The Amazing Contents of Steve Wozniak's Backpack
July 17, 2012 1:01 PM   Subscribe

The Amazing Contents of Steve Wozniak's Backpack: I usually say that my backpack weighs 50 pounds. I'm not sure but I have to carry it every step through airports. I'm sure that I'm shorter now than before and I don't walk as fast. Everything has its place in my backpack.
posted by Slap*Happy (123 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
My back hurts just looking at that picture! The man is clearly NOT a minimalist!
posted by leslies at 1:07 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man, what a weirdo. I would have thought one of the benefits of being a multimillionaire would be not having to carry around that 7th smartphone.
posted by ghharr at 1:10 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Gizmodo fails to unpack the PRIVILEGE
posted by jfuller at 1:10 PM on July 17, 2012 [29 favorites]


I'd be interested in an explanation for why he routinely carries all of those things with him. I can kind'uv understand having two of most things (one for him, one for Janet), but why 7 phones? Why two Garmins? And why NOT two Kindles!? :)
posted by Davenhill at 1:10 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of a kid packing for a trip and so far he's put nothing in his suitcase but 7 toy dinosaurs or whatever.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:10 PM on July 17, 2012 [123 favorites]


The guy apparently subscribes to roaming internet from multiple carriers simultaneously.

In case only one of them has a dead zone where he is, I guess.
posted by LogicalDash at 1:10 PM on July 17, 2012


While it's remarkable for the quantity (and degree of replication), I'm a bit disappointed there's nothing particularly distinctive in itself there; nothing only Woz would be likely to have. It's just an Apple-centric lot of consumer electronics. Was hoping to see at least an uncut currency sheet or two there, if not some wholly new prototype or gadget or at least something most of us wouldn't think of buying.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:11 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


• multiple Gameboy Lights (a Gameboy sold in Japan but never in the U.S.),
• Gameboy link cables,


There is something unrelentingly hilarious about this and I can't really put my finger on what, exactly.
posted by griphus at 1:17 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


one of the benefits of being a multimillionaire would be not having to carry around that 7th smartphone.

One of the benefits of being a multimillionaire would be not carrying a phone at all because other people take your calls.
posted by Yakuman at 1:17 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


For someone who probably travels quite a bit, he packs like someone who doesn't travel very much.

It's kind of strange to see what many gadgets, in duplicate form when you could dramatically cut down on all the cruft by some sensible combining of utility - tethering on phones, use of voip, universal battery pack, etc.
posted by iamabot at 1:18 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


He did mention $2 bill pads.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:18 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would have thought he'd have a minimalist set-up, he packs like my parents.
posted by arcticseal at 1:19 PM on July 17, 2012


Clearly he really likes stuff. Remind me of this thread yesterday.

Clearly he's a bit of a fanatic in regards always being connected and available. Most people don't live in spine compressing fear of not having 3G service.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:19 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter's own. And I thought my travel bag was a crufty pile of electronics, but I've got nothing on The Woz.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:21 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


True story:

You know how, when you're travelling, you need to have all your important things (like medication, toiletries, etc.) in your carry-on bag in case your checked bag gets lost or separated from you? I learned that the hard way.

About a decade ago, I was travelling from Berlin to Chicago. I missed my connecting flight in Paris, but my checked suitcase didn't. So, for overnight, I only had my backpack. 'Well, I've handled emergencies before, surely I can handle this one', I thought, perhaps a bit naive. So, after dinner, I unpacked to find my toothbrush and toothpaste. Which wasn't there. Oh, my meds were there, and so was a spare set of clothes. I had also thoughtfully packed 4 tubes of black lipstick, just in case I needed to suddenly become a Goth. But, no toothbrush and toothpaste.

The hotel didn't have any, either. I finally had to get some at the airport store, and use my credit card to get it, as I also had no French currency. (This was before the Euro). But, I now had my expensive toothbrush and toothpaste. Lesson learned. Steve, remember your toothbrush and paste!
posted by spinifex23 at 1:21 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Shine on, you crazy diamond. Obviously this makes sense to Woz. Like the Gizmodo commenters, I want to know what kind of backpack can bear up under this!
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:24 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


That's only for traveling. Normally he's just got a lot of stuff in his pockets. A while ago he showed me how he had one iPhone in his left pants pocket and another in his right, and he'd set things up so that some calls to his Google Voice number rang one phone, some rang the other, and some rang both. He could judge the importance of a call based on the pattern of phones that vibrated in his pocket (i.e. that gives you a range of 1 to 3).
He's smart, not crazy.
posted by w0mbat at 1:24 PM on July 17, 2012 [24 favorites]


While it's remarkable for the quantity (and degree of replication), I'm a bit disappointed there's nothing particularly distinctive in itself there; nothing only Woz would be likely to have.

First, you're assuming that each of those items is exactly what it appears to be.

Second, you're forgetting the very high probability that the reason he carries all that stuff is that he is capable of assembling it all into a single super-gadget capable of dominating - or destroying - the universe.
posted by The World Famous at 1:25 PM on July 17, 2012 [27 favorites]


A while ago he showed me how he had one iPhone in his left pants pocket and another in his right, and he'd set things up so that some calls to his Google Voice number rang one phone, some rang the other, and some rang both. He could judge the importance of a call based on the pattern of phones that vibrated in his pocket (i.e. that gives you a range of 1 to 3).
He's smart, not crazy.


Really? You're putting that scheme in the "not crazy" category? Do you know how I can judge the importance of a call? I look at who's calling.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:27 PM on July 17, 2012 [62 favorites]


Wouldn't it make more sense to have a good 8-Port (or more) powered USB hub to charge most of those devices rather than all the power bricks?
posted by VTX at 1:29 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, prism glasses? I wonder if those are available prescription. This is such an obvious thing but it had never occurred to me. That could do wonders on a long flight.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:30 PM on July 17, 2012


I can't explain exactly why, but I find this delightful in its nerdiness.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:31 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


He could judge the importance of a call based on the pattern of phones that vibrated in his pocket (i.e. that gives you a range of 1 to 3).

Sounds like a sexting thing to me.
posted by mullacc at 1:32 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have the biggest inexplicable soft spot for Steve Wozniak, but if I ever needed to explain it, this would be a start.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:33 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


MIDAIR BEOWULF CLUSTER!
posted by jivadravya at 1:33 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm more than a little younger than Woz, and I ache just thinking about this. Dude should hire a bearer. (You know, like George Rekers, only for real.)
posted by Zed at 1:34 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Really? You're putting that scheme in the "not crazy" category? Do you know how I can judge the importance of a call? I look at who's calling.

Yes, but being able to do it without looking gives you +1 Speed.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:34 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


The article also links to an interesting Q&A with Wozniak, featuring questions submitted by readers. Sample:
Do you still build stuff?

I did build stuff up until a point when I decided to hire a programmer for the major part of a universal remote control I was developing. These days I am very busy in the world trying to inspire young innovators and entrepreneurs and haven't the time for development. The last thing I did was a Segway key burner with my son so I could set my own speed limits. I would need a lot of reeducation to be at the same stage today. It's easier for me now to observe and have opinions and talk about technology to interested people.
posted by BurntHombre at 1:35 PM on July 17, 2012


Oh, and here's a real gem:
Q: Steve in another Gizmodo article you mention how there are a few Gameboy Lights you carry in your traveling bag. What kind of games do you like to play?

A: I only play the original Gameboy Tetris. I buy cartridges on eBay when needed. I have had some stolen and lost. My kids got too good at newer games so I only focus on a few puzzle-like games to be good at them. I was always #1 in the Nintendo Power listings in 1988 and after they said my name had been in there too many times and wouldn't print it again, I spelled my name backwards (Evets Kainzow) and sent in a photo of my score. When I got the magazine I'd forgotten doing this and was worried that a foreigner from the next city over (I used Saratoga instead of Los Gatos so they wouldn't catch on) had a score up in my range. I got worried but then remembered my joke. Whew! It's in some old issue of Nintendo Power Magazine - Gameboy Tetris score, name Evets Kainzow).
posted by BurntHombre at 1:36 PM on July 17, 2012 [35 favorites]


Today I learned that I've carried backpacks that were possibly even more nerdy than Wozniak's, if less expensive and with less MIPS.

He's missing some stuff like multitools, a good knife, maybe a soldering iron and some solder, but then again, yeah, flying post 9/11.

Though I reckon that a nice credit card and/or a stack of $2 bills probably trumps some of the ultralight emergency camping gear like space blankets, paracord and tyvek sheeting that I used to carry around.
posted by loquacious at 1:37 PM on July 17, 2012


The Amazing Lumbar Muscle Fatigue and Lower Back Pain of Steve Wozniak
posted by jpolchlopek at 1:39 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're confused about why he carries all that stuff, he answers some questions in the comments. Lots of the doubles are his partner's. He carries different brands of smart phones because he likes trying out the new ones on the market.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 1:39 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


FYI ...wtf is a $2 bill pad?
posted by shockingbluamp at 1:39 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hoarding is so weird but also totally makes sense under capitalism. Stuff takes the place of religious icons and totems and so forth. It's the physical symbol that we've achieved social success and seems particularly comforting to aging people. It's no wonder so many people hoard crap. This seems about the same as my mom's weird and growing collection of cheap jewelry and pump-dispendser hand soap.
posted by latkes at 1:39 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


mr_roboto: "Do you know how I can judge the importance of a call? I look at who's calling."

Oh, you look. With your eyes? Like an idiot? Here's a call you should answer, its name is haptic feedback. Now that you're sufficiently humbled, let me tell you about the various patterns of thigh-vibrations I've created and what meanings they ha~ hey, come back.
posted by boo_radley at 1:40 PM on July 17, 2012 [31 favorites]


> He's smart, not crazy.

Man I can't wait to be the guy to show him custom vibration patterns.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:40 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dude should hire a bearer.

I'm pretty sure Woz was already Jobs' Samwise.
posted by The World Famous at 1:40 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


All the other stuff, I can kind of reason out. My question is:

What does Woz need a Square attachment for? Does he really find himself needing to accept credit cards? Or by "Square" does he actually just mean something with four sides?
posted by koeselitz at 1:41 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


The World Famous: “I'm pretty sure Woz was already Jobs' Samwise.”

Maybe I'm remembering the movies wrong. Did Samwise actually follow Gollum at some point and carry his stuff?
posted by koeselitz at 1:41 PM on July 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


He's smart, not crazy.

No, I think definitely crazy, and smart but not smart enough to figure out how to carry less crap.
posted by Forktine at 1:43 PM on July 17, 2012


And they scoffed when I dubbed him the manchild who feeds on attention. I imagine him at home, by himself mashing phones together like they're action figures and making sounds PSHEW! PSHEW! CRSHHH!!
posted by basicchannel at 1:43 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Shine on, you crazy diamond" is idiomatically used by us olds to mean something more like " Say, fellow human! Persist in your eccentricity that I do not understand, because your individuality delights me" rather than to suggest disdain, much less mental illness.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:43 PM on July 17, 2012 [41 favorites]


He's smart, not crazy.

They are apparently not exclusive.

If I'm seeing this correctly, amongst the mess he has:

4 iPhones
3 Android phones
2 Garmin GPS
4 portable wifi access points
2 iPads
1 Kindle
2 iPods

That's like 90% overlap in functionality for almost every device there. What can he possibly do with those that he couldn't do with a single phone and tablet? My phone alone (Galaxy Nexus) can replace 11 devices in that list. Really 15 considering I don't really need both an Android and iPhone.

This is Hoarding 2.0.
posted by chundo at 1:44 PM on July 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


He sustained a v significant head injury if not actual brain damage(?) in a plane crash in the 80s, no? I've always thought he was a bit odd in a v nice way because of that: reduced inhibitions and that perpetual smile etc (I'd be happy all the time too if I'd done what he's done, mind). Just a thought
posted by peacay at 1:44 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


...AND A PARTRIDGE RUNNING ON USB.
posted by griphus at 1:45 PM on July 17, 2012 [44 favorites]


So this guy has an iphone like the rest of us, except his has multiple networks, runs ios and android, plays gameboy games, can resize itself anywhere between 3.5" and 13", and can withstand at least four corner-down falls to concrete.

The downside is that it weighs about 50 lbs and is essentially impossible to carry around, much less use.

One wonders why a pretty smart guy would do such a thing.
posted by felix at 1:45 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


He sustained a v significant head injury if not actual brain damage(?) in a plane crash in the 80s, no?

Holy shit that explains a lot.
posted by basicchannel at 1:46 PM on July 17, 2012


The $2 bill fetish also bemuses me (and rubber cementing them into a pad is just so...something).

I knew someone in college who had a thing for $2 bills, and people routinely asked to borrow $5 from his just to hear him say "I could give you $4...or $6..."
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:47 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think the bluetooth mouse will be the straw that saves this camel's back. Once he realizes that he doesn't need to carry it around since he doesn't use it much, it will unleash a realization that he doesn't need 99% of that crap and he'll ditch the backpack, thus attaining en-lighten-ment.
posted by perhapses at 1:47 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


> Now that you're sufficiently humbled, let me tell you about the various patterns of thigh-vibrations I've created and what meanings they ha~

My system even IDs the phantom vibrations.
posted by jfuller at 1:48 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


my bag beeper for locating my suitcase

I wonder what kind of mileage his suitcase gets.
posted by zamboni at 1:48 PM on July 17, 2012


It's his security blanket, isn't it? He just wants to be double/triple/septuple sure he can be plugged in at all times.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:48 PM on July 17, 2012


"I don't know when they first had feeds. Like maybe, fifty or a hundred years ago. Before that, they had to use their hands and their eyes. Computers were all outside the body. They carried them around outside of them, in their hands, like if you carried your lungs in a briefcase and opened it to breathe." (M.T. Anderson, FEED)
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:49 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


> "Hoarding is so weird but also totally makes sense under capitalism."

Actually, this is loving what you do so much that you carry around examples all the time to inspire you and for you to pick apart etc. As he mentioned:

"I have to say one thing. It's easy to discover how many new ideas are being applied to gadgets these days if you can afford to buy a lot of them. It's a sacrifice."

Doesn't sound like hoarding to me.
posted by user92371 at 1:52 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I often tell my patients that mental illness is really a matter of perspective from whatever is currently being called "normal" and whether the way your brain works is causing problems for you. Woz appears to be a perfect illustration of an eccentric, who might, given some other set of conditions, occupy a very different social stratum.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:54 PM on July 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


We're being a little unfair to the guy; I mean, for one thing, take the iPhones. People keep saying HE HAS FOUR IPHONES! but – well, that is not true. He has two. He just carries his wife's two iPhones, too. And I've known lots of people who had two iPhones, one for work and one for personal stuff. That really isn't so weird, I don't think.

And also – dude thinks cell phones are neat. I have often thought that it'd be cool to have an Android, just to check out the stuff I could do with it. So he has the money to give in to such whims. That's awesome.

I really don't think this is as weird as people are making it out to be. Outlandish, yes, and kind of unconventional, but not evidence of mental problems.
posted by koeselitz at 1:57 PM on July 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


I really don't think this is as weird as people are making it out to be. Outlandish, yes, and kind of unconventional, but not evidence of mental problems.

Agreed. When I travel with my kids, I have nearly that many electronic devices in my bag, including my own iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPod Shuffle, laptop for work, and netbook for personal use. And I'm not even one of the founding fathers of modern computing.
posted by The World Famous at 2:04 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


A man with one GPS knows where he is. A man with two is never quite sure.
posted by JackFlash at 2:06 PM on July 17, 2012 [36 favorites]


Yeah, but at least he knows his momentum.
posted by Zed at 2:07 PM on July 17, 2012 [13 favorites]


Previously - and I think in his case I think the answer is "yes".

I think also he's basically how a high level character in the Laundry RPG would end up if the Keeper wasn't bothering with encumber meant rules.
posted by Artw at 2:08 PM on July 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


From the comments:

"I've a friend who uses military backpacks that can fit more stuff than that, but this is pretty cray cray. "

LOL
posted by Windopaene at 2:08 PM on July 17, 2012


I think also he's basically how a high level character in the Laundry RPG would end up if the Keeper wasn't bothering with encumber meant rules.

I liked this sentence better before I parsed all the words and was reading it as "I think he's basically a high level character in the Laundry RPG."
posted by Zed at 2:11 PM on July 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


He basically is.
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on July 17, 2012


He's the engineering equivalent of a cat lady.
posted by klanawa at 2:17 PM on July 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


/considers level of taste involved in a backstory involving Wozniak performing computational mathematics in his own head to defeat a mid-air demonic attack by, I dunno, moon nazis or something and resulting K-Syndrome.
posted by Artw at 2:18 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would have expected a usb scope, signal generator, piers, arduino type stuff, etc... I guess he's past the hardware hacking phase?
posted by MikeWarot at 2:19 PM on July 17, 2012


While it's remarkable for the quantity (and degree of replication), I'm a bit disappointed there's nothing particularly distinctive in itself there; nothing only Woz would be likely to have.

I don't know, the Gameboys and link cables are interesting for how old they are. If I remember right, the GBLs are a variant of the Game Boy Pocket -- not color. Wikipedia reminds us that Nintendo didn't make any other systems with backlights until the DS. That backlight must really be important to him.

I wonder what he uses these for. We're talking about a man who has designed 8-bit computers and invented disk drive encoding formats, among many other things, so I wouldn't doubt it if he's severely hacked all these devices. But it's possible he's just got a really good game for it (he does pencil puzzles so it's possible there's an imported copy of Mario's Picross in there), and the multiple systems for impromptu multiplayer.

Anyway, this post reminds me of how awesome Steve Wozinak is.
posted by JHarris at 2:22 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


WTF is a "hard rock card"?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:27 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it like the right to play Hendrix or Zep whenever you want?
posted by mrgrimm at 2:27 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


As a frequent traveler who seldom checks baggage I naively thought carry on was limited to 10 Kg. This opens whole new opportunities for me to return to over packing. Some airlines allow almost 23 Kg carry on--although I can not imagine why you would want more than 10 or 15
posted by rmhsinc at 2:29 PM on July 17, 2012


Plenty of Game Boy Advanced models had backlights. The SP+ even plays (original) Gameboy and Gameboy Color games.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:30 PM on July 17, 2012


WTF is a "hard rock card"?

I believe Mr. Woz may frequent a TGI style eatery.
posted by Artw at 2:33 PM on July 17, 2012


That's like 90% overlap in functionality for almost every device there. What can he possibly do with those that he couldn't do with a single phone and tablet? My phone alone (Galaxy Nexus) can replace 11 devices in that list. Really 15 considering I don't really need both an Android and iPhone.

1. I wouldn't doubt if the Woz got free Apple products for life, so we can take the notion of expense off of many of those things at least.
2. Wifi hardware can be hit-and-miss. Having multiple spots, made by different people, can increase the possibility of people, esp. large numbers of people, connecting.
3. Multiple devices -- maybe some are rooted/jailbroken and some aren't? Maybe some belong to his wife? Maybe some are for lending for multiplayer gaming on the road?

Plenty of Game Boy Advanced models had backlights.

According to the Wikipedia, those had frontlights.
posted by JHarris at 2:35 PM on July 17, 2012


Both the Gameboy Micro and the later Gameboy SP (aka the SP+ or SP2, model #AGS-101) have backlit screens.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:41 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's weird that he carries a book of pencil puzzles when he's got ten devices that can run some pretty good puzzle apps -- as good or better than any printed ones.

My carry-on typically weighs three pounds maximum on the way out, and 75 pounds on the way back -- when it's full of LPs.
posted by Fnarf at 2:48 PM on July 17, 2012


JHarris: “Wikipedia reminds us that Nintendo didn't make any other systems with backlights until the DS. That backlight must really be important to him.”

2bucksplus: “Plenty of Game Boy Advanced models had backlights. The SP+ even plays (original) Gameboy and Gameboy Color games... Both the Gameboy Micro and the later Gameboy SP (aka the SP+ or SP2, model #AGS-101) have backlit screens.”

Yep. That's why JHarris (and Wikipedia) said until the DS. Those came out after the DS.
posted by koeselitz at 2:49 PM on July 17, 2012


An awful lot of people in this thread have an awful lot of unsolicited advice for Woz.
posted by jscott at 2:52 PM on July 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


my bad then, sorry
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:59 PM on July 17, 2012


An awful lot of people in this thread have an awful lot of unsolicited advice for Woz.

How did that picture get made?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:07 PM on July 17, 2012


Fnarf: "I think it's weird that he carries a book of pencil puzzles when he's got ten devices that can run some pretty good puzzle apps"

Woz is the type of guy who actually listens when they say to turn off your devices for take-off and landing, even though he knows better.

I fear this is the start of a chuck norris-style meme
posted by danny the boy at 3:10 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Speaking of lovable eccentrics of the tech world, what ever happened to Richard Stallman's stolen bag? I suppose "it was never heard from again" is typical in this sort of situation, but I was curious if it would ever turn up again.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:11 PM on July 17, 2012


Did somebody post a link to the epic backpack contents one metafilter user posted a couple years ago? The most useful item I have found is a flashlight with live batteries. I stumble across at least one person a month trying to do something impossible which is ridiculously easy with a flashlight.
posted by bukvich at 3:14 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh god. It wasn't moon nazis - its totally obvious who it would be.

This is going to be controversial.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on July 17, 2012


Okay, but I don't get it that Woz could easily build his own multi-port USB charger. Why use packs and packs of them? I don't get it, expecially if he is pulling out extension cords and splitters all the time.
posted by Napierzaza at 3:26 PM on July 17, 2012


We're being a little unfair to the guy; I mean, for one thing, take the iPhones. People keep saying HE HAS FOUR IPHONES! but – well, that is not true. He has two. He just carries his wife's two iPhones, too. And I've known lots of people who had two iPhones, one for work and one for personal stuff. That really isn't so weird, I don't think.

I love Woz, and I'm not sure 'weird' is the correct word here because it tends to have negative connotations. But if we're going as weird simply being different than joe average, carrying 4 iPhones is definitely weird.

I know a lot people have iPhones. I know zero that have two. You know a lot of people that have two, but I'm guessing if we ask random people on the street we'd find carrying two iPhones to be pretty rare. If we increase that to 4 iPhones, no matter if you're carrying them for others, we're going to have trouble finding anyone that does that.

The man is carrying 4 iPhones. That's kind of awesome, but definitely so far out of the norm as to be very weird. Nothing unfair about it.
posted by justgary at 3:31 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Woz has clearly never flown RyanAir.
<may the blessed sky goddess never call upon me to fly them again>
posted by jeffburdges at 3:34 PM on July 17, 2012


I think it's weird that he carries a book of pencil puzzles when he's got ten devices that can run some pretty good puzzle apps -- as good or better than any printed ones.

I have never met a puzzle app that comes close to replicating the solving flexibility of a sheet of paper.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:41 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not obvious from the the thread on Gizmodo, but he's spending an entire day answering people's questions while in Indonesia for a speaking engagement. This is his portable office.
posted by Phssthpok at 3:48 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


i have a complete run of Nintendo Power. when i get home from work, i'm going to find that high score table and post a picture of it.
posted by radiosilents at 3:51 PM on July 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


Yep. That's why JHarris (and Wikipedia) said until the DS. Those came out after the DS.

Well honestly I had forgotten they came out after the DS, heh. It's easy to forget now that Nintendo took a big risk with that device: the first mass-marketed gaming device with two screens, one a touchscreen gasp shock, a microphone, etc. And the initial model, now often called the "Phat" by fans, was surprisingly large for a portable device. And they even abandoned the Game Boy trademark for some reason despite the long and respected history and positive customer associations with that name.

So, Nintendo hedged their bets and made two more GBA models after the DS, and put GBA compatibility into the DS Phat and Lite too. Of course then the DS took off and exceeded even sales of the GBA, and so now the GBA seems almost like an afterthought. The GBA Micro, particularly, seems like an odd duck -- a belt-buckle-sized Gameboy Advance marketed more as a fashion accessory than a system (it had a changeable faceplate), and wasn't some niche rare Japan-only model but was actually on store shelves in the US. I expect now it'd be pretty rare, although not as rare as that weird Pokemon pedometer thay made once.
posted by JHarris at 4:11 PM on July 17, 2012


Did somebody post a link to the epic backpack contents one metafilter user posted a couple years ago?

That may have been me. I don't really do that any more.

I used to do it because of a combination of being homeless or mostly homeless, hyper-vigilant and last because of "Adventure Time!"

In a small shoulder gadget bag (map/guide bag, Eddie Bauer) I could pack: A netbook, a mouse, a camera, spare batteries, a charger, GPS, a first aid kit, water purification tablets, magnesium block fire-starter, a good folding knife, enough small tools to fix just about anything electronic or even a bike or even small car problems, a space blanket, tyvek ground sheet, paracord, clips and more. Oh, and at least one good flashlight and/or a headlamp.

I also grew up in earthquake country and nearly made Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts.

But more than once I was invited to join folks on random camping trips or outdoor gatherings and I didn't have to go home. I'd just take off with whatever was in my bag and grab some food and water along the way to wherever we were going (usually the Mojave Desert) and I'd already have enough supplies for shelter from the heat of the sun and would just bivouac between a pair of bushes or up against a rock.

If it was cold I'd wrap the space blanket around me and sleep on the Tyvek ground sheet. If it was hot I'd fly the space blanket between bushes or rocks with the paracord and use it as a sunshade. If shit really hit the fan I could purify water or even make snares and traps for food, or a rock-throwing sling, which is really handy if you know how to use one.

But, yeah, I don't pack like that anymore unless I'm going camping. I've learned how to leave my visible knapsack at home. Though I'm still usually carrying a flashlight and a decent pocket knife, because with those two things you can solve nearly any short term survival problem.
posted by loquacious at 4:14 PM on July 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


If we increase that to 4 iPhones, no matter if you're carrying them for others, we're going to have trouble finding anyone that does that.
Not even Woz.

Every device shown, I carry in my pockets or in my backpack all the time except:

• 2 iPhones, an iPod nano and an iPad belonging to Janet.

posted by zamboni at 4:22 PM on July 17, 2012


Yes, Woz is an outlier, and perhaps an eccentric, but the explanations given for his having multiple devices mostly make sense to me. However, it does look like some of his cabling and charging could be consolidated. I found the list of non-tech items he carries - pencils, sharpies, toiletries, etc - equally interesting, and at the same time, reassuringly mundane.

I do wonder about the backpack, though - it seems like Woz could afford to have some sort of ultra-cool custom-built carrying case made for all this gear. Or maybe even a Batman-style utility belt, but with multiple iPhones instead of gas grenades and Batarangs.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 4:24 PM on July 17, 2012


It wasn't moon nazis - its totally obvious who it would be. This is going to be controversial.

Too soon. (But does it also involve what was found in the Sarawak Chamber and the real reason behind the Iran-Hostage Crisis?) er, I mean, Too soon.
posted by Zed at 4:26 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I recently took a sort of semi-vacation wrapped around the task of picking up the minty old full-sized pickup truck I bought sight-unseen from a friend of a friend living in Bluefield, West Virginia. My default luggage when I travel is a Rick Steves-branded bag with handles and shoulder straps that's sized to fit within the carry-on limits of every airline, and I've been modifying it over the last eight years, stitching in a pocket here and a compartment there according to my needs.

When I pack, I tend to go light on clothing, as I wear some variant of the same outfit all the time and never go to churches or fancy restaurants, and I don't mind doing a little mid-trip laundry if necessary. I find that I overpack technologically, though, and occasionally make note of such when I find I'm on a trip with a phone, an iPad, two iPod Touches, an iPod Nano, and an iPod Shuffle, as well as a high quality field recorder, a camera, chargers, various adaptors and interfaces, and roughly five pounds of cables.

Sometimes I bring a tiny musical keyboard, too. For writing, I have an Apple Wireless Keyboard that's not bad in use, except that the jerks who designed it made it so easy to accidentally turn on (thus turning on your iPad, which just sits in your bag, switched on, getting hotter and hotter and hotter), and I have a little easel I got for five bucks at the five buck store that lets me set up the perfect machine for writing (in proper portrait mode—not freaking widescreen movie-watching stupidity like all modern laptops) wherever I can find a place to sit and write.

With all the machinery, it weighs a ton, and since I'm morally opposed to those embarrassing wheelie bags that add ten pounds of hardware and waste a quarter of your bag, a long walk from the train station to the motel on the cheaper side of town can necessitate an hour with the e-reader in a scalding hot but lamentably shallow tub.

On this recent trip, I overpacked again, bringing along a Nord Micro Modular, a Doepfer Pocket Control, a netbook, an Electro-Harmonix Freeze, an Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai, a Boss RC-3, the aforementioned tiny musical keyboard loaded with an iPod Touch, and a cute little blue Korg Pandora PX3, which I use as a headphone amp when I'm out and about. It's all a symptom of my managing to book a live show the day after my trip, so I dragged along the bulk of my live rig so I could practice on the train, and then in the motel.

Sheesh, the lugging

Walked out of my house, lugged the monstrous bag half a mile to the MARC station, then got on a shockingly packed commuter train (it's different, going from Laurel to DC instead of to Baltimore!), then lugged the monstrous bag from waaaaaay down the platform, then lugged it around Union Station, killing time while I waited for the Amtrak Cardinal. Once on...whew, there's an outlet.

The funny thing was that I essentially stayed within the icy realm of the iPad virtually the whole time. I roughly assembled my signal path, fooled around a bit, then found I rather enjoyed just working within the confines of the iPad, sampling from my iPod to pull loops and atmospheric sounds to edit and mutate. You really could do a whole gig from that thing, though it'd look even more like accounting than what I usually do. It's an eight hour ride, so I wrote a little, worked on music for quite a while, reread Something Wicked This Way Comes on the nook, and spent a couple hours in a nice conversation with a Mennonite farmer who got on in Virginia.

I overpack because the thrill of compression is so intense—what I do musically with this little knot of music boxes is more than what I used to manage with a Citroën packed to the gills with full-sized keyboards and effects racks and stands and cases and what-not. It's hard not to be a little giddy, at least for a guy my age, to have more computing power than the US government had in the fifties in my luggage, as well as more technology than the Beatles ever had for any album, and more modular synthesizer than Wendy Carlos had at her fingertips in her golden age...and yet, I'm sticking to the rule I've created for myself—If I do a decent gig and I don't miss (or use) a piece of hardware, it's out.

I got home in time for the derecho to tear up my house and yard, then repacked my gear into its road case for the show. It took me forever to get there, because every single traffic light in Montgomery County was out and I'd already had to swap my lovely new truck for my teeny Barbie roadster because it was out of gas and every gas station was swamped with people from nearby trying to fuel their generators, and I was tense in a way that was reflected in the music I made, as is always the case for my ambient sets (not omitting the fact that I had a hummy cable that I couldn't fix, so the core of that set is an endless 60hz hum), but it was a good little meander that I was comfortable with when it was done.

I fantasize about what I call my "train case rig." I've had a fixation on train cases since my grandmother would show up with her navy blue Lady Baltimore train case, and it's become the MacGuffin of my daydreams. Just a single smart little case with a vintage flair that I can carry with a certain swagger into a venue where everyone's plugging cables and boxes and devices and everything and screw onto a microphone stand. I'll chuck out a pair of cables to the DI, straighten the gooseneck for a microphone, fire up the machines, and tell some damn good yarns before I fold it all up again, unscrew it from the stand, and stroll off the stage like the Cat in the Hat (bearing in mind that I, being of non-douchie mind and body, stay for the entire evening to which I've been invited, unlike certain icky characters).

One day...one day.

Hell, I may even affect a hat perched at a rakish angle, with a feather, even.

Until then, I try to ask myself a few simple questions. Am I really going to need four iPods? Do I really need to bring a nook and an iPad, the eye-saving pleasure of e-paper notwithstanding? Am I really going to string together a rig on which the Beatles could have composed an accomplished sequel to Abbey Road on the train or in some two-bit motel in Bluefield, West Virginia?

I live in the world of the future. Sometimes the kid wins out.
posted by sonascope at 5:52 PM on July 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


The next time I get $100 together, I am totally making a $2 bill pad.
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:15 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just amazed he doesnt carry two laptops, a MacBook Air for "pleasure" and a MBP or something for "work". I know tons of folks who do.
posted by the cydonian at 7:48 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh damn, what was I forgetting? I had something else and I forgot it.
posted by boo_radley at 8:05 PM on July 17, 2012


Nintendo powerglove.
posted by Artw at 8:08 PM on July 17, 2012


I don't understand, Janet can't carry her own phones? What does she do when Steve isn't around, use a pay phone?
posted by c13 at 8:12 PM on July 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


She can afford a bearer.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:27 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


On this recent trip, I overpacked again, bringing along a Nord Micro Modular, a Doepfer Pocket Control, a netbook, an Electro-Harmonix Freeze, an Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai, a Boss RC-3, the aforementioned tiny musical keyboard loaded with an iPod Touch, and a cute little blue Korg Pandora PX3, which I use as a headphone amp when I'm out and about.

I knew this was your comment before I got to this paragraph, but this one removed all doubt.

I fantasize about what I call my "train case rig."

I've seen a few people do exactly this. Usually a vintage hard-shell case where everything has a place inside and it's like a lunchbox form-factor luggable computer, but for live electronic music. I think they usually unplug and secure things for transport, but it makes it easy to set up the entire rig off stage and even do a personal sound check and just walk that last few feet with your USB, 1/4" or RCA patches wired up inside and just throw your stereo pair to the front of house or DJ board or grab whatever they're using on stage.

For me this portable music box concept came through with just a netbook and a Korg NanoKontrol that someone lent me, perhaps with a field recorder lent to me by the same friend. I can DJ with it, I can perform or record in Ableton and I can capture and record high quality audio.

I can noodle with a little pocket recording desk, DJ rig and highly flexible electronic music production for hours basically anywhere. I've ended up DJing house parties or renegade parties just because I had the tools with me and knew what I was doing, and I can slip a DJ set in damn near anywhere that can accept some form of audio line-in. They don't even need a mixer or DJ stand/desk. I can happily sit or lay on the floor or DJ standing up using a barstool as a table. At this point I could probably throw a guitar strap on a netbook like it was a keytar and DJ/play standing up.

My same friend who lent me the kit above has a very nice professional field recorder, like the kind you find on a nice movie set. Like all good film-grade equipment looks like a piece of military hardware used to talk to missile launchers or something and weighs like 20 pounds and is about the size of an old school brick-style laptop.

But he flies with it basically wherever, because doing field recording for audio/music experimentation is what he does for fun instead of taking pictures or video or something. But he gets a lot of weird hassle about it because it's not something that the average person carries around with him.

My point being is Wozniak flies with a lot of gadgets. For all we know he likes to play Tetris and read books at the same time. Or he has multiple phones so he can hand one to someone else to play with or play a head to head game like Scrabble or something, or borrow to check their email. Or provide internet to an entire room full of people.

He probably carries multiple GameBoy classics with interlink to play Tetris head to head with people.

I actually highly respect that, because Tetris on the original GameBoy is about as close to the original two player arcade version as you'll ever get in a portable form factor. You can't really replicate that feel of a real 8 bit machine with real buttons. The timing is all different compared to emulators. On a real machine it's hard and precise like a clock. Emulators are mushy.

If there's anyone left alive who has earned the right to carry however many gadgets they want to carry around, it's Woz. I can't imagine a world where the Apple I and II didn't happen and set the tone and bar for huge companies like IBM left scrambling to play catch up.
posted by loquacious at 8:47 PM on July 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sadly, this just makes me want to buy a Brenthaven backpack. It's a sickness, I know. Next stop, backpack therapy...
posted by blurker at 8:48 PM on July 17, 2012


Has his iPad (on the left) been jail-broken? That isn't the regular home screen.
posted by rh at 9:32 PM on July 17, 2012


no mini helicopter? that's no way to travel
posted by BobbyGreenMusic at 9:54 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear Metafilter - I went and looked.

Steve Wozniak's highscore for Gameboy Tetris - Nintendo Power vol26 July 1991
posted by radiosilents at 10:29 PM on July 17, 2012 [24 favorites]


LOLMENTALHEALTHSPECULATION, really?
posted by vidur at 11:37 PM on July 17, 2012


Dear god, I had that issue and never suspected. Way to go Woz!
posted by JHarris at 11:56 PM on July 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


rh: Has his iPad (on the left) been jail-broken? That isn't the regular home screen.

It's difficult to discern in that picture, but I wouldn't be surprised. During the fourth season of "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List" Woz jailbroke Griffin's iPhone. Here's the video clip.
posted by Fofer at 12:14 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


A friend posted this to Facebook earlier and tagged me in her comment.... so now I have to take a similar picture of my backpack and label it so friends can laugh at me.. including the EDC gear. It's easier to shrug when people ask why I have 50 feet of paracord, multiple pairs of rubber gloves, etc, in my pack than to kick myself for *not* having that stuff with me when I might run into a situation and need it.

With two GPS units, Woz can know EXACTLY where he is..

I freely admit to having a bag/backpack problem, having spent at least a grand with Red Oxx since discovering their gear about nine months ago. This leaves me with a few Crumpler and Timbuk2 backpacks that I need to give away...
posted by mrbill at 12:49 AM on July 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


> I freely admit to having a bag/backpack problem, having spent at least a grand with Red Oxx since discovering their gear about nine months ago.

WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SHOW ME THAT.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:14 AM on July 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't understand, Janet can't carry her own phones? What does she do when Steve isn't around, use a pay phone?

Where are you folks getting this? Woz specifically says he doesn't carry Janet's phones.
posted by zamboni at 8:20 AM on July 18, 2012


sonascope and loquacious: can I humbly request that you start doing a podcast together? You can talk or do music or both. I'm pretty sure it would be the best thing ever.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:06 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


sonascope and loquacious: can I humbly request that you start doing a podcast together? You can talk or do music or both. I'm pretty sure it would be the best thing ever.

Seconded. And can I please, please, please be one of your guests?
posted by The World Famous at 9:09 AM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Has his iPad (on the left) been jail-broken? That isn't the regular home screen.

hmmm...doesn't really look like a home screen at all...it looks like iPhoto or some other gallery program...
posted by sexyrobot at 9:15 AM on July 18, 2012


zamboni: “Where are you folks getting this? Woz specifically says he doesn't carry Janet's phones.”

A lot of us are just looking at the photo, I think. I know I was.
posted by koeselitz at 9:33 AM on July 18, 2012


Am I the only one who read through the article specifically to look for neat gadgets I could buy?
posted by grouse at 9:53 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who read through the article specifically to look for neat gadgets I could buy?
Me too. As someone else mentioned, I'm a little disappointed there weren't a few OMG mystery items that I didn't know existed until now, but now desperately need.

Does make you wonder if the really cool stuff is back at his secret lair, though. Say, 37 3-D printers, 11 hoverboards, and 6 holodecks?
posted by Davenhill at 12:12 PM on July 18, 2012


> Am I the only one who read through the article specifically to look for neat gadgets I could buy?

I am currently interviewing for a job that will require more travel, so I've been following packing / business travel nerd blogs. I can't see why I'd need anything more than an 11" air, iPad, and iPhone. Well, maybe a GX1. And a Kindle. And possibly a Nexus 7 if I had to start supporting those.

OH GOD THIS IS HOW IT STARTS
posted by mrzarquon at 1:05 PM on July 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


What's not in the picture is the full-size UPS that he carries in the other backpack. Which he wears on his front.
posted by bendy at 1:09 PM on July 18, 2012


WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SHOW ME THAT.

I've cursed (in a joyful manner) the friend who told me about Red Oxx a few times now. I'm really tough on luggage, and tend to be really picky about what I buy.

I've written about my bag habit, and have acquired a Sky Train and a Rock Hopper since the most recent entry...
posted by mrbill at 3:41 PM on July 19, 2012


Wait, prism glasses? I wonder if those are available prescription.

My regular glasses are part prism since my eyeballs are different sizes or something. So, unless Woz means something different by "prism" than my optometrist, yes they are. Annoyingly, prism lenses are not covered by my reasonably comprehensive eye care insurance.
posted by town of cats at 7:36 PM on July 19, 2012


He's talking about the ones that have prisms that stick out and let you lie flat on your back and watch TV in the reflection of the prisms. Like this.

You could probably just put them on over regular glasses, like you would with the 3D glasses at a movie.
posted by The World Famous at 7:44 PM on July 19, 2012


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