The WozCam

Comment from E-mail

Hi Woz, I am a newbie to computers. I read an article in the Providence Journal about your speaking at Brown University. and decided to come visit your site. I couln’t get the Woz Cam to work and don’t know why. Could you help? Thank you, Carol

Woz

The WozCam software came from a company and it might need version 4 of Netscape or Internet Explorer to work fully. Otherwise, after you try to move the camera, you might have to click the Reload button.

If you’re on a modem, the live operation will be very hard.

The iMac

Comment from E-mail

My only question is, what do you think of the iMAC? and do you have a favorite flavor? (two questions I cheated.)

Woz

I like the iMac very much. It’s a computer that I don’t have to assemble. I do have towers and I mainly use my PowerBook, but the iMacs are great to place around the house (all on Airport radio connection) for visitors to use. These iMacs get a lot of use for games and even video editing, and they needed very little setup.

Most people that I know don’t want to learn all that it takes to load up computers and learn thousands of things about how to do certain things with them. For these people the iMac or iBook are the only products that I’d highly recommend (except, for some, WebTV).

Xerox PARC

Comment from E-mail

Can you describe what you saw when you went to Xerox PARC. In your mind what was or is the best product Apple has made. Also if Apple offered you a job today to design products for them would you ? How would you fell about working w/ Steve again?

Woz

I cannot describe with certainty all that I saw at Xerox. I was working on Apple ][ products at the time and only visited one time. I remember being so impressed that I saw that anyone who used a system like theirs would never go back. The mouse and windows on a screen, with a lot of software working on it, plus the SmallTalk language stick out the most in my mind. Steve Jobs had a great determination to make this available to the common people buying masses of personal computers.

It’s significant to note that Apple may well have developed such a machine without the Xerox visit, or any knowledge of their products. A few outside companies were already marketing bit-mapped software shells for the Apple ][. These only ran one program at a time, as the Macintosh was at first, but were mainly text based. A few graphics-included examples were popping up. The LISA and Macintosh just took this to a very complete level, with the base GUI functionality programmed into the OS.

I would work with Steve Jobs as long as the capacity were one in which I could contribute. I think that the problem is that I’ve been away from technology for a while, concentrating on making computers understandable within the schools, and maintaining computer and network (LAN/WAN/Internet) operations. So I’m not sure where that would fit. It would have to be a perfect fit to drag me from my home and kids too. More likely Steve would not want to work with me, due to my having sort of ‘dropped out’ of current advanced technologies, with the risk of having low energy for it.

Money

Comment from E-mail

My name is Matt S., I had come to your web site after searching for information on a unix file format. I have no idea how. Anyway, I have a few questions about you if you have a moment or two. I have seen pirates of silicon valley a few times and enjoyed it, I am glad to see that the movie has accurately reflected you (I’m not sure our worlds richest man is quite that stupid however). I want to know how you can work so much? Do you just view working with computers as a game or is it just extremely interesting to you? I am a programmer in a few different languages however I don’t care much about money. That is unfortunate in that everyone today cares about getting rich and it becomes disheartening to enjoy computers with everyone caring about starting the next IPO and making millions. I would love to know what motivates you. How many hours can you code in a day and how do you keep going like that. I hope that I have not inconvenienced you and I understand if you cannot reply. I thank you for your time.

Woz

Working with computers was a lifetime passion for me.

At one point it came time to accept a lot of money and start a real company. But I had to leave my ‘real’ job designing calculator chips at Hewlett Packard. I thought deeply inside to what I was meant for and what I wanted to do with my life and I concluded that I wanted to design computers and other things, and to write software. I could easily do that with no company, and keep my job with the company that I loved. So I told Steve Jobs and Mike Markkula that I wouldn’t start Apple.

I changed my mind upon being relieved of the stress of thinking that I had to run the company. I could still do the things that I loved to do within it, and make money too.

Customer service

Comment from E-mail

CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHY APPLE CONTINUES TO IGNORE ITS CUSTOMERS WHO PLACED ADVANCED ORDERS LONG AGO? One thing to I’ve noticed about Mac users over the \past 15 years that i have been one, is their intense LOYALTY. Loyalty to a company that continually abuses that loyalty….What did i do other than spend tens of thousands of dollars on Apple products over the years, to deserve this abuse?

Woz

One very bad side effect of the technology revolution that we’re in is that we get very poor customer support and communication. Voice mail is an example. Look how many times you have problems and companies keep telling you that it’s another company’s fault? Or that you must be mistaken.

Well, if you’ve been led to expect a certain shipment date then that’s part of a contract with you. Gross miscommunication about when you’ll get your product is wrong. But people these days have a hard time getting anything done about it or changed. I’m sure that it violates some laws, it’s certainly close to fraud. Small claims court is a very cheap way to go but you’ll have to indicate that you had good reason to believe that you’d have the computer long before now. One guy got $5000 in small claims court in San Jose for having 2 bad pixels on his screen (Apple couldn’t show any public documents referring to their ‘spec’) so it can be won.

But, why don’t you just buy an iBook at Sears or somewhere and not deal with Cyberian Outpost again. I myself don’t deal with them after a weird credit card dealing on their part. Chalk this one up to a learning experience.

I’ll share another story. On the few occasions that I arranged to get something early from inside Apple, I got horribly let down. Once it was for a LaserWriter, which was available in stores a few days later. It finally showed up, from Apple, 8 months later at twice the price. Right now I’ve been promised the new large LCD screen from a top person within Apple, but I really doubt that I’ll get it. In the meantime, I didn’t place an order elsewhere for this product so I probably won’t see one until very late in it’s life span. But at least I know what to expect from prior dealings so I’m not mad like you are.

As a loyal customer, you deserve the best treatment possible from Apple and Cyberian Outpost. But Apple would probably say that they can help you best if they are profitable by selling lots of iBooks to first time buyers.

Business

Comment from E-mail

I am a minor partner in a small business and i see alot of people being stepped on, and hurt in the business world and corporate America all day long in one way or another. I want to tell you that it truly touched & inspired me to see a person with a good heart such as yourself in a high powerful position exercise compassion for even the little people. I know you are genuine & a real person, and that you put people first. This is the future of the business world as we slowly grow up as a whole and this is what motivates me and i want to thank you.

Woz

I could never understand or admire that ‘political’ aspect of business. I wish that business ran by a predicable formula for what works and what doesn’t and not by personal whims of those in power. It’s funny, but at first the personal computers were intended to give us individuals power to rise above the powerful people and corporations. But now, even the internet is being used to spoon feed us ads and track our lives without our knowing it in order to help these powerful institutions.

I am a huge fan of yours

Comment from E-mail

Steve. I am a huge fan of yours. I think you are the most important person in computers. although the movie (pirates) is probably mostly full of you know what, it painted you in a great light, for you are the one who created the computer in the first place. I think the brain behind the sky is more important than the rain. I hope that you have inner fufillment always, i bet you do. I must admit, I do own windows, but that’s only beause, as you know, it’s cheaper, and I only use my puter for writing. I just wanted to say the US fest. in, I believe it was 83, was the best time I ever had in my life, and I want to thank you for that and for making the computer as well. I hope that you are doing well, and good luck to you. your brain is better than anything. james

Woz

Hey, I’m glad that you are glad for computers and I’m honored if I’m one of your symbols for having that, especially when you refer to such things as brains. It seems that I was the master engineer and programmer of the start of this revolution, not a businessman or salesman.

I’m especially glad for what you say about the US Festival. I hear that very often, yet you rarely hear of the US Festival in historic terms.

Pirates of Silicon Valley

Comment from E-mail

Hi Steve! I live in Sweden and I work at Ericsson company (do you recognize the Ericsson mobile phone?). I have read about you in articles and in the superb book “Hacker: Heroes Of The Computer Revolution” by Steven Levy. I have seen you in TV documentary too. I believe that you are an alive legend and thanks to people like you the computer revolution took place. A part the work I like to do own hardware design. Very simple design to control robots. I am fascinating about building robots. The most important thing when I start a own project is to have fun that’s all. I never heard about the movie “Pirates of Silicon Valley”. Was it shown on the TV? Can I find it on video? Do you have any suggestion on how I can find it?

Woz

It’s an honor to get good email from someone in Sweeden. I’m very glad that you read and enjoyed “Hackers.” It had a lot of true and meaningful stuff that disappeared as Wall Street took over the image of the personal computing revolution.

Send me your address and I’ll get you a DVD or VHS tape of “Pirates of Silicon Valley.” Unfortunately the VHS tapes are NTSC only and the DVD is U.S region code. I have friends that can make the conversion if you need, but it may take a while.

5 Questions to Woz

Comment from E-mail

I have some questions for you. If you could answer them that would be great.

1. When you think about your time at Apple, what did you enjoy the best? What made you want to come to work each day?

2. What unique skills did the management team have that helped make Apple a success?

3. When you were a kid my age were there any classes or hobbies that you liked that let you know that you would be good in technology?

4. I understand you work with students. What skills, hobbies, or classes do you tell them to focus on, to prepare for the future?

5. Do you know any good technology camps for me?

Woz

1. I was motivated by several things. I was very independent. I could look at a problem and come up with my solution from any of a number of angles. I could work on a problem in the order and with the method that I chose. I was my own boss. I knew that what I did was good and that it impressed people. I had goals that guaranteed that I’d only do an A+ job that was better than anyone else would do. I got lots of praise for what I did. Also, I was free enough to include plenty of fun and humor and pranks in the worktime. For example, in writing Pong in BASIC, I put in a mode where the game would play itself, but jiggle the paddle enough that a player didn’t know it. I actually got a friend to play, and win, an entire game and he thought that he did it himself.

2. We had a very unusual situation. Steve Jobs and myself had no such experience. I was very good at what I did and could take a project near to completion on my own because I was the designer, constructor, tester, coder, modifier, and more. Steve Jobs never let up in the pursuit for excellence, to have the best company ever. Mike Markkula had a lot of prior business success and he ran marketing in a professional way, while lots of other startups were very unprofessional. Mike Scott was our president. He could be rough when it came to getting the needed things done, like Steve Jobs is, but he could also joke a lot. I really liked Mike Scott a lot. Rod Holt was an older engineer with engineering management thinking and expertise outside of my fields. Without him we wouldn’t have had many totally completed projects that a company could actually build.

3. By the time I was in 5th grade I was well on my way to an electronics future. I didn’t know that electronics would lead to computers even. My 5th grade science fair project had 92 switches and lights to display the electron orbits for every atom. While this wasn’t a computer, it did involve the sort of reasoning and complexity of computer logic. The electron orbits don’t go in order. At some point, a switch has to swap one group for another. Some diode logic circuits were required. Also, in 5th grade I read a story where a ham radio operator was a hero and the book said that anyone of any age could get a ham radio license. This is different than driving licenses. I went to school that morning. On “Safety Patrol” (holding stop signs while students crossed the street) I told a friend that I was going to get my ham license and he surprised me by telling me of a class for such on my own block. I did get my license by 6th grade. It involved learning a lot of electronics and circuits and I even built my own transmitter and receiver.

I really advanced in computer logic circuits in 6th and 8th grades, and got the real concept of what a full computer was by 9th grade. We didn’t have computers in our schools back in the 60’s.

4. Teaching is getting harder and harder for me, with my tremendous email load. I prefer answering everyone individually (although one of my lists has hundreds of unanswered ones that came in after the “Pirates” movie) rather than have staff do it, or to publish it all. But I’m still human and can only do so much.

The primary focus of my classes for 5th through 8th graders is to show them ways to make their homework look exceptional, to impress teachers. The positive reactions of the teachers will lead to students thinking better of themselves and actually doing better work. At least that’s the theory that I subscribe to. Also, just doing interesting, different, things helps motivate students and give them a good reason to spend more time on schoolwork than they might otherwise have spent.

I also focused on how networks work, including the types of data packets on the network and where they go and how they are handled. This helps the students debug network problems. This part of the class involves setting up servers with privileges as well as just accessing servers. It always included AOL accounts for my entire class, and I put heavy pressure on the parents to buy extra phone lines for the kids’ computers. My real goal was to get the kids their own phones at an early age so that they could be independent but don’t tell the parents I said that.

Nowdays, the online part of my class includes the internet.

The main time consuming part of my class was on how computers work, and on how to keep them maintained. I almost always had students take apart PowerBooks to exchange RAM and hard disks and modems. They had to have a good understanding of how the Operating System worked so that they could [sometimes] understand computer messages and take the right action. This part of the class is about having the skills to own and take care of your own computer.

My advanced students went into music recording, video editing, 3D graphics design and lots more..

5. Sorry, but I don’t at this time. They change a bit, but I’ve seen or heard of them in recent times so you might do an internet search.

Jobs was a little nuts

Comment from E-mail

I was watching the movie [Pirates of SIlicon Valley] yesterday (I’m in Canada so we rented at the video store) and got the impression that if you took more charge instead of Jobs, Apple would be in a much better position today. You looked like you were opposed to the infighting, and it looked like you thought Jobs was a little nuts at times. Do you agree?

Woz

I think that it’s fair to say that we’d have run things quite differently. I’m more into patience and talking and not fighting or having conflicts. I don’t like to step on other’s toes or call them idiots. I prefer to work with them to get better results.

But I think that would have been disastrous for Apple. A better partnership between the two of us might have helped more.

Gary Kildall

Comment from E-mail

I found your web site through a series of events:
1) I read an article about Gary Kildall in Dr. Dobb’s about a year or so ago

2) After the “finding of facts” in the Microsoft trail came out, there was generally two thoughts on the matter; Marketing people said “Ohh.. so it’s OK to be successfull, but don’t be too successfull etc. etc.” while Engineers generally would say that Microsoft is a completely amoral company. Being an engineer myself I wrote a letter to ComputerWorld in Denmark, who printed my letter

3) I was approached, and challenged, by a co-worker about my views, and we started talking about who invented “Windows”. I told him that a) Windows was created by RankXerox’s PARC, b) it was succesfully tested and implemented by Apple and that c) Gary Kildall designed a lot of the stuff that Microsoft called MS-DOS.

4) I revisited the Dr.Dobb’s article and saw that Gary (may he rest in peace) was “pissed” that Steve Jobs was known as Mr.Apple while You are known “only” by engineers.. So I started looking and found your site!
best regards..

Woz

That’s kind of a short analysis of things, but in that many words is about as accurate as you can get in regard to the foundations of Windows. Don’t forget that the first versions of Windows were built on top of DOS, a product that Microsoft didn’t even create.

I, as many others, wish that Gary Kildahl had been in the place of Bill Gates. He was a very nice person and wanted the computer industry to proceed. I doubt that he would have pursued the monopolistic courses that Microsoft travelled.

About Jobs and Gates

Comment from E-mail

Hello, My name is Jason S, I would like to say that I really do admire you and your work, and if you wouldn’t mine, I would like to ask you a few quesitons about Jobs and Gates:

First, how did you feel at the 1997 MacWorld Expo when Jobs announced a semi-merger with Microsoft? Next, What do you think of the Anti-trust case against Microsoft? Do you think its a monopoly or just an extremenly competitive company? Also, what do you think of Jobs being appointed interim CEO of Apple? Do you tink that the new iMac is the answer to the companies decline?

Woz

The1997 MacWorld Expo: In the sense which it is intended it’s good. I’m non-confrontational for sure. But it was portrayed as Bill Gates cheering for Apple and that wasn’t true

Regarding Microsoft: It’s a monopoly. Microsoft has used it’s monopoly powers in very bad ways. What if all the gas stations were owned by one company and they announced that they were modifying the nozzles to only fit their own brand of car? We’d have no choice and all the car companies would be out of business. If you’re rich and don’t like somebody who has a shoe store, you don’t have the right to open a big shoe store across the street and price the shoes at half price just to put him out of business (and then be left with the rewards of a ‘monopoly’)

Jobs as CEO: At first I didn’t like the fact that he would revive his own Next stuff within Apple, because some good Apple stuff would be shelved. But the products are great and leading the world to the future…Woz

666,66

Comment from E-mail

So glad I found a link to this site. I have a huge long story to tell you, but for now I just want to know one thing. How did you come up with the price of $666.66 for the Apple I kit?? Was this another one of your practical jokes, or was it arrived at by the cost in the product to make a reasonable profit? All the best to you, and long live the Mac!!! Cary

Woz

Steve Jobs arranged to sell the Apple I’s for $500. We needed a suggested retail price. I think that he suggested $650 and I took it to $666, then $666.66. I have always been into repeating phone numbers. My dial-a-joke number at that time was 255-6666.

Neither of us had and bad ideas or even knew that 666 carries negative messages.

Apple ][ 4 EVER

Comment from E-mail

I remeber my first computer, an Apple ][+, with its all upprcase keyboard, in 1979 or 1980 (I don’t remeber exatly) it was a gift from my parents. I kept with the Apple ][ for many years to come, finaly getting an Apple ][gs (ROM3 version). Now on mt my question 🙂 Of the Apple ][ line wic did you think had the most personality?

I will add that after Apple droped the Apple ][ line I havent owend another Apple product until today when I placed my order for a Power Mac G4, I think I finally forgave them for going back on the Apple ][ 4 EVER slogan 🙂

Woz

Hey, Apple ][ does obviously go on forever, even if it’s not a sold product. I think that the Apple ][c had the most personality. It was truly portable and, with an LCD screen, a great machine to use. I like things small and in front of me. I’m totally PowerBook oriented today.

Woz

Comment from E-mail

Is it okay to call you Woz, or do you prefer Steve? Either way, I just wanted to write to say that I like your site and all the information. More importantly, I wanted to thank you for all your significant contributions to computers, especially Apple products. You’re like a living legend to me.

Woz

I’ve always gone by either Steve or Woz.

I only started being called Woz as we started Apple, as there were two Steve’s. So Woz is the name most synonymous with Apple. My wife calls me Steve though, but she knew me back to 7th grade when I did go by Steve.

Woz school

Comment from E-mail

How do I contact Woz or his school? I would like to find out about elementary school curriculum.

Woz

Sorry, but I’m totally overloaded with email every day. My own computer classes take students from the local schools, including the local elementary school, but I have a very different curriculum than is appropriate for almost any other school. I buy totally new equipment and software to help my class run smoothly each year, without constant problems or excess work to take a wider range of equipment and needs into account.

I wish you the best

Comment from E-mail

I just wanted to let you know how impressed I am with you.

In 1984 I bought a Apple //c, and to this date I view it as one of the best computers I ever had. It was so easy to use, and it just has a look of quality!

While I am now using a ‘PC’ I still think that the //c was an awesome machine! I think you guys had a wonderful machine in the // series, and I was sad to see it go.

Also while I never had a //GS, I did get a chance to see one and I was amazed with it’s beautiful graphics, and it amazing sound abilities!

I also liked the way you were shown in the movie. I thought you were shown as a kind and gentle person, someone whom I would like to meet someday.

I wish you the best in all that you do, and I hope that you are still creating new machines. Some day I would like to see you create the next Apple //!

Woz

Thanks for your generous remarks.
I’m glad that you liked the way that I was portrayed in the movie. I’m exactly like that. I can’t understand how so many get so rich and forget about the few that were around joking with them and helping debug things from the start.

I especially liked my ][c, with an LCD panel to boot. It was so great and transportable.

One mouse button

Question from E-mail

Just a few questions regarding your opinion of various technical differences between MacOS and Windows:

What do you think of Macs having only one mouse button?

Also, do you prefer the Macintosh re-usable menu bar, or do you think a separate menu bar per window (like MS Windows) is a better design?

As you will be aware, with Macintosh, when a dialog box is displayed the user cannot switch applications – the dialog box must be dealt with first; but with Windows the dialog box still allows the user to switch and use other applications, they just cannot do anything with the application to which the dialog box belongs to until it is dealt with. Which do you see as a better design?

Woz

We only have one brain, and for many that are new, or just not computer savvy, or old, or slow, the single button is much more comfortable. But when you look at the cortex of the brain, the amount of space allocated to your fingers outweighs almost any other part of your body. Fingers are very efficient and controllable. It’s a shame to restrict this incredible operating plus. After all, we use all 10 fingers just fine to type. I love a 2 or 3 button mouse and find it as easy to use as going for command keys. I also love the scrolling wheels.

I don’t always have only one answer on the menu bar question. I think that the MS way is the more logically correct way, but I find myself getting lost much less on the Macintosh. You don’t have the desired menu per app or menu per window, but you always know where to go. Your fingers often learn to just instantly go somewhere, like on a video game, without having to partner with your eyes to see exactly where they are supposed to go this time.

Everyone hates modal dialog boxes, but a lot of them can be skipped. Often the application menu is not grayed out, and even if it is, command-tab might work.

A&E’s top 100

Comment from E-mail

I just wanted to write this to tell how grateful I am that Apple Computer was developed. Mainly because there would be no such as the personal computer and many advances never would’ve happened if it wasn’t for Apple. I also wanted to write because recently I was watching A&E’s top 100 hundred and was disappointed to see that you where not named and Bill Gates was. I sat there and said to myself what did he do to deserve that besides make a lot of money nothing. I would’ve at least to of like to of seen at least Steve Jobs or at least a mention of Apple but when they rounded out the top five I knew it wouldn’t happen and was deeply disappointed that the two people or even the person who changed the daily lives of everyone was not even mentioned at all during that.

Well, I just wanted to thank you for helping change my life and the way I live it everyday. If it was not for the Apple Macintosh computer I would not have a job or hobby anymore and am grateful for having it around. I am always exited about the new developments coming out of Apple and just have one question for you. As an original developer of the MacOs and with the new version of it coming out next year MacOs X I was just wondering what your comments on it and how it will change it from where it started and how you feel about it? Thanks again, Spencer Parker

Woz

I’m glad that you see things this way. It is fair to say that Bill and Microsoft did a bit of engineering (writing BASIC for the Altair computer) at the start and did take risks in setting up and running a business. But we at Apple did much more to bring computing to people and we took much greater risks and we did our own designs and used our own money and time a lot more. We worked to create the hardware and the software that would do new things. We didn’t merely buy others’ programs and find a way to sell them at a profit. Apple even popularized (and largely created) the technology that Microsoft makes it’s money off of.

I think that MacOS X will be very very great but will, at first, only reach loyal Macintosh owners. I think that it will be well accepted by the Macintosh users by the time it comes out and that the grumbling about differences will be short lived. I think that differences like fast graphics and more game software will be even more important than a more stable OS though.

“WOZ” signature on G.S

Comment from E-mail

We pooled all of our resources and bought one of the first Apple G. S’s to hit the stores up here in Alaska.

On the front of it is a strange signature, “WOZ”. I have never seen another G. S. that had been signed in this manner. Did you per chance sign the front of any of the early ones as a lark? If you did perhaps you would be interested to know this particular model ended up in Anchorage Alaska and brought our whole family into the world of technology and I still dearly love the little fellow and keep him in a place of honor in our library. (Of course both he and I are retired now but he’s still good for a fast chess game now and then with my grand-kids and I.

Thanks for the opportunity to inquire about my little guy,

Woz

When Apple asked me for a signature for a special limited edition of the Apple ][gs I figured that it was for a few hundred computers. But they made 50,000 with the signature.

Occasionally I’m asked to sign, with a Sharpie pen, one of these or one of the ones without the “Woz” signature.

Thanks for letting me know of your respect for your little fellow.