Question from E-mail

Steve: I am writing about your last name. My last name, Wasnick was originally spelled Wozniak. The last name was changed when my family imigrated to the United States. I wonder if we are distant relatives? I'd really like to speak with you about this topic.

Woz

I like hearing about so many other Wozniaks as there are in this country (and beyond). But I can't really talk about it because I'm no heritage expert. There are other Steve Wozniaks and a local one gets email intended for me all the time. On the other hand, I was picking up a ticket at Air Cal in San Jose one day and the agent said "aren't you..." to which I nodded my head "...the DJ?", to which I had to explain that I was 'another' Steve Wozniak. Our namesake John Wozniak had a tremendous hit song, "Sex and Candy" by his group, "Marci Playground." I know that there are many other highly credible Wozniaks. I even have an uncle who is a priest (I've never been to church though).
This Polish name helped a lot when I visited Poland. I actually have photographs of one of my sons teaching Lech Welensa to use a PowerBook.

Comment from E-mail

How accurate was the movie when it showed the scene where you and Jobs were at a technology convention and when the doors opened and crowed flushed in, crowding yours and job's booth, which was displaying, Apple I, i believe?

Woz

It reminded me of the West Coast Computer Faire where we introduced the Apple ][. We had the best booth space of all, right as you came in. We also had a video projector, which was quite a feat in that year. Our product was the Apple ][. I did pull a rather large prank at this show, distributing thousands of brochures for a non-existant product called the "Zaltaire." But I don't have time to elaborate here...Steve

Comment from E-mail

this is a dispute that a friend of mine is having did or did not Bill Gates work for Apple at one time. Was he an employee, my friend said that that was inaccurate in the movie and I am under the impresssion, why would the film want to stretch something that far out to say that he worked for Apple, if only to foreshadow that one day, indirectly Bill Gates would own a piece of Apple and subsequently, Jobs would be working for him?

Woz

I find this interpretation humorous. Bill Gates did not work directly for Apple. But we did work deals and commission software to be delivered by Microsoft for our computers. In that sense he worked for us, but not as a programmer, i assure you. It's funny to hear you say that Jobs now works for Bill. I'll have to remember that one!...Steve

Comment from E-mail

I sent this email to you before, but didn't see a response and i sent it to webmaster@woz.org so im not too sure you even got it, but here it is again, sorry if you received it already once, im sure you're a busy person.

Woz

When you have hundeds of emails stacked up, it takes a while. Also, the webmaster links get your email to one of three friends (Dan, Alex, or Auri). Some other link gets your email to my secretary, Laura. A new one gets your email to me (host).
This note went to Alex and he didn't forward about 160 of them until tonight. Also, Laura forwarded 140 tonight. I can't answer email in minutes when things are this crazy, sorry...Steve

All terms: email
Comment from E-mail

I have an original copy somewhere of something I believe Woz wrote years ago which A.P.P.L.E. distributed very briefly called T.H.E. Spreadsheet, if memory serves, for the Apple ][. It appeared and disappeared quickly from distribution, although it was very fast and a good spreadsheet.

I got the impression this was a rarity. If Woz ever needed my copy (for sentimental or library/museum purposes), I would be honored to give it to him with my compliments.

Woz

That spreadsheet was very special and there is a long story that goes with it, but I can barely keep my eyes open. I have a copy of it and keep it in a special place. After it was given to Call A.P.P.L.E. by Randy Wigginton, going on what he thought was a verbal OK from Steve Jobs, Steve and Mike Scott yanked it right away. They only allowed the few that had been delivered to be sold, and then only with a note enclosed saying that it was being provided courtesy of them. Yet they were actually the ones restricting it's availability!

Question from E-mail

What did you think about Newton Technology? I would like to know that.

Woz

I always thought that computing devices should be smart and do things for us. The Newton has the smarts to read normal handwriting and to figure out handwritten commands like "Sara dentist tomorrow 11 AM". It's also more like a computer in a small package. Maybe PDA's aren't worth enough in people's lives to need a mini-computer. The pocketable Palm Pilot is more a modern Sharp Wizard, but it came at the right time, when everyone who'd want it had a computer. It's big step was easy synchronization. Too bad the Newton didn't have this. The eMate did have easy file transfer over IR.

I loved taking notes for hours on my Newton. I'll miss that the most. It's screen was large enough for this. It will probably be a long time before I have that good a notetaking tool based on handwriting.

There are probably many more things to say. I tried the Newton 3 times througout it's life and it only stuck at the end, with the MessagePad 2100. It was finally good enough in some ways that had bothered me before.

Question from E-mail

My question is what did Jobs and Apple get from letting Microsoft buy into them!? Was it just money when they needed it or something else!?

Woz

Steve wanted success for the Mac and that meant software and apps. Microsoft had to have a computer in order to write some. He may have not let Microsoft see much out of fear of a crash.

All terms: Apple, Jobs, Microsoft
Question from E-mail

Just a note to say thanks for all you have done for Apple. Your contributions go a lot farther than you think. I grew up in a very inappropriate atmosphere... exposed to drugs and violence at a young age. My family life was the pits and I ended up on my own at the age of 15. I think one of the things that helped me keep my head on straight was the Apple computer. My elementary school principal was the first person in our town to own a computer (Apple II) and he had it in his office. One day, during a counseling session (family problems) he noticed I had an extreme interest in it and offered to let me use it for an hour a day. Little did I know that over the next few years my addiction to computers would make me see the world more clearly... make me realize I wanted more from life. Today I'm a photographer for the U.S. Air Force and use high end Macs at work all the time. I am currently working on my degree in computer science and hope to get it within a couple years. I'm happily married with four beautiful daughters that have no worries other than being children... just the way it should be. Apple is now a part of my children's lives as they use our iMac at home.

I know you are well known for your contributions as an engineer... but your contributions to Apple changed my life.

Woz

I never imagined how many extremely touching emails like this one would arrive. There should be a book of all these stories where computers basically saved people's lives and gave them direction and purpose. I'm glad that someone with your values has some children to share computers with. We feature famous people in our ads but we should be featuring people like yourself instead.

The fact that your children have an iMac at home to use lends credibility to your comment about Apple changing your life.

All terms: Apple, Apple II, iMac, Mac
Question from E-mail

Some of the more common accusations revolve around the apparent fact that MS borrowed heavily if not stole the Apple/Mac OS and turned it into Windows. What was surprising in the movie was that it appears that Apple obtained the idea of a GUI and mouse from Xerox in what could be described as a similar act of, shall we say, "appropriation". I'm sure the reality is much more complex than that.

Woz

in Apple's major lawsuit against Microsoft for copying their "look and feel" it came out that Apple had licensed this technology to them. Microsoft got a very favorable contract. Apple maintained that they had only licensed it for a version of Windows that was still pretty much just a shell on top of DOS. But Microsoft pointed to the phrase "and derivative works." In my opinion, a real GUI, and even Windows 95, is not a derivative work of these early DOS-Windows hybrids, but a new form of OS, that competes directly with MacOS. But the judge didn't see it that way.

Question from E-mail

How is your relationship with Steve Jobs? Are you folks still friends? I remember back in 1992 when I saw my first NeXT Station and NeXT Cube made by the NeXT Computer company whom Steve Jobs started after his departure from Apple. I was in college then and NeXT sent a rep to our annual computer fair at the Unviersity of Florida campus. I immediately fell in love with the sleek lines on this new machine but of course I could never afford it. Since that time I have admired Steve Jobs both for the incredible NeXT Station and the NeXTSTEP OS. However, his personality as depicted in the movie was very disturbing. Was he looking for ways to motivate his employees or was it just a power trip he was on? You may abstain from answering this question if you feel it is to sticky an issue.

Woz

I admired taking bold steps like not having a floppy or hard disk, but it's only worthwhile when it works out. The first NeXT Cube had too many problems.

The depiction of Steve's personality in the movie is quite accurate and I suppose that Steve is happy with it. Although Steve almost always acted and spoke as though he was more right than anyone else, he only sometimes engaged in the activities portrayed, such as berating employees. I've heard from enough employees to know about these outbursts although I fortunately never witnessed one. Steve would probably tell you that these were artists who had to be treated that way to get the great art out of them, that anything just adequate wasn't what they were capable of. Also, others that aren't performing like great artists aren't worth keeping in Steve's eye. It's a very debatable issue, but I won't debate it with Steve. We're different here.