Comment from E-mail

Woz, I was in contact with Captain Crunch a while ago, do you have a link to his homepage? ..He mentioned you in one of our conversations. Take it easy. --Neil

Woz

I actually host his server, on an iMac, in my 'office' home. His domain is webcrunchers.com and his email is: John Draper crunch@webcrunchers.com

Comment from E-mail

I saw John [Draper] at a 2600 meeting a few months ago. He is doing good, he was off to India the day after. he is big into raves now and meditation. he was trying to get me to go to some meditation session with him. Hes a funny guy. Even though he is a lot older than us (i'm 22), it's like hanging with one of the guys :) --ryan

Woz

Thank you, even though I happened to know this one. I have helped John a lot recently. I gave him a PowerBook to use and sent him a better one in India (had to pay 45% import duty). I host his web site on an iMac in my 'office' home. I hear from him all the time.

John Draper (Captain Crunch) always had amazing stories about flaws in Ma Bell and ways to take advantage of them. Once he showed me how to tap the FBI and I did it myself, from a normal phone. That's just one of many many things. John was a little to weird and dangerous to be a close friend but I always wanted to see him every few months to catch up on interesting hacker stories. Life wouldn't be as fun without this sort of thing, even though I didn't really do it myself. I originally believed that John was an ethical hacker, only using a blue box to find flaws in the system. So I was that way, in his stead. I learned how to do all sorts of stunts with the blue box but I paid for all my own long distance calls from the dorm. That's true. I was so careful only to do what I considered right that I told my parents everything that I did with the blue boxes and other boxes. That's true also. In later years, I found that very few phone phreaks were this 'ethical' type, even John. Check out his domain: www.webcrunchers.com

Comment from E-mail

Well i've been interested in computers since my dad first bought a 386 and at the time it was the most up to date thing available. I never knew much of the history of computers (well not the time of the movie was based). I mastered the BASIC language (seems like ages ago) and have moved on to much more advanced languages.I'm sorry i do tend to drag on. But i just want to say i don't like mac programing but i love the hardware and from what i understand your the man behind it and i just want to say that I can't express in words what i think you've done for the world and inderectly for me. So thank you for your genius. I just want to ask you if you've had an active part in the designing of the new macs. and if you ever had any idea that computers, software, and the internet would ever amount to what it is now.Thank you on behalf of me and everyone at www.archaic.net (still getting out the kinks) :)

Woz

I'm glad that you appreciate the Macintosh hardware, but you're wrong to credit me in any way for it. My hardware design talents were applied to the Apple I and Apple ][ computers and related peripherals. This occured long ago. It was the basis for Apple's start and fame. The Apple ][ kicked off the personal computer recognition, and legitimazed the market. Although I was the sole logic designer and programmer and 'inventor' in this sense, the contributions of others, primarily Steve Jobs, were critical to how this computer struck the world. Without a nicely packaged product in an attractive, acceptable plastic case that said "I'm OK in your home" this product would have died like the other hobby computers for Nerds. Apple was successful not just because of a great piece of hardware but because of the right communications and the complete product (including manuals and ads and our employees and priorities) the world got the message that it was time to change a lot of things in our lives. Steve Jobs truly deserves the visionary credit here. The Macintosh came about in later years and it was truly Steve's project. There were actual hardware and software engineers that did the equivalent of what I'd done on the Apple ][ but I was not among them. At that time I'd returned to college and sponsored some huge rock concerts. (Just to set the record straight for you)

Question from E-mail

What would be a good source for a guy like me to learn from in order to write an electronics oriented visual hardware design program for linux? And where the heck are the specs on them hardware languages?

I'm thinking of some sort of open hardware project.

One of the itches I need to scratch is namely a two way radio (stereo system/LAN compatible) that evolves out of the restrictive linear addressing scheme used these days. The other itch is to get it secured under an open patent. (whatever that means)

It bothers me FM can only carry 100 regional stations because it's limited to 88 to 108 Mhz at 200khz boundaries.

I have a design (still a bit vaporware) that allows a user to create their own radio signature. Through two carrier waves and one "scaling" component, it creates a complex carrier pattern. It then shifts the pattern into the FM radio range. Finally you modulate your message onto the carrier. It also takes the 100 station limit and pumps it up to 10^6, as long as I can prove mathematically that the carrier patterns are unique. Funny thing is, I can only get uniqueness if I go for the million station design. However, it is vapor, but hopefully not for long.

I know we have the Internet. However it seems we're not going to get better bandwidth including a true peer to peer global system unless we have phone companies put us through their satellites as soon as they feel like it. They're already scaling back modem bandwidth since they're only required to provide voice service. Besides the words "Big Satellite in the Sky" are as comforting as ... "Echelon Satellite in the Sky".

By the way, have you noticed some schools have been favoring homework on computers but still place actual learning of computers (C, ASM, COBOL) at the college level. I get slightly miffed when people tell me they learned assembly in High School.

Woz

If I had time, I'd want to meet you. You are very bright and trying to do things beyond the limits. It's fascinating. I agree with you about computer technology as belonging in all school levels, and I speak out on this at many speeches to education groups every year. The biggest problems are in the politics and bureaucracies of schools, but the major problem is lack of funds to allow changes or get more done in the same time. For example, one teacher with a handful of students can cover material many times faster than with a class of 30, and every student in the tiny class gets enough attention to guarantee success. Public schools set the level of how much we spend per student. Public schools are funded through the government. Government moneys are parcelled out according to voting strengths. But maybe only a third or less of families have kids in schools. The kids are the ones that need the schools but they don't get to vote. A family of five should have five votes. Then all of this would change and education would get more respect and there would be time for computer science.

In the meantime, why teach cursive? Why upper case? How many times have you calculated where two canoos will meet? Someday we'll sacrifice something for the sake of teaching computer science. It's important and beneficial. So is driving and so is TV but cars and TV aren't the primary educational tool of the century (this statement has a Y2K problem). Best wishes, Steve

Question from E-mail

What are your views on the importance of computer games in the role of a platforms sucess? Do you still play computer and console games? If so, what are some of your favorites?

Woz

Not much due to lack of time. My kids beat me at almost anything. I am extremely good at Tetris on the Gameboy and had my name listed in Nintendo Power magazine a few times in the early days for my top scores. After they wouldn't print my name any more I submitted an entry with my names spelled backwards, Evets Kainzow, and they printed it! When I saw the issue, I'd forgotten that I'd sent it in and was worried that someone was challenging my own level! My current high score is 702,000 and my goal is 750,000. I gave GameBoys to Gorbeshev and Bush when they were in office. A week or so later Bush had heart problems. On TV he was shown playing the Game Boy in the hospital.

I also roll the score over (1,000,000 points) on the Williams "Defender" arcade game, which I have in my home.

I play solitaire on my PowerBook and once won 33 games in a row, standard settings. The trick is to only play the ones that deal a very good setup and to back up as much as possible to find a win if it doesn't come easily.

I like reading the Bridge column in the paper, and our paper carries a ScrabbleGram word game. I play this almost every day and wrote programs to solve it and I put it on the web (Scrabblegram.com) for a while a couple of years ago.

I don't mind gambling. Video Poker slot machines are my favorite. But I'm watching my 14 year old daughter for luck. She was in Las Vegas with me (and my class of 11 year olds, who were attending a "Mac Academy" in Ceasar's Palace and played Keno for the first time. She won $1600 on a $1 ticket. This was at age 9. Her second time was at age 12. I told her not to expect to win when she plays Keno. But, during breakfast, when I looked up she'd won $7500. I wish I'd copied her numbers.

Comment from E-mail

I read in your comments that you were giving away your early designs. This seems to fit with the current popularity of the "open source" movement, and I wonder if you feel that the recent opening of the OSX Darwin kernel is a step in the right direction for Apple. Many people develop free software for free operating systems. Do you? If so, does the new Apple initiative inspire you to code for OSX?

Woz

That's a very astute observation. I gave away schematics of the Apple I at the Homebrew Computer Club. I also demoed enhancements to the Apple ][ every 2 weeks at the club. It was the opposite of normal corporate secrecy.

I don't have time to develop now but I appreciate the people who do so in the open source movement. It's been a long time since that was halfway normal. It makes me hopeful because young talented people have a chance to do more than stand by and watch and be paid a salary.

Comment from E-mail

Thank you for your time, and I hope that the recent increase in fame does not make life too crazy.

Woz

Unbelievably crazy. I'm trying to read and answer each email.

All terms: Thank You
Comment from E-mail

Dear Woz.. for whatever reasons i have always been a fan of you and Andy Hertzfeld. i know where you are, but i have lost track of Andy since his general magic days. have any idea where he is or what he is doing? Thanks for everything you have done for all of us, Ryan b. G.

Woz

Andy, one of the original Macintosh software geniuses, is one of the most incredible persons that I have ever known. He also has an incredible memory for interesting things involving Apple. Andy got interested in internet servers and related facilities some years ago. He set up his own domain and T1 lines and routers and all the stuff that I've done for a long time. He is a hands on person. He got interested in Linux and is working on open software. Most importantly, he got married. Next most important, he is great fun for everyone around him. The list of things that I could say about Andy is way too large, but he might be able to tell you.

All terms: Andy Hertzfeld, Linux, T1
Question from E-mail

Hello, Is there any chance I could get a copy of those Apple I specs that you mentioned? I'd love to learn some hardware hacking, and can think of no better way to start than by building one of the computers that started it all.

Woz

Sorry. There were only 200 Apple I's made and this was during 1976, a long time ago. I might have such specs in storage somewhere but don't have time to go looking for mine. There are a few people that have Apple I's and handier specs but not myself, sorry.

All terms: Apple I specs
Comment from E-mail

Woz, I would like to hear your opinions on modern computer directions. Are we where you expected to be by now? What do you see that is exciting for the future?

Woz

Too vague for me. Too unpredictable too. My latest hopes are for humanistic software but it may take until about 2020, assuming that Moore's law ends for atomic reasons around 2012.

All terms: Moore's law