Wozniak prints his own $2 legal tender, somehow.
August 4, 2012 11:25 PM   Subscribe

Steve Wozniak produces and uses his own two dollar bills. You've seen novelty $2 bill note paper. It's often gummed for easy removal and usage. Same with these bills, but these are legal tender. Woz goes on to detail other situations where printing interesting things has led to fun and profit.
posted by fieldcannotbeblank (66 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
it doesn't seem like he actually prints them.. the last paragraph in the writeup says he buys them from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, so they're actually the ones making it, which is how it's legal. you can buy 'em direct if you want (though they seem to be out of the $2 sheets right now). you'll have to pad and perforate them yourself though.
posted by mrg at 11:42 PM on August 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's often gummed for easy removal and usage

IIpads
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:42 PM on August 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


He doesn't print his own legal tender. He buys sheets of $2 bills from the Bureau of Printing and Engraving and has his printer cut the sheets of bills, perforates the sheets so that individual bills can be torn off and binds them into a pad.

The Engadget guy has no clue and misleads people thinking Woz prints his own money but the printer only does cutting and binding.
posted by Talez at 11:43 PM on August 4, 2012 [35 favorites]


Granted, Woz doesn't make that entirely clear in the interview either.
posted by cthuljew at 11:45 PM on August 4, 2012


You are right! It is very ambiguous how he goes about this process. Interesting though. I wonder if you could fly out of the country with no problem holding these?
posted by fieldcannotbeblank at 11:49 PM on August 4, 2012


I had to stop watching - the interviewer was constantly interrupting Woz and it got on my nerves.
posted by YAMWAK at 11:50 PM on August 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


It is very ambiguous how he goes about this process

Well you buy them from the BEP as uncut sheets, take them to your local printer and ask them to cut them, perforate them, stick them in whatever format you'd like.

I'm sure you could have singles bound together like postit notes to be peeled off from the pile if you really wanted to.

I wonder if you could fly out of the country with no problem holding these?

So long as you're flying out with less than $10K of it.
posted by Talez at 11:58 PM on August 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


He probably gets them the same way my grandmother has for the past 30 years: at the bank from a teller. I can't be the only person looking forward to $2 in my birthday card each year.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:31 AM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Woz seems kind of annoying.
posted by dumbland at 12:46 AM on August 5, 2012 [14 favorites]


dumbland - yeah, I thought that too. in the linked post at his own site he basically describes having a bunch of standard techniques for fucking with people.

My answer was also so emotionless as to confuse him about me, and to make me seem even more evasive. This, again, I do for a comedic effect.

ummm, yeah.
posted by russm at 12:55 AM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Woz seems kind of annoying.

He's definitely of a type. If you've spent a lot of time with talented science/technology people, you're familiar with the type.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:03 AM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pranking is, at it's core, a potentially annoying undertaking. Your annoyance may be lessened by how funny you find the prank to be, but only if you find it funny.

Perforated $2 are pretty funny to me. But the trick to the prank is in the reveal -- it's whether or not you make the person feel like you are now letting them in on the joke, or you were going to string them along as long as possible to make them look maximally foolish. The latter has a high risk of backfiring.

MeFi's own Woz seems like he enjoys stretching out a prank for as long as he can. I imagine he gets quite a few backfires as a result.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:36 AM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Handing a secret service agent a self-printed fake DoD ("Department of Defiance") photo ID? Now that takes 8-bit balls.
posted by zippy at 1:43 AM on August 5, 2012


Woz has been telling this story for a while. I was at HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth) in 2004, and he told a long story about his $2 bill pranks. Direct link here (audio only...the whole talk is entertaining, a lot about the history of Apple as well as pranking).
posted by dubitable at 1:55 AM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I remember this idea from… what's it called, Sneaky Feats or something. That book was somehow pivotal to my development.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:42 AM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can imagine this being annoying, yes. But it's also great. Wozniak is kind of a personal hero.
posted by JHarris at 3:00 AM on August 5, 2012


Now that takes 8-bit balls.
So...a cube?
posted by GoingToShopping at 3:02 AM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


MeFi's own Woz

I'm not sure that Woz actually hangs out here. Last I heard, he tried to pay his $5 membership fee with a couple of self-printed $2 bills, two buffalo nickles, a postage stamp, three subway tickets, and a handful of Linden dollars.

I think Jessamyn kicked him out, but I'm not sure.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:04 AM on August 5, 2012 [14 favorites]


So are the sheets being out of stock just bad luck, or did the site get Wozzed?

Digg:Dugg::Wozniak:Wozzed
posted by BiggerJ at 3:13 AM on August 5, 2012


you can buy 'em direct if you want

Went to the site. Added some sheets to a shopping cart. Laughed when I realized I couldn't get a discount for buying in bulk.

There has to be some place that sells money cheaper than this!
posted by hal9k at 3:30 AM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Here's more.
posted by HuronBob at 3:49 AM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Woz was a black-hat and phreak before he was the beloved founder and elder statesman of the personal computing movement. The Apple II itself is best viewed as a vicious prank played on corporate and academic technologists.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:47 AM on August 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Engadget guy has no clue and misleads people thinking Woz prints his own money but the printer only does cutting and binding.

It's not the Engadget guy who is doing the misleading. Pretending to forge bills is the prank being performed on both the vendors and the audience. It's irony, the audience laughing at the victims of the fake bill gag are themselves victims of the gag.
posted by howfar at 6:19 AM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are printers and there are printers. But only one of them would be offended by the mis-categorization.
posted by tommasz at 6:21 AM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


-victims-

Now there's a word whose meaning has grown in latitude over the years.
posted by peacay at 6:25 AM on August 5, 2012


"Victim" has held the meaning of "a person deceived by something" for so long I can't imagine why you'd find its use in a manner found in every dictionary worthy of comment.
posted by howfar at 6:31 AM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I remember this idea from… what's it called, Sneaky Feats or something.

I remember that too. You can do it slightly more cheaply with ones.
posted by jessamyn at 6:42 AM on August 5, 2012


I can't be the only person looking forward to $2 in my birthday card each year. posted by 2bucksplus

Spontaneously.
posted by JMOZ at 6:48 AM on August 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think this is cool, but doesn't Woz get tired of doing this after doing it for years? I would get bored.
posted by grouse at 6:48 AM on August 5, 2012


Err, eponysterical. Damned auto-correct
posted by JMOZ at 6:53 AM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


howfar, the meaning of the word "meaning" in the context that I used it might be thought to veer more towards 'editorial choice' and was kind of an inference or musing about commentary in general I guess, but it's one of those words that is part of the media lexicon. So I wasn't casting aspersions on your usage in particular.

It's just that one chooses to use that word as a descriptor noun and it might be for people injured in car accidents or, more absurdly, in a way, as now, when talking about an episode of silliness where 'victim' is an um interesting choice. It's my suggestion that the usage of a word like this has evolved over the last few decades to become more of a weapon, in the rhetorical sense, to bolster a speaker's point of view according to whether they have sympathy or wish to convey their support for the object under discussion. And I think it's because of the way that the media uses it that accounts for this. But now that I'm explaining it, it reads better as first expressed: as a small sidebar thought.
posted by peacay at 7:08 AM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Woz is very careful in the language he's using. He's not lying, but he's saying in a way that's meant to deceive. "I got a printer in my home town of Los Gatos, California to make these pads for me, and I got him the supplies from a higher quality printer." The Bureau of Printing and Engraving is indeed a higher quality printer, and the printer in Los Gatos did make the pads, and the sheets of $2 bills are supplies in the sense that they are given to the printer to perforate and gum into a pad.

It's kind of ingenious because it both makes it sound like he's doing something totally bonkers, but at the same time you can't say that he's lying either. The interviewer and the audience eats it right out of his palm.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:25 AM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's my suggestion that the usage of a word like this has evolved over the last few decades to become more of a weapon

Maybe. Certainly not how I was using it. The original gag is a little bit lame, but the second-order gag that makes the audience its dupes (better? probably not) is quite funny.

As to your point, one might argue that the notion of victimhood, with its sacrificial connotations, is inherently politicised. Nietzsche's interpretation of Christian morality regarded the notion of victimhood as the basis for inclusion in the moral in-group, so your concern is not without precedent.
posted by howfar at 7:28 AM on August 5, 2012


MeFi's own Woz

Terrific. Can we trade him in now or sell and split the cash?
posted by hal9k at 7:34 AM on August 5, 2012


Fun, but that was one of the worst interviewers I've ever seen.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:37 AM on August 5, 2012


Am I the only one who thinks a $2 tip from a billionaire is pretty effin' cheap? He does his bit, grandly ripping off a bill from the pad and everyone's so distracted they don't realize they're being screwed.
posted by pentagoet at 7:49 AM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's definitely of a type. If you've spent a lot of time with talented science/technology people, you're familiar with the type.

He seems like a sort of manic pixie dream nerd, tbh.
posted by elizardbits at 7:49 AM on August 5, 2012 [12 favorites]


Terrific. Can we trade him in now or sell and split the cash?

Only if you don't mind being paid in pads of $2 bills
posted by briank at 8:26 AM on August 5, 2012


Did something similar last Christmas for my nephew. Got fifty new $2 bills from the bank and padded them together. I put the pad in an old checkbook. He thought it was great, although he keeps asking me when I'm going to refill his checkbook.
posted by Marky at 8:26 AM on August 5, 2012


MeFi's own stevewoz (emlinkened).
posted by Nelson at 8:27 AM on August 5, 2012


When i was a kid in the late 70s, my father had a paperback joke book full of ideas like this...including instructions on how to get crisp new bills from the bank and use mesh, glue and the stub left over from a block of checks to make it look like you were tearing out singles as if they were checks. At the time, the book was already years old. Perhaps Woz had this same book.
posted by davejay at 9:33 AM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Smart people have their own sort of humor. The fact that less smart people don't get it is what make the jokes so sweet.

I like smart people.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:43 AM on August 5, 2012


In other Woz news: The cloud is a nightmare - Speaking after a performance of Mike Daisey's one-man Steve Jobs show, Steve Wozniak says he foresees nightmares caused by data stored in remote servers.
posted by homunculus at 10:01 AM on August 5, 2012


I'm a pretty smart person, and I find this kind of shit annoying. I don't think it's because I lack the intellect to grasp the brilliance of sticking $2 bills together in notepad fashion.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:06 AM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


How is this annoying to you? It doesn't affect you in any way.
posted by wierdo at 10:22 AM on August 5, 2012


The Engadget guy has no clue and misleads people thinking Woz prints his own money but the printer only does cutting and binding.

And Woz, true hacker that he is, allows it to go uncorrected. Love it. "I buy the paper..." is the whole trick.
posted by odinsdream at 10:30 AM on August 5, 2012


I didn't say anything about smart people with no sense of humor. There's lots of them.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:03 AM on August 5, 2012


A book I had as a kid explained how to make your own book of bills -- the title was something like High, Wide, and Handy (that's probably embarrassingly far off). It involved gently rubber-cementing them along one short edge to a piece of card stock, as I recall.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:27 AM on August 5, 2012


It involved gently rubber-cementing them along one short edge to a piece of card stock, as I recall.

You can buy "padding cement" specifically for this purpose!
posted by onya at 12:15 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's definitely of a type. If you've spent a lot of time with talented science/technology people, you're familiar with the type.

Yes, it's the "Guys I'm totally different from dickish frat boys because I'm intellectually bullying people instead of physically bullying them" type.
posted by schroedinger at 12:44 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The word "victim" while fully technically correct, would not experience so much drift in useful meaning if people would use the more proper term, which is: mark.
posted by Divine_Wino at 1:27 PM on August 5, 2012


Oh, yeah, anyone who doesn't think sticking $2 bills together in a notepad is funny has no sense of humor. That's what my problem is!

Isn't it possible that it just isn't a joke most people find particularly funny or smart? I'm reminded of the bit in Spinal Tap where Rob Reiner's character is interviewing Tony Hendra's character about why he always carries a cricket bat...
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:36 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why does MeFi have to hate on everything?
posted by Apocryphon at 2:01 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


How do I buy a sheet of them from him for $5? That's the part I didn't understand, he is selling money at a loss?
posted by banished at 2:06 PM on August 5, 2012


For the past couple birthdays, my uncle has given me a pad of 50 crisp $1 bills. He goes to the bank with a $50, and gets new singles from the teller. Then, he comes home and runs red wax on the top edge of the bills, binding them together. For the next week or so, I'm walking around with this pad of singles and you know what, it's actually challenging to find a place where you can:
a) buy something at a price point acceptably fulfilled by the tendering of singles. i.e. nothing over like $20.
b) not feel silly paying for stuff in ones. Multiple small purchases are key.
So, yeah most of it goes toward pints of beer. And while it seems a bit kooky of a gift upon reception, it ends up being massively entertaining, slightly embarrassing, and a good way to conversationally introduce my uncle.
posted by obscurator at 2:31 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


How do I buy a sheet of them from him for $5? That's the part I didn't understand, he is selling money at a loss?

I presume that he makes this offer to people whom he meets in person and who question the legality of the pad. A completely rational actor with complete information would immediately take him up on the offer and clean him out by purchasing as many pads as possible, making quite a profit on the transaction. But I'm guessing that doesn't happen and these already suspicious people instead think that it's some kind of con or something and are all like, "no way man", and it gives him another thing to chuckle about later to himself for tricking people into rejecting free profits.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:44 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


So funny. If I was a waitress in a casino and something like this happened it'd probably be the highlight of my day, whether I was in on the joke or not. It's unusual and it makes a good story. Dicking people around can be hurtful, sure, but $2 is not enough money for strong emotions to come into play.

The difference between Steve Woz and obscurator's uncle is just scale, cause Woz is rich enough to pay a professional printer to bind his money. If he also had the printer add some extra prank writing on top of the legal notes, would they still be legal to spend? You can spend money people have written on.
posted by subdee at 2:45 PM on August 5, 2012


He's definitely of a type. If you've spent a lot of time with talented science/technology people, you're familiar with the type.

Yes, it's the "Guys I'm totally different from dickish frat boys because I'm intellectually bullying people instead of physically bullying them" type.


I was trying to figure out that the type was, and you nailed it. Perfect. He acts like he is entertaining you, but in reality, it is a weird power game where you have to go along with his gag or you are somehow the outcast.

I find guys like this are often the types who date people's mothers. Like, "who's the guy in the jean shorts?" "Oh, that's the guy my mom is dating."
posted by gjc at 5:50 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


What Rhombold said. None of this has the least to do with bullying anyone. If you think he's a dick for giving money away, who's problem is that?
posted by humboldt32 at 5:50 PM on August 5, 2012


Hmm. Maybe this helps explain in part why Woz still supports Mike Daisey
posted by Bwithh at 6:32 PM on August 5, 2012


Like, "who's the guy in the jean shorts?" "Oh, that's the guy my mom is dating."
so what you are saying is he turns reality into a your-mom joke
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:16 PM on August 5, 2012


How do I buy a sheet of them from him for $5? That's the part I didn't understand, he is selling money at a loss?
The whole process is a money-loser. Uncut sheets of 4 $2 bills run around $20 per sheet, plus whatever he pays the printer to perforate and pad them.
posted by Lame_username at 8:19 PM on August 5, 2012


I just sent the link to my sister, currently at the Fed, but formerly in charge of counterfeit deterrence at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (she's responsible for the color-shifting ink, e.g., but that's a different thread), because I want to get her take on this. I will share if she offers anything interesting.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:30 PM on August 5, 2012


He acts like he is entertaining you, but in reality, it is a weird power game where you have to go along with his gag or you are somehow the outcast.

Yeah, that's pretty much the phreaking/hacking culture he flowered in back in the '70s. Woz is friendly and cuddly - when compared to Steve Jobs.

He ran a pirate dial-a-joke service, where you'd dial in and get a pre-recorded joke. To Woz, the jokes were mildly funny. That you were getting them from technology engineered to shred all of the phone company's rules and a few laws concerning unauthorized equipment on the network, just to tell a joke, was hilarious.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:09 AM on August 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


He ran a pirate dial-a-joke service, where you'd dial in and get a pre-recorded joke. To Woz, the jokes were mildly funny. That you were getting them from technology engineered to shred all of the phone company's rules and a few laws concerning unauthorized equipment on the network, just to tell a joke, was hilarious.

They weren't all pre-recorded. Every so often, he'd pick up on an incoming call and tell a live joke. One day a woman called in and he told her "I bet I can hang up faster than you," as he quickly hung back up. She went on to marry him (and later divorce him, so in the end, I would guess she won the bet).
posted by radwolf76 at 8:47 AM on August 6, 2012


I knew a guy who always tipped with two dollar bills. It was a major part of his schtick.

He was also a colossal douche.
posted by charmcityblues at 8:16 PM on August 6, 2012


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