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Woz Still Misses Homebrew Computer Club and Apple

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the enjoy-a-good-thing-while-you-have-it dept.

Programming 274

UtahSaint writes "The Electronic Design site has nabbed a short interview with the Woz, where he waxes poetically about his time growing up as an Engineer and founding Apple. Even to this day, he says, he still misses the Homebrew Computer Club and his days running around Apple leading the technical teams. 'I miss the technical camaraderie ... The whole feeling of being on a revolution, on the edge. I miss the intuitive philosophies.'"

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first (0, Redundant)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050479)

woz rocks. I miss the old "proprietary architecture and homebrew" days too.\ even though I wasn't alive then.

Text without forced ad delay (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21050747)

And I miss the days when you could go directly to a webpage. Full text, AC so no whoring:

[Technology Report]
Wizard Of Woz Keeps Casting His Spells

What would you do after founding a technology giant? Steve wozniak Uses those resources to keep innovating and following his creative impulses.

John Arkontaky | ED Online ID #17186 | October 19, 2007

Article Rating: Not Rated

For many, "Vice President in charge of R&D" sounds like a good job - reputable, good pay, and maybe even exciting. But tack the words "at Apple Inc." to the end of that title, and you have, well, a whole different barrel of apples.

Steve Wozniak didn't earn this job with a good resume. He forged it, inventing the first single-circuit motherboard with embedded ROM in 1975. He and Steve Jobs had to sell their most valuable possessions to assemble a product line of Apple Is. Some people can't put a price on fame and fortune, but they can. About $1300 and a few IOUs later, they kinda made their money back.

Follow the Silicon Road

Wozniak didn't want to become an entrepreneur or take the world by storm. He was content with his job at Hewlett-Packard and even more content as a hobbyist. Wozniak worked at a bench from 1973 to 1976, optimizing designs for calculators other EEs developed.

"I wanted to be an engineer in a lab," says Wozniak. "The spirit of engineers was most important. I loved the engineers, loved the project, loved the company!" He spent his days at the plant and his nights batting around design ideas and inventions with the Homebrew Computer Club. "I'd be off in 'computer design world' and Steve [Jobs] would ask where it could go," he says.

This dynamic led to the sale of a wood-cased CPU comprising roughly 30 chips for $500 (then $666.66 after a markup) and the beginning of a revolution. "After Apple I, every computer used a keyboard," Wozniak says. "Before, they used geeky switches. It was a trading transition in history." The Apple I was a quantum leap in the available technology. Before Wozniak threw his hat into the ring, the Altair 8800 was the closest thing to a personal computer.

"You could turn it into a computer, but it was basically an Intel processor," Wozniak says. "A computer to me has to have the ability to program. Altair couldn't. You had to buy extra cards. I was well past that point. Sure, it used ones and zeros, but I wanted a real computer my whole life. I would've sold my house for a computer, but it had to run a program."

He created a motherboard and compatible components, but the product was more for a hobbyist or engineer than a consumer because users would have to add input sources, a keyboard, casing, and a display themselves. He wanted to bring it all together so anybody and everybody could operate an Apple right out of the box.

Playing Games

Born in 1950, he didn't have much technology available to him as a child, but he would stumble onto information about technology here and there. Picking up little scraps wherever he could, these bits of info would be like "little secrets" to him and his young mind - information he would keep that other people would flat-out ignore.

When he was 10, a book about a ham radio operator inspired him to not only earn a ham radio license, but build a transmitter and receiver by hand as well. He also conjured a game where he would experiment with adding and subtracting transistors to his gadgets. "It helped me very much. You sit down, think, plan, and make sure what you build is efficient. It's good practice for what engineering involves," he says.

Wozniak left HP in 1976 and formed Apple Computer with Jobs, asking himself how he could put these things in his head into the smallest number of chips. As a result, he would write his own Basic, even though he never programmed in Basic in his life. But that wasn't the only thing he would have to do on the fly. "Everything was created from scratch," he says. "Everything I did had to be made up for the first time."

Wozniak abandoned the wooden frame for plastic, added dynamic memory, had tape interfaces, and added color graphics and sound. "The Apple II connected everything. [It] was a 'Woz' from the ground up," Wozniak says. Users could also plug in cards to add floppy-disk or printer functions - or as Wozniak calls it, a true "plug-and-play" device.

Seeking Alternative Routes

Because of Wozniak's work with Apple, he had to bury other projects. You would think such a computing mind wouldn't drift toward other desires, but an urge to impart knowledge hibernated in his mind. After he left Apple in 1985, he formed his own company, CL-9 (Cloud 9). But after two years, he moved on from that to other endeavors, including teaching kindergarten.

"I wanted to be a teacher my whole life," he says. "Secretly, I wished it. I can't tell you how much fun it was when they learned something." Though he doesn't believe it would work for other people, discovering how much you can smile over how much you can frown is a lifestyle. "I was just doing what was fun for me," Wozniak says. "I would be doing this at home if there was no money."

He misses his time with the Homebrew Computer Club and Apple, though today you can find him playing polo on a Segway, working at Jazz Semiconductor, or off promoting his autobiography. "I miss the technical camaraderie," Wozniak says. "The whole feeling of being on a revolution, on the edge. I miss the intuitive philosophies."

Re:first (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21050881)

Wonder if he has ever considered recreating it? Something akin to a modern Menlo Park, but with Woz at its head instead of a tyrant like Edison. A place where meetings actually bring results. A place where you can acquire new knowledge and skills while helping others learn as well. Search out and bring together freethinkers and solid engineers. This could be taken lots of directions and many of them at once. He has the money and sounds like he has the desire, plus he has the reputation to acquire more funding. Such a place could help move his interests in space along too. Even if he didn't want the day to day active management, he could assign that to others while keeping himself in overriding control while moving about and being active in discussions. Of course that still might change the feel for him if people looked at him as the boss and not just one of the creative engineers.

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (4, Insightful)

syrinje (781614) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050487)

Not unusual for most people to remember with inordinate fondness the times past that they have lived through. I doubt that WOz would be waxing poetic if he remembered the jockeying and bickering and the easing out of the scene that happened when Jobs effectively obliterated him from the pantheon. Jobs was arguably better suited to "lead" Apple beyond it's enbryonic days - but still.....

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (5, Interesting)

Paul_Hindt (1129979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050611)

No matter what Apple appears to be on the surface, they are a much different company than they were back then. They do still have a lot of creativity in their designs, but they have slowly turned into a personal electronics company, no matter how much they say that the Mac is still their number one priority. I'm not sure how much of an impact Woz could make at Apple these days. Apple has the hardware up to snuff now, but I would argue that they could do a lot more fine-tuning on their operating system. Some of the design choices they are making with OSX seem kind of odd to me.

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (1, Interesting)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050887)

I like Apples hardware but the artificial restrictions on how you have to work in OS X still keep me away from it, part of that is being comfortable with windows all the way back to 3.1 (if comfortable is the right word...), and part of it has to do with Apple making choices for the entire user base regardless of what people ask for, in the past it has gone so far that Apple has tried to prevent people from even making changes at all in certain areas.

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (1, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050991)

So what stops you for buying a Mac, installing Windows or Linux and making those changes that Apple prevents you from doing in OSX?

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051099)

Why pay a premium price for Apple if you don't even intend to use OS X, and if you intend to use Windows you are going to pay separately for Windows and that's more than different OEMs would charge you for having Windows pre-installed.

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21051625)

What premium are you paying when their workstation is better spec'd and lower priced than Dells?

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (3, Funny)

2ms (232331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051707)

The idea that Apple hardware is more expensive than PC hardware is quite outdated, to be frank. Price a few out versus Dell et al. You'll see. I just did a few months ago. Now I own my first Mac ever. This is the first computer I have ever owned that I basically love every single thing about. And that's leaving out the fact that Apple hardware generally comes with damn near all the software people regularly buy separately. Oh and then there's the lightyears better customer service and reliability ratings (see Consumer Reports -- there's no comparison).

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (2, Insightful)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051847)

All I know is that I can buy a $300 machine, I don't care if it doesn't have all the features a Mac has, which BTW I might not need, and install Linux on it and have all I need -- the cheapest Mac I can find comes with double the price. How can you convince me that a Mac is not more expensive? It's like you'd try to convince me that a Mercedes is not more expensive than a Ford... heck, I can afford only a Ford and I don't need all the Mercedes features -- or not for that price, so... again how a Mercedes is not more expensive that Ford?! You can claim that is better, but you can't show that is not more expensive.

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052215)

All I know is that I can buy a $300 machine, I don't care if it doesn't have all the features a Mac has, which BTW I might not need, and install Linux on it and have all I need -- the cheapest Mac I can find comes with double the price.

There are companies out there that will sell a $100 'embedded PC' with an x86 400MHz cpu, vga output, ps2/usb ports, 10/100 networking, and even 2.1 sound. It will even run linux just fine; you can surf the web, do email.

So apparently your "$300 PC" is some sort of overpriced premium unit that only a sucker would buy? With its 2GHz celeron and 5.1 sound, and premium intel "extreme" graphics chip. Slow down big spender!

A few minutes ago you implied it was good value, but I all I know is that its 3x the price. I don't care if it doesn't have all the features yours does, which BTW I might not need. I install linux on it and I have all I need. How can you convince me that a $300 Dell isn't some sort of premium expensive product?

The point is the Mac, when compared to an EQUIVALENT PC is not really more expensive. If you are going to insist on comparing the Mac to a PC that can't do half the stuff sure, its 'more expensive' but that doesn't make Mac's more expensive than PCs.

By that logic, $300PCs are over priced because I can buy an embedded unit for $100 that does everything I need. And someone out there, will say THAT's over priced because all they "need" is to do multiplacation and it turns out a notepad and a calculator does everything they need for a fraction of the price.

So are dell $300 PCs overpriced premium deluxe units because some twit decided to compare it to a pocket calculator?

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052353)

I intended to write the same reply, but saw yours, and you said it better than I would have.

Your missing the point . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21052391)

With Linux, ANY HARDWARE will do.
I can run the latest Compiz thingamajigs with Gutsy on my top of the line desktop or Puppy on my 10 year old laptop.
There is no equivalent on the Mac to this.
And while fanbois like to remind us that they have at least 2 choices in video cards and such, it is a lock-in with limited hardware which makes the Mac what it is.
If Apples had to deal with all the legacy Microsoft carries and the myriads of hardware that Linux supports, it would be a whole different story.

Mac 'hardware' is no different (thank god we dont have to listen anymore about the blathering how the PowerPc was exceptional) than any other hardware except for the finishing touch. But Mac hardware is only a drop in the bucket of what is out there.

And get into the freaking 21 century and stop calling it a PC.
Its the same hardware whether you run mac, linux or windows. The same machines.

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (1)

TeacherOfHeroes (892498) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052515)

I don't know about you, but I still wind up with a good sized price difference. This is in Canada, so YMMV, but a Vostro 200 with the hardware set to match the bottom-end iMac is $840, while the iMac itself is $1299. Actually, the dell was slightly better. The RAM was in 2x512MiB sticks instead of 1x1GiB stick, and it came with Works '08 on it. I've periodically spec'd out others, comparing them to dell and what I could build myself, and the canadian apple store has never even gotten close to the competition. I can understand buying it as a luxury item, but don't try and say (in canada) that it doesn't cost any more.

Wrong. (5, Insightful)

jay-be-em (664602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052545)

Ha. Modded funny, I love it. Here it goes anyway:

I was hoping this was true the last time I needed to buy a new laptop.

I compared top of the line offerings from Apple and IBM/Lenovo. Note that I'm not comparing Apples to cheap ass PCs, that would be all too easy. Thinkpads are the gold standard for x86 laptops.

Here's what I got:
Thinkpad T61
15.4" LCD, 1680x1050
2.2gHz Intel Core 2 Duo
2 gigs of ram
100gb 7200rpm drive
dvd recorder
integrated wireless and bluetooth

That comes to.... $1458.

(Seriously, check it out on lenovo.com)

Now let's go to Apple. Surely this machine is at the level of the MacBook Pro. MBPro STARTS at 2 grand, same processor/ram, though 20GB extra hard drive (at a blazing 5400rpm). And I'm stuck at 1440x900 on the screen, not to mention stuck with a crappy ass keyboard that can't hold a candle to the venerated thinkpad keyboard.

Now, it's true that I could add a 20" LCD with a lightning fast 16ms response time for.. SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS?! What the.. I just picked up this Samsung 20 incher, 2ms response, for under two hundred.

The dream that Macs can be price comparable to PCs will probably never come true.

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (1)

ForumTroll (900233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051851)

I'm in the market for a new laptop right now. While the MacBooks I've looked at seem reasonably nice, I wouldn't end up using OS X so there's no compelling reason to buy a Mac. For about the price of a MacBook, I can get a Thinkpad with better specs. The Thinkpad also has a much better keyboard, a 14.1" screen with a higher resolution, and is known to work well with OpenBSD.

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051089)

Not unusual for most people to remember with inordinate fondness the times past that they have lived through.

Is this a sly comment about the 10th /. anniversary coverage?

Re:Nostalgia isn't what it used to be... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21052111)

history is still flexable i see. they stole the chips to make the first computers from their employers, but somehow this is never mentioned. the steves should still be serving time not millionaires...

I wonder if he waxes poetic about Steve Jobs (4, Informative)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050493)

Considering that Stave Jobs ripped him off in 1975 when he got the Woz to help him optimize Breakout at Atari, and then paid him 7% of what he made, instead of the 50% they had agreed on.

Re:I wonder if he waxes poetic about Steve Jobs (1)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051583)

Why was this marked "Troll"? It's a well known piece of history, despite what some Jobs-lovers might want to forget.

Re:I wonder if he waxes poetic about Steve Jobs (5, Interesting)

bazald (886779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051691)

This was marked "Troll" because it was an oversimplification and an exaggeration. The story I heard goes as follows:

Someone at Atari told Jobs that he would get a $5000 bonus if they could get optimize the breakout machine to use fewer than X parts. He then went to Wozniak and told him that they would get a $2000 bonus that they could split 50:50. Wozniak did most of the work and took his $1000. 10 years and a company founding later, Wozniak finally found out that Jobs both lied to him and shortchanged him. As he and Jobs hadn't exactly seen eye to eye recently, this finally pushed him over the edge and this is why he left Apple.

See no arbitrary 7%, no rubbish about reneging on an agreement, less "Troll"y.

Re:I wonder if he waxes poetic about Steve Jobs (2, Insightful)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051901)

Actually, Jobs told him he made $750 and split that two ways. So yes, 7% is fairly accurate.

Re:I wonder if he waxes poetic about Steve Jobs (1)

bazald (886779) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052497)

Well, if you know that as fact, can you either provide a source, or at least tell us how you know it as fact? You may well be right AFAIK, but I'd really like something I could refer people to in the future.

Re:I wonder if he waxes poetic about Steve Jobs (2, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052631)

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Breakout&oldid=165719777#History_and_development [wikipedia.org]

Al Alcorn was assigned as the project manager, and began development with Cyan Engineering in 1975. The same year, Alcorn assigned Steve Jobs to design a prototype. Jobs was offered USD$750, with an extra $100 each time a chip was eliminated from the prospected design. Jobs promised to complete a prototype within four days.

Jobs noticed his friend Steve Wozniak - employee of Hewlett-Packard - was capable of producing designs with a small amount of chips, and invited him to work on the hardware design with the prospect of splitting the $750 wage. Wozniak had no sketches and instead interpreted the game from its description. To save parts, he had "tricky little designs" difficult to understand for most engineers. Near the end of development, Wozniak considered moving the high score to the screen's top, but Jobs claimed Bushnell wanted it at the bottom; Wozniak unaware of any truth to his claims. The original deadline was met, and 50 chips were removed from Jobs' original design. This equated to a $5000 USD bonus, which Jobs kept secret from Wozniak, instead only paying him $375.

WOZ I want to build my own mac like you can with a (-1, Offtopic)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050543)

WOZ I want to build my own mac like you can with a pc and now that they are useing pc hardware why can't you push apple to let us?

Re:WOZ I want to build my own mac like you can wit (4, Interesting)

networkassault (1176303) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050663)

It would be too much like a Mac clone. The reason IBM is outta the game is because OS/2 was originally available for IBM only (makes sense, it WAS developed by IBM), much like Mac OS. When the PC clone market came out, Microsoft (since they didn't make the hardware) felt free to lease out MS-DOS to the clone manufacturers. What killed IBM was that the OS that they used in their computer was also used in other computer systems. Apple nearly died at the hands of the Mac clones in the mid '90s. That's the primary Steve Jobs kicked them all out. If you make both the software and the computer (like IBM did and Apple does), you make much more money off of the computer than you do the OS. By confining the OS to their own software, they prevent a company like Sony from coming in and using Mac OS on their next Mac look-alike.

hey (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050753)

hey - you're not Woz!

Re:hey (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21051977)

of course not, cocktard, woz would use his own account for posts

Re:WOZ I want to build my own mac like you can wit (2, Informative)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050847)

The reason IBM is outta the game is because OS/2 was originally available for IBM only (makes sense, it WAS developed by IBM)

Or, rather, by IBM and a certain other company [microsoft.com] , the fact that they've obliterated it (and Xenix) from their annoyingly Flash-ridden history [microsoft.com] (unless I missed it) nonwithstanding.

Re:WOZ I want to build my own mac like you can wit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21050985)

That link provided me with much enjoyment.

In the timeline you linked, the first several items titled "Big Picture" come up with the description "undefined".

Their trivia advertisement claims they came up with the terms "dead tree edition" and "drink from the fire hose".

Finally, in their quiz, most of the questions were cut off halfway, resulting in:

"In 1980, Microsoft introduced the Z-80 Softcard. In what computer was this piece of"

"In 1983, Microsoft introduced another hardware device that continues to be a"

"In 1984, a milestone new computer system was released, with Microsoft taking a"

Re:WOZ I want to build my own mac like you can wit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21050859)

No, Apple just about went under because of poor management and horrible/confusing product lines/design. If they opened up OS X they'd increase their market share (possibly quite dramatically) and could still stay in the hardware game as there are plenty of people who would rather have Apple designed hardware on their desk than just a beige^H^H^H^H^Hblack box. Plus, half of their business is non-Mac related anyways (iPod, iPhone, etc).

Good or bad, right or wrong, the reason Apple doesn't want to allow OS X to be installed on any old x86 hardware is the same reason the iPhone launched without third party app support or an SDK: Steve Jobs is a control freak.

And before the mac zealots mark this as flamebait or something, I'm not saying Steve Jobs hasn't done great things for Apple, especially since he came back. Streamlining the product lines, giving Apple better focus on where they needed to go and managing to make cool looking design a big part of Apple's success (which is why I think they could still do fine in the hardware business with an open OS X). Nonetheless, he's still a control freak and in this case it means wanting to control the whole "experience", from the hardware to the software. Somehow, Apple has managed to succeed prtty well all this time where others have failed in regards to building their computer business off of proprietary hardware.

Re:WOZ I want to build my own mac like you can wit (3, Interesting)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051951)

Perhaps, but at the expense of a competitive market and interoperability. Sure, the shitty architecture won out in the end, and it had the unfortunate side effect of pretty much killing the OS market, both of which I wish didn't happen, but the uniformity of hardware that the IBM clones made allows for us to have several interchangeable vendors in the market and thus levels out the PC playing field. Now OEMs actually have to compete with each other on a level that resembles more of a perfectly competitive market than an oligopoly. In my opinion it's much like how having one standard audio or video format has allowed player manufacturers to focus more on quality and features than having to worry about compatibility. It also helps the more computer illiterate. Grandma doesn't have to worry as much whether or not her new hard drive will work with her particular PC model. The same PCI card can potentially work with a Gateway, a Sony, a Dell, a Toshiba, and now even an Apple. The best part of this near universal support is that people like myself can now build our own PCs instead of settling for an OEM model. My ~$700 Pentium 4 I built back in 2004 was probably worth at least twice as much back then (and is still worth that much to me now). I don't have preinstalled bloatware issues and I have the peace of mind that the hardware inside was personally chosen by me and not by some OEM who most likely threw the parts together haphazardly in some Chinese factory. If IBM compatibles never appeared I would probably have to actually make my own hardware to appreciate this much freedom, a pricey, difficult, and possibly illegal process. If IBM wasn't so lax about their PC design the microcomputer market would be much like the console market, with some programs being exclusively made for certain vendors in an attempt to force the consumer to buy the expensive hardware possibly just to enjoy that one piece of software. Household adoption would never have happened on the scale that it has today because it would just be too costly to have to own two or three different machines to get access to all of the software you would want or need. It could also give software manufacturers de facto monopolies on each respective machine, since their competition might either find it too difficult or expensive to port their software or there might even be legal barriers put in place to make porting impossible. Imagine having to have to own an IBM, an Apple, an Atari, and an Amiga just to get all of your work done. I'd quit before that and settle for a typewriter and a telephone before I'd buy four different machines.

Re:WOZ I want to build my own mac like you can wit (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050805)

Because he doesn't work at Apple anymore.

Re:WOZ I want to build my own mac like you can wit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21051195)

Technically he is still an employee.

What Woz... (4, Funny)

nebaz (453974) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050559)

Watch Woz, wanting what Woz was, wax wistfully.

Re:What Woz... (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050581)

Whoa.

Re:What Woz... (2, Interesting)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051713)

welp! wishful whoaing with wicked women will woe waists!

Re:What Woz... (1)

msouth (10321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052265)

Whoa.


WhatHeSaid!

Re:What Woz... (1)

sessamoid (165542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050857)

Watch Woz, wanting what Woz was, wax wistfully.
What a wicked Woz witticism!

Re:What Woz... (1)

GPL Apostate (1138631) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051549)

I think I am not alone in expressing the sentiment that what Woz has become since then is something to be proud of. He hasn't become a megalomaniac. He seems to be fairly happy in life.

IMO what the other Apple founder has become is a lot less appealing.

Re:What Woz... (2, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052277)

"Has become"? Steve Jobs was always the egomaniacal - but uncannily correct - leader, and Woz was always the brilliant tinkering geek who could pull off the engineering miracles Jobs's plans always required.

They're the Kirk and Scotty of the PC world. The Hannibal and B.A. Baracus.

Returning to Apple? (1)

kendaliscool (979262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050571)

Is this a sign of Woz wanting to sign up at the Apple doors?

Re:Returning to Apple? (1)

Divebus (860563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050723)

Here ya go, Woz. [apple.com]

Makes me fuzzy thinking about the possibilities.

Re:Returning to Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21051613)

what would he have to gain at apple?

Whoa! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21050679)

I read "Woz still misses Homegrown somethimg..." . I'm stoned, b.t.w.

Re:Whoa! (1)

Treskin (555947) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050795)

This isn't IRC or Counter-Strike, spare us the "I'm so stoned right now" comments, if you please!

Re:Whoa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21051163)

One time I homebrewed a bong out of an apple. So stoned!

One hit wonder (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21050687)

Woz is like a one hit wonder artist who had a single bestselling track back in 70's and continues to milk it without a shame. No one should care what Woz thinks.

Every article about him ends with "He is the co-founder of Apple." Big deal! That was decades ago and he hasn't really accomplished anything since then. He was, at best, a regular hacker who met the right person at the right time.

Normally I wouldn't bother with this, but it gets on my nerves how he has assumed this budhha-like position in pushing malformed opinions every time there is an Apple story. He's like a grandpa who convinced himself he has an authoritative and final take on every subject.

Re:One hit wonder (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21050949)

Shutup, Steve.

Re:One hit wonder (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21051725)

Shut up, Bill

There, fixed that for you.

Come on! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21050955)

Stop being such a dick. If it weren't for Woz, you wouldn't be the boss of Apple right now.

One hit wonder - you're kidding, right? (5, Interesting)

The Breeze (140484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051047)

One hit wonder, my ass. He did what he did because he understood electrons and logic at a level that one in a hundred-thousand people could not match. He did not just "co-invent the Apple" - he is a shining example of what a true HP engineer could do. He basically invented modern input/output routines. The degree of raw brainpower required to design the graphics card and RF modulation on the original Apple is astounding. He did not just assemble off-the-shelf parts in a new way; he invented totally new ways of doing anything, and he created things that both worked and were cost effective.

There are engineers, mechanics, designers, inventors and scientists. And then there are those who have such a deep understanding of how the world around us works, who combine multiple disciplines in such a way that they can see things that normal people can't. Richard Feynmann was one of these people. So is Steve Wozniak.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak changed the world. The computer revolution would have taken much, much longer without those two. Steve Jobs, in addition to his marketing skills, was truly a technician and scientist in his own right. Not nearly in the same league as Woz, but he knew enough to help do what had to be done from a physical design and assembly standpoint. Woz couldn't sell ideas very well, back then. The teamup of Wozniak and Jobs created something unique, a whole that was far greater than the sum of its parts, but that shouldn't take away from the brilliance of both of these men.

Wozniak has also been a teacher, a concert promoter (!) and Lord knows what else since leaving Apple. He prefers to work a lot with children now, trying to teach them how to solve logical problems. There's no way to know now, but I would not be surprised a bit if in the distant future some great inventor / engineer / scientist or even politician is going to say that once upon a time they started to learn how to truly think logically because they had the gift of listening to Woz lecture at his school.

Saying that Woz is a "one-hit wonder" does nothing but display total ignorance of what the man has truly accomplished. Creating Apple the way he did was great, and would not have happened nearly as soon if he hadn't existed, but perhaps the this brillian yet simple man's ultimate legacy has yet to be written, for we may never know the true benefits of the work he has done with children.

One in a Hundred Thousand? (2, Insightful)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051183)

One hit wonder, my ass. He did what he did because he understood electrons and logic at a level that one in a hundred-thousand people could not match.

One in a hundred thousand means there are approximately 60,000 people on the planet who understand those topics as well or better than him. Hardly unique, which is the point of the original commenter.

Re:One in a Hundred Thousand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21051497)

One in a hundred thousand means there are approximately 60,000 people on the planet who understand those topics as well or better than him.

Correct. And if that doesn't scare you shitless, you're either way smarter than I am, or (unlike me) you just haven't thought through the implications.

Re:One in a Hundred Thousand? (2, Funny)

msouth (10321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052321)

or maybe you just figure that that's one of the 68.3% of statistics that are made up on the spot.

Domain of discussion (0, Offtopic)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051617)

Restrict the domain of discussion to the US and you get a better sense of the uniqueness.

Why restrict the domain to the US?

Nowhere else in the world of that time could this kind of talent have been expressed. (I'm not sure there is _any_ place in the present world where such talent could be expressed.)

Only sixty thousand people like him among six billion may not be unique if you are talking about, say, the Midland, Texas of the same time period. (One city full of truly unique individuals, matched in uniqueness only by its slightly larger neighbor a half-hour to the west, but we aren't talking about engineering genius any more. Wait, the analogy is slipping here.)

Okay, let's try it this way: If you put all sixty thousand people theoretically like Woz into one small city in the southwest US, perhaps none of them would any longer seem so unique. (Maybe?)

But when you spread sixty thousand "similar" people across the world, you really can't say that, because there are sixty-thousand of them, they must not be unique. How often in one day are you going to meet one of those sixty thousand people?

I look back with nostalgia at the time myself, in part because it was a time when a young guy with an engineering bent could still believe he could change the world for the better just be inventing something. You could get your mind around a 64K address space and a character set smaller than 256 encoding points in a way that you can't with 2G+ actual RAM and, erm, well, Unicode. (Bad pronoun transitions, I know. Bad topic transition, too.)

Anyway, Woz is unique. So is Jobs. Gates and Ballmer, however, are a wannabees, still trying for something that six-ty billion _dollars_ can't buy.

joudanzuki

Re:One in a Hundred Thousand? (2, Insightful)

moogleii (704303) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051797)

60,000 people? That may not be unique in the literal sense, but that's still pretty damn rare, and therefore, special, which I think is the actual point of the grandparent, that Woz is not special. But why waste time on fabricated stats.

To the AC GP, in my opinion it was Jobs who had the fortune of meeting Woz, and like most CEO-minded people, he leveraged the assets and people he had around him (Woz), and continues to do so today. So I guess that makes Jobs more of an achiever than Woz in your book.

Re:One in a Hundred Thousand? (3, Insightful)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052397)

To the AC GP, in my opinion it was Jobs who had the fortune of meeting Woz, and like most CEO-minded people, he leveraged the assets and people he had around him (Woz), and continues to do so today. So I guess that makes Jobs more of an achiever than Woz in your book.

As amazing as Woz's achievements were, and they truly were, he needed Jobs more than Jobs needed him. Without both of them there would be no Apple, but Jobs would have gone on to find some other venture. He was pretty much guaranteed to be successful. But Woz was happy with simply impressing the members of the Home Brew Club. He'd have never turned his work into a successful company.

(I'm not trying to slight Woz's accomplishments. He did amazing things.)

Re:One in a Hundred Thousand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21051935)

One in a hundred thousand means there are approximately 60,000 people on the planet who understand those topics as well or better than him. Hardly unique, which is the point of the original commenter.

And being 60,000 out of approximately 6,000,000,000 people is not unique?

Re:One in a Hundred Thousand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21052565)

But the problem is, at least 50,000 of those 60,000 never even get to see a computer, much less use or build one---thanks to their lucky placement in a third-world economy.

Re:One hit wonder - you're kidding, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21052443)

Wow, this takes FanBoyism to a totally new level.

Re:One hit wonder - you're kidding, right? (4, Interesting)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052623)

Many seem to sing the praises of Woz and his genius with nary a mention of Chuck Peddle and Commodore, which was a much bigger juggernaut early on than Apple. I think Mr. Peddle contributed far more to the foundation of personal computing then did Steve Wozniak.

History is written by the winners, and marketers, I guess.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to diminish Woz, he was definitely in a class all his own, with that brilliant floppy drive and all the early software he wrote, but it's important not to forget who's processor he used.

Like the television, no single person or company invented the PC.

Re:One hit wonder -- NOT! (2, Interesting)

Generic Guy (678542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051063)

Whoa harsh words from Anonymous Coward!

He was, at best, a regular hacker who met the right person at the right time.

Woz is an exceptionally knowledgeable and clever hardware electronics engineer. His ability to reduce board size with fewer components made him a name to begin with. He also coded the Apple BASIC interpreter for the early Apple designs -- by hand! In fact, his ability allowed Apple to reduce enough components and create a fully ready-to-use machine which made the original Apple I and Apple II machines at low enough cost and wide functionality to create the first truly viable microcomputer company.

Of course despite his great skillz, in true geek fashion he seems to have little business acumen. It is no accident that Jobs partnered up with him, an neither one of them expected to sell more than a few hundred machines to other hobbyists at the time.

Re:One hit wonder -- NOT! (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052641)

Woz is a smart guy, no doubt, but a BASIC interpreter is a bad example. Everyone coded in assembly or even machine language back then. It was no great trick. People these days think it's some mythical skill. And a BASIC interpreter was definitely not that hard. In fact, it was common back then to write one just for laughs (a floating point package was much trickier, on the other hand). Heck, the first issue of Dr. Dobbs had a tiny basic interpreter.

Re:One hit wonder (1, Insightful)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051125)

Obviously you don't know anything about computers and history of computing... and you are an ass.

Is this from a Cupertino IP address? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21051257)

I think you're missing the point. What Woz did to craft the Personal Computer into what the marketplace exists as today, is so bright a star in his history that anything else you may or may not have heard about since is naturally dim by comparison.

Plus, y'know, he's a shy quiet guy that was totally buggered by his best friend.

Even Steve Jobs can't sell thin air to an Astronaut. Woz made it, Jobs made it happen.

Re:One hit wonder (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052419)

He was, at best, a regular hacker who met the right person at the right time.

You have no idea what you're talking about. The Apple II disk controller alone demonstrates that Woz is a genius.

-jcr

Re:One hit wonder (3, Insightful)

McFadden (809368) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052529)

I entirely agree. What he did was huge. He practically created the desktop computer as we know it. And absolutely nothing since. His recent book "iWoz", with the modern day Apple style cover, using the i branding from Apple's current hugely successful range of products is ridiculous. He has absolutely no association with the current wave of success that Apple is riding.

I have no great love of Jobs, but let's be serious. If Woz was the boss of Apple, the company wouldn't exist any more.

Mybe he could find that in open source... (2, Insightful)

monopole (44023) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050771)

...If he didn't totally trash it [technocrat.net]

The homebrew computer club was pretty close to the current Open Hardware movement.

Re:Mybe he could find that in open source... (3, Informative)

RalphBNumbers (655475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051079)

...If he didn't totally trash it

The homebrew computer club was pretty close to the current Open Hardware movement.


Quoth Woz in the the article you refrenced:
"There's always a group of people that wants to undo the forces of industry that have given us so much in terms of wealth, and there's always people who want things to be free," ... "The open-source movement starts with those sort of people. But it still has such good points that have nothing to do with whether it's free or not. The idea of developing something and then making your solution known. Spread the information so the world can grow from it."

It sounds to me like he loves the idea of open source itself, and just takes issue with a lot of the other ideologies that are lumped in with it these days (anti-capitalism, the "free" software movement, etc). That sounds pretty reasonable to me, and certainly isn't "totally trashing [open source]".

Re:Mybe he could find that in open source... (1)

nick.ian.k (987094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051345)

Er...not quite.

But it still has such good points that have nothing to do with whether it's free or not. The idea of developing something and then making your solution known. Spread the information so the world can grow from it.

That's not *just* Woz saying he likes the idea behind sharing source code and the like, that's Woz using the word "free" in a different way than the way it's used by the "free software" people. He's suggesting that, in spite of all these cranks who want to not pay money for solutions, good solutions still get shared, wherein actuality, most of these cranks are all about sharing solutions in the first place and the $$$ issue is at best a tertiary concern.

Ignorance or Malice, Take Your Pick. (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051945)

It sounds to me like he loves the idea of open source itself, and just takes issue with a lot of the other ideologies that are lumped in with it these days (anti-capitalism, the "free" software movement, etc)

Lumping things you don't like onto something that treatens you is little more than name calling. The Woz is either misguided or malicious to say things like that. Software Freedom is something he does not understand at all.

Too bad for him because that's where the camaraderie is today. Suck holes, like Apple and M$, are more about denying user freedom than they are about technical progress or excellence. They get to use great free tools like GCC and X but don't get to pass them and other along to their users. Places like that can't be fun to work for.

Whiskey. Foxtrot. Tango (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21052057)

You cannot possibly be serious. "name calling"? "misguided and malicious"? Are you for real??

SuperHappyDevHouse (5, Interesting)

commonchaos (309500) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050803)

SuperHappyDevHouse [shdh.org] is an event in the Bay Area that is trying to "resurrect the spirit of the Homebrew Computer Club". I think that we are doing a decent job at that.

I've talked to someone who used to attend Homebrew Computer Club. He says that SuperHappyDevHouse has a similar feel. Among differences: There was only one electrical outlet in the space used for Homebrew Computer Club - Woz supposedly monopolized that outlet. And people couldn't bring computers to Homebrew like they can (and are encouraged to) at SuperHappyDevHouse.

Re:SuperHappyDevHouse (4, Informative)

dew (3680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051119)

As one of the co-founders of DevHouse, we are definitely trying to honor and encourage the spirit of Homebrew. In fact, Lee Felsenstein, who ran most of the Homebrew meetings, is now a regular attender (along with his lovely partner) and helps us shape the meetings to be maximally functional and useful. In a business cover article in the San Jose Mercury News, DevHouse was described as "resurrecting the spirit of the Homebrew Computer Club" (digg [digg.com] ). We were flattered.

Re:SuperHappyDevHouse (1)

catch23 (97972) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051615)

As a regular attendee of SHDH, I really have to thank you for making this happen, and for the poor homeowners that have to deal with a hundred geek shoes all over their carpets all over the house.

Re:SuperHappyDevHouse (1)

dew (3680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051653)

Thank *you*! Nothing a steam cleaning can't fix, anyhow. And the carpets look nicer brown than white. Really.

Re:SuperHappyDevHouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21051377)

I dunno. Knew both of them (distantly) in high school. They became rich & famous, I became a degreed engineer.

Not the same world anymore (4, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050831)

This might look like atangent to some, but bear with me for a moment: how did the world change in just a few short decades. The 70s and 80s were years when a skilled individual, perhaps with the help of a peer, would be able to project and implement his/her idea of a computer. You had a flurry of various hardware and software architectures, most richly in the "home computer" market, but not only.
For an example, the S-100 based computers definitely were in the professional segment, and yet a lot of hardware accessories existed, designed and produced by small workshops.

Fast forward to today: what can an individual do, today? Electronic components are integrated to the point that you can't even assemble them without special and very expensive equipment, not to talk about the motherboards. Not to talk about the difficulties of prototyping. The bar to entry has been set incredibly high. So high, in fact, that the world of microprocessor architectures has significantly shrunk, and basically the only computer designed, produced and sold is based on an intel processor.

It's a word where only multimillion dollar corporations can implement visionary ideas - but them being corporations, it's an idea that usually doesn't excite the developers, only the product managers. It has to be profitable, that's the only relevant angle. In this world, the ideals Wozniak is after, are dead.

Re:Not the same world anymore (4, Insightful)

Rick Genter (315800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050951)

The last thing this comment should be moderated is Offtopic. This is one of the more insightful comments you'll find.

My first computer was an IMSAI 8080 [imsai.net] . I built it from the kit, as well as the Lear Siegler ADM-3A [old-computers.com] terminal I connected to it. This was in 1976, and I, too, miss those days. While we can do some cool stuff today with 3-D graphics, multithreaded and multiprocessing operating systems, networks, etc., there was still something about building everything from scratch.

I'm with Woz on this one.

Re:Not the same world anymore (5, Insightful)

John Miles (108215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051035)

Well, it might have been insightful, but it certainly wasn't right. Surf through eBay's electronic components and equipment categories sometime, and if you don't come away with more cool ideas for stuff to build than you will ever live to try, you're not much of a hacker.

Sure, the barriers to entry are high if you want to mess with FPGAs or do microwave engineering in your garage, but at least it's possible for you to do that kind of thing if you want. There are probably a hundred times more opportunities open to the hardcore amateur electronics buff nowadays than there were in Woz's day. You can bitch and moan all you want about how "hard" it is, but I can remember when a 6502 was a pretty intimidating thing to deal with, too.

Intimidating? (1)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051769)

Well, the "features" in the addressing modes were a bit intimidating. Yes.

64K of address is nowhere near as intimidating as 2G+ real RAM.

Character sets with less than 256 code points are nowhere near as intimidating as Unicode.

(I hand-built a kana font once back then, pixel-by-pixel. I'm _not_ going to try to build a Kanji font by hand. If I had to build a Kanji font, I wouldn't want to do it alone, even if I had good tools. That's a lot of time on a single art project.)

Yes, group projects are not evil. But it's a different feeling when you know that going the cowboy route simply doesn't work any more.

joudanzuki

Re:Not the same world anymore (1)

GPL Apostate (1138631) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051799)

Also, the 'barrier to entry' for fiddling around with computers and electronics is radically lower now than it was in the past. You can build your own circuit to program PIC controllers, for example, for under fifty dollars easily. The controllers themselves are in the $1-6 range apiece. If you want to mess with 'robotics' there are mounds of salvage hardware out there to be had for free. The average discarded diskette drive or CD-ROM drive, for instance, has actuators and stepper motors better than anything any of us dreamed of getting ahold of back in 1980.

The thing I remember from 1977 is wanting to build my own computer, but not even being able to afford the books on the topic. That was when I was a dishwasher making under $3 an hour and lived in a rented $42/month room. The Bugbooks and other important books on microprocessors were all in the $30-50 range. At least that's how I remember it. All I could afford was a cheap programmable calculator (an SR-56) that I bought with most of the money I got from HS graduation.

Two words for you... (3, Informative)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051037)

1) FPGAs,

and

2) Software (on network-connected rather powerful boxes).

You go second route, you can become the next Google (well, become => become part of :) ), you go the first one, you can become the next Apple (no, they did not start with replicating MOS Technologies fab line and taping out their own chips). If you have good ideas about processor architecture, prototyping them on $200-$1000 FPGA demoboard might be an interesting option nowadays.(Here I should probably quote the not necessarily reality supported, but popular meme how modern algorithms on ancient hardware run faster than ancient algorithms on modern hardware). Sky is the limit! :)

Paul B.

 

Re:Two words for you... (1)

GPL Apostate (1138631) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051857)

I'm not sure why everybody automatically leaps to FPGAs. There are lots of cool chips and ideas for how to do neat stuff with them.

My latest project was extremely low-tech but has been useful. I wanted a small timer to time the 2 minutes that each apple tree gets watered out in the field. I used one of the cheapest PIC microcontrollers [microchip.com] , a little 8-pin bugger that cost me about $0.40. All self contained so you just hook power and ground to it and it does it's work, I wrote the code for it to blink an LED once per second for 120 seconds then go to micro-low-power shutdown. The pushbutton to start the timer is connected to the hardware interrupt to wake it up from sleep.

That's a decidedly low-end project, but it's just a small example. What I want to do next is design and implement a simple two wire networking protocol so I can program a bunch of PICs to intercommunicate, then scatter them around the house for various functions.

The sky is the limit, and you can do cool and powerful things with FPGAs, but let's not forget that the entry cost for hardware/firmware/software hacking is measured in single dollars these days.

Re:Two words for you... (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052599)

I had made a project very, very similar to yours. I think it was designed to operate about two years on a battery. It had to be a battery because the atmosphere had potentially explosive vapors.

Except for that project, I usually use the PIC16F87x series. I had a project that used just about every feature on an 877 and just about maxed out the RAM, EEPROM, program space and stack space. It might not sound like much because the chips are very simple compared to a PC, but it can be pretty tough work, and quite gratifying too. Add a button or a transistor or two to a microcontroller and you can interface with the "real world" in many ways that most tech people don't.

Anyway, the important thing is to apply a technology to something in a way that hasn't been done before or to improve on an existing idea. Your example is probably one of them. So you might not get to lead the way in some new avenue of human society and culture, but it's still often interesting work, and there are fairly affordable ways to get into it, even if it might just be a hobby. I've done maybe six projects that were intended to be commercialized. While they were all functional projects when I was done, none of them really made it to being available to buy, due to circumstances largely out of my control or influence, but it was still interesting work.

Re:Not the same world anymore (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051135)

Here we go, this should help you make a homebrew device of your choice way more powerful than what you did in 80s [xilinx.com] . Given that the price of the kit is fairly low, there is nothing stopping you from selling programmed devices as accessories for commercial products.

Re:Not the same world anymore (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051661)

A DDR2 interface devkit? I guess you had something else in mind, this won't provide you with much fun, at all.

Re:Not the same world anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21051671)

In MacGuyver's hands, a DDR2 interface devkit can be used to rid an entire African village of guinea worms, you insensitive clod!

Re:Not the same world anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21052027)

When I was a kid, we only had rocks to compute with, and we LIKED it! ...Then some clever guy figured out to make switches out of silicon...Never went back to rocks again.

Actually, the Homebrew days were truly something special. 'Everyman' could build a usable computer with his own hands and only limited equipment. I dare you to build a cellphone that way these days. We've lost so much and there's little to nourish a budding MacGuyver anymore. Ham radio waning, school shop classes vanishing, even science education repurposed to be inoffensive to Mrs Grundy and her ilk. They are actually teaching politically correct science and math these days, ditching the hard stuff for the feel-good environmental. Well, it's okay, we'll just outsource innovation and retain our global lead. Thanks, Carly Fiorina. "There's no god-given right for Americans to have a job," she said. Now there's encouragement for you.

Come back Tom Swift, I miss ya.

Re:Not the same world anymore (1)

deatech (736433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051793)

Rubbish! The microprocessor was the new and revolutionary tool of the time, today there is the internet, biological sciences and a whole host of other areas. Individuals can (and have) taken a new idea, created something and brought it to market in a few short years, and in a few cases some very young people with particularly good insight or just a love of something that hadn't occurred to everyone else have turned it into 10's or 100's of millions of dollars. If you really love hardware, anyone can use open source tools and have a small prototype board made by a professional production shop overseas (including mounting of components) for the inflation adjusted equivalent of less money than I made in one month delivering newspapers in the 1970's. If you love other areas of science, just take a look at what teenagers have been doing in the major science fairs. It has never been easier or cheaper to gain access to technology.

If you miss it, do it again? (5, Interesting)

blake182 (619410) | more than 6 years ago | (#21050997)

...though today you can find him playing polo on a Segway, working at Jazz Semiconductor, or off promoting his autobiography. "I miss the technical camaraderie," Wozniak says. "The whole feeling of being on a revolution, on the edge. I miss the intuitive philosophies."

Is that really the case? Like Woz is a high profile technical multimillionaire, an inspiration to an entire generation of geeks, and he misses the thrill of being on a revolution and can't figure out how to recreate it?

If that's really the case. I mean, if he really and truly misses it, why not just contact pretty much anyone over the age of 30 in any field he wants:

"Hi, my name is Steve Wozniak"
"Holy shit! I know you! I learned assembly language on an Apple //e! How's it going?!?"
"Not bad, I really like the stuff you do. Do you mind if I come to work and hang out and be a technical comrade?"
"Shit no! Christ, it would be an honor."
"You don't have to pay me, I mean, I'm a multimillionaire."
"No, that's cool, come on over."

Maybe I'm oversimplifying. But I personally am not a multimillionaire, and I know a lot of people, and I have literally done jobs for $0 just to hang out at places and work with cool people.

Make the world what you want. It seems that this is especially easy advice to give to someone who is financially independent.

Woz needs... (2, Interesting)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052503)

...a protegé. Or a dozen. What could be better for an aging tech maverick than mentoring the best and brightest of the next generation?

Re:If you miss it, do it again? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052633)

It sounds like an excellent idea. Maybe he misses part of the culture that might not be easy to recreate?

Maybe it's trite or overcommercialized, but a club in the vein of "Make" might be doable. People make interesting projects with things available around the home, that might be novel or practical, but usually fun. There are some Make Faires that look like they'd be fun to go to, I just don't want to do a road trip out of state.

Re:If you miss it, do it again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21052653)

I'd have modded you up if you weren't already at +5. I learned my assembly on an Acorn Electron, but same difference. I would be humbled and excited to work with woz and ditto for anyone I've ever respected as a technical colleague. Surely it's not about the money anymore... so come on Steve, take your pick. Maybe the challenge is in one of the Free OSes now, maybe not, but give the wider community the chance to work with you... please!

It's not like it's impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21051129)

All those things he says he misses, it's all being done in open source now. If Woz wanted to, he could work on the Linux kernel.

The next tech revolution (4, Interesting)

SystemFault (876435) | more than 6 years ago | (#21051557)

I was a teenager back in the early microcomputer days and built one of first kit machines, an IMSAI 8080. It was great fun and more educational than any number of college course I took thereafter.

Those days are long gone now. But could something similar return? I think that the next tech revolution has already started, and it's the hacker's auto fabrication machine ("fabber").

Example: http://reprap.org/bin/view/Main/WebHome [reprap.org]

Right now these aren't much more than 3-D printers that squeeze out plastic goop under computer control. But if the rate of progress of this field is anything like that seen with microcomputers, then small scale manufacturing will be totally changed in a few years. Who will be the Woz (and the Jobs and the Gates) of this new endeavor? Maybe they're already out there, but we just haven't heard of them yet.

I kind of see his point. (1)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052069)

Technology work really has changed over the last 30 years. Back in the beginning, it was totally exciting just to get something working. Now it's still fun, but a lot of the tough problems are solved or abstracted away from the end user.

I wonder what it's like for total newcomers now -- there's no easy way to throw someone into modern software development like you could by handing them a BASIC manual or an assembly language guide on the IIe. There just isn't as much "brand new stuff" to explore.

I still like working in the technology field because it is very challenging, and solving problems for a living is a lot more fun than filling out TPS reports.

(If Woz wants a tech job, any geek in their 30s would be more than happy to let him come work, I'm sure. :)

Re:I kind of see his point. (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21052153)

Thats why I enjoy using Linux, several easy to use languages(Python, Perl), documentation, compilers and a 100% customizable system, thats just about the best you can get now with Windows and to a lesser extent OSX hides data from the end user, remember back when the C64 you could program all your games just on that, its no wonder that so many people don't have a clue about technology, its totally hidden.
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