherals and wrote BASIC and much more code, all in a year, all while working days at Hewlett Packard.

All terms: Apple I, Apple ][, Mac
Comment from E-mail

I just read that the Breakout Atari project was a scam and that you didn't know it until you read about it in a book on a plane. It say's you were hurt by it (I would be too) deeply. It shows you are a forgiving person to let that slide then, and to seemingly harbor no bad will toward Jobs now.

Woz

That's my approach to all of life's conflicts and setbacks. I'm very forgiving and it would give me a worse feeling head if I kept sadness inside. Better to forgive and forget and remain friends. Good things can come out of that.

All terms: Atari