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Interview: Ask Steve Wozniak 365

Since you're reading Slashdot, there's approximately a 100% chance that you know who Steve Wozniak is and why so many of us consider him to be a Geek God in whose shadow all others dwell. Before you start asking him questions, though, please take a look at his personal Web site, which already answers most of the obvious stuff. Then ask away. All questions must be asked and moderated by noon (EST) Tuesday. Woz's answers to the selected questions will appear Friday.
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Interview: Ask Steve Wozniak

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Steve, what was the deal with llamas at Apple a while back? There were llama references everywhere, and I used to email and get odd responses!
  • Oh, I dunno. I actually think that Woz ended up smelling like roses at the end of The Pirates of Silicon Valley (or maybe it was just that everyone else looked like complete assholes at the end).

    I'd be curious about the naive part. It seems to be pretty a fairly common conception that Woz, while being a master tech guru, was rather "babe in the woods" when it came to the business side of the industry. I'd like to know if he actually contributed anything on the business side, or if he was strictly technical.

    The question about the portrayals is good, however. The movie pretty much summed up all I've heard about the glory days of Apple. I'd be curious as to the accuracy. If they *are* fairly accurate, I'd be interested to hear why Woz stood by Jobs as long as he did.


  • Why do you assume that if Apple succeeded, everything else would have to die? That seems a very odd conclusion to draw, as if you have learned economics solely from watching Microsoft expend huge amounts of effort to scorch the earth of the computer industry. Wouldn't it be more likely that Apple would simply take and hold a decent big percentage, but not a stranglingly huge majority?
  • Mr Wozniak,

    Can I touch you? Please? Can I look directly at you and not be blinded? Seriously where would be today if the Apple II didn't sway into giving up my social life and making the big bucks in computer programming? I would probably be a stone carver apprenticed under European masters cutting fine likenesses of famous actresses and tycoons thus winning their respect and they would patronize my work and I would be compared to Michaelangelo swamped with commisions from churches, businesses, governments... my family would see my work and be proud, my many beutiful girlfriends would be fighting my attention and I would render their beauty in hard granite to last an eternity but instead I'm sitting here at this stupid keyboard tapping temporary bits of garbage that will sent of into the void of a digital medium that is overflowing with noise and volatile data that will someday be forgotten and lost.

    QUESTION: Do you at all feel a sense of guilt for building the machine that pulled the attention of so many talented young people into the abyss of the digital medium? ...and may I touch you?

  • Do you, or have you ever used Linux?

    If so what distro of Linux have you used?
  • Do you and Jobs ever talk?

    I know there have been some "issues" in the past where Jobs really screwed you over, but are there still some hard feelings?

    Also, do you regularly visit/post on Slashdot?

    **Also, as a side note I'd like to recommend that Slashdot not allow users to take their +1 bonus on these Q&A sessions, because it gives people an unfair advantage(I am going to voluntarily opt not to take mine)
  • by bhurt ( 1081 )
    I recall reading a "where is he now?" article on you a couple of years ago, which described a blue-sky project you were working on to seriously compress digital music- to the point where you could stores thousands of hours of music in a couple of gig of hard disk space. At the time I was skeptical (OK, I'm not always the most clued person on the planet), but every Anonymous Coward now knows about MP-3.

    What (if any) was your relation to the MP-3 standard and software? Do you have any general comments on MP-3?
  • I just got done reading about yet another technology company losing $300 million in 1999 but like the others, its stock price continues to rise. It seems that out of all the technology companies that are out there, only one or two are making money while all the rest are consistantly losing money, yet investor speculation continues to raise their stock higher and higher. Are technology companies really profitable or are we merely seeing a huge amount of credit developed in the early 90's finally being taken out, eventually to be exhausted?
  • Entirely possible, but not the same idea as it was when the Apple ][ came with the schematics; hardware has become much more complex.

    If you have one, look at the schematics for the Apple ][. Essentially every component on the board is an off-the-shelf part. Mind you I am NOT referring to the //e, //c or IIgs, because they have custom ICs (which essentially merged several chips into one). Today's desktop computers use even MORE complex ICs.

    Open up a PC. There are very few chips these days: the CPU, the PCI bridge, the "chipset" (read: 440FX or whatever glue chip the CPU connects to the rest of the board with) and the memory SIMMs. Of course you'll find SCSI/16550 UART/Sound/etc chips, but the basic idea is connecting the CPU to your expansion cards with some memory to throw around. These chips, while available off the shelf, are not easy for the hobby-enthusiast to put together on a breadboard and solder together. The Apple ][, on the other hand, was exactly this idea (save ROM code, naturally).

    I loved reading the schematics from the technical reference manual from my old Apple ][+. However, it's quite a different time and the detail given for JUST the Apple ][ probably couldn't even match the detail documenting just the PCI controller chip.

    Ahh, those were the days...


  • This may or may not be an answerable question, but...
    In 1977 my father and I got one of the orginal Apple II's which had the serial number 0243 ... would you have still been physically involved in the production of the machines at this point or were you out of the production line loop by then.. just thought it would be cool to know if you 'touched' it - it served us well for years (albeit with many many upgrades and add-ons!).
    Thank you for everything!
  • When you built the Apple I, and HP basically laughed in your face (idiots...), did you and Steve Jobs have any sort of doubt as to the feasibility of a Home Computer? You obviously pressed the issue anyway, and pushed it's success....But I'd imagine that there were mixed feelings when they told you they weren't interested. By that, I mean "Great, they don't care about the project!!", but at the same time, there was that "Why don't they care about the project?"

    HP obviously saw a different future. Was there ever a time you thought "This may not work..."

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

  • And to merge your two lives, what are your thoughts on the use of technology (especially computers) in primary education, particularly for teaching reading? (My wife (1st grade, Daly City) is working on her masters -- "The benefits of integrating educational technology into the reading curriculum for first and second grade." -- and some thoughts from you would be fantastic to quote in her final research paper.)

    What have been your experiences with educational technology with younger children? Have you found it to be beneficial? Why or why not?

  • In books I've read and movies I've watched, you are characterized as the most idealistic of Apple's founders. By this I mean that you were the most interested in the technical excellence of Apple products, and least interested in making a profit from the technology. If there is some truth to this, how do you feel about the commercialization of OpenSource software?

    I am particularly interested in your views on the composition of corporate leadership, if the executives had nothing to do with the original development of the software they are commercializing. Also, I would like to know how you feel about the tendency of the commercial OpenSource companies, like RedHat, to offer stock to key developers before an initial public offering.

    Thanks for everything you've done to contribute to the developement of the personal computer industry.


    Dave Aiello

  • Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but as i recall, doesn't Win95 preemptively multitask, as long as you're not using any Win3.1 apps?

    Yes, their preemptive multitasking code is non-reentrant, so it sucks, and there's no memory protection to speak of, but they did at least get past cooperative multitasking. I thought.

  • You call THAT memory protection?

    "Oh, this program screwed up. We're all going to crash now. Sorry."

    Try OS/2 if to you want memory protection. Then it's more like "This ill-behaved program tried to write to a memory space that doesn't belong to it, so i had to kill it. Sorry."

    Just go into debug in a dos window and enter "f 0:0 ffff 0" and hit enter. Yeah, all kinds of memory protection.

  • I always thought it was an interesting coincidence that you (?and Jobs) did some work for Atari before you started Apple, and that Atari was able to ship a personal computer shortly after the Apple ][, especially since the Apple and the Atari were fairly similar machines.

    I'm curious -- what sort of work did you do for Atari? (I've heard rumors that you designed the Breakout arcade game.) Did you pitch your computer to the management at Atari? If so, what was their reaction? Did they ever give you any legal hassles over including "Breakout" with the Apple?
  • ok. perhaps i was wrong about that. i'm sorry. i had been under the impression win95's multitasking was somewhat broken based on things i had heard. our school has NT, that's my main exposure to MS products, and i don't know that much about win95.

    however, in my [admittedly very limited] experience with win95, i have seen programs crash the computer. frequently. That should NOT be possible in an environment with protected memory; that is NOT what i call protected memory. if the memory is protected in some way, the protected memory is fairly broken and, even if much, much better than the mac os, not nearly good enough.

    i didn't mean to say that win9x had no protected memory/multitasking at _all_ (although that appears to be what i said), just that they have not yet gotten that protected memory fully working. either way it is totally irrelivant to my point, which is that apple _does_ care deeply about the technical problems at stake even though they have thus far failed to fix them. The win9x comment was just a little side-note i tossed in, and the point of _that_ wasn't even to trash 9x, i just wanted to point out the Apple would be shipping a consumer OS with the BSD kernel before MS ships something for nontechie consumers with the NT kernel.
  • What did you think of the announcements that Steve Jobs made this week?
    Has your opinion about Apple changed as a result of anything that Steve said on Wednesday?

    (note: As I write this question, it is monday evening, and I have no idea what will be announced, but no matter what it is, this question needs to be asked)
  • Recently, I've read several articles that fondly recall the days of mainframe programs, which tended to be less buggy and more open than programs of today. I recall from documentaries that Jobs had a strong disdain for mainframe programmers, viewing them as uptight and uncreative. Today, MacOS developers are hard at work retrofitting the existing (IMHO, feature-bloated) MacOS to BSD; an open, unsexy operating system built by mainframe programmers. How do you think Jobs' manager-as-cowboy style of software development management has affected the overall computer industry, if at all? And what are some ways that the current preference of glitz over substance in software can be changed? (Yes, this question is framed in a biased way -- that stems from my fond memories of the solid, flexible design of the ][.)
  • I can see it now: "No, Steve Wozniak doesn't know me. He told me so!"
  • Netscape isn't brining down the OS, the OS is brining itself down.

    Or, more likely the 3rd party video driver, wich needs to run outside of Protected memory in order to fuction brought your system down.

    what do you think a GPF is anyway?

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • don't let the idiots near the system, there far to stupid.

    God forbid they should ever have to learn anything

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • Chinese characters on a PC. (at least to my knowledge) In spite of this view, I still use a Mac as my primary computing device, with a Linux box running a close second.

    I havn't had to much trouble entering chinese characters into My PC, check out windowsUpdate if you have win98, and get the Global IME stuff.

    you just type the pin-yin into the keyboard (without the tone marks) and the characters show up on the screen. There are other methods to.

    You do need to know how to use a standard keybord, and pin-yin. Given the fact that English, and pin-yin are taught in all chinese schools now, I don't really think that's much of an issue.

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • Pin-yin Rominzation, the system used to write the chinese spoken language in roman characters is taught in Chinese schools, and has been for decades. Every one there with an education knows how to do it.

    English is also taught.

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • AX, BX, CX, DX, you forgot SP BP CS IP flags and probably more of the orgional 8086 arcitecture. that's nine.

    Over time, x86 has grown quite a bit, with floating point/mmx, SSE, 3dnow and a whole slew of other registers for other stuff (and don't forget that the 'X registers can be split into *h and *l).

    Still less then PPC, though. The main diffrence is in that on x86 the registers are exsplicetly named, and have diffrend spesific functions (like the acumulater(AX), the coutner(CX), the stack pointer(SP), the code Segment(CS), etc)whereas RISC systems have numbered registers that can be used for anything.

    But, this guy obviously didn't know what he's talking about at all

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • I don't like apple at all, but Jobs actualy knows what hes doing. He may have alienated a lot of the mac-arati, but then he is selling a lot more boxes, and the company is making a lot more money.

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • I don't think woz has had much of anything to do with the design of the Mac.

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    people all over the world have been calling woz a god, and he's probably started to belive it.

    and he would be right. Woz Is a god, and he can say whatever he damn-well pleases

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • I don't like apple at all, but Jobs actualy knows what hes doing. He may have alienated a lot of the mac-arati, but then he is selling a lot more boxes, and the company is making a lot more money...

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • All simiconductors function, and have always functioned at room temprature, what do you think is running the PC your using?

    and if your talking about superconductors, No one ever said that it was imposible, and I really doubt that someone with enough know-how to build a room-temprature one (witch I doubt has happend, btw) wouldn't know about its potential limitations

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • Kids shouldn't be using a calculator til high school, IMO. Use your head! That's what it's for!

    Yes, that's a great Idea, linear Algibra is just so much fun without a calculator, I mean, I know I love spending hours doing redundant calculations so I can graph an equasion by hand!

    Oh, I'm sorry, I guess you ment we should still be teaching kids worthless addition and subtraction untill there 15 so they get borred and sick of math. Yes! the same for everone!

    If you've missed my point, its that you are an idiot.

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • Is it possible to learn to design motherboards and such without having a degree in electrical engineering?

    Well, obviously you can learn anything without actualy getting a degree, but you can't build a motherboard without knowing a lot about EE. and you wouldn't be able to build a modern one with out several hundred thousand dolars worth of facilitys (I think)

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • you stated that Windows 9x was just a shell for MS-DOS, with absolutly no resoning. When I corrected you, you posted this:

    >And thank you for that one sentence post. That's what the "No Score +1 Bonus" radio >button is for.

    >The point here is that I fail to see how Windows9x is not merely a graphical shell for >DOS. Now, I don't have much of a conception of the way WIN.COM works, but I'm >curious. It seems that I can still prevent Windows from loading by setting BootGUI=1 in >my MSDOS.SYS file. Obviously, something does some pretty crazy stuff to make the >graphical part Windows. Isn't this just a shell? If not, what is your definition of a shell, >and how does it differ from WIN.COM (or whatever)? Forgive me for my lack of >knowledge on this subject; I'm merely curious.

    The reason you fail to see it, I'm assuming is beacuse you don't know how Operating systems work, what exactly they do, or even what they really are. Yes, you can stop windows from booting by holding the f8 key, or setting BootGUI to one. But you can also prevent it from starting by not turning on the computer. Does this make windows a graphical shell for the power button as well?

    If I wanted to, I could download and install VMare for windows NT and run Linux from there. Would that make Linux a UNIX shell for windows NT? no, it wouldn't.

    The reason is, an opperating system isn't defined by how it *starts* but by what it *does*. A shell is a simple program that exsposes the user to the operating system, in this way, is a shell for DOS, it lets you move files around and run programs, basicaly the only thing dos can do.

    For Unix and Linux you have things like bash, the bourn again shell, that exsposes the system's functionality to the user. This is what the defintion of a shell is, a program that alows the user to access the Operating System's functions.

    Windows9x is an operating system, when it loads the DOS underneth it dissapears. The reason DOS is still there is to provide compatibility for older games/apps that won't run in a windows DOS box (if they use there own protected memory modes or somthing, I think). dosn't do much of anything, actualy other then call a few other applications that actualy start windows. The main functionality of witch is in vmm32.vxd, I think.

    The main reason that windows is not a "Shell" is beacuse it can do things that DOS cannot. Windows has protected memory, TCP/IP, premtive multitasking and multithreading, and advanced graphics systems. DOS has none of these things.

    Windows uses it's own procedures to start applications, having nothing to do with DOS, even DOS apps are started by windows in there own little DOS 'boxes' emulations of entire DOS systems that they can play around in.

    Just beacuse DOS is there before windows Boots, does not make it a shell for DOS anymore then DOS is a shell for the ROM-BIOS.

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    Um, GPFs don't cause the entire system to go down, you're thinking of the MAC. What you've discribed for OS2 has been my experience with windows 98.

    Windows 95/98 does have memory protection, but it also has bugs.

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • by delmoi ( 26744 )
    well, we wouldn't be complaining today if they had actualy put that OS on there MACs. But they didn't, and so, we complain.

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • Thank you for that one sentace AC post.

    While you are free to think that, you will be wrong as long as you do.

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • And thta one crucial shift--preemptive multitasking/protected memory-- is something Microsoft hasn't managed to do yet.

    What the hell kind of crack are you smoking? What the hell do you think a GPF error (witch you mac-heads love to talk about) Is?

    General Protection Fault. Windows has had memory protection since at least 3.1 (what was that 1993?).

    Win 3.1 also had premtive multitasking of MS-DOS box apps, but this was pretty lame.

    Windows 95 has fully premtive multitasking, for all applications (and much better compatiblity for old DOS apps).

    You can say that these things are not true, but you would be wrong, and prove yourself to be completly ignorent of what Windows is.

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • Win3.1 and higher have memory protection. I don't know about earlyer versions, but I would assume that 3.0, and '386' or whatever did as well.

    Just what do you think a GPF is?

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • when you're using a computer, nowadays, you are probably going to be using more then one program.

    Would you like it if one of the programs you were using was able to crash the entire computer? Well, if you answered no, then you probably want to be running with Memory protection, since that's what it does. While Average Joe User probably dosn't really know what Memory Protection is, they probably dislike system crashes as much programers, I would think.

    Premtive Multitasking makes it imposible for one application to freez the computer.

    Memory protection and Multitasking arn't just toys for programers, they offer real improvements for users.

    Now, applications Can crash windows 9x, by calling buggy OS functions. But these are due to bugs, not design failure. Windows NT, witch is much less buggy then 9x (but I likes my backwards compatiblity with dos, thank you) Can stay up for months or even years under normal single user loads.

    I've used Macs at my highschool (graduated last year), and I can tell you from personal exsperance that I would have loved it if those things had protected memory.

    btw, sorry for all the spelling errors, I'm away from a spellchecker right now :(

    "Suble Mind control? why do html buttons say submit?",
  • open case, connect internal video cable to 19" monitor. look at Xwindows of pr0n

    Hey, Now there's a good argument.

    IMHO, as per

  • Apple has always seemed to position itself as the revolutionary or the innovator. But the design of Apple products seem to push a conformist mode of thinking: closed case and difficult customizability.

    How do you reconcile these two ideas? Do you think they need to be reconciled?

  • You've got to look at their target demographic. Should you be trusted to edit a modem script? I don't know personally, but I trust you are. And you can. I've opened scripts in BBEdit (the most elegant graphical text editor ever written), and no complaints from the OS. But if there were, you can just open the script in ResEdit, clear the System flag, and open it in anything. But why should you have to go through that?

    Because for every annoyance and workaround that you and I, the technical users, must go through to have full control over our systems, that's one less chance that the vast majority of Mac users (ordinary people) have to louse things up. windows will let you write all over any file, Unix will let you write all over any file (assuming you have permissions, of course), but at least in Unix, one assumes that you know what you're doing to have gotten that far. The MacOS impedes our tinkering, and forces us to workarounds, so that one less end-user has to reinstall the system. I think that's worth it: if a computer's not working for its target user, then its developers have missed the point.

  • My neighbor is a huge Apple fan. He has been with Apple for many years and still is very loyal to them. However, he said that he thinks someone else should take the helm instead of Jobs. He feels that he has done a great job of innovating and getting Apple back on its feet. However, he doesn't feel that Jobs is the best leader for the future. I have heard this from numerous people. Do you believe that Jobs should step down and let someone else take the helm? If so, who do you feel is the best choice for his replacement?
  • Windows - A 32bit batch for a 16 bit GUI running on an 8bit OS on a 4 bit processor made by a 2 bit company that can't stand 1 bit of competition.
  • Hello. I have a rather simple question. Do you believe that there is still room for two guys in a garage to revolutionize the world?
  • When's the last time you saw John Draper and how was he doing? Do you guys still stay in touch?


  • Hey Woz, I've always wanted to ask you, what's with all those Macs under your harth (as viewed from the WOZCam)??
  • The real problems start when you try to implement those features while staying backwards compatible with a legacy API.
    Microsoft did just fine. Win98 has all those "buzzwords", and it arguably provides more backwards compatibility than the MacOS. But it only comes in one color.
  • No questions here that haven't already been asked. I'm just another geek who cut his 6502 teeth on the commented dissassemblies you so thoughtfully had included with the original Apple ][ reference manuals.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. For including schematics, for the built-in disassembler, for CALL -151, for documenting it all, and for including it in the ROMs you got from the factory.

    And thank you for - 20 years later - the fact that I'm getting paid to do what I'd be doing anyways.

    Last year, I found an original Apple ][ motherboard at a surplus store, stripped of its TTL but still containing its masked PROMs. My project for this summer will mark the 20th anniversary of my "first experience" with an Apple computer. As you've no doubt already guessed, it involves a power supply, a TV set, this board, and a large antistatic foam pad full of spare TTL and RAM chips.

  • How do you feel about Apple's failure to keep up on technical issues (pre-emptive multi-tasking, etc) because of it's focus on interface issues (GUI, colored plastic boxes, etc)?
    I agree it isn't a troll, but that question makes a large unfounded assumption. It's not like Steve Jobs is in a meeting and gets told "ok, you can have a translucent blue case, or you can have a fully protected preemptive buzzword-compliant OS, pick one". The two issues have virtually nothing to do with each other. You might say that Apple should have taken the money spent on hardware design and put it into the OS, but as has been repeatedly shown flinging money at a software project is often counterproductive.
  • The high schools that I volunteer in seem to be replacing their Macs with 2nd hand PCs .... all with WinXX on them

    What can we in the linux community do to make Linux more accessible and available to kids in schools?

  • Steve,

    How much partying, boozing, and drugs did you do before that fateful crash? Do you have a message for today's insta-rich IPO CEOs about how their lifestyle is going to change, groupies, and the best way to keep it, as urban-folk say, real?

  • I believe that question is for the Woz to answer , thank you very much.


  • He answers these questions (including the one below this)on his web site.

    If I remember correctly: He tends to avoid talking about Steve Jobs as much as possible. They continue to be friends, and he was happy to see he was running Apple again. He does acknowledge that Steve can be an ass (well maybe not those words), and that he himself would do many things a bit diferent... but he also states that Steve is great at running a company, something he would never be able to (or want to) do.

    As far as his potrayel in the Pirates of Silicon Valley? The Woz was tinkled pink by his potrayel... he was amazed at some of the anecdotes they were able to dig up on him from the early days.

    Read some of the question and answers he provides on his website... they are extremely informative.
  • In the Apple II+ days (~1979), when I was in 5th grade, Apple donated 20-ish Apple II's to the elementary school in my small (Like many Slashdotter's, when I was a kid, I was extremely bored with the unchallenging, crappy cirruculum available at most public schools and was written off by administrators and teachers as 'lazy and unmotivated'. The Apple II+ changed my life... literally.


    I don't want to miss the opportunity to say Thank You for the Apple ][ either. My Apple ][+ without a doubt changed my life as well. Although I never had access to a decent computer at school until my senior year ('89), my parents bought an Apple ][+ in 1980.

    Despite poor grades and other problems at school, at home I quickly learned Applesoft BASIC and 6502 Assembly Language. My academic career was pretty much a failure, but what I was able to teach myself at home became a strong foundation for a real career with nearly endless possibilities.

    I can honestly say I learned more from my Apple ][, the incredibly detailed manuals that came with it, and many text files written by true hackers than I learned from all of my high school teachers put together.

    At school I felt constantly frustrated and was always accused of being lazy and not caring about my future. With my Apple I felt intelligent, empowered, and had almost unlimited energy. I hope you understand what a difference having this balance made in my life.

    ObQuestion: I've often wondered how hard it would be to write an educational game that would be fun--specifically a game that teaches object-oriented programming. Obviously it would have to be educational, fun, and interesting to a pretty wide range of ages. What other elements are important? What do you see as some of the not-so-obvious turn-offs that students face while learning? Where are other educational software packages lacking? Is anyone working on a project like this yet? Any other ideas?


    numb - former SysOp, Hard Rock Cafe ][ BBS/AE
  • You and Steve are obviously the biggest names that came out of the early Apple days, and for good reason.

    Still, with projects like the Apple, Apple ][ and the Mac, the team assembled is at least as important as the leaders pushing them forward.

    I work for a small software company founded by a former Apple exec, and we've got quite the atmosphere here, with loads of hard work and loads of just bizarro, freak-out time as well, and I'd imagine that the whole "Apple Gestalt" continues to drive a lot of innovation in the industry. Who else came out of those early days and continued to affect the industry?

    I guess what I'm asking you is, "As for the spiritual aspects of the company that birthed the Apples and Macintoshes, where do you see that spirit carrying on today, and who do you think the 'spiritual leaders' are?"
  • Woz, what was your final gameboy tetris high score. You bumped me off the Nintendo Power list with some pseudonym, so I'm just wondering what to aim for.
  • Woz actually has a digest of his responses to common questions related to the movie on his website -- unfortunately, it seems to be slashdotted.

    Wait a little bit, then visit [] for the answers -- I'm waiting, myself.


  • You left Apple when working for money was no longer an issue, founded your own new ventures, and became a philanthropist -- I immensely respect that on several levels.

    How do you feel about comparisons between you and Paul Allen, who did much the same thing?

    (BTW, Woz, you are the coolest guy in computing. JWZ, RMS, ESR, and Torvalds can't even hope to know and do as much as you have!)


  • Hi Woz, I know that you've done a great deal with teaching youngsters about technology. I volunteer teaching 3rd and 4th graders, and often wonder if I'm going about it the best way. What would you recommend is the best approach to teaching children how to use technology and retain that information?

    Many thanks

  • Given the technical acumen you have shown in the past (the funky graphics mode on the Apple ][ as the result of a gate saving design change, the mouse re-design to save silicon, etc) and your present place in life, will we see you re-invent yourself and return to doing great hardware? Or, is that part of your life, hacking great hardware for us consumers, over.

    Do you see Apple's abandonment of the PDA as a long term blunder, given the money to be made in developing and deploying embedded platforms?

    Do you see parallels in the Apple Red Book/Interger BASIC source/Schematics (how open Apple hardware once was) and the OpenSource Movement?

    As others are asking about GNU/Linux and if you have used about BSD?

    Any comments about BSD as a sourcecode base for Mac OS X?

  • BSD was programmed by mainframe programmers? Er, how do you figure? Unix development - in particular what went on at Berkeley - is probably the MOST anti-mainframe development which has gone on in the industry. Jobs' embracement of Unix is extremely compatible with his old anti-mainframe views. It was in fact Unix (along with the PC) that ended the dominance of the mainframe.
  • About a year ago, I was asked by a random person who my hero was. I had to think for a minute before responding "Woz". After seeing the confusion on the pollster's face, I had explain how Woz made his millions, left, and is now teaching Kindergarten (is he still?). Not out
    trying to make more millions, not trying to keep his name in lights, just out doing what he likes to do. I'd like to think I could do the same if I were in his situation, but I'm not sure.

    Anyway, on to my question:

    What got you interested in computers in the first place?
  • I realize that 80% of the slashdot questions have been asked at in one way or another. There are so many projects and technologies out there to get your fingers into.

    1) If you had the freetime what project/technology would you like to get involved with? And why?

    2) You're listed as a board member of EFF. Do you have any active involvement with them?
  • Woz, You've taken part in the revolution and now you're actively involved in educating young people to use technology. Do you think technology has improved our world? Does improved technology lead to an improvement in our world, or does it need something else added to it in order to it in order to be a good thing?

    I'll bet / with my Net / I can get / those things yet.
  • by JamesKPolk ( 13313 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:19AM (#1410814) Homepage
    Do you ever think that hardware companies will open up their board specs again, in the way you were free with the early Apple computers?

    Or, with the increasing silicon integration, is it more important for hardware manufacturers just to write open source drivers?
  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Monday January 03, 2000 @03:41PM (#1410815) Homepage
    very, very simple answer, and obvious to anyone who knows anything on the subject.

    apple's whole preemptive multitasking/protected memory/etc. issue, and the fact they are not there in OS 9, has nothing to do with a "focus on interface issues". It is because, quite simply, of compatibility. Apple has been working their asses off in the software department for YEARS to solve this problem.

    The problem stems from the fact that the mac os began as a single-program OS-- which, you may note, it's competitor (DOS) at the time was. The ability to run more than one program at once was retrofitted in later, through multifinder, switcher, System 6, etc. As a result, the methods of coopertaive multitasking, etc., were adopted.

    It turns out that it is extremely difficult to change these methods without breaking every program ever written.
    Remember the mac os's biggest problem: software support. isn't a lot of software support out there; apple has a lot of trouble attracting developers. totally destroying all existing software is osmething it's difficult for them to do. Microsoft can do that, since the developers need MS [and, thus, access to 90% of the market] and not the other way around.

    Ever heard of copland? Apple had a working next-gen (technically up there with the Unices) OS at about the time of the birth of BeOS and the time Mike Spindler (also known as the Source of All Evil in the Universe) was fired. apple got this OS to a usable point, and proceeded to spend at least a year working on making it compatible with the earlier Mac OSes. They failed miserably.

    In the meantime of this, apple released a number of things which, in a technical sense, were truly revoloutionary. Opendoc, cyberdog, Quickdraw 3D, Quickdraw GX. These things all failed miserably, and this is not because apple "failed to keep up on technical issues". They failed merely because of marketing problems, and apple's bad habit from the time of releasing software before it's ready, then hyping it a LOT, then getting everyone exposed to a non-working 1.0 version, then after everyone's soured to it and started totally ignoring it, THEN they release a working version. And once the working version comes along, apple marketing would simply ignore it, assuming people didn't care anymore. this is, btw, basically what killed the newton. If OpenDoc had succeeded, the world would be a very different place now.

    Eventually Apple scrapped Copland and started over with Rhapsody/Mac OS X. Apple has been working nonstop on this in the software department since Steve Jobs came. They have been doing almost nothing else; they have been performing miracles. What the result of this is is that in a couple of months, apple is going to release an OS with NO INTERFACE IMPROVEMENTS. (unless you count the fact it will be possible to add on a BSD command line interface and run the GNU tools..) The change from OS 9 to OS X will have _nothing_ to do with "interface issues". Technical issues are the ONLY point of this upgrade, and this is the upgrade apple has been working toward with all their resources for about four or five years now. Doesn't sound like they've more focused on "pretty boxes" to me.
    And as to compatibility, note that apple _gave up_. The reason that OS X will be compatible with pre-OS-X software is that apple has wound up writing a hardware abstraction layer type thing, more or less the same thing as WINE. ("emulator" is the wrong word)

    Note that in the meantime Apple has "technically" improved the Mac OS in every way possible without making that crucial shift into preemptive multitasking and protected memory. They've made the Finder (mac file manager) threaded; they've rewritten Appletalk to work as TCP/IP; and so on.

    And thta one crucial shift--preemptive multitasking/protected memory-- is something Microsoft hasn't managed to do yet. When OS X comes out, microsoft will have yet to have released a "modern" consumer OS. They will have windows 2000, yes, but last i heard it will not be targeted at consumers-- it will be targeted at everyone who was buying NT before. It will be targeted as a server, and for businesses, and for the kind of people who read Slashdot. Meanwhile the consumers will be fed "widnows millenium", or something. whatever it is it will still have teh 9x kernel.

    As for "pretty boxes"-- i assume you mean the imac-- note that pretty boxes are the only strategy apple's located that works. Apple has been producing technically superior hardware for years, and what was it that finally started selling this hardware? Certainly not the technical aspects of the hardware. The G3 is amazing for its time, but so was the 604e. No, the pretty boxes are what is making ALL of apple's money, not the highly advanced state of the inside of the case. That and advertising. It's like Prodigy; they release a very good, revoloutionary techno album, and nobody buys it; then Keith Flint gets a bad haircut and starts wearing eyeshadow for the second very good, revoloutionary techno album, and they get on MTV and sell a quadrillion records. If "pretty boxes" are the only things making apple money, you should be amazed they're paying attention to technical issues at all.

    I don't know where this viewpoint comes from that because apple pays attention to interface issues and strives to create a consistent, usable user interface, that means that they don't care about technical issues. Apple _does_ work on the technical underpinnings, and if the only thing you see is the GUI, well, that's because the GUI is all you're willing to look at.

  • by Haven ( 34895 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:16AM (#1410816) Homepage Journal

    Where do you think the future of computing is heading (ie. Thin clients run from ISP's over high speed internet connections, or the way it is heading now with bigger, faster, and more expensive computers)

  • by cowboy junkie ( 35926 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @08:23AM (#1410817) Homepage
    Having worked in education for years, I've seen one fourth grade classroom with a teacher into technology integrate it into the daily curriculum while across the hall, another teacher refuses to even turn on the machines in their room because they don't know (and don't *want* to know) how to use them.

    How can we address the wild variations in technology knowledge among K-12 teachers?
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @03:19PM (#1410818) Homepage
    I recall reading a biography written about you a while back; however, I don't recall what the title was, but it was published in the early to mid-80's. It may have been something like "The Making of Woz."

    Throughout the book, little bits and pieces of your personality were described. I found this incredibly entertaining, because your high school years sound very similar to what my high school life is like. (I'm a Senior this year.) Everything from your pranks to your apathy about unimportant things, to your zeal for geeky things is me. I was greatly encouraged by your early-life story. Question: Also in this book, I recall that it said you've always liked to have the hardware of a system exposed for viewing, somewhat similar to an art display. I recall that you were obstinate when Apple started putting cases on your computers. Are you still of this opinion, that hardware is better viewed for this reason? Do you think that your preferance may have somehow survived and made it's way into the design for the iMac?


  • by cshotton ( 46965 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @08:15AM (#1410819) Homepage
    You've been involved with computers in the class room and bringing computer-related technologies to schools long enough now to seem some of the first students you worked with graduate and go on to college and careers.

    How much of a difference do you think technology learning has made for these kids?

    What have *you* learned about teaching technology to kids as a result of fostering this process that hasn't yet clicked with mainstream educators?

    How do you see current schools and administrations bridging the technology gap between traditional (low tech) classes and curricula and where you'd like to see things?
  • by Brett Glass ( 98525 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @08:26PM (#1410820) Homepage

    I'll never forget my first encounter with the Apple ][ computer. In 1979, as a college sophomore working at a summer job for NASA, I adapted a $4,000 Apple ][ to control a Varian Auger spectrometer, creating the very first scanning Auger spectrometer. My idea of grafting an inexpensive personal computer into a $500,000 piece of equipment that took up half of a room was greeted with some trepidation by the scientists, but I convinced them that we could switch my interface off and return the equipment to normal if it didn't work. Fortunately, the contraption did work (though all of the software wasn't finished by the end of the summer), and we had a true technological advance which is still a useful analytical tool today.

    Anyway, in the course of my labors, I ran into a technical glitch and called Apple for help. Dan Kottke answered the phone, and I told him that I thought I'd found a bug in the ROM. (Note: The Apple ][, for those who never saw the manuals, came with complete, commented source code for the internal ROMs. The code wasn't free for anyone to use, and justifiably so; they were the product of a brilliant mind and who knows how many hours of work. However, the source made a great reference for me and many others.)

    "Yes, Woz was just talking about that," Dan replied.

    "What was?" I asked innocently.

    "Woz was," said Dan.

    "Oh," I replied. (After mentally trying several different parsings of this last statement I finally realized that "Woz" must be someone's name.... The modest Mr. Wozniak had only put his name in a few places in the assembly language code, so I didn't spot it there until later.)

    We went on to discuss how to work around the bug. I was very impressed by this.... Today, the notion of being able to get someone who's technically knowledgeable about a product -- especially at the assembly language level -- on the phone is almost unbelievable.

    But those were the days of what I consider to be "true hacking" -- sweating for hours to implement one's ideas in the smallest possible number of logic gates or opcodes. I was very impressed by the small number of gates in the disk drive's group encoder and the subtle software that made it work.

    Which brings me to my question. Nowadays, few people -- even those who call themselves "hackers" -- are capable of hacking on that level. "Hello world" programs take up hundreds of thousands of bytes... and if a project requires analog circuit design -- as a blue box did -- forget it!

    Do you think there's still a place in the world for the old school hacker who can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear? For the assembly language programmer who can do in 100 bytes what others do in 100,000? Or are those days of true craftsmanship gone forever?

    --Brett Glass

  • by webj ( 132668 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @08:21AM (#1410821)

    Two questions for you (I've been dying to ask these for a while.)

    First, in the Newsweek article "How we Failed at Apple" you said the following:

    "The company's strategy was. Apple saw itself as a hardware company; in order to protect our hardware profits, we didn't license our operating system. We had the most beautiful operating system, but to get it you had to buy our hardware at twice the price."

    Apple still today holds very very tight restrictions third party producers yet is succeeding - partially because prices for Apple systems is now much cheaper relative to market cost. In general though Apple as a company still behaves much the same as it did in 1984. Do you believe Apples continued restrictions on third party use of MacOS will spell trouble long term for Apple?

    Secondly, when Microsoft was declared a monopoly a few months ago you had a posting to your website that included an analogy between car companies and Monopoly power. If I remember correctly the analogy basically came down to the idea of car companies owning the gasoline companies and requiring drivers to buy gas from only them - hence they could set the price on the gas.

    This however is also a perfect analogy for how Apple behaves with respect to their hardware and software. If Apple had succeeded, today we would be in a world where we would have absolutly no choices in reguards to what hardware we purchaced (much like now we have little choice as to what operating system software is bundeled with our hardware.) If/when Apple becomes a very dominate player in the computer industry, how would you justify Apples continued control on hardware before the DOJ?


  • by Surazal ( 729 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:13AM (#1410822) Homepage Journal

    There's a lot of polarity in technology today. One can almost summarize this as Mac's Ease of Use vs. Linux's Ability to Harness the Power of Technology in its (nearly) Pure Form. Where do you see this polarization heading. Can the two ever be wedded together (i.e. can Linux ever be made user-friendly enough for the masses or the can the Mac overcome its legacy architecture and step ahead of the pack technologically?)

    In your experience, has this polarity always existed or is it a more recent phenomenon? As one of the founders of what was to become the premier company specializing in one end of this extreme, I'd like to hear your thought on this. Also, can this polarity ultimately help innovation or hurt it?

  • Woz -

    I remember seeing you talk at the Colorado School of Mines back in the old Apple II+ days. I was about 10 years old then and I had you autograph my Apple II+ lid. I still have it and I don't plan on selling it any time soon.

    I consider you one of the most honorable and innovative people in the computer industry. Your whole philosophy made a huge impression on me since I could type. You're not after the allmighty dollar like Jobs and Gates - you're out there for the fun of it and that's what really counts to me.

    Q: I can think of only a handful of people who are unsung heros like you (the original xerox parc engineers being one example) - you know, the people who did all of the really *GOOD* work and are not millionaires and go rather unsung in the computer industry. Who do you respect in this way? Are there other people out there that deserve recognition that aren't getting it?

    NOTE: All I can say is "Thanks" for all you've contributed to the computer industry. The first Apple-related memories that I have are figuring out how to do shape tables in Apple Basic. 8)
    Steven Webb
    System Administrator II - Juneau and TECOM projects
    NCAR - Research Applications Program
  • by richmond by-the-pool ( 31917 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @09:51AM (#1410824)
    You've dedicated the recent years of your life to education, and I'd like to hear (a lot) from you about the appropriate use of technology in education. Specifically, pioneering schools (including my sons') are requiring the use of laptop computers; in our case, starting in seventh grade, all students are required to carry a laptop all the time. I'm not convinced that laptops even belong in a classroom, much less in the hands of a seventh graders, and would like your take on these points:

    1) Student maturity - at what point are students mature enough to carry a computer around without wasting endless hours on desktop frills, games, and chat? Seventh grade seems too early to me.

    2) Faculty training - excellent schools have excellent teachers with many years of teaching experience; most of them don't have a clue about computers. How do we retain and retrain our great teachers while introducing technology into our students' academic lives?

    3) What is an appropriate level of computer science to introduce into junior high? high school? What languages have been successful in this age group? I've had great experiences building website with fifth and sixth graders through the Thinkquest Junior organization. What other activities are age appropriate?

    Best wishes and many thanks for all your contributions,

    Rich Ackerman

  • by kaphka ( 50736 ) <> on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:30PM (#1410825)
    I'd say it even more strongly than that: Win95 does preemptively multitask, and it absolutely does have protected memory. The only caveat is that 16 bit apps (which are awfully rare these days) run in a single memory/process space.

    You can complain all you want about the implementation, but from a design standpoint, Win32 pretty much has all those features that Apple has failed to deliver in the MacOS for years now. And it does it with a much greater degree of backward compatibility than the MacOS provides. (As a matter of fact, most of Win95's problems stem from way, way too much backward compatibility.)

    I don't mean to turn this into a MacOS vs. Windows flame war... I'm just pointing to Windows as an example of an OS that has managed to include the features of a modern OS without breaking backwards compatibility. Apple could have done the same with MacOS, but they didn't, and it would be interesting to hear why.
  • by imac.usr ( 58845 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:18AM (#1410826) Homepage
    Apple is responsible for two of the biggest products in computer lore, the Apple II and the Macintosh. Do you think Apple can change computing in such a dramatic way again, and what do you envision such a product to be?

  • by Kesh ( 65890 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:52AM (#1410827)
    First of all, thank you for your part in creating one of the best computer companies on the planet. Now, on to the question:

    Taking a look at things right now, it seems there hasn't been a major change in the way computer operating systems work in over 30 years. Every major operating system to be released this year is, directly or in concept, based on Unix. And while Unix is a great system, it's still incredibly old when you consider that computers only a year old are considered 'slow' by some, and machines 5 years old typically can't run current edition OSes. Other than the invention/adoption of the GUI, no radical changes have occured in the basic OS.

    So, my question is, what do you consider the biggest obstacle in designing the next Big Thing in operating systems? Why are 30 year old ideas just now being accepted in the mainstream, and why haven't other concepts taken root during that time? Or is this as good as it gets with the current computing mindset?
  • by pvthudson ( 100866 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:09AM (#1410828) Homepage
    I don't know about you but, that seems a little creepy.
    How do you feel about Steve Jobs running Apple again (interim or not), and do you agree with the direction he is taking with the company?

  • by pvthudson ( 100866 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:23AM (#1410829) Homepage
    Did you like the portrayal of you and Jobs in the movie, especially how Joey Slotnick did of you?

  • by g-loaf ( 113058 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @08:26AM (#1410830)
    Hey Steve! I did my first programming in second grade with Logo on the classic Apple II. It was pure joy and I consider it a good day now if I feel as satisfied after a day of programming. What do you think is a good language or computing environment to get kids interested in programming today? Are people still using Logo to introduce kids to programming? Do you think it is more or less important in the world today to introduce kids not just to computers but to programming? Thanks and keep up the good work! Alex
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:24AM (#1410831)
    Is the US public (primary) education system as screwed-up as some people say? Worse than it used to be? If so, what is to be done?
  • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:34AM (#1410832) Homepage

    What advice can you give the new innovators? As someone who would like to start a company, I can't help but notice that most truly innovative companies tend to boom then bust, either fading slowly into obscurity or being assimilated by some larger company.

    Do you have any ideas for avoiding this fate? Is the only alternative to make some money and become a predatory company yourself? Or, alternatively, is this the eventual unavoidable fate of all idea-driven companies (Netscape, SGI, Apple, etc)?

    Or, to sum up the question: Can an Apple ever defeat a Microsoft?


  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:44AM (#1410833) Homepage Journal
    Once upon a time, garage developers were considered the mainstay of the computer industry. Later, either you or S. Jobs said that the days of garage developers was over, forever. Later still, the Open Source model rewoke the Garage Developer philosophy with a jolt. (Or a Mountain Dew, depending on taste.)

    Today, do you feel that garage development still has a place in Computing? And, if so, would it be in software, hardware or both?

  • by moonboy ( 2512 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @08:46AM (#1410834) Homepage
    From what I've read, you are very involved with children and their education and technology seems to play a major role in the basis of that education. Personally, I think that next to being loved adaquately, education is the most important factor in a developing child's life. In America we seem to take education for granted and are very far behind other countries in regard to the quality of the education that our children receive. Technology in general and more specifically, computers and the Internet, are fantastic tools with a great potential for drastically improving education.

    My question: How do you see education making better use of technology and technology making education better?


    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
  • by substrate ( 2628 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:25AM (#1410835)

    If you could be freed from any management influences and had the desire to design a new machine, what would the features be? I'm not interested in processor speeds or scads of memory and whatnot, but more in what innovations you'd like to see.
  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:14AM (#1410836) Journal
    In the days of the Apple ][, did you believe the average American household needed a personal computer? I remember being told that computers could balance your checkbook, keep your schedule and store your recipes and wondering if that was a cost-effective solution for people, or just an expensive, if fascinating toy. It's my impression that it's only now with consumer Internet access that a home computer provides value for most people.

    What do you think?
  • by Nagash ( 6945 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:28AM (#1410837) Homepage
    My name is Geoff Wozniak. I am a computer science student and general all-round electronics tinkerer (a rookie, really). I have been in a record production program as well and my nickname is indeed "Woz". No matter where I go (including the record program, 'cause we used Macs), people seem to think that we are directly related in some way. I admire all that you have done, but could you please go on record as saying we are not related and that I do not know you personally? Just want something to cite when I get asked again. Thanks!

    Geoff Wozniak
  • by Croaker ( 10633 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:22AM (#1410838)
    Hi Steve,

    The Apple II was the original "geek dream machine." I mean, the Apple ][+ we got back in 1982 or so came with schematics! Talk about an open system!

    Pretend that Apple (or some other company) came to you and asked you to design a PC that would "fill the shoes" of the Apple II line. What do you think you'd put in it?

    From reading your website, I know you're pretty pro-Macintosh... is that the ultimate in what you'd want to see in a personal computer, or would you do some things differently? Where, do you think, that current PC's (not meaning just WinTel machines) reflect the philosophy of the Apple II, and what do you think they have missed?
  • by FPhlyer ( 14433 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @08:51AM (#1410839) Homepage
    I have always been facinated by the history of the early personal computer, especially during the period in which you developed the Apple I (The Homebrew Computer Club days.)

    As someone from the generation in which computers have always been available on the mass market, I would love to build my own, simple, homebrew computer as a hobbie. Do you have any suggestions on how I might get started on such a project?
  • by tdsanchez ( 15549 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:47AM (#1410840) Homepage
    First off, whether or not my question [] makes it to Steve, I want to -PERSONALLY- thank him since this is the closest shot I'll EVER get.

    In the Apple II+ days (~1979), when I was in 5th grade, Apple donated 20-ish Apple II's to the elementary school in my small (Like many Slashdotter's, when I was a kid, I was extremely bored with the unchallenging, crappy cirruculum available at most public schools and was written off by administrators and teachers as 'lazy and unmotivated'. The Apple II+ changed my life... literally.

    I started programming all those years ago in Logo and Basic on the II+, and spent many an hour after school as the lone kid on the computer, so much so, that I was allowed to be the last person in the school building and trusted to make sure the door was locked, sometimes going home as late as 8 or 9 PM after a full day of school.

    By 8th grade, I was a teachers aide for the several computer classes, by high school, a general consultant for the school system there, etc. etc. etc. Since college, I've worked for Intel, HP and currently work developing CAD software for a small CPU design center in Austin, TX.

    Anyway, I've gotten to work on projects and with technology (Pentium, Pentium III, iA64, other x86 CPU's, Mac consulting, etc) that I could've never dreamed of as a wee kid busting keys on the Apple II+ 20 years ago. All I can say, Steve, is thank you for your -true- innovation to the world of computing, and thank you for your early influence at Apple for supporting education. The difference you have made in my life is greater than I think either of us could imagine.

    Now, for my question: While Apple's MacOS is (generally) recognized as the model of 'ease of use', most GUI based/interfaced OS's are still WAY too complex for the masses, not only in configuration complexity, but also in the fact that they are generally American/European-ly ethnocentric. For example, no ones come up with a really good way to input/output Chinese characters on a PC. (at least to my knowledge) In spite of this view, I still use a Mac as my primary computing device, with a Linux box running a close second.

    My question to you is: What technology do you see breaking genral computing open to the masses in terms of humanistic ease of use and cutting down the barrier of Roman alphanumeric and English language centricity?

    Bonus Question: What is your preferred development language? (I know you -still- code!)
    Much Respect,

    Toby Sanchez

  • by UM_Maverick ( 16890 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:05AM (#1410841) Homepage
    What's your take on the use of LinuxPPC vs. the MacOS? Many people say that Mac hardware is (and always has been) better than x86, but it's been held back by the OS. Do you think that LinuxPPC can change that?
  • by tweek ( 18111 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:24AM (#1410842) Homepage Journal
    I remember seeing at one point that you run a day camp or what not to help children get accustomed to using computers and what not. (I can't find any references to that at this point).

    My question is this:
    Do you feel that operating systems such as Linux/*BSD are a viable option for teaching those children who have no previous experience with a computer? Certainly the cost factor would be a great motivation for choosing these over other operating systems. It seems to me that it is more difficult to train those who are set in one GUI than those who have no previous experience whatsoever. I really have an intrest in this kind of community service and felt that someone like you with experience (and albeit alot more money ;>) could provide some insight and advice.

  • by FascDot Killed My Pr ( 24021 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:13AM (#1410843)
    You are a technical person (to some, THE technical person). You helped start a revolution by putting computing power into the hands of many.

    How do you feel about Apple's failure to keep up on technical issues (pre-emptive multi-tasking, etc) because of it's focus on interface issues (GUI, colored plastic boxes, etc)?


  • Apple has long been noted for having the most (or among the most) user friendly stuff around. What do you think of the trade off between ease of use and level of control? Is there a trade off?

  • by timothy ( 36799 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @08:08AM (#1410845) Journal
    First: Thanks, Mr. Wozniac, for Apples of various generations. Probably many of the readers of this forum have happy memories of Oregon Trail and Logo thanks to the Apple 2, and I remember my first look at the Mac, right when it came out ... boy! Though I've jumped to Linux on IBM-compatible PCs now except for one decrepit Duo 230, I've gone through many Macs to get there.

    Now, my questions:

    1) How would you like to have seen the issues of cloning Mac hardware handled? It seemed like a great idea to anyone who bought a Power Computing MacOS computer, and a good way to put the Mac OS into what were in many cases specialized workstations for video, audio or other uses. But then Apple pulled the plug. Is this forever?

    2) The other side of that coin: How would you like to have seen non-Apple-hardware OS issues handled? It seemed like MacOS on Intel was about to rock the world ... then it died for it. Is *this* forever as well? Once OS X is out, and based on BSD, will the Mac OS again perhaps be portable in the future to Intel-type machines?

    3) In the old Apple is a Hardware Company vs. Apple is a Software Company debate, where do you think the truth lies? To put the question differently, if in a crazy universe, the company had to give up one of these lines, which would make sense and why?

    Thanks for reading, have a good day!


  • Do you think open-source and free software is really a revolution or only a hype? How do you think things will become in the software industry in the future with open-source variable inserted in their middle? And do you think this model could lead to a more competitive and less monopolistic market?
  • by RavinDave ( 58826 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:41AM (#1410847)
    Hey, Woz ...

    Have you ever had a chance to play around with the Be operating system? Since its developers were part of the Apple culture, I thought I might find a blurb or two on your page. What sort of advice would you offer Gassee? Is the proprietary aspect an albatross (should they opensource the OS and concentrate on apps)? Are they trying to get into the game too late?

    (Just for the record, I have it on a spare partition and like it very much; I'm rooting for its success, but I'm dubious of its future).

    Also ... while we're on the subject, what you think of Jean-Louis in general? Most everything I've read on the Apple saga keeps him squarely in the background.

    NOTE TO SLASHDOT POWERS-THAT-BE: How's 'bout a Gassee interview, eh?

  • by Ledge Kindred ( 82988 ) on Monday January 03, 2000 @07:50AM (#1410848)
    You seem to be one of the most "purely" idealistic people in this industry. (i.e. RMS is idealistic in the sense he wants to push GNU, you are idealistic in that you just want to help kids get a leg up and generally be An All-Around Good Guy.)

    Do you ever look at the industry and get depressed over what's it's become with companies with virtually no product and running deep in the red but who have "e-" or "dot-com" in their names pulling off ridiculously huge IPOs, companies patenting obviously unpatentable concepts and ideas apparently for the express purpose of suing the pants off of competitors instead of competing with the quality of their products, companies like Microsoft going beyond the boundaries of the law and way, way beyond the boundaries of ethical behaviour to get a step up on the competition, the industry lobbying government to pass laws that would create an entirely unregulated industry, including things like legislation that would legally disavow software companies of any responsibility for creating shoddy products that don't even do what the box says they will do, employees floating with a company just long enough to vest and then bailing out without a backwards glance so they can go to The Next Big IPO, etc, etc, etc.

    What do you look at in this industry to remind yourself that computers and the computer industry can actually help make the world a better place?


The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford