Comment from E-mail

I think that your jestures with the Apple stocks and now helping children is very admirable. In my humble opinion, if this were a perfect world, then you would have been the one to walk off with the "crown jewel." Not that you haven't done so bad yourself, of course. But it is refreshing to read of someone with some morals these days who never let success go to his head.

Woz

Thanks for seeing this and feeling the way you do. I am an ideal hero and image for young people, because of how I treated people and the morals that I held on to, as well as being a great engineer and helping start this industry.

All terms: crown jewel
Comment from E-mail

Dear Woz, Hello. It's a wonderful thing that you allow yourself to be so accesable. I found your site as well as your comments to exhibit a great sense of humor. I should know, since I work in a comedy club! Let me cut to the chase... My grandfather was Sam Lang. He and Robert Howard (of Howtek) founded the Centronics Data Corp. in 1968, and together they invented the dot-matrix printer, and parallel port. Why am I boring you with this? Here's why: When my grandfather died, he left me a schematic diagram and 10 page description for a device he called the "digital cache". It appears to be a tape drive like an Iomega Ditto drive, but according to his documents, with a 3 million Gigabyte capacity. It's intended purpose was for video archiving. I don't believe an item with that high a capacity in a small size has yet been invented, so it's possible that this may be something. Unfortunately, I know very little about this stuff, so I can't tell if it's a great thing, a 10 year old thing, or a fantasy. And I'm afraid to show anyone else, because if it's a real thing, who could I trust. Only you perhaps, which is why I am writing. Please respond and let me know how I can fax or mail you these documents. Thanks for your time.

Woz

It sounds like a good idea. The need for video archiving is fast approaching. I recently cut back my own HD size and I had to toss a lot of videos that I always liked to play to entertain others and myself. One day I was wondering where all the camera and data and video media types wind up. A friend replied, instantly, "RAM." He indicated that we might someday have a RAM card the size of a stamp or something with enough capacity to hold hundreds of videos. Then what does it all mean? Where does life head when this is possible? I wish I could be here when it's reached, but it's a long way off.

Question from E-mail

My questions are these: (1) why did Jobs leave Apple? (2) will Apple be able to go after the home computer market with the iMac and regain its dominance as the personal computer maker it should be? (3) would you ever go back to Apple?

Woz

Quite a few people in the company saw Steve's management style as bad for Apple and not in line with how they ran companies. Steve tried to wrench the company on a different path, and schemed to try and have our CEO, John Sculley, removed. John caught wind of it and things wound up with Steve having the freedom to start a project of his own but not to manage the Macintosh or other Apple products at that time. It was like a strong demotion. Steve took it very hard and personal. Instead of trying to do something positive within Apple, he left to try and outdo Apple on his own. It left a feeling among most Apple people of disloyalty to Apple.

My own feeling is that Steve thought he was so great that he would succeed larger than Apple outside of Apple. Also, that he didn't like finding that he was not on top at Apple. He would say that he seemed meant for this great role in life and that it was impossible to do within Apple any longer and that's why he left. There are a lot of credible explanations, but the truth is hard to know for sure.

The iMac has some impressive sales figures, but it hasn't brought Apple out of a dangerously low market share. Something more revolutionary will be needed for that.

I can't see myself going back to Apple. I don't like stress and conflicts and I have a great life even though I'm constantly busy.

All terms: Apple, iMac, Jobs, Pc
Question from E-mail

I'm a comp sci major (unfortunately not engineering) and a child development minor, so I am a really big fan of everything that you've been doing and am interested in doing similar things some day. I have a few questions that I would love to hear your responses to: - Does Steve Jobs know how to code? Is he an engineer (i.e. did he know what the heck you were doing when you were building the Apple?)

Woz

Steve didn't ever code. He wasn't an engineer and he didn't do any original design, but he was technical enough to alter and change and add to other designs. I did all of the Apple I and Apple ][ myself, including the feature choices. I did all of the BASIC myself (it's in handwriting as I couldn't afford an assembler). The only person who helped write some of the Apple ][ code was Allen Baum, who helped with the 'monitor' program.

All terms: Apple I, Apple ][, Steve Jobs
Question from E-mail

I'm giddy about the fabled 'consumer portable' that (in theory) will be announced at MWNY... is there anything you can share with us on this project or will Apple not be too happy?----------------NO...Steve - Do you have a Newton / PalmPilot / Other PDA? Just curious...

Again, I am a huge fan. (Isn't it weird going from a guy who built computers for a homebrew computer club to being someone with almost a cult following? =) ) My first computer was the IIgs with that "Woz" signature on it; it was in many ways a much better machine than a bunch of the stuff you'll find out there today (especially on the peecee side of things...). And I love reading what you have to say about Pirates! B.K.

Woz

Yes, a Newton Message Pad 2100. I used to like to use it for taking notes. But it's sort of obsolete now. I have a PalmPilot but I don't intend to live by it.

Comment from E-mail

Greetings Mr. Woz, I have to say like the others, I am impressed at your ingenuity, kindness, compassion and general overall outlook on life. It is amazing and an honor that I can simply open a program and write you a letter to you in this day in age. You started this wonderful trend of the information age, and I'm sure you know we all thank you. To this day computers, and the Internet never cease to amaze me. Would a letter I handwritten to you 10 years ago ever get to you? Probably not?

Woz

Every letter like that would have gotten to me and very likely gotten a personal reply. Some days I can't get to all the mail however. Back in Apple days I didn't believe in a secretary and my own phone rang and I answered all my own mail.

All terms: letters, mail, phone
Question from E-mail

How do you feel about the Open Source "revolution"? Do you think that projects like Linux, Apache, Gnome and KDE are rekindling the same kind of spirit as the Homebrew Computing Club? Also, do you see this as being the source of great new innovation, or do you think that new technology are destined to come ala committee's of uber corporations?

Woz

Open source attracts open minds. That's good.

Question from E-mail

Do you think Jobs will ever "Get it"? Let me explain what I mean. The PC was a bad computer. It was slow and had a poor OS. What I feel made the PC take off was the fact that the systems were open. Within a year of the release of the first IBM you had several other companies making the same products. When IBM went to the PS/2 (Micro BUS) to cut out competers, the PS/2 failed, so IBM learned and went back to the ISA/EISA/PCI bus and now IBM is doing better. Apple allowed Clones 3 years ago and did badly (I think because the quality went down on the MAC for a while then it came back). My point is do you think Apple will ever open it's system again? I feel they should have opened the first MACs back in 84. If they had, Apple might own part of MS, not the other way around. I would like any of your comment or personal observation.

Woz

We did so well in the days when we had extremely open products. But Steve Jobs has always tried to make them tighter and more closed. He says that it's beneficial to the user not to have all the many permutations of configurations.

We basically only had one disagreement over the Apple ][ design. He tried to get me to go with 2 slots instead of 8. I stood for 8 and told him he could find another computer. Call it artistic license. It paid off in the long run. But from that day on, he always tries to have less flexablitiy and variation possible in our computers than PC's have. He tries to define a machine for one purpose and precisely configured for it. But people always want other things too.

You find a ton of people like I was once, engineers and technicians, who can buy PC subassemblies and chips and can make breadboards and you don't even have magazines telling how to do this on Macs. I have no further comment.

All terms: Clones, IBM, Jobs, OS, Pc, PS/2
Comment from E-mail

During my Apple II affair, I also used many Apple clones like the Franklin Ace 1000, and the Cherry computer, then later the "Laser 128"... How did you feel when these companies basically copied the Apple ][ roms? As I remember, almost all of the ROM entry points were at the same address, and a lot of the ROM routines were byte-for-byte the same. Did this trigger any legal action from Apple?

Woz

I was shocked that they could copy these ROMs, and copy the PC board too. But I got the president of Franklin to tell the press that I was their chief engineer.

Question from E-mail

Hello Mr. Wozniak - It is a pleasure to be able to address the person who had such a profound impact on the personal computer revolution. By your accomplishments, you have indirectly shaped millions of lives, whether as a consumer or computer professional.I just recently found your website and have been a loyal Mac user for quite some time. Not that these facts entitle me to ask you a question, but here goes anyway. Steve Jobs is back at the interim healm of Apple. What are your impressions of Steve and Apple today? Has he mellowed with age? Is the iMac his brainchild? Apple lovers are thrilled to experience the renewed energy that is coming from Cupertino. Any thoughts or comments from you would be welcome.Thanks again, David Albers Laguna Niguel, CA

Woz

Apple has always been 'the place to be' whether we're doing fine or in deep waters. Steve brought a lot of newness back to Apple. I wouldn't say that it changes Apple's position per se, but it inspires Apple loyalists to remain so and keep up the passionate side. It also gives the company a lot of needed credibility in the eyes of the financial community.

All terms: Cupertino, iMac