Pirates of Silicon Valley

You rock my world, Woz.

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Comment from E-mail

I had sent this to Laura back when PoSV had just aired, and everyone in the world was sending you tons of email. I can understand why you either never got it or never replied. However, in light of reading your interview on Slashdot, I figured I would reasoned it to you, since it is likely something you would appreciate seeing. The only thing I can think of which would sum up how I feel about you is "Thank you for being who you are." You're simply amazing. If the world were made up entirely of people like you, there would be no wars, no violence, and everyone would just be happier. Not to mention that technology would likely be superior to what it is today. You rock my world, Woz.

Woz

Here's what may have happened. First, Laura and one other person failed to forward a ton of email to me promptly after the "Pirates" movie, and they hit me with far too many to answer. The unanswered batch grew to 1,000 and I still have it. I've since changed the main web site mailing to hit me directly so that doesn't happen again. Laura is a very good person, it's just that the email deluge from "Pirates" and my revamped web site (thanks to the webmaster, Al Luckow, who does it voluntarily to help me out) was unexpected.

But in your case something else is more likely. Someday, when the email is too heavy, I answer the short ones and print the long ones to get to later. Sometimes I have to pass them up altogether as they get outdated. I assure you that the ones that get missed are less than 5%, maybe as low as 1%.

Your original answer is in a separate email.

Good people work for Microsoft too

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Comment from E-mail

Hi, I watched the movie again today, and as everyone else, it brings back memories. I do not have any questions for you regarding the movie since you have answered most of them for me, but I do want to say thanks. I am the CEO and owner of a Microsoft Solution Provider company that develops custom applications. I am the proud owner of an Apple II+, IIE, and believe it or not, an Apple clone I bought in 83. I was 14 years old when my father bought my first computer. I quickly became submersed in the computer world. I lived on the BBs systems and ran one called "The Trading Post" in the south for years. We had over 100 calls a day and it was exciting. Obviously I have moved over to the Bill Gates world, but only because I felt that Apple did not have the business applications I needed to do what I was good at, which is developing business applications to solve business problems. Anyway, it was your computer that kept me going and made me what I am today. Thanks for everything.

Woz

Good people work for Microsoft, and Microsoft develops some good products too. It's just not fair when they use their power to keep others from doing so. The important thing is that your important formative memories involved the Apple ][.

The copies weren't as good

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Comment from E-mail

I am just commenting on what I have read about the comments made about the "Pirates of Silicon Valley". My ex husband had been using Apple computers then the Mac since 1985, he was a systems design engineer.

When the "clones" started appearing, I had always stated that their OS reminded me of the Apple/Mac OS only to be told that I was the one that did not know what I was talking about. (That was by computer instructors) It was very reassuring to me to see it pointed out that the operating system for the clones was pirated from Apple. Something that I had always realized and no one believed.

To have been around in the era of when home computing was born, I find it to be an privilege and yet a burden at the same time. There are many out there that did not and still may not realize what went on in the early days of home computing...Deb L.

Woz

For years, we Mac users knew how much better a computer system we had. Then the PC clones appeared running the Windows OS from Microsoft. It was so sad to see the copiers win out, particularly since the copies weren't as good.

Putting the personal into PC

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Comment from E-mail

Thank you for putting the personal into PC. As an engineer I appreciate your ethical and moral approach to technogy and your commitment to education.

Woz

I have to be honest. I'm into children being precocious and being somewhat problems. If too heavily protected they might have too boring a life. But when you play tricks on people or take other negative actions (copy software) then you should have some solid, logical, ethical thinking that convinces you that you believe in your reasons enough to tell other people what you do and why. That's the ethical hacker approach.

My own keys to happiness include knowing that I'm good and that logical truth reigns and in knowing that I don't have to convince other people to believe in that which I do. My life was successful when these keys came to me, before college even. Hey, a built-in religion with no church, and no group to agree with all the time, is the best for me. I just stayed very young in my beliefs all these years.

My commitment to education and to children in schools was with me all my life. In the movie they show the time Steve and I and his girl friend wore Alice in Wonderland costumes in a shopping mall. It was a joy of my life. I even took a week's vacation from my job as an engineer at Hewlett Packard to take this minimum wage job. Steve doesn't look back on it as a great thing in life but I do.

I wish that Bill Gates had my sense of humor.

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Letter from Carmela

I loved the movie-very interesting and well done! After all that happened in the film, one thing I wonder is how do things stand today between you and Steve Jobs (and Bill Gates)? Also, I am curious about how the actors prepared for their roles behind-the-scenes (if you know...), what kind of research they did to try to make things accurate? Thanks. Carmela

Woz

I'm glad that you enjoyed the movie. I did also.

I talk to Steve occassionally and try not to feed reports of any conflict between us (there is none).

I wish that Bill Gates had my sense of humor. Do you remember when he got hit with some pies in Europe? After that, I sent him a picture of myself being hit by a pie at the pizza party after my college graduation in 1986. It was fun and we all laughed and the picture is captioned cleverly "Computer pie-in-ear". I suggested to Bill that he have a pie thrower ready in the wings whenever he has a boring stage appearance, just for laughs.

The personalities and personality conflicts were portrayed quite accurately in the movie, even though a lot of the scenes didn't happen or had different parties present or happened in different cities than shown or in different years. The actors deliberately didn't talk to any of the principle parties. I guess that we would have spoiled it telling how great we all are and threatening lawsuits if they didn't show it the way we said. So some legal problems might be avoided by not talking to us.

MacOS always feels better

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Comment from E-mail

I saw the movie last evening on tape, and to tell the truth I was quite disappointed. I thought that Bill Gates was portrayed as "kinder" than he really is, and I thought that they should have given you more credit and perhaps shed more light on your contributions. I also have one question; did Apple "steal" the GUI from Xerox (at PARC), or did they develop it themselves? And a personal question; how do you think the MacOS is better than Windows? What about MacOS X (any future?)? Sorry to be intrusive, but I am naturally inquisitive, and I figure if anyone would know the answers to these questions, it would be you. Thanks for your time. John

Woz

Apple worked with Xerox openly to bring their developments to a mass audience. That's what Steve portrayed Apple as being good at. Xerox got a lot of Apple stock for it too, it was an agreement.

Microsoft just took it from Xerox or Apple or whomever. It took them a long time to get it halfway right.

MacOS has been more constant since it's beginning 15 years ago. Look how many times DOS and Windows have changed. That doesn't lead to stardards that feel good. MacOS always feels better to those of us who use both. It's been built in from the ground up, from the atoms of the OS up. It's also part of our culture to put a high priority on how easy it is to use.

Young and idealistic

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Comment from E-mail

I just wanted to say that I just saw Pirates of Silicon Valley and was amazed at what went on way back when. I commend you for remaining the same person you've always been rather than turning into a money hungry, stuck up person like so many others do. It's so interesting to me that you made the computer that made Apple even possible, but it was Steve Job's that seemed to take all the credit. Was the scene with the man being interviewed really true? Did Steve Job's actually demean a potential employee?? I have to say, that they portrayed him as a real jerk who was very demeaning to his employees if they did not perform to his liking. And actually, Bill Gates was no better. They were and maybe still are hungry for the power. The other thing that I found interesting and didn't realize was that Microsoft now owns part of Apple. Steve Jobs is definitely a brilliant business man but after seeing what Bill Gates has done I'd have to say that he's even more savvy! Anyway, those were just a few thoughts I had. I was just really impressed with your character and how you've remained the same person that you were when you created that first computer. I hope you don't mind my two cents. : - )...Heather A.

Woz

I think that I already gave you some insights. We have such clear insights as to what we want to be like when we're young and idealistic, but few remain true to these ideals. I'm just simple enough not to play games and bend and twist my early idealistic views. I do need recognition for having been a great engineer, I don't need credit for the company, or power

Accept my gratitude

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Comment from E-mail

I've gone from a Commodore 64, my first computer, to my iMac RevB, my second computer. With a 12yr absence from computers. Needless to say, there's some catching up to do. All this conflict between Wintel and Mac's is beyond my understanding, nor do I care why it exists. I want a reliable, user friendly home computer, period. I have no predefined prejudices for or against either macintosh or the other machines. But the history of all this is what I missed in the past 12-15 years and that's very interesting to me now. especially your side of things.

First-off thanks for getting the ball rolling all that time back. And please keep your comments coming, most interesting to hear your side of it. I did not watch the "Pirates" movie for many reasons, most of all because Hollywood made it. Now if PBS had done it I may have watched... I really like my Mac. I do hope in the long run as I learn more, that I will come to admire my macintosh as much as my guru friends do. Talk about rambling.....I'ld send money, but I know you don't need it, so please accept my gratitude for doing what you've done. Regards

Woz

Thanks for having a clear head and not caring about what everyone else might have. That's to your benefit and it's a benefit to you also. My part of the history is very unusual as major business success stories throughout time go. Someday it may be told in a book. But Apple may only be in the background!

"It's a Wonderful Mac"

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Comment from E-mail

I just wanted to say thanks for your contributions to the world of computers. I reminded of the spoof Macaddict I think it was, did with "It's a Wonderful Mac" based on It's a Wonderful Life.

What a different world it would be had you not developed the Apple Computer. Well, that's just too scary to think about so I will just say good job, thank you bringing me my beloved Mac. ..DV

Woz

While teaching, I often wished I was 10 years old again so that this time I could grow up with the computers that I always loved and wanted. But then it occurred to me that I'm lucky to have seen the 'before' and the 'during' in order to see how great a change to life has happened. In earlier years, I never could have dreamed of such rapid advancements, well, changes anyway.

The true road to power

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Comment from E-mail

What you said in one of your comments, "I often wonder why I remained the person I always wanted to be, from late high school on. I wanted to be an engineer and then a 5th grade teacher and I wanted a computer someday and I wanted to be nice to people and I wanted to tell and make jokes and I wanted a family and home. It couldn't have come truer for me." Most people could dismiss this as power, I see it as the true road to power. Most revisit "wealth and power", aren't they roots to all evil? Your POWER is clean and fresh.

Woz

Thank you for your kind comment. My own comment is just plain out and out the truth. I had my happiness for life long before Apple, I assure you. Mostly it's in how a person thinks and acts and what's important and how true they can stay to what they say they really want when they are young