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Ask Steve Wozniak Anything 612

He co-founded Apple Computer, he's a programmer and engineer who invented the Apple I and Apple II computers, he's one of our most influential readers, he is known simply as Woz. To kick-off our 15th anniversary month, Woz has agreed to take some time to answer a few of your questions; as with other Slashdot interviews, you're invited to ask as many questions as you'd like, but please ask them in separate posts. We'll be running a number of other special interviews this month, so keep your eyes open.
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Ask Steve Wozniak Anything

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:25PM (#41514367) Journal
    In your mind, where is the heart of today's computer hobbyists. I read Make magazine, I own an Arduino, some Raspberry Pis, a couple XBees, etc. I'm probably too young to remember the glory days of machines you could actually open and tinker with so could you tell me today where I can find the closest thing to that? Or at least where you go to satiate your inner tinkerer?
    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:29PM (#41515405) Homepage

      Back in the days when we bought parts and built our own devices there was great variation. Not many in a single school had that 'build' life. And most of it was constructing kits according to instruction, not creating new things yourself. So if you built your own things from nothing but a goal, you were unusual when young. The same thing is the case today, with the Make crowd, formal and informal. It may not be reduced. It's just that the simplicity of the early days is gone so to us who have lived through it, things are not similar and available to all.

      Humans all have similar brains, and the inner tinkerer refers to a slice of our brains. On the average, I believe that it's fairly constant, this slice. If there is less room to build something impressive enough to motivate you, then the creativity looks for other outlets, like outstanding Facebook pages, blogs, YouTube videos, etc.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:26PM (#41514385) Journal
    I've played a bit of Tetris in my day and was reared on Gameboy Tetris, Tetris 2 on the SNES and Tetris Worlds for the Nintendo 64. I've since played a few other versions and remembered you being an avid submitter to Nintendo Power. So, Evets Kainzow, what's your opinion on the current state of Tetris (if you still play). Have you enjoyed the permutations on tetromino scoring and function in some of the later titles or do you see them as a tainted form of a pure game?
  • New stuff? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 19061969 ( 939279 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:26PM (#41514393)
    What new stuff excites you most now?
    • Re:New stuff? (Score:5, Informative)

      by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:43PM (#41515575) Homepage

      Same as always my whole life. It's the fun 'toy' aspect of technology. I would take my kids to carnivals and spend $40 throwing darts or $40 tossing ping pong balls. Now we just download an app at home or on the sidewalk and it's free or nearly free and benefits our lives and leads us to love our technology, so the toys we adults have are very inexpensive!

  • by HerculesMO ( 693085 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:28PM (#41514415)

    With iOS6 and it's very evolutionary nature, and with Google's Android and MS's Windows Phone as competitors, plus the fact IDC and Gartner both put iOS as becoming less relevant with time... what does your gut tell you about the landscape? And what do you think about the competitors to iOS? I would say "iPhone", but my interest is more in the software than the hardware.

    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:38PM (#41516311) Homepage

      It's wrong to look back. It's not scientific and testable. But I saw for the last few years one small screen in the midst of a lot of large screen and felt myself, as countless others must have, that the larger screens had more value. Blame me for taking the leeway to suggest that this was the one door Apple left wide open. iPhones are not inferior to other smartphones, and the cost is similar. iOS 6 is not inferior to Android. We could all get by with either of them. I never said this sort of thing about Windows. So there has to be some reason that Apple lost so many sales to other products. It may not be screen size as much as the number of players and products in the market. But are we saying the rest of the world has better marketing than Apple?

      As an Apple shareholder, what matters is not sales or market share. It's profitability. Apple seems to stand alone in profit market-share. So the course they are taking is a good one. It's hard to guess whether profits would be greater or lesser under hypothetical scenarios.

      The app store has changed our lives. We depend on Apple leadership. Most of the software I feel is in apps. You speak of iOS becoming less relevant as though other platforms are as good but I think of it more in terms of the fact that for all major platforms, there are more than enough apps and they are generally the same quality on each platform.

      It's better to think constructively about what can be done with our mobile platforms to improve our lives more, rather than trying to throw darts and insults.

  • Why Freemason? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:28PM (#41514425) Journal
    Your wikipedia page says you're a member of the Freemasons. As an open source fanatic, freemasonry has always rubbed me a little the wrong way. It's fine that people want to have a club and do their own thing in private but what bothers me is that they might be more likely to do business with other Freemasons and that they have these requirements to be a Freemason like belief in a Supreme being. It also bothers me that it's so pervasive. I understand enjoying the comradery and brotherhood of it (I'm an Eagle Scout myself) but what purpose does being a Freemason serve in your life and what do you enjoy most about it? If you're purely doing it to spend time with your wife, does any aspect of it bother you?
    • by juanfgs ( 922455 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:31PM (#41514455)

      As an open source fanatic, freemasonry has always rubbed me a little the wrong way

      Would you like him better if he was an OpenMason?

    • Re:Why Freemason? (Score:5, Informative)

      by willda ( 1369247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:52PM (#41514839)

      I understand enjoying the comradery and brotherhood of it (I'm an Eagle Scout myself) but what purpose does being a Freemason serve in your life and what do you enjoy most about it?

      I am an Eagle Scout as well and a 30 yr Freemason (Past and current Master). Our main objective is not as you said to be more likely to do business with other Freemasons (though that does occur...don't you prefer to do business with people that you know as opposed to strangers?). Our objective is to help make good men even better. I am sure there are probably many men in your community that are masons that you might talk to for better information. We are an organization with secrets, not a secret organization. Dan

    • Re:Why Freemason? (Score:5, Informative)

      by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:47PM (#41515627) Homepage

      A lot of things about me don't get filtered. My wife at the time, in early Apple days, was in Eastern Star. If I became a Freemason I could go to more events with her. I did become a Freemason and know what it's about but it doesn't really fit my tech/geek personality. Still, I can be polite to others from other walks of life. After our divorce was filed I never attended again but I did contribute enough for a lifetime membership. There is nothing wrong with the Freemasons. It's like any group or religion or cult with various rituals. They may make no sense to many but they are fun for those who participate. There's no real political or institutional standing that can impress values on others, but I couldn't say that Freemasonry has explicit values beyond what any member perceives.

  • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:28PM (#41514427) Homepage Journal
    What is your favorite joke?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dkleinsc ( 563838 )

      Well, according to actual scientific research in the UK, this was the world's funniest joke:

      Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.

      He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"

    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:54PM (#41515745) Homepage

      Too many jokes to have a favorite. Your quote reminds me of a Blue Collar comedy response to the answer "make lemonade." Ron White said he wanted to find the person whose life gave them vodka."

      I had favorite jokes in the days before PC but they were mostly Polish jokes. The Polish American Congress, inc. threatened me with lawsuits for defaming Polish people. I asked if it was ok to tell them as Italian jokes instead and they said, "fine."

      I told a joke at the Engineering graduation at U. Colorado, Boulder once to point out how people don't think logically. Q: What do you call four Mexicans in Quicksand? A: Quatro cinco (sinko). It doesn't stereotype or demean Mexicans. It's a funny use of words. But I got told that I had offended 400 people.

      When I took foreign languages I tried to get to the point where I could make a joke all in that language. Japanese words were so different than ours that I thought I'd never be able to construct a joke that any American would get. Then we learned that the word for umbrella was kasa. The next class day I was walking to class with my son and it started sprinkling. I pulled out my umbrella and said "mi casa su casa." (kasa).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:29PM (#41514437)

    How do you feel about the way Apple condcuts themselves today? They're the most powerful company ever now and yes they make a pretty good phone they're pretty evil too! Suing competition claiming they can't compete yet they have a huge selection of market share and dedicated user base and Apple has claimed this for decades of lawsuits and it hasn't stopped them from innovating :) Not to mention the incredibly overpriced products and support/repair!

    In your opinion, are you happy with the way your baby has matured?

    • by MattW ( 97290 )

      Apple is definitely not the most powerful company ever. Not disagreeing that some of their tactics (legal, technological, and ecosystem-lockin) are "evil", but their enormous size and profit is currently coming from enormous margins on incredibly popular consumer goods.

      Profits != Power, per se. Exxon-Mobile, for example, is deeply involved in government policy, and they (and other oil companies) have enormous sway on environmental policy, military and foreign policy, and incredibly sway in many nations wher

    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:23PM (#41516111) Homepage

      I always think first and foremost as a technology consumer and lover. Like all of us who appreciate the quality of Apple products, I have mixed feelings. I grew up with core values of openness and sharing of technology. When I ran dial-a-joke it was illegal to own, use or purchase your own telephone or answering machine. You couldn't connect anything to the phone jack except that which you leased from AT&T. You had little choice and there was no room for outside innovators. We techies all said this was a bad thing. You probably see the parallel.

      Let's look at Apple. Apple's real rise from the small market-share Macintosh company to the iProducts of today began with iTunes and the iPod. This turned out to be a 2nd huge business which roughly doubled Apple's 'size'. If you remember, we ported iTunes to Windows. We now addressed 100% of the world's market with this integrated system (iPod/iTunes) and it began the era of Apple that we are now in. So why don't we port iTunes to Android? Did something get closed up? I love Apple products and iTunes and wish it were on my Android products too.

      I don't have time to get into this far because I'm in the middle of 5 conference calls today and have a ton of engineering submissions to judge for an award and some iPhones to exchange so I'm sorry if things are going slowly here on Slashdot.

    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:30PM (#41516195) Homepage

      Most powerful? Or most valuable? And in adjusted dollars, IBM was triple the size. Remember that IBM sold 30,000 1401's at the equivalent of $25M of today's dollars. Do the math.

      The concept is that power and wealth often lead to corruption. Business ethics are not the same as personal ethics. But that is not your main question.

      I wish that instead of all these lawsuits Apple was sitting down and cross-licensing with the other players. They have come up some very good features without complicating the UI. Things like a palm swipe to take a screen snapshot. I would like my iPhone to be the best it could, even if someone else did some of the things first. And Apple could license iTunes perhaps, or help the other platforms develop it. The market shares would probably remain the same but we consumers would all win.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:30PM (#41514441)

    And living hand-to-mouth with little or no savings, what kinds of work do you think you'd be doing?

  • by Lucas123 ( 935744 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:33PM (#41514481) Homepage
    The last time Apple lost Jobs, its vision and profitability went down the drain. What's different now?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They have 100 billionish dollars in the bank.
    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:45PM (#41516401) Homepage

      Who knows? Back then we knew how to make good new versions of our computers to satisfy the needs of our Macintosh market. But we didn't do radically different things until the iMac. We should keep a watch for Apple returning to just milking its existing markets and not astounding us with new categories of products, or totally astounding ones. There is always a danger. And my personal opinion is that if it goes sour, it might have gone sour with Jobs there so conclusions should not be drawn. That is not constructive for Apple.

      Apple was a one product company back then. Now we are very diversified and strong. If one product suffers we can recover based on the income and profits from our other sectors. We have computers, laptops, iTunes, iPods, retail stores, online Apple Store, iPhones, iPads [and Apple TV?]. We also have a strong culture of innovation that is well understood, not only by those in control but by our customers, who set a lot of our direction in terms of their expectations.

      We did go through a period of introducing a lot of key younger talent when Steve Jobs returned. One suggestion is that we look at doing that again.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by stetho70 ( 2743865 )
        The first time Steve Jobs left Apple I was an Apple employee. The change in the company was almost immediate and felt everywhere but this wasn't because of Jobs going, it was because of what was left. I've also had the privilege of being a Research In Motion employee and watching them do exactly the same thing Apple did - releasing hundreds of products to match their competitors instead of being different to the competitors. Woz is right (as always) about Apple being a one product company back then but at t
  • My Question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:34PM (#41514493)

    Do you think that apple nowadays is more focus on patents than innovation and users ?? And whats your opinion about patents & innovation ?

    Carlos B

    • Do you think that apple nowadays is more focus on patents than innovation and users ?? And whats your opinion about patents & innovation ?

      Carlos B

      This sounds to me like arguably a false dichotomy. At least until you clarify the question.

  • Thank You (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:34PM (#41514501)

    Steve, I just want to say THANK YOU.

    All of your effort and time have created a lot very productive and exciting products. I dare to think that life would be less exciting without your effort.

    • Re:Thank You (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:46PM (#41516425) Homepage

      So many say it and I feel that logically it's incorrect to thank me. Like in early Apple days I could not understand why anyone would ask an engineer for an autograph. I made it a point to remain an engineer rather than run a company. But your thank you's mean that you are happy with what technology has brought to your life. In that regard I have to thank myself too, ha ha.

  • by ruir ( 2709173 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:35PM (#41514515)
    I have been in this industry for long, but not as long as Mr. Wozniak. I get my teeth cut in the Spectrum ZX 48, and frankly nowadays just to do a simple program the task, tools and amount of literature to digest in daunting.... never mind about understanding the hardware and specially the OS, not much more than a big black box. My questions is what Mr. Wozniaks thinks about programming or tinkering with current computers nowadays?
  • Questionsl for Woz (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:37PM (#41514553)

    - Are personal computer glory days over?

  • by thrill12 ( 711899 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:37PM (#41514559) Journal
    ...the short end of the stick where Apple is concerned - why so or why not ?
    In other words: who is the genius ?
    • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

      The short answer is that they both were (I assume you're referring to Woz vs Jobs). Neither had all of the pieces necessary to succeed alone. Woz needed a ruthless, driven businessman with an eye for the next big thing, Jobs needed a technical wizard who could do things that no one else was even thinking about.

    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:51PM (#41516485) Homepage

      Our union was very lucky. I think it was luckier for Jobs since I had strong internal philosophies that didn't connect my happiness with business success or money or power. I built projects for myself and the Apple ][ was the 6th of those that Jobs saw (when he got into town) and said we could sell them. We always split the money evenly as far as I knew but money is not my thing in life. My best days were in the lab building things for myself. But I'm so nice that I give almost all my time now to young people and fans that I can help. I love my life the way it is and told that to Jobs in one of our last phone calls before his death.

  • 3D printers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by medcalf ( 68293 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:37PM (#41514561) Homepage
    Do you think 3D printers can rejuvenate the electronics hobbyist market, or that the increasing sophistication and miniaturization of electronics makes that a forlorn goal?
    • Re:3D printers (Score:5, Informative)

      by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:54PM (#41516505) Homepage

      I think 3D printers may be a big factor in the future hobby market. But sometimes such products have application outside of the hobby market, applications which you can't pin down at first. The Apple ][ could do a lot of things but the unseen killer app Visicalc really changed things. Maybe for 3D printers it's low cost and high resolution that will lead to something we can't imagine now. When we started Apple we didn't imagine enough memory to hold a song.

  • by concealment ( 2447304 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:37PM (#41514567) Homepage Journal

    Computers are fast, reliable and use UNIX-like operating systems or near analogues. Not only that, but this technology is now getting embedded in every gadget we own.

    What is the next frontier? Will it be technological, social, or legal? Or will it be tangential technological issues like interface design, interoperability, or privacy, that aren't necessarily new technologies so much as new configurations of existing technology?

    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:57PM (#41516555) Homepage

      I am a technologist and don't like being a sociologist or politician. Words can be abused in those field but our code works or it doesn't work.

      At first it seemed that our digital life would make us freer to be masters at getting what we needed solved, due to costs per application. But it led to digital codes which blocked our ability to copy things. The deep value is that you can record any TV show you watch but when they block the digital copying, you have to point a video camera at your TV screen. Of course these digital restrictions are much deeper than that but it seems that the companies and powerful win and the consumers lose in this game of civil rights. I worry that it will get worse, not better, over time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:37PM (#41514573)

    In a similar vein to HerculesMO, how do you feel about Apple's transitions to closing their platforms, starting with the iOS products, and most recently, the Mountain Lion restriction on application downloads (which, to be fair, can be disabled). Do you feel differently about this for handhelds/tablets/phones versus more traditional computers? What about Apple's opposition to "jail-breaking" iPods and iPhones? Is that a legitimate concern, or should Apple back off?

    capcha: penguin
    Is /. telling me to switch to Linux? Because my Linux box is downstairs, and I'm lazy.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:48PM (#41514767) Journal

      Is /. telling me to switch to Linux? Because my Linux box is downstairs, and I'm lazy.

      Stairs are no match for SSH.

    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:03PM (#41516641) Homepage

      There is no one right opinion. I'm for more openness. I believe that you can create the best most innovative products even when they are open. But I could be wrong. Open products tend to seem more complex. I suggest that maybe 80% of us or more are technophobes and scared to admit how little we know. I'm thinking of our moms and dads a lot in this thought. Apple is the safest haven for them not to get confused.

      So much of me lies in the Linux and open source thinking. It's where I'd be if I were young and finding my technology way. Some say that Apple iPhones are closed but there is a different view. They are closed as to methods of sale and delivery. You can create any app you want to and have the ability to on your own on the iPhone. You just can't distribute it to huge numbers of people outside the app store of Apple. So young developers are not hindered totally. Yeah, on Android you can do anything for fun and announce it to the whole world and that's very motivating. So keep it up. I have always given my support to the jailbreak community because they remind me of myself when I met Steve Jobs and how we were, then and for the years leading to Apple.

  • Space Race (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ashenkase ( 2008188 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:37PM (#41514575)
    Asteroid Mining, Moon Colony or Mars Colony, which do you see as our next best foray into the solar system.
  • I think Apple commercials range from slightly pompous to extremely annoying. From the 'iPad 2 is magic' and now the 'my thumb can reach the entire screen' and 'the headphones fit in my ear holes'. Apple has a history of solid advertising, but the TV commercials of late have been bad. What do you think of Apple's advertising campaign?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:39PM (#41514617)

    I'm really curious to know, in what ways do computers today conform to your vision or expectations of computers from the days of the Apple I and II?

    I mean, at that time, what did you envision the future of computing to be and in what ways are you surprised or not surprised?

    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:08PM (#41516715) Homepage

      My visions of the computer were in terms of what it would do for users. We have taken great strides in the directions I hoped for but many things I never imagined or thought about came to be. Most of what is precious to us today I never imagined. The amount of computer in our phones. But then again, I didn't envision cell phones. Or the full blown internet with broadband.

      The steps we have taken have been ones that made the computer more and more a part of ourselves, like a 'friend'. This human quality I expect to get better over time. I do envision conscious computers but I think we'll stumble onto the formula (circuit of a brain) by accident, the way we came upon Google replacing smart people for answers, but not by trying to create a brain.

  • Education (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Killer Instinct ( 851436 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:42PM (#41514655) Journal
    What changes would you recommend to fix the K-12 education system in the u.s. ?
    • Re:Education (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:18PM (#41516849) Homepage

      The sort of recommendations you hear are often about teaching procedures and outstanding teachers and alternate education approaches. But these recommendations have been the same for hundreds of years so they won't achieve the real change.

      Computers offered a real change in the tools of the classroom, but they don't seem to have changed much. The learning is the same, only done via computers, for the most part. I had hoped for more.

      I do want to feel a part of the big improvement someday, so I hope that there is some further step with computers. That would be when a computer becomes conscious and caring and becomes the best friend that each student wants to be with. It will look at their faces and speak the way that particular student likes and be a good friend more than a teacher.

      One thing that has not changed over time in education is that we all, in a class, get the same material presentation together. The same pages as everyone else on Monday, the same pages on Tuesday, etc. Individuals as we are, we have different lapses along the way. A teacher could back up and explain something to fill in a gap, but each of the 30 students has different 'gaps'. The solution will be the equivalent of one teacher per student.

      This opens the door to a student choosing to get only straight A's, and only studying subjects they want to. And there will be more room to teach thinking and creativity and not all the same answer, which is not even their own answer, but out of a book. It's a brave step, but right.

      I learned the capital cities of all 50 states. How could anyone in life ever need to know such a worthless thing. The only worth is to show you can memorize it. But today it gets turned into a grade and a determination of what intelligence is. We have to break from that paradigm but can't with today's 30-student classes. Or should I say "day care?"

      Schools are short of money because students don't get a vote and votes turn into money. It's a bad consequence of finding education to be a right and that means it has to be supplied by government. Government money follows votes. A family of 5 gets no more votes than a family of 2. Which wants the better school? But the votes by families of 2 are against more money for schools.

  • by kbahey ( 102895 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:42PM (#41514657) Homepage

    Why have you taken steps to immigrate to Australia, rather than Canada?

  • by tg123 ( 1409503 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:42PM (#41514659)
    Steve just wanting to know the story with Steve jobs baby "The Mac" in 80's and what were your thoughts on its development?
  • Segways (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Hi Woz!
    I was the manager of Segway of Long Beach and led you on the huge group Segway tour of Long Beach a few years back during the national Segway convention that we hosted. As an early adopter of new technologies and a supporter of products such as Segway, how do you feel regarding perceived (social/financial) failure of such technologies? Do you think America will be ready to accept radical new modes and concepts of transportation, such as the Segway, after self-driving cars beco

  • All the world knows who Steve Jobs was. But very few of the gazillions who use Apple gadgets know who you are. Does that bother you?

  • by fgrieu ( 596228 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:46PM (#41514733)

    My favorite is the Apple ][ disk controller, most notably the read synchronization and decoding achieving 5, then ultimately 6 useful data bits per raw 8 bits, using little discrete logic and a small (P)ROM.

    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:25PM (#41516943) Homepage

      Mine too. I had never worked with any disk drive of any type nor any operating system. A chance popped up that if I had a working floppy disk in 2 weeks I could go to the city of Las Vegas. Having no idea how they worked I put my head together and thought out a simple scheme with some clever parts (state machine) and it truly was a miracle. Today I have no idea how you create things in such a way. They couldn't have motivated me with money or stock, but getting to Las Vegas was worth it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Simple question: Would you ever consider Open Sourcing the original Apple II? The hardware and software (ROMS).

    Modern computers offer a lot of features. But for folks studying or learning, a simpler machine lacking virtual memory and all the modern complexity, a machine where students can really understand everything that is going on right down into the CPU, well it seems like it could be educationally useful.

    What do you think?

  • A simple questin (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:48PM (#41514763)

    What makes you happy?

    • Re:A simple questin (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:27PM (#41516993) Homepage

      My greatest happiness is in my feelings about all people of this planet. I'm not part of any religion but life is very happy and the greatest experience of life (word play intended). But the worth of my life, especially conflicts and resolution, would not be possible without every single person who plays a role in this game of life. I walk through airports and look at everyone there, smiling, knowing that their existence somehow is part of the greatest thing to me. Even if someone came up and robbed me or killed me, I know that I'd consider that part of this great game of existence.

      But this game would be nothing without a lot of jokes!

  • by Antipater ( 2053064 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:48PM (#41514771)

    ...if ever, that you punched someone in the face? Was it a bar fight? High school bully? Someone hitting on your girl?

    I know I'm supposed to be asking techie stuff, but I just like the idea of Woz flipping out and decking someone.

    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:32PM (#41517049) Homepage

      I am so much a pacifist.

      But once when I was very young, and I don't remember it directly, there was a bully and he chased me off or hit me. My mom said to fight my own battles. I misunderstood and came up and punched him. I did wind up with a black eye. I did not learn any important life lesson.

      I believe in using brain to influence people, not braun.

      Since my youth, I can't even remember having animosity toward any person. If we disagree, that's all. I can think my own way but never have to convince others. Dave Mason sang "there ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy, there's only you and me, and we just disagree." That means a lot to me. A lot of my personality and values comes from songs. Dylan sang "you were right from your side, I was right from mine, we're both just one too many mornings, and a thousand miles behind."

  • Cloud computing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Arumator ( 2742973 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:49PM (#41514791)
    What is your feeling about cloud computing and the way it is being hailed as the future of the IT industry?
  • by doctechniqal ( 516085 ) * on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:50PM (#41514817)

    Woz, you no doubt get asked countless questions, by countless numbers of people, some of which you have been asked and have answered multiple times to the point where you're sick of continually having to answer them (or don't even bother). Conversely, I imagine there's something you'd love to talk about if only someone would ask you about it, but no one has. What I want to know is: what question has no one ever asked you, a question that you wish someone would finally get around to asking you and that you would love to respond to, and what is the answer you would give to that question?

  • Woz, what was the worst decision you've made in your life?
  • by AdamnSelene ( 2183372 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:54PM (#41514867)
    Steve: What was the best practical joke you ever played and how much tech know how was involved?
    • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:36PM (#41515493) Homepage

      If I recall correctly, one of Woz's favorites involved placing fake brochures at a trade show to convince Jobs that there was another company with some fantastic tech gadgetry that could blow Apple out of the water. Jobs took the bait, including holding strategy sessions to figure out what Apple needed to do to defend itself against the competitor. He only figured it out several years later when Woz gave him the original as a birthday present.

    • by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:38PM (#41517119) Homepage

      There are too many answers to this. I have put a lot of time and energy and money into practical jokes. Different people would enjoy some more than others. I had some great ones with Jobs too. But I'll go back to one that I hadn't thought about for 45 years that came to me recently. As electronics club president in high school I would submit notices for the daily announcements, read at the start of each school day. I submitted a phony one, sure it would be caught, but it got through. Something like a meeting at 3:00 PM in room B25 - Stanford's head janitor will speak on higher custodial education. The students would laugh and the teachers would tell them it was serious.

  • Your influence (Score:4, Interesting)

    by U8MyData ( 1281010 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:56PM (#41514897)
    Mr Woz, Can you characterize your current and perhaps even future influence with Apple? Like many here, we are curious where Apple will go from here now that Mr. Jobs has passed. He was the persona of the Apple brand and without something or someone providing that edge I fear difficult times ahead. I don't need to remind anyone about the recent Maps issues. Where might you fit in to that realm? After all, you are the other half (Ying? or Yang?) of the apple legacy.
    • Re:Your influence (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SteveWoz ( 152247 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @03:40PM (#41517151) Homepage

      Apple is very complex. I like personal simplicity. I like to do what I'm good at, which is enjoying technology. I don't honestly feel I could do better than anyone reading this at a role in Apple. Jobs had the drive to run things and influence things. If there was something for sure where I'd be a great help to Apple, I'd be there in an instant, as Apple is #1 in my heart.

  • by willoughby ( 1367773 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:59PM (#41514951)

    Although I'd love to meet you, shake your hand and thank you for your contributions to computing history, it's never going to happen. So, what would you prefer I do locally in order to express my gratitude? Contribute to a charity, community service, something else...?

  • Would you like to come to our block party? Every year on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Crawfish and BBQ, between Houston and Galveston.
  • Do you still have an active Pilot's license? Myself I've never gone beyond my SEL private license and gave up flying after my daughters were born (due the the cost of insurance). Did you give up after the accident with the Beechcraft (those Bonanza's were sometimes nicknamed "twin tailed Doctor killers") or did you continue flying? Do you still follow what's going on in aviation? If so what do you think of Rutan's Spaceship One?

  • Where do you see Apple, Microsoft and Linux in 5 years? By that I mean questions like:

    Will Apple's lack of innovation and patent trolling keep them where they are?
    Will Windows 8/Metro catch on and significantly get Microsoft into the tablet/handheld space?
    Will Linux still be the niche OS is has been up until now.
  • by sohmc ( 595388 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:13PM (#41515147) Journal

    Regardless of how one feels about the iPhone, it did revolutionize the mobile phone industry in one BIG way: took manufacturing power AWAY from the phone companies. And while phone companies are still doing this to Android phones, Apple has remained relatively unscathed.

    I believe the only hurdle left for the iPhone is to make it a completely data-only phone, relying on SIP [wikipedia.org] instead of traditional phone numbers. I realize that this would be a HUGE negative for phone companies, who profit handsomely from unused minutes and struggle to profit from data hogs like iPhones.

    Where do you see the iPhone going next? Are there any more new big advances similar to when the iPhone first debuted?

  • by abrotman ( 323016 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:13PM (#41515151)

    Are you disappointed in the direct Apple has taken over the last few years with a closed ecosystem, mild lock-in, and suing competitors? Can you comment on what you might have done differently if you had been the CEO? Where do you see Apple focusing in the future?

    If you could tell 1984 Woz something, what would it be?

  • by LetterRip ( 30937 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @01:32PM (#41515447)

    My question is - do you believe that Mr. Jobs is rightfully praised as an inventive genius?

    In the popular press, Steve Jobs is often praised as one of history's greatest inventors and as an inventive genius, and I feel it does a disservice to true inventive geniuses (such as Tesla) to praise talented businessmen with modest or little inventing talents as great inventors.

    From my reading of the history of Apple and specific Apple product lines - his talents are primarily with business and marketing - with providing little in the way of invention or technical skill.

    He of course has his names on numerous Apple patents - but this seems more as a hedge against having patents invalidated by not listing all who 'contributed' to an invention due to the risk of any feedback or comment being viewed as a contribution to the invention however minimal.

    Mr. Jobs did have some true inventions to his credit - for instance using plastic cases for the Apple I, insisting on good quality bitmap fonts for the Macintosh.

    Most of the inventions that the public attributes to him are primarily based on the inventive and technical talents of others (Ie the Apple line, Macintosh line, iPod, iPhone), were almost all completely developed with almost no significant invention on the behalf of Mr. Jobs (sometimes as with the case of the iPod, the products were concieved of and invented and developed almost completely outside of Apple) .

    He certainly contributed by providing good user feedback (ie reducing the delay time for loading and switching for the iPod OS), but such feedback aren't inventive in nature.

  • by sizzzzlerz ( 714878 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:05PM (#41515893)

    Given the state of today's technology, what has been the biggest surprise to you. Something that, 30 years ago, at the dawn of the personal computer, you would have never envisioned as being possible?

  • by sosume ( 680416 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @02:13PM (#41515993) Journal

    Are you still tinkering with hardware for fun? As in buy an Arduino, Raspberri Pi or Roomba and start soldering and writing code? And if not, what replaced this hobby for you? (and additional, which do you enjoy more by the way, coding software or soldering hardware? )

  • by Cal Paterson ( 881180 ) * on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:06PM (#41517509)
    Do you think that geek culture is different today than it was in the past? How have things changed?
  • by mdpbom ( 2743113 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:22PM (#41517709)
    Your favorite IHOP and my nearest (Stevens Creek/Cupertino) is closing, have you send your complaint to the Cupertino council? Where can I go next for my pancakes? We need pancakes!
  • by martin1b ( 2743117 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:36PM (#41517857)
    Do you still actively program or build new hardware? If so, what are some projects you've recently worked on? Can you tell us some details about it? What hardware or software and or programming language did you use? Also, do you feel the increasing complexity of technology slows innovation or accelerates it? -Bill
  • Raspberry Pi (Score:4, Interesting)

    by psergiu ( 67614 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:39PM (#41517901)

    What's your opinion on Raspberry Pi (the $25 computer) ?

  • by rbanffy ( 584143 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:40PM (#41517911) Homepage Journal

    What would an Apple II look like if it were built today?

    • by rbanffy ( 584143 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:51PM (#41518035) Homepage Journal

      Or, better, if Apple convinced you to design the Apple IV as an intellectual successor to the Apple II, completely ignoring Mac and iOS ecosystems (and the Apple III, which we all understand as not being your fault) and building it for hardware and software hackers, without losing the kitchen-table-friendliness of the II, what would it look like? Would it be a self-contained box with internal slots? Would it be beige?

  • by blogan ( 84463 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @04:52PM (#41518055)

    I would've though you'd have a much lower UID.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Monday October 01, 2012 @05:52PM (#41518713) Homepage

    You are the quintessential example of how one person in their garage can create a technology revolution. Do you think that is still possible today? Is there someone out there, tinkering around with their (autonomous quadrocoptor | arduino | 3D printer) who is going to change the world? On one hand, it seems like their is huge opportunity today because so much technology is available and in people's hands. On the other hand, I fear that the weight of patents, DRM, corporate interests, and government are crushing the ability for people to make radical change.

    If it is possible, what technologies do you think it will involve? And will you lend me a few million to try out some crazy business ideas? :-)

Disraeli was pretty close: actually, there are Lies, Damn lies, Statistics, Benchmarks, and Delivery dates.