Steve Wozniak Answers Your Questions
March 19, 2016 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Steve Wozniak hosted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) at reddit which attracted a lot of (good) discussion. Posts previously about Woz here, here, here, here, and here. Steve even stopped by AskMe once with a very gracious and interesting answer.
posted by SpacemanStix (17 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
https://www.reddit.com/user/TheSteveWozniak?sort=top for his answers

I saw this early and being a well-read Apple fan since ~1983 (and even former Apple employee) was thinking of a question I wanted to ask him.

Maybe why the Apple IIe wasn't the IIgs, but reading the Wikipedia article I see the 65816 was only ready a year after the IIe shipped.

1980-85 was the glory days of the Apple ][ but that's all the company had, since the III never got traction, the Lisa was a POS, and the Mac was half-baked until the Plus finally came out in early '86.

I ended up getting a IIcx in 1989, but looking back what I wish the market had made was a decent 68000 "home computer" more quickly in the 80s -- ISTM that all the competition didn't really result in better products (arguably because the IBM / Microsoft juggernaut was starting to take all the oxygen out of the room).

Atari ST, Amiga 1000/500, Mac Plus, Sharp X68000 -- smash all these together and you have an amazing platform.

The 68000 was such a beautiful ISA, we should still be using it today.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 10:25 AM on March 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Man, that old AskMe is basically, "Who else wants to talk shit about Wozniak?! What a fat maladapted nerd, right?!" That his answer is so gracious is pretty astounding.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:28 AM on March 19, 2016 [23 favorites]


Man, that AskMe was from a different time (What did The Woz do that was so great, anyway??) , wasn't it?

While iPod/iTunes were going strong, iPhone was a year away, and iPad was 4 years out.

I'm an Apple employee, and I can see 8 different Apple devices from where I'm sitting on my couch, so I've probably drank a bit too much of the Flavor Aide, but it's hard to imaging a world where people could still ask: What's such the big deal?

And yeah, way to shit on one of the nicest guys that has ever lived.
posted by sideshow at 10:33 AM on March 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


Steve Jobs and I talked about how we wanted to make blind people as equal and capable as sighted people, and you'd have to say we succeeded when you look at all the people walking down the sidewalk looking down at something in their hands and totally oblivious to everything around them!
posted by underflow at 10:45 AM on March 19, 2016 [22 favorites]


It was a bit heartbreaking for me to initially read the AskMe question, but his response was so gracious that it simply proved what endeared him to the hearts of so many people, and that's why I brought it up again here. I go back to it and read it every once in awhile when I think about how I want to respond to words directed to me that aren't as gracious as they could be.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:51 AM on March 19, 2016 [12 favorites]


I am really kicking myself for missing this, it ended a couple hours before I came home from work. He used to take questions by email, but that ended years ago.

I wanted to ask if he would be able to share any technical details (schematic if possible) about his original Atari Breakout design. It used half the chips of the one Atari released but was too convoluted for their engineers to figure out and debug. It would be fascinating to see what he actually came up with.
posted by Pong74LS at 10:54 AM on March 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


Jobs may have been the business brain of Apple but Woz was it's heart and soul.
posted by AGameOfMoans at 12:12 PM on March 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


I can't begin to express how happy it makes me that I can say "(MeFi's Own) Woz".

Ahhhh.
posted by Zonker at 12:17 PM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Steve Jobs and I talked about how we wanted to make blind people as equal and capable as sighted people, and you'd have to say we succeeded when you look at all the people walking down the sidewalk looking down at something in their hands and totally oblivious to everything around them!

There's an app for that.
posted by flabdablet at 12:24 PM on March 19, 2016


The 68000 was a great ISA for the 80s but ultimately compilers made ISA elegance obsolete and the lack of a decent MMU held back the 68000 series. Plus in the end the winners weren't based on an ISA but on who improved their fab process the fastest.
posted by GuyZero at 12:39 PM on March 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


too convoluted for their engineers to figure out and debug.

Too convoluted to mass produce, according to the article you link to. For digital electronics, that's more likely to mean"works only by accident, e.g. by going outside component specs and timing guarantees" or a bunch of other mundane problems that shows up when you need to build more than one copy of something. Probably nothing that couldn't have been addressed with another iteration or two if Jobs hadn't pissed off everyone involved, but history went elsewhere.
posted by effbot at 1:28 PM on March 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I met Woz once at an Intel Developers Forum show in SF, where he was a special guest. Most IDF special guests are whisked on and off stage like film stars (William Shatner, who did however manage a nicely profane Q&A with, I think, Pat Gelsinger - sample quote "It's a good thing you guys don't build lavatories. None of this shit works!") but Woz hung out and was, well, Woz. He even set up a stall in the lobby of the conference centre where you could buy a reproduction of the Apple I circuit diagram, have him sign it and get your photo taken with him. There was quite a queue, but you don't pass up a chance like that...
posted by Devonian at 1:53 PM on March 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


Shook hands with Woz at Bullwinkel's in Santa Clara, once.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:41 PM on March 19, 2016


Woz came out to visit our Apple User Group back in 2003 for its 25th anniversary. He was gracious and polite and went out to dinner with us before the event. He came and spoke for a while, based on notes he had written for his upcoming book. After the event, we thanked him and he stayed afterwards for hours, signing anything anyone would put in front of him, and answering impromptu questions for the group that had gathered around him in the parking lot.

The man is a national treasure.
posted by Wild_Eep at 5:39 PM on March 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Man, that old AskMe is basically, "Who else wants to talk shit about Wozniak?! What a fat maladapted nerd, right?!" That his answer is so gracious is pretty astounding.

The OP didn't even mark it as a best answer?!

I agree he's a national treasure. Other genius, well-known-for-being-awkward people often harbor weird ideas about women, racial politics, etc. But, he's known for being almost too nice. Thanks for posting! Wouldn't have seen it otherwise.
posted by bluefly at 6:24 AM on March 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


15 years ago he answered a tech question I had in some group..a nice back and forth until it was fixed.
posted by judson at 8:16 AM on March 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thing I sometimes wonder: how would the world be different if, instead of Steve Jobs, his partner was someone like Rich Stallman?
posted by MrGuilt at 10:28 AM on March 21, 2016


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