Woz, you changed my life.

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Woz, you changed my life. 
I have a number of motor, cognitive, and learning disorders. 
Growing up, I wanted to be an astronomer, physicist, or automotive engineer. 
Long before I was old enough to go to college I realized I could not go into a technical field. My handwriting was so bad *I* couldn't even read it. And worse, though I became proficient with a slipstick, I seemed to be unable to find the correct place to put the decimal point. 
The truth was, I couldn't even make it through college. I enrolled in, and flunked out of SF State at 17. 
I realized I was a loser. 
I ended up traveling all over the country working as an iron worker or a trucker. 
I missed things about school. I really missed the fun of figuring out things more complex than how to avoid death, dismemberment, or truck scales. I also missed helping people. 
By the time I was 39 I landed a job as a bid estimator. I was up against my old problem again--my inadequate math and handwriting abilities (the skills were there, I just couldn't execute!). 
It was 1989. I decided I needed a computer. I had to decide which computer to buy. I had to learn how to use the thing and make it work for me within weeks. I asked an elementary school teacher friend of mine for advice. He said buy an Apple ][. 
I bought a 5 or 6 year old used ][e for $500. I learned AppleWorks. I started using Quicken. 
I realized that this computer thing changes everything. With my "new" computer, my "old problem" was geography (it was gone). 
At 40 I went back to college. 
I earned a BS in accounting (OK, chalk one up to lowered expectations here). I passed the CPA exam. 
Now, at age 49 I am a senior analyst (I figure out complex stuff!) in a public employee's retirement system (I get to help people). These are all very good things for me and my family. 
Woz, your role in my life is clear. I guarantee none of these good things would have happened if someone had not designed a cheap computer with a keyboard and a monitor in the 1970's (If you had waited until the 1980's, how could I have found a 6 year old used computer in 1989 for $500 as good as the ][e?). 
Even if I had chosen an IBM XT instead of a ][e for my first computer and had actually been able to get some results out of it within a few weeks, you would still be responsible.


This is the best such story that I've ever heard. I have seen and taught and hired (for my teaching) many learning disabled people that can do amazing things with the computers. Also, the one year that the teachers of the local 5th grade class told me the students were mentally behind and slow, was the most outstanding year for my computer instruction. I'm not just saying this, many many other teachers have seen the same thing with computers in schools.

I have to say that it was just luck that I saw a low cost computer in the keyboard-display paradigm. It was more of building a computer into a TV terminal than of including a TV Terminal in a computer, based on what I'd built just before the Apple I. To be honest, the rest of the world might have figured this out in a lot less time than you're suggesting. But my motivations were to make a usable product for the simplest user at the lowest cost, and that included you. I had to think of what I wanted for myself and keep my head vacant of what a computer was and looked like and how you made it usable. I did that and went for it in the Apple I. The Apple ][ was merely the chance to add to that concept with some great features and good engineering, at very low cost. It was still aimed at normal people, whereas computers before it were primarily targeted at business clients with lots of money.

Again, your story is so good that it makes my eyes water. I hope that many hear it.