Question from E-mail

Who is "Al Luckow"?

Woz

He's a fine person who is a friend of another friend that often hangs out at my casual office (with T1's and other facilities) who one day offered to redo my web site, which badly needed redoing, just because he was nice and liked the sorts of things I do. He is spending as much time as I am. Every email I send, he analyzes for web possibilities. I'm sure to offend some people since I give no notice [as far as what to post].

All terms: Al Luckow
Comment from E-mail

I want to thank you for your contributions and for the US Fest. I would do just about aything to get the complete footage from the show BTW!! ; ) I also still have my Apple IIe that my dad got for me. I have every slot filled except for slot 3! I did tons of BASIC on that!

Woz

Serious Apple Computer!

All terms: Apple IIe, BASIC, US Fest
Comment from E-mail

I was not terribly happy with the very inaccurate ending of "Pirates." If I remember correctly, Microsoft helped Apple in order to not be sued by Apple for infringing on Apple's patents. Microsoft agreed to work on Office for the Mac and they also agreed to buy non-voting stock (which could be converted) in order to keep Apple from suing them... What is your spin!

Woz

You see what many miss, exactly. Plus, the stock is essentially from the shareholders, paid for with dilution, and is worth as much as it costs, on the average. So Microsoft lost nothing, Apple gained $125M, and it's shareholders lost $125M. But that loss was really a necessary and proper investment which was recovered (by the shareholders) once it helped the company become more healthy.

All terms: Apple, Mac, Microsoft, Office, Pirates
Comment from E-mail

In the comments I just read that you didn't work on the Macintosh. Why did my school's first Mac have your Woz signature on it? Just wondering.

Woz

After college and putting on some large rock concerts, I returned to Apple. John Sculley was just arriving and right away took resources off the losing Apple /// computer and revived the Apple ][. I was part of an engineering team trying to design a new and faster Apple ][. That project, the Apple ][x, got cancelled. By then, I was consumed with speeches and interviews and the like and couldn't design so I had my salary reduced below the real engineers. They soon thereafter went to the drawing boards again and came up with the workable approach of the Apple ][ GS, with a correct and plausable way of doing the graphics in particular.

The Apple ][GS team recognized me as a symbol of and some of the inspiration for this project. I was asked to supply a signature for a limited edition model. I gave a signature, figuring it was for 100 or 200 computers. But one day I was told that they made 50,000 of these. I was quite blown away.

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
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

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
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.

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

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.