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I, Woz 247

Posted by Zonk
from the wozinator dept.
theodp writes "In a Q&A session, Steve Wozniak discusses his forthcoming autobiography, how HP not only passed on his Apple design but also nixed his pleas to work on an HP computer, and the perks of being an Apple co-founder - free 65W AC adapters!"
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I, Woz

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  • Perks (Score:5, Funny)

    by wirah (707347) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:23AM (#15104599) Homepage Journal
    Perks like... being stinking rich?
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:25AM (#15104606)
    The combination of Woz and Jobs is exactly like Microsoft. You've got technical prowess underlying a massive bullshit machine. And beards and geeky glasses all around.
    • I'm not much of a Microsoft fan, and I wonder: does Bill Gates have the same status amongst MS fans as Steve Jobs has amongst Apple fans? Steve may be a massive bullshit machine, but no one can deny he has a near god-like status amongst Apple fans.
    • Re:Woz and Jobs (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MosesJones (55544) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:49AM (#15104660) Homepage
      With only two differences

      1) Paul Allen doesn't hold a technical candle to Woz
      2) Bill Gates doesn't hold a visionary candle to Jobs

      Without Jobs there would be no Apple, Woz would have stuck at HP and written printer drivers.
      • Re:Woz and Jobs (Score:5, Interesting)

        by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @08:06AM (#15104720) Homepage

        Without Jobs there would be no Apple, Woz would have stuck at HP and written printer drivers.

        Even writing printer drivers can lead to great things. After all, it was a printer problem that spurred Richard Stallman [stallman.org] towards development of GNU, which of course became the foundation for the later flourishing of Free Software and the open source development model. (Sam William's biography Free as in Freedom [amazon.com] published by O'Reilly gives the whole story of the printer problem.) You don't need to hook up with a charismatic individual with a reality distortion field to change the world. If a controversial eccentric like Stallman can do great things from a hermit-like AI lab, then Woz would have had opportunities even without Jobs.

        • If a controversial eccentric like Stallman can do great things from a hermit-like AI lab, then Woz would have had opportunities even without Jobs.

          The question for me isn't "has RMS done a lot for free as in freedom?" but rather, "how much more could RMS have done as the thinker behind someone charismatic?

          I do wonder how many people see RMS like a train-wreck: sure, they can't help but to look, but it doesn't change their lives/opinions/etc.

      • by Farmer Tim (530755) <<roundfile> <at> <mindless.com>> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @08:08AM (#15104724) Journal
        Without Jobs there would be no Apple, Woz would have stuck at HP and written printer drivers.

        So that explains why HP's printer drivers suck like a starving lamprey. But surely they could have found at least one other decent software engineer in the last 30 years...
      • Re:Woz and Jobs (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ucblockhead (63650)
        Without Jobs there would be no Apple,


        That's like saying "without your left leg, you couldn't walk".
      • Re:Woz and Jobs (Score:2, Interesting)

        by 386spart (725207)
        2) Bill Gates doesn't hold a visionary candle to Jobs

        I don't think that's true really, they just had different visions. Bills vision from a while back has been "a computer on every desk and in every home" and that has certainly happened, and almost all of those computers are running Windows.

        Jobs and Gates are different kinds of geniuses, but I agree that they are probably both much more rare than the Wozniak kind of genius. There are a lot of techies so skilled at something it feels like they can contr
        • Jobs and Gates had different visions. Jobs wanted to transform the world and Gates wanted to be rich enough so women would talk to him.

          But I kid the richest man in the world.

          Both had that rare combination of a certain amount of technical skill, a type A personality (A+ is more like it) and a whole lotta luck.


      • Woz would have stuck at HP and written printer drivers


        Considering the quality of the driver for my HP 5652 Deskjet, this would not have been to HP's disadvantage..
      • 1) Paul Allen doesn't hold a technical candle to Woz
        2) Bill Gates doesn't hold a visionary candle to Jobs


        And it's because of these two reasons that Apple controls about 90% of the home computer market, and Microsoft, while profitable, remains little more than a niche player.

        Or perhaps there's some other factors involved than raw technical and visionary prowess.
  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:27AM (#15104609) Homepage

    It'll be nice to get an autobiography from Woz, but the problem with many autobiographies is that they show you just one side of a person, and in the tech industry that can be dull. I think that gossipy histories like Apple Confidental 2.0 [amazon.com] are superior, as they present a whole range of viewpoints and better show a person in context with other historical actors.

    Still, I'm curious if Woz will write anything about the challenges he faced at early Apple from rude coworkers. He wasn't exactly treated fairly by Jobs and the company in its fledgling days, and a personal perspective would be interesting.

    • by Moby Cock (771358) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:35AM (#15104625) Homepage
      He wasn't exactly treated fairly by Jobs and the company in its fledgling days

      That is the long standing rumour. As you say, it'll be interesting to see if this is actually the case. Hopefully he'll discuss whether his treatment (good or bad) was warranted in the context of trying to set up a big corporation. It is always advisable to treat people decently, but there are times when circumstance dictate ruthlessness.

      I'm looking forward to reading Woz's take on it all.
      • We can probably be sure Woz will be unfairly treated by Steve after releasing this book. Woz will give out some unfavorable info on Jobs like the color of his underwear. Steve will regard this as a "trade secret" and sue the pants of Woz.
      • Last week's This Week in Tech podcast had about 5 or 6 people from the early Apple days doing a 30th anniversary episode, and Woz was among them (actually, Leo's had Woz on 4 or 5 TWiTs now). Anyhow, Leo asked him about this very thing. Woz responded that while he and Steve did have their occasional run-ins, Jobs seemed to have a great respect for Woz and his talents and never really flew off the handle towards him.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "He wasn't exactly treated fairly by Jobs and the company in its fledgling days"

      Oh, I dunno. I think he Woz.
  • by Wellington Grey (942717) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:31AM (#15104614) Homepage Journal
    I was in Boston once. I needed two AC adapters. I ran into this new Apple store. I went up to the counter, "I'd like two 65-watt AC adapters." I didn't say anything about who I was. And they bring them out. I say, "How much?" They say, "We are expensing it." I said, "Yeah, but how do I pay for it?" They said, "No, no, no -- we are allowed to give gifts to special people."

    Man oh man, I'd love to know the criterion to get on that list.

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
    • Try being a regular 50-year old bearded guy who likes wearing a black turtleneck and jeans. I wasn't into Apple until some hippy college kid tried to get me to listen to what he was playing on this newfangled "iPod" thing. I had to smack him down with my WinCE PDA. Anyway, it's not a list you want to be on.
    • by wiredog (43288) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:58AM (#15104691) Journal
      Step 2: Be Woz.
    • I was in Boston once. I needed two AC adapters. I ran into this new Apple store. I went up to the counter, "I'd like two 65-watt AC adapters." I didn't say anything about who I was.
      Obviously being the Wonderful Wizard of Woz does not protect you from getting crappy PowerBook adapters in the first place (on my third at the moment); or maybe he needed some extra ones for some bizarro project?
      • 3rd here - 5th if you count the twice in a row that I tried reconditioned ones from eBay. They lasted around 4 months each, by the way, versus about a year for brand new ones.

        Funny how the man who can probably afford the £65 (100 USD) each one costs doesn't have to.
        • My first one (for my 15" TiBook) and my step-daughter's first one (for her 14" iBook) both had the same flaw (no strain relief where cords go into hard components) and both failed on the same week after about 10 months. Both of our free replacements have strain relief and both have lasted 3+ years. I since upgraded to a newer 17" AlBook and bought a used adaptor from a friend, so I have three adapters, which means I can leave one in my office, one in the TV room and one in the laptop bag.

          The AlBook is nea
          • The power adaptor connection on anything prior to the MacBook is a particularly poor design. A small amount of sheer force (such as putting the machine down plugged in on an uneven surface where the power lead is touching the ground) will cause it to be permanently deformed. At this point, the connection becomes intermittent, and it is a lot of effort to bend it back into the correct shape.
    • Re:From the article (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kklein (900361) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @08:49AM (#15104882)
      I used to do tech support for Apple (outsourced). The official policy (from Apple) was "If Woz calls, give him whatever he wants and don't ask any questions." And one day I got him on the phone, he read me a list of SNs for out-of-warranty PowerBooks he needed repaired (he does something with PBs and disabled kids--or at least did in 1995), and I sent him the appropriate number of Airborne Express boxes for them to be pulled into NY for repair. It was one of the coolest calls I handled, cooler than when Howard Stern called for his friend who couldn't speak English. Both guys, BTW, were really really nice.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @01:44PM (#15107114)

        "...cooler than when Howard Stern called for his friend who couldn't speak English. Both guys, BTW, were really really nice...!

        Well, with Stern allegedly scoring highly for "antisocial personality disorder" on DSM-IV (ie. an old skool psychopath), it's not surprising that he can turn on the ol' superficial charm at the drop of a hat. Similarly, a lot of high-level executives score very highly on the same scale

        Just don't get between either of 'em and their goals: Then, you won't be a fellow human being, just a puppet, a cipher, a disposable and infuriating obstacle...
      • Why do I envision a sudden surge of phone calls to Apple support saying, "Hi, This is Woz. I need....."
  • by SillyWilly (692755) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @07:56AM (#15104688) Homepage
    I'm not surprised free AC Adapters are a perk of founding Apple. Certainly my experience with my PowerBook has been that they need replacing every 12 months if not sooner.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @08:04AM (#15104716)
    "My goal wasn't to make a ton of money. It was to build good computers. I only started the company when I realized I could be an engineer forever."

    I woz truly blown away by this statement.
    • Re:he woz different (Score:4, Interesting)

      by grumling (94709) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @08:49AM (#15104885) Homepage
      "My goal wasn't to make a ton of money. It was to build good computers. I only started the company when I realized I could be an engineer forever."

      I woz truly blown away by this statement.

      Most real entrepreneurs want to make a product or perfom a service first, make money second. Money is what makes it all possible.

  • friends (Score:5, Insightful)

    by l3v1 (787564) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @08:09AM (#15104731)
    That's actually one of the nicest things Steve does for me: He makes sure I am always invited to the VIP guest area for the product rollouts. I appreciate that more than I can ever say.

    I can appreciate one who knows what's most important in life, and one of those things is not forgetting who your friends are, and sticking by them all along. Even if it's just small things, which is the job of some secretary.

    • "Even if it's just small things, which is the job of some secretary"

      He did say "makes sure I'm invited" not "makes sure he invites me", so it might be the job of some secretary :-p

    • I must agree with you.

      I guess that's the difference, they really care about what they're doing, when Apple started it was not about making money... it was about making computers and changing the world!

      It's as near as you get from a geek-fairy-tale =D
      • Re:friends (Score:5, Informative)

        by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @09:38AM (#15105150)
        Obviously you guys have never heard the story of how Steve Job screwed Woz over in the infamous Atari deal back in the early days (Woz himself tell the story on this Q&A page [woz.org]).

        Woz was a good guy, the real deal. Jobs was a shark, focused mostly on how he could exploit people like Woz to make money.

        -Eric

        • Woz was a good guy, the real deal. Jobs was a shark, focused mostly on how he could exploit people like Woz to make money.

          I'm not rushing to Jobs's defense, but but I don't think we'd have Apple Computer today without the Yin and Yang of Jobs and Woz. They're both different and necessary talents.

          Besides, Woz just lets Jobs think he exploited him - really Woz just wanted to do engnineering and exploited Jobs to do the business and marketing side.
          • I'm not rushing to Jobs's defense, but but I don't think we'd have Apple Computer today without the Yin and Yang of Jobs and Woz. They're both different and necessary talents.

            So what if we wouldn't have had Apple Computer? Someone else would have bought WIMP to the masses, maybe a bit later, maybe a bit different. And if not it would centainly be interesting to see how the Emacs like interface RMS had in mind would have turned out.

            Besides, Woz just lets Jobs think he exploited him - really Woz just wanted

        • From the article you linked:
          This is old stuff, and it's best not to use it as an indicator of Steve today.

          He seems to have forgiven Steve Jobs for this one. Everybody does stupid selfish things when young, can you throw the first rock?
  • Hey Woz! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MichaelSmith (789609)

    I see that you have a nice list of your friends web pages [woz.org] on your site which is great, including the link to Kevin Mitnick's [freekevin.com] site which is nice because he was in jail and everything but now it redirects to Kevin's new business [mitnicksecurity.com] which I don't have any problem with either, except that Mitnick has actualy spent time in jail for doing bad things to people and their systems [wikipedia.org] and now seems to make money advising people how to steer clear of people like himself.

    I'm not making any suggestions or anything, just point

    • Re:Hey Woz! (Score:3, Interesting)

      FYI: The Minick story is about as tainted as any current discussion of Bush.

      Not defending either, mind you. I usually like Wiki too. At this point, the Mitnick story is nothing but a 2600 PR stunt from the 90's, which is sad, becuase it really was a fascinating legal case, and a wonderful precursor to the PATRIOT ACT.

      Read your history, kids.

    • Re:Hey Woz! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Code Herder (937988) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @08:29AM (#15104804)
      Woz isn't squeeky clean either, with the whole blue box deal etc.
    • Maybe it's intentional, but Kris Gundersen's email link is wrong.
    • He doesn't list Steve Jobs as one of his friends. Maybe he will myseteriously stop getting those fancy invites to the VIP section??
    • which I don't have any problem with either

      Which can't exactly be the case otherwise you wouldn't have made your post.

      Mitnick brings a level, knowledge and sophistication to the field of information security which is truly unparalleled, thanks to his social engineering deeds (which many in the security industry understand and may have played around with, but not to the advanced level Mitnick did.)

      Whether he makes money on his knowledge as a free man or gives it to the state/chairty because he's consulting fr
  • Thanks, Woz.

    Ed Almos
  • Without a doubt, "I, Woz" is the best title ever. Pure genius!!

    I wonder if the Woz himself thought of it or someone else?
  • by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday April 11, 2006 @09:34AM (#15105123) Journal
    What can anybody say? He's like the Mother Teresa of Geekdom. The man does not seem to have an evil bone in his body. Although woz would probably not like it, there should be some sort of Nerd/Geek cannonization....

    St. Woz!

  • Once in a while, though, if a computer doesn't work with a cellphone I have, I loan my cellphone to some engineers and they'll make sure the next operating system version works with it.


    It'd be cool to drop some hints like "I'm not too fond of Finder..." or "Wouldn't it be great if Safari had really good ad-blocking features?!" and have them implemented in the next OS revision! It'd also be cool to have loads of money...
  • repeat (Score:2, Informative)

    by mgabrys_sf (951552)
    That's a reprint of an interview done by the San Jose Mercury News over 14 days ago.
  • Hmm.. the "Woz" i've read about since I was kid was extremely quite and shy guy at Apple. Lately (give or take 4 - 5 years), it seems, Woz was holding back a lot back in the days.

    Live it up, Woz. Have a corona light on me.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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