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Woz's Ring
April 3, 2010 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Woz's Ring
posted by Blazecock Pileon (67 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yay Woz! I adore that man.
posted by dammitjim at 11:08 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Love him. He was playing Segway polo at this event a few years ago and I just thought MAN, no matter what crazyassed thing he's doing, he's still cool.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:18 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


A man of the people and a personal hero. Can you imagine Steve Jobs waiting in line for his iPad?
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 11:23 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Definitely recommend his autobiography "iWoz, How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Along the Way". Fascinating stuff.
posted by inigo2 at 11:26 AM on April 3, 2010


So.... How'd he do it? I can't see any slight of hand when he slides the ring up the chain
posted by jpdoane at 11:29 AM on April 3, 2010


He did it by MAGIC!
posted by koeselitz at 11:31 AM on April 3, 2010


Can you imagine Steve Jobs waiting in line for his iPad?

Do inventors often wait in line for their own inventions?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:32 AM on April 3, 2010


"I've ordered one for a friend. Then I ordered two for myself. One with the Wi-Fi and one with the 3G. And I'll go to the store on Friday night and wait in line, just for fun." *
posted by ericb at 11:36 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can you imagine Steve Jobs waiting in line for his iPad?
Do inventors often wait in line for their own inventions?


That's some mighty fine worship there. From 'head of company' and 'boss' straight to inventor.

Jobs has a history of invention in the past. Like when he invented how much was paid for Woz's breakout game. Or how he invented overheating in the Apple /// - a problem that was fixed with mundane things like fans,
posted by rough ashlar at 11:40 AM on April 3, 2010 [10 favorites]


Is that the iRing everybody's talking about?

I've heard that Google's AndRing is open source, and Microsoft's WinRing will be out in another five years or so.
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:40 AM on April 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


From 'head of company' and 'boss' straight to inventor.

Unlike some of the company's products, his singular influence over the bits and pieces that went into the design of this particular device is pretty well documented.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:44 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyway, I didn't intend to contribute to a derail about Jobs' invention, but just post a little sparkly bit of fun created by another notable inventor.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:48 AM on April 3, 2010


his singular influence over the bits and pieces that went into the design of this particular device is pretty well documented.

Yea - that is called being a boss.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:49 AM on April 3, 2010


I remember opening a 5 1/2" floppy drive manufactured by Seagate which had a controller board populated by about fifty integrated circuits. Then I opened up the Apple ][ drive which was designed by Woz. It had two.
posted by digsrus at 11:52 AM on April 3, 2010 [14 favorites]


This is my favorite party trick. It is easy to do if you have the right chain and ring. and it totally blows peoples minds the first time.
posted by water bear at 11:52 AM on April 3, 2010


ring trick explained
posted by water bear at 11:55 AM on April 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yea - that is called being a boss.

You might as well be saying Wozniak isn't an inventor, because he didn't invent the transistor. Jobs waited for years for the right pieces of technology to be available, such as the battery and display, and he more or less made the form factor and user interface what they are, through years of revisions and perfections.

Unless everything we make and use comes out of a hermetic vacuum, creating new things out the synthesis of other things is the very definition of invention. No worship required.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 AM on April 3, 2010


Inventor - the 1st to think or make. Legally - they guy on the patent.

Steve Jobs is responsible for the code, chips, board layout, et la all the other things the employee engineering staff does? (no)

Others have said this about Steve Jobs name on the iphone patent:
Yep, Steve himself wasn't the least bit shy about taking credit atop an entire column of company A-listers for inventing the iPhone's trademark user interface, which we're guessing came about from a mix of equal parts truth, ego, and ass-kissing from the legal department down the hall. Seriously though, if you're Scott Forstall down there at number two on the Inventors list, what are you going to do -- go boardroom showdown all John Sculley-style?

And on a patent 'for the ipad' U.S. Patent No. 7,653,883 no Steve Jobs. (via http://dailydoseofip.blogspot.com/2010/01/apple-receives-ipad-patent-on-eve-of.html )

Besides, Jobs wouldn't want to be on the patent - because if there is a patent dispute he'd be called into the court as the inventor.

So the claim " Jobs' invention" fails a legal test and the actual test of 'making it work'.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:04 PM on April 3, 2010


A man of the people and a personal hero. Can you imagine Steve Jobs waiting in line for his iPad?

I agree with the first half of your statement. The second half is just a shot at Jobs.

Bill Gates isn't waiting in line for anything. Neither is Michael Dell, or Obama, or... I could go on and on and on...

Woz is one of a kind and a free spirit. Jobs is (helping) invent and the head of the company. Pointing out the fault in your comparison isn't worshipping Jobs; it's pointing out the fault (which is glaring).
posted by Dennis Murphy at 12:14 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


You might as well be saying Wozniak isn't an inventor

But you'll note that I am not.

You will note I've challenged your claim of Jobs as "inventor" and "inventor of Ipad".

You opted to use the term "inventor". And went so far to claim "pretty well documented." Had you went with "the boss" or "the CEO" what would be up for discussion?

Jobs is head of the firm and managed the design - doing the job of Boss. But Jobs has paid staff to think of designs for him to accept/reject and legions of workers to MAKE the item.

There is a legal definition of "inventor" - is your name on the patent. With the iPad - how many of the patents needed to make the device to work have Jobs name on it?

And considering this claim:
he more or less made the form factor and user interface what they are, through years of revisions and perfections.

Really? Jobs has written the code to make the user interface what it is? Years of revisions and perfections sounds like Q/A engineering along with software engineering of a large group - but when you hero worship The Steve - nothing is beyond his singular effort I guess.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:15 PM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


um. that's a cock ring.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:18 PM on April 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


The thing that tickled me about this is that Woz is hanging out at the mall I worked at as a teenager.

My only brush with fame from working at Valley Fair was when I gave a macadamia nut sample to Jerry Rice of the 49ers. Of course, I didn't know it until a girl who worked at Aeropostal ran over and said, "OMG, Jerry Rice was just in our store." Then I made the connection.

The funny thing is, if Woz had come into my store, I would have recognized him!
posted by vespabelle at 12:18 PM on April 3, 2010


Yeah, everything builds on what came before. You might as well beat up Intel for not discovering how to purify silicon, or diss the inventor of the cotton gin for not making his own steel.

Woz' brilliance was figuring out how to make a highly hackable computer from just a few parts, instead of dozens. The low chip count was a lot of what made Apple IIs so reliable. There was simply less to go wrong, but it still offered amazing functionality in its simple circuitry. It wasn't just as good as more complex machines, it was better.

It's a shame they charged as much as they did for it; with their design advantages, if they'd gone downmarket somewhat, taking less of a margin on their goods, they might have gotten a lot more people into their ecosystem. Higher volume sales would have let them drive down costs even more.

The Apple II ethos was so open, and the machine was so transparent, that it simply made better hobbyist programmers than the other 8-bit machines of the era. If there had been more of them in the market, we'd have had more talent to draw on in the later generations.

I suspect they didn't really grasp just how big and how important the computer market would eventually become, and they gave up a lot of their advantages trying to keep their margins high. Of course, given Jobs' later predilections, I suppose it's for the best that IBM ended up designing the winning architecture. But I still wish the Apple II had been cheaper and, thus, everywhere.
posted by Malor at 12:19 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


THIS IS NOT ABOUT STEVE JOBS!

I'm now going to spend too long trying to find a ring and chain...
posted by knapah at 12:21 PM on April 3, 2010


Yeah Woz is a fucking genius because he knows a cheap dime store magic trick.
posted by Bonzai at 12:30 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


But you'll note that I am not.

I know that isn't what you said. But what you did say is rationally equivalent with saying Wozniak is not an inventor, because, truthfully, like Steve Jobs, he did not invent all the technology that went into his creations. Nonetheless, no one would say Wozniak is not an inventor because of that and still be taken seriously.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:37 PM on April 3, 2010


Yeah Woz is a fucking genius because he knows a cheap dime store magic trick.

Well, these days having a floppy drive only have a chip or two is dime store cheap. Or is it not dime store cheap cuz no one use floppies.....I don't remember.

But back then, Ben Franklin stores were more common, had a variety of stuff, and the prices for some stuff were a dime and most computer designs had a whole lot more chips.

Back then you used light-bright peg-style Diodes as a reprogrammable ROM and you screwed over programmers with your weird graphical placement just to save a few gates in your design, Saving the gates is why many declare Woz a genius. Or a genius-bastard if you worked with the Apple ][ graphics.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:53 PM on April 3, 2010


went into his creation

Being the boss and telling others what to do still makes you the boss. Without a staff Jobs would not have 'created' much of anything.


But what you did say is rationally equivalent with saying Wozniak is not an inventor,

And again, no I did not.

And , legally - The Woz is co-inventor on 4,918,439
posted by rough ashlar at 1:08 PM on April 3, 2010


Ha ha.

This entire thread could descend into nothing but "is Jobs the inventor" (no) and "Who the hell cares about Woz _____", and it wouldn't buff a single flake off the solid gold statue of Woz that looms large in my mind's garden. Woz forever.
posted by jscott at 1:09 PM on April 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


When he says wait in line, doesn't he really mean cut? :)
posted by jca at 1:12 PM on April 3, 2010


He didn't invent the first personal computer - that was the Altair. Also the Apple I was a board, not a complete computer, and the Commodore PET came out before the Apple II.
posted by rfs at 1:21 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


rough ashlar: "27Yeah Woz is a fucking genius because he knows a cheap dime store magic trick.

Well, these days having a floppy drive only have a chip or two is dime store cheap. Or is it not dime store cheap cuz no one use floppies.....I don't remember.

Saving the gates is why many declare Woz a genius. Or a genius-bastard if you worked with the Apple ][ graphics.
"

For THAT yes. But I was trying to make a point that every time the man ties his shoe hoards of fans rush to the internet to declare him the greatest-shoe-tying-genius that ever existed.

In other words BFD.
posted by Bonzai at 1:31 PM on April 3, 2010


Woz's Watch.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 1:38 PM on April 3, 2010


Aw, come on - saying that Jobs didn't invent the iPad, that's like saying that Edison didn't invent the light bulb; or that Christopher Columbus didn't discover America, or something.
posted by XMLicious at 1:43 PM on April 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


I was expecting him to have this beer opener ring from Think Geek and to be super enthused about how it multitasks as both clothes and a tool.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:56 PM on April 3, 2010


Jobs invented the iPad in the same way that Rupert Murdoch invented Arrested Development.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:57 PM on April 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


ring trick explained

'Don't ask my why it works, that's a whole other theory..."

not the explanation i was hoping for
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:59 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aw, come on - saying that Jobs didn't invent the iPad, that's like saying that Edison didn't invent the light bulb; or that Christopher Columbus didn't discover America, or something.

Er, that's sarcastic, right?
posted by delmoi at 2:20 PM on April 3, 2010


I thought he was supposed to throw it into Mount Doom?
posted by orthogonality at 2:23 PM on April 3, 2010


um. that's a cock ring.

Uhm, no it's not.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:26 PM on April 3, 2010


Kids, that ring is both a cock ring, a religious idol for physics, and a dime store parlor trick! It's like an empty cardboard box, in that it's whatever you want it to be!
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:29 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would hate to walk into Home Depot with some of you.

"OMG, LOOK AT ALL THESE SEX TOYS!"
posted by P.o.B. at 2:30 PM on April 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Come on. I like Woz as much as the next geek, but is a SLYT of a silly magic trick REALLY FPP worthy?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 2:35 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would hate to walk into Home Despot with some of you.

There - fixed that for ya,
posted by rough ashlar at 2:45 PM on April 3, 2010


That's what I meant, thanks!
posted by P.o.B. at 2:53 PM on April 3, 2010


HURF DURF YOU KNOW WHAT I HATE ABOUT MACS IS THE SCREENS ARE SO TINY AND ONLY IN BLACK AND WHITE I MEAN SERIOUSLY

In other news, water is wet, Barbie's boyfriend was apparently secretly gay, and the Woz is awesome. Fun times. Now let's all argue about Steve Jobs because someone mentioned Apple, or apples, or Fleetwood Mac, or anything even vaguely associable with some more hurf-durfery.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:43 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


um. that's a cock ring.

. . .

Uhm, no it's not.



Seriously, that thing would never fit.
posted by nola at 3:46 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


You have to admit, though, that "Woz's Cock Ring" would've been a much better title for this post. Whether Jobs actually invented the cock ring or not.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:03 PM on April 3, 2010


Come on. I like Woz as much as the next geek, but is a SLYT of a silly magic trick REALLY FPP worthy?

Well, it's not really a post about the ring trick, at least that's not what I took from it. It's about the fact that Woz is out at a mall, buying an iPad. And he's wearing a big ring around his neck on a chain. And somebody recording with a video camera comes up and starts talking to him, asks him about it, and Woz proceeds to take it off and perform the trick.

He was probably wearing the ring just so someone would ask him about it, and then he could do the trick. It's not even an outrageously hard or fancy trick, it's just neat. Amusing and fun.

Everybody needs to calm down about Steve Jobs and what he invented. Be more like Woz: have fun and try to bring a smile to people's faces.
posted by dammitjim at 4:46 PM on April 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


I would hate to walk into Home Despot with some of you.

I don't know or care what your problem is, but whatever your deal is, please take it to Metatalk if you need to keep it up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:23 PM on April 3, 2010


I remember opening a 5 1/2" floppy drive manufactured by Seagate which had a controller board populated by about fifty integrated circuits. Then I opened up the Apple ][ drive which was designed by Woz. It had two.

So I love the Woz. I met the man. He and Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet) are the only celebrities I've ever cared to meet; and I've met them both.

But the Apple II's spartan hardware design was made up for in obnoxious software. If I recall correctly, pretty much the entire disk controller logic was implemented in software. Even modulating the signal to the head motor was handled in software.

It was revolutionary at the time, and it certainly was brilliant from a hardware engineering perspective. But, it's impressive in exactly the same way a WinModem is.
posted by Netzapper at 6:13 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would have been better if he just hissed "My precioussssssssssss!" and scampered away.

I love Woz.
posted by contessa at 6:32 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uhm, no it's not.

the hell it isn't.

Seriously, that thing would never fit.


it goes around the cock and balls...the blood vessel on the underside of the penis brings blood into it, while the one on top returns it to the body. putting presssure on the one on top without pressure on the bottom causes blood to become trapped in the penis, pretty much guaranteeing an erection. now that's a magic trick. ;)
posted by sexyrobot at 7:45 PM on April 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Earring Magic Ken.

I am reasonably confident that Woz knew what it was. I would expect that this would be a deeper level to his joke, as it were.

Beyond that, I really am not going to speculate.
posted by mwhybark at 8:19 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


DoctorFedora: "Barbie's boyfriend was apparently secretly gay"

Ha! I missed this comment the first time through - Doc, was that a conscious reference?
posted by mwhybark at 8:43 PM on April 3, 2010


(this shit is some excellent industrial-metal)

How can you tell? Honest question, I can't tell the difference between good industrial-metal and the sounds goats make when you debud them.
posted by nola at 10:36 PM on April 3, 2010


stevewoz's profile
posted by hortense at 11:26 PM on April 3, 2010


Come on. I like Woz as much as the next geek, but is a SLYT of a silly magic trick REALLY FPP worthy?

Clearly, you don't.
posted by Dysk at 6:08 AM on April 4, 2010


You learn something new every day, SexyRobot! Thanks for classing up this thread!
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:22 AM on April 4, 2010


...the Apple II's spartan hardware design was made up for in obnoxious software. If I recall correctly, pretty much the entire disk controller logic was implemented in software. Even modulating the signal to the head motor was handled in software.

One man's obnoxious is another man's elegant, precise and beautiful.

The fact that the microprocessor had direct control over the four phases of the head stepper motor let you do things with an Apple disk controller that you simply couldn't do with controllers using the conventional step+direction interface. In fact the standard disk seek routines built into Apple DOS (and later ProDOS) would deliberately turn on two stepper phases at once during head movement, to push a little more power through the stepper and make it accelerate the head just that little bit faster.

All the low level stuff in Apple DOS was really, really neat; it was let down very, very badly though by the design of the upper layers (lots of redundant buffer copying, and an absolutely awful interface to the BASIC interpreter).

One of the neatest things I ever disassembled was Roland Gustafsson's fast disk loader for the Apple II. This was used in a number of "copy protected" games, and I was keen to see why it was harder to copy than most of the other protected formats.

Turned out that what made the format hard to copy was that instead of writing 16 separate 256-byte sectors to a track, as all the standard formats and their copy protected variants did, Gustafsson wrote 6 sectors of 768 bytes each. The fast loader code also included routines that would write that format - copy protection was clearly a side effect of the fast loader design, not its main design aim.

The fast loader's software interface was also a thing of beauty and a joy forever. It had only track-read and track-write routines, both of which accepted an 18-byte parameter list. Each byte was interpreted as the high half of a memory address where the corresponding 256 bytes of disk data should be written from or read into. On reads, the loader would identify the sector address mark of whichever of the six sectors came under the read head first, start from that point on the track and read all 18 memory pages into the right places in a single 200ms disk revolution. The track-write code also operated in one revolution. It was gorgeous.

The code that implemented all this was timed as tight as a duck's arse, and one of the things I enjoyed most about it was knowing that Woz would have thought it was beautiful too, and probably would have done DOS that way if he'd thought of it first.

Reverse engineering the bitstream-decoding state machine on the Apple II disk interface card from a dump of its onboard PROM was also a near-religious experience for me. That state machine is truly OMG beautiful.
posted by flabdablet at 7:42 AM on April 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


By contrast, the Commodore disk controller offloaded all that work onto a completely separate microprocessor inside the disk drive box. That processor was pretty much the same speed as the main CPU, if I recall correctly. Then they linked the disk drive box to the main system box with a 4800bps async serial link. The goddam Commodore disk drive was slower than some of the routines I wrote for reliably storing stuff via the Apple II's (totally software controlled) cassette tape interface.
posted by flabdablet at 7:45 AM on April 4, 2010


Yea - that is called being a boss.

Windows 7 was my idea.
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 10:23 AM on April 4, 2010


But, it's impressive in exactly the same way a WinModem is.

Netzapper, I think it's just a trade-off: more CPU-intensive software for less expensive hardware. IMHO, it was a bad trade-off for PC modems, but probably a good one for the Apple II—hobbyists are usually on a tight budget.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 10:37 AM on April 4, 2010


Thanks for classing up this thread!

Sure thing! Now imagine him wearing it. Better yet, imagine him wearing the one that fits (the stores that sell these usually dont let you try them on, and generally don't have a return policy...but this kind of ring is cheap (2-3 bucks)...so you buy a couple and see what fits. the one around his neck is probably a spare). Imagine that it's even bigger. Imagine a big plate of potatoes. Now watch the video again.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:25 PM on April 4, 2010


For what it's worth, I'm also quite impressed by WinModems. My only beef with those devices is that most of them have closed, proprietary drivers.

Nothing about the Apple II was closed. Anything Apple didn't give you source code for themselves was documented in all kinds of places by an army of keen reverse engineers and was pretty easy to find, even in the pre-Google Dark Ages.
posted by flabdablet at 5:23 PM on April 4, 2010


A man of the people

Young customer receives iPad demo from Steve Jobs

Aww man. Jobs has to go and prove you wrong.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 11:38 AM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aww man. Jobs has to go and prove you wrong.

A story of Jobs happening to give a demonstration to a fan during the highest-attention period of his company's newest product is not much different than Bill Gates selling Halo 3 for an hour or so on that game's release week.

Contrast that with the hundreds of stories of Woz just hanging with people and being both accessible, warm, excited and supportive.
posted by jscott at 8:43 AM on April 21, 2010


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