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Steve Wozniak remembers the early days [video] (bloomberg.com)
267 points by tilt on Dec 4, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 136 comments



For some reason I just think that Steve Wozniak is so cute. It's like watching a child, someone with a real passion and heart for hardware, in a somewhat older man's body. The way he talks about his hardware. This is exactly the reason why Wozniak and Steve made such a good team, Steve complimented Wozniak perfectly. A dream team, so to speak.


I'm not an Apple guy personally. But every time I see/read an interview with Woz I can't help but want to give him a big bear hug. He looks like the kind of guy that would gladly reciprocate.


It's interesting to see how Woz's attitude towards Steve Jobs has changed over the years. In the book The Ultimate History of Video Games (2001), I remember Woz being very bitter about Steve Jobs and characterized Steve as someone who would rip you off if he could.


"Very bitter" is wrong. We're talking about one comment on one incident. You could find a few more. I have repeatedly said that had Steve Jobs just told me he needed the money he could have had all of it. None of us is perfect 100% of our lives. Steve and I may have had different personalities but I have always been very good at not being judgmental. If someone else is different they are not bad. I am also very forgiving. I have not changed my opinion of Jobs or how I express it. The fact about one ripoff is true and I still acknowledge it out of honesty. I speak of many positive and negative things all the time about Jobs (and other things) but I don't have a script where it comes out the same words each time.


Thank you for setting the record straight for me! I feel pretty bad for getting it wrong this whole time.


I still think he'd believe the same, but may be he's just learned to be 'politically correct' a bit, just like today's businessmen are.


Time heals all wounds... Or maybe he's thinks there's little to be gained by holding a grudge against a friend who's no longer around.


1) Err, the other guy got sick and died.

2) Many years have passed since that time mentioned by the parent.

3) Woz is not the type to be "politically correct".


>> Err, the other guy got sick and died.

So what? Should one's opinion towards another person change when he/she dies?

>> Woz is not the type to be "politically correct".

Everyone is, to an extent. That's why I used 'may be', because a lot of people who weren't, learn it. I'm not saying it's bad.


>So what? Should one's opinion towards another person change when he/she dies?

For people from Vulcan it's usually difficult to explain this, because the logical answer is no.

In real life though, one's opinion towards another person can and DOES change when he/she dies.

Plus, since you're being logical and all, we were discussing whether Woz changed opinion on Jobs, not whether he SHOULD HAVE changed. So the philosophical question "So what? Should one's opinion change...?", etc, doesn't apply to my response. I didn't say it should change (a moral judgement), I just listed the fact that Jobs died as one of three possible factors that might have changed Woz's opinion of him (an estimation of what might happened).

But, to answer that too, yes, I think changing opinion about someone when he/she dies it not that bad, and it actually makes sense. Not in all cases, but in some cases sure.

Death gives closure to the persons life story and makes you able to see it in perspective. It also makes you think of stuff that you are less trivial than the ones a lot of people focus on when the other person is alive (e.g. petty grudges).

Your question assumes the person that dies was in the wrong, and the person that lives should continue to have the same opinion on him. But the other person dying also triggers a re-evaluation of whether our judgement of them was correct or not. How many people regret not being nicer to their father or their spouse when they die, understanding that some things that seemed unsurmountable in separating were actually BS compared to those that should unite them?


Great response. I lol'd at the people from Vulcan bit. Your points about the change of perspective death offers are very true and insightful.

I have nothing to add other than I really enjoyed reading this and felt compelled to comment. It upped my mood :) Keep up the positive outlook (sometimes rare on this site) and have a great day.


I'd try not to confuse, how people should behave logically with how they actually behave.


That.

Plus "how should behave logically" can also be illogical. We assume too much when we think of the ideal "logical" stance on things.

E.g. in the case of someone dying, the idea that "this should not change our opinion of them" assumes that our opinion of them is correct, and ignores that faced with larger life issues like mortality we might re-evaluate our opinion of the other in a more solid ground.

E.g. he did so and so and so for me, whereas I hated him all these years for BS reasons.


Very well put.


Woz is still fully capable of being blunt, he's just a little more articulate. After the most recent iPhone release he pointed out in an interview that having the larger phone was a positive thing and also pointed out that it couldn't really happen while Jobs was still alive and directing things.


How's that being bitter when it's the truth?


well, it's called the bitter truth, isn't it?


A lot of computer geeks are like this. I am too, for example. For whatever reason we never lose the nice boyish curiosity thing. It's a bit weird as you get older (I'm 42) because you feel like the same curious friendly boyish dude but you're now living in this body that is just... getting old, day by day. But there's something in you that stays the same...


I'm not so sure Jobs complimented Wozniak perfectly, but they certainly complemented each other.


A lot of people are like this. There's a quote about a nerd being a person who never has to apologize about his her passion.they l ove what they do and they're not ashamed to speak gleefully about it. I dont have the quote quite right but that's the essence. There are nerds every discipline. Cars...code...knitting...


tl;dr - "The garage is a bit of a myth. We did no designs there, no breadboarding, no prototyping, no planning of products. We did no manufacturing there. The garage didn’t serve much purpose, except it was something for us to feel was our home. We had no money. You have to work out of your home when you have no money."


However, it should be noted that the video is a little heartwarming (and interesting) and definitely worth a watch!


It's worth mentioning that the quote in the article is an abridged version of what Woz says about the garage in the video. In the video he mentions that they also did final testing in the garage for example.


I appreciate the tl;dr because the video isn't working for me


Videos suck like that. What could have been one sentence becomes a whole multi-media, ad infested clustersuck.


"Boy gets taken from an idyllic childhood, becomes rich and corrupt newspaper man, and utters an enigmatic last word on his death bed."

"Large fish eats people. Chomp. Chomp chomp."

"Ugly bell-ringer falls in love with beautiful social outcast. Doesn't get her."

"Man loses leg, sanity, life to large white aquatic mammal. Crewmember who enjoyed knocking hats off mens' heads returns alone to tell the tale."

Yep. Much better.


Nice!

More like this can be found here: https://twitter.com/hashtag/explainafilmplotbadly


Hmm, I don't get the first two?

Third is The Hunchback of Notre Same.

Fourth is Moby Dick.


For the second, note that sharks are fish.


1. Citizen Kane 2. Jaws (???)


Yes, Jaws


I normally agree with that sentiment. However this video has a lot more than just info about the garage. It's definitely worth watching.


There is a lot more to the video than that quote (or the current HN title – "Steve Wozniak Debunks One of Apple's Biggest Myths") suggest.


Actually, I think the video was way better than that single point. To each his own, though.


Why is this being downvoted? Sure, the Woz is awesome, the video is charming, but the headline is definitely linkbait, and I as well very much appreciate the TL;VWL.


Because there is a polite way of expressing the point that covers both bases.

There's value in the TL;DR for those of us who don't have time/interest to sit through a video, but there's also value in having a long-form way of explaining a story to people.

It doesn't have to be one or the other.


I wish there were (more?) people who feel about software like Steve Wozniak feels about hardware. Because it is an art, a pursuit of perfection. And not slamming frameworks, libraries and snippets together until something kind of runs sometimes.


I think it's a bit different. Woz saw the great potential for the hardware he was making, and said that the only thing he wanted was a computer, something he actually wanted to use. With that motivation and excitement I can see how you'd want it to be perfect.

I'd say I wish more people had things they were so passionate about that what they were making felt to them it was more than just 'software', or 'hardware'. If you are making a product purely to make money, I don't think this mindset would be there, but if the product exists as something bigger (in Apples case, Jobs saw it as a 'bicycle for your mind', it wasn't just a computer). I like to think if you allowed the people just slamming libraries together till something runs something they were truly passionate about, things may play out differently. But iono :p


Couldn't agree more.

Also, it becomes much more clear in this video--for me at least--why he and Jobs hit it off. They both had almost a fundamental need to make it the best it could possibly be both inside and out. There's a lot to be said for developing that kind of attitude.


I suspect a lot of us had the ideal, and it got beaten out of you somewhere during your first job.

In a sense, Woz was incredibly lucky to be able to success that early, and never lost the childhood sense of wanting perfection and playful. And as someone else mentioned, Jobs is also a perfection-seeking type of personality, which helped alot - most of the "business guys" nowadays couldn't careless about that. At best you'd hope that your business partner care about how the product looks like, let alone the code behide it.

It's hard to keep your head down to produce good code, when the business side constantly remind you that customers don't really give a shit about the code, they just want it to run.


Thanks. You hit it on the barrel.


There are. But by and far you won't find them in the startup circles. I've personally found them in universities and art schools (if you're surprised by the latter, take a peak at creativeapplications.net).


Check out the guys over at 8th light: http://blog.8thlight.com/

Uncle Bob in particular (the author of Clean Code[0], The Clean Coder[1], and the Clean Coders videos[2]) is a lot like Wozniak.

[0] http://www.amazon.com/Clean-Code-Handbook-Software-Craftsman...

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Clean-Coder-Conduct-Professional-Progr...

[2] http://cleancoders.com/


Yeah, what's missing is a software build by Robert Martin that is used and admired by several people.

Considering software is much more easily distributable than hardware makes the fact that there is none works against him.

Robert Martin may be good at Marketing, but I've never seen something from him that I liked.

Closer to Woz would be people who ACTUALLY shipped working code (Linus Torvalds as an example) then people who like to complain about code not having enough test coverage

So yeah, I hold no respect for this "Uncle Bob" guy


I was responding to the parent who said:

I wish there were (more?) people who feel about software like Steve Wozniak feels about hardware. Because it is an art, a pursuit of perfection.

Didn't mention anything about shipping popular software, so I'm not sure where you're getting that metric from, but it's completely irrelevant to what OP was describing, and uncle bob fits OP's description perfectly. His talks show how passionate he is about code as a craft, and how he wants to strive for perfection. The popularity of his code doesn't take away from that (not to mention that Jobs played a significant role on Woz's end for that, so it's not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison either). The fact that Martin has good rationales to support his ideas is just an added bonus in that regard. I get the impression that he's disliked more just because people have a fear of falling into the 'java culture' than because of his actual arguments.

Also, Linus is nothing like Woz other than their shipping of popular products. Nothing against the guy, I'm sure we're all grateful for his work, but he doesn't seem to display the same kind of childlike wonderment of his craft like woz does.


It sure looks like Woz is holding solder with his mouth in the video. A lot more brave than I am, even if it is lead free. Maybe it is a generational thing, but my parents and adults around me when growing up were always warning me about the dangers of lead and mercury and would tell stories about how they played with them as children with no idea of the hazard.


The form of the metal matters. The elemental lead in leaded solder is not nearly as harmful as the lead in various compounds like tetraethyl lead anti-knock additive for gasoline, or the compounds used in leaded paint.

About mercury, consider that it's still widely used in dental amalgam.

FDA article on amalgam: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedur...

> A lot more brave than I am, even if it is lead free.

Nobody who knows what they are doing works with lead-free solder for manual rework or repair. It needs a higher temperature, flows poorly, and produces an ugly matte surface, upon cooling, that looks like a cold solder joint even when the joint is actually good.

I can almost guarantee you that Woz is using nothing but 60/40 Sn/Pb in that shot. :)


Nah, Woz is/was geeky enough to be using 63/37 (eutectic). (If you've never used it, it's wonderful stuff -- nary a cold joint to be seen, unless you really put some effort into it.)


Not to mention tin whiskers are a problem http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whisker_%28metallurgy%29


It made me uncomfortable as well. I actually knew a girl who willfully ingested a troublesome amount of mercury in high school. Her children have visible birth defects now.


That doesn't make sense unless she took the mercury while she was pregnant


Lacking a specific understanding of mercury's interaction with the body, can mercury be retained in the body for extremely long periods of time, and can it cause damage to the DNA that would lead to birth defects in children?


In Minamata, Japan there was a bad mercury release in the 50s, into the bay, resulting in Minamata disease.

"In Minamata, Japan, pregnant women who consumed the contaminated fish manifested mild or no symptoms but gave birth to infants with severe developmental disabilities, including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, and seizures."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minamata,_Kumamoto

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/113/Supplement...


Does this mean that they ingested the mercury WHILE pregnant, or BEFORE they got pregnant? It's not clear from the wording.


> about the dangers of lead and mercury and would tell stories about how they played with them as children with no idea of the hazard.

Count me among the ones who played. My grandfather worked for AC Gilbert, who's company originally produced The Erector Set. It produced many toys, and we had one of these lead casting kits: http://www.girdersandgears.com/kaster.html

I never could figure out one of the molds, which is fortunate because it produced a whistle. In lead. That you stick in your mouth. Maybe I couldn't figure out how to assemble it because I was already too stupid from the lead poisoning due to the fumes while pouring the other molds.

But I have to say: Working with a crucible of molten lead was pretty fun as a kid.


I remember having one of those plastic-enclosed mercury maze games where you tried to guide a blob of mercury (without it breaking up) from the outside to the center of a maze. 1970s probably. I recall having it for quite a few years. Probably it broke and the mercury came out at some point :-)


I'm only 32, and I've held solder in my mouth tons of times.

Heck, I bet I did it in high school electronics class.


That's nothing. When you work with electronics, you'll regularly inhale the fumes. I know I did, and did it as a child assembling schematics found in hobbyist magazines.


Lead has too much of a molecular weight to generate significant fumes at the soldering temperature. The vapor pressure isn't there. Consider that the boiling point of lead is 1750°C. You'd have to be soldering with a big propane torch to get anywhere near that. (This could be a risk for plumbers, consequently.)

The fumes you're seeing and smelling are from the rosin flux being heated past its smoke point. (Though good for you, not lead).


I'll assume you mean to say "Though _not_ good for you, not lead".


It's worth elaborating just a bit on this: lead free solder might be better for the environment but the increased amount of flux involved is actually really bad for the person doing the soldering. (obviously not quite as applicable to someone operating a wave soldering machine)

http://www.wellerzerosmog.com/health_risk/#lead


That's good to know. I worked as an electronics tech to pay my way through college, and was worried about that. I did have enough sense, though, to make myself a little desk fan out of an electronics cooling fan, and would use that to blow the fumes away from me while I soldered.

I lost the fan years ago, and now just hold my breath when I solder.


It is a bad idea, but not necessarily because of lead, but because of electricity. What happens if your soldering iron is faulty? What happens if the circuit you're soldering is under tension or there are some caps holding charge?

I do this sometimes, but only when solder is in a plastic container, which allows me to hold the container in my mouth, without touching the solder.


Wait, you're not supposed to? Why not (with lead free solder)? As a self taught electronics tinkerer I've never heard this, and I do it all the time when I work and no one's ever told me anything :/


No reason not to, really. The paint of my car has all kinds of evil chemicals in it, but if I lick my car I'm not going to die. Even if I licked my car a lot.

There's a huge difference between skin exposure and ingestion.

At some point being overly cautions crosses the border into pseudo science.


>At some point being overly cautions crosses the border into pseudo science.

Sure, but there isn't much harm in that in this particular example. What is there to be gained by holding solder metal in the mouth?


> What is there to be gained by holding solder metal in the mouth?

Unless you have a third arm or a monkey tail, holding the solder in your mouth is about your only option when the component is in one hand and the iron is in the other.


If you spend any kind of time doing this you should just invest in a jig to hold the work. And solder is thin and flexible, it's pretty easy with a bit of practice to manipulate it with the other fingers.

Wiggling the joint while it's setting is sub-optimal.


Of course. But not everything fits into a jig.


Though I have no qualms about mouthing a piece of leaded solder, and that's the stuff I use, I just use a "Helping Hands": a metal base holding a structure with a pair of alligator clips (and even has a magnifying glass mounted on it). This holds the pieces to be soldered in perfect position, so then you have one hand for the solder, and the other for the iron.

https://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&q=helping+hands+elect...

You can pick up one of these over-the-counter in one of several electronics shops in Vancouver for as little as eight dollars Canadian.


It's not a good idea, but the fumes are probably worse. Especially if it's a traditional flux.


Love the Woz. He closed with this statement, "To this day I'll stay at the bottom of the org chart as an engineer because that is where I want to be".

It is sad that one of the most influential engineers or our time thinks that to be the best engineer he has to be on the bottom of the org chart. Says quite a bit about where we place value.

I suppose he means the business org chart because in the engineer/programmer/hardware guy/tinkerer hierarchy or org chart he is at the top. My first game was on the Apple II in 4th grade because of Steve Wozniak.


> It is sad that one of the most influential engineers or our time thinks that to be the best engineer he has to be on the bottom of the org chart. Says quite a bit about where we place value.

It's because he knows what org charts mean. Being at the bottom of the org chart doesn't mean being the least compensated or least respected, many engineers that are leaf nodes in an org chart are some of the highest paid and most respected.

Being at the bottom of the org chart means that your job is to write code, not to go to lots of meetings, make lots of slide decks, not to manage people with all of their weird quirks, not to persuade a bunch of executives, etc, etc, etc. What he's saying is that knowing what it means to be in other positions in the org chart, he'd happily be the guy whose job it is to write code all day.


Except it does.It's an exceptional thing to be close to the bottom in the org charts and being strongly compensated. Maybe cofounders or senior employees with a lot of stock.


No it's not. I know plenty of engineers making around $200k in total comp who are leaf nodes in the org chart.


These are not even close to the top salaries in a big org. Tops execs make millions.

Your ceiling in the lower ranks is often in the 100-200K range if you're lucky.


LOL


An "org chart" is specifically a chart showing a tree of who manages whom, isn't it? Everyone except managers, no matter how skilled, are leaf nodes ("on the bottom") on such a chart.


By definition, the bottom of the org chart is people who don't manage other people. If you want to devote your career to engineering, the only good place to be is the bottom of the org chart. Anywhere else, and you're starting to spend more time managing people instead of engineering products.

What's really sad that many companies have pay scales that all but force engineers to move up the org chart, and therefore out of engineering positions. But there's nothing sad about being happy to not have any direct reports.


If you place all leaf nodes at the "bottom", then yes. But in many companies you will find some engineers reporting in to very high ranking people - including the CEO some places - and still be "leaf nodes".

Those guys can be paid as normal, or they can be paid according to execs at similar slots in the chart, depending on why they are there. The latter will often be accompanied with a suitably important sounding title to justify it, but still be effectively engineering positions with some advisory capacity tacked on, often with wide latitude in picking and choosing what projects they want to work on.

A reasonable number of organizations also explicitly have "grades" associated with people and have parallel non-managerial grades for engineering that goes fairly high. E.g. when I was at Yahoo a decade ago, there were engineering grades that went up equivalent to 3-4 managerial levels - near director or VP level if I remember correctly. They'd still be leaf nodes, but in the more critical teams.


> What's really sad that many companies have pay scales that all but force engineers to move up the org chart

This hasn't been my experience.


The ending of the video is quite sweet.

The Apple 2 is considered a beautiful and marvellous piece of engineering, and at least somewhat responsible for getting the fledgling personal computer business off the group. Here's the guy with his creation, fiddling about trying to get it to boot...

And what's he want his wondrous device to do?

10 PRINT "HELLO MY NAME IS STEVE."


Couldn't play it on my system (flash, html video issues), but one can manage :

    # segments
    $ for url in $(curl -sL http://b5vod-vh.akamaihd.net/i/m/NjIzMjk0Ng/xVc_Rg1fNn9bndgr_M6.GD7_Lk.3w3FeiCzVWzGcJJY1MDBh/3c45758f-6a07-47a2-8cbc-70d98b3e0bbc_,44,15,24,70,120,180,240,0.mp4.csmil/index_0_av.m3u8 | egrep '^http') ; do wget ${url} ; done
    
    # reassembly
    $ for segment in $(ls -1rt) ; do cat ${segment} >> complete.ts ; done
    
    # joy
    $ mpv complete.ts


You know, the whole point of cat is that you don't need to use it in a loop. It concatenates files. It wasn't named after a small furry mammal.


Can you explain a little more ?


You can just do this:

  cat $(ls -1rt) > complete.ts


Aight, I thought he meant globbing, I was worried about order. Point taken.


Well, he probably did mean globbing.

I suspect glob collation is the same as the collation that `ls` uses for any given locale, so... :-)


And AFAIK, globbing can't be told to order by time, thus producing an interesting director's cut of the original video (I actually tried).


tldr: Wozniak built the Apple I and Apple II. He's proud of it. Jobs turned it into a business.

No actual "myth" is debunked.

(If the alleged "myth" is that they "started the company in a garage", then the myth is confirmed but downplayed - they did use the Jobs garage but mostly as a staging area and quickly outgrew it.)


Party pooper!


Fellow Git user? Or is it coincidence that you're using "staging area" in reference to something superfluous? :)


The term, "staging area," (in the sense of a place to setup) was popular several decades before Git existed.


I would have guessed centuries rather than decades. We've probably had the concept of "staging areas" for as long as there have been stages. The Globe Theater opened in 1599, so...


I like this. You can see why Steve and Steve made good friends/partners, at least in the beginning. I think most people think of Woz as the tech guy and Jobs as the everything else. But here you can see Woz's love beyond just making the tech. For him it's art, like the part at the start where he wanted to make it better and have fewer holes. Reminds me of Jobs talking about his dad and how he taught him if you are building something you have to care even about the things that would never be seen. I can't find the story, but there was one about Jobs wanting to make everything inside the computer look nice, to the engineers frustration.

The two together seem to make an awesome bridge. Woz with the tech skills, but still with a passion to make things perfect and amazing and can see the potential for the designs (not just making it cause he's told), and Jobs picking up seeing those things as well and wanting the products made that way and being able to express/sell those ideas to others (which sometimes it seems is very undervalued by tech people)


Seeing Woz hold solder in his teeth while working really made my day. I still recall the form I had to sign in an early Electrical Engineering class that made me promise not to do exactly that. :)


Hope he didn't do that back when it was lead solder.


Leaded solder is still easily available over the counter in electronic shops, and is the stuff of choice for manual construction, repair and rework by everyone who has half a clue.

There are numerous exemptions in RoHS on the requirement for lead-free. This is because everyone knows that lead-free solder is unreliable junk, and the risk is not acceptable in some applications.


If he's enough of an old-timer, it's probably still lead solder. I hear it was pretty hard to let go of, as lead solder is superior in virtually every way except toxicity.


Am I mistaken, or does Steve hold tension on a line of solder using his teeth ? Or is that bus wire ? Surprised he isn't concerned about lead poisoning.


He's not eating it, and he's not absorbing it thru the skin. I don't see how he could get poisoned.

Also, remember, it's not like eating an ounce of lead will poison you.

Yes, kids eating lead paint over many months can be a problem. But there the lead is ingested, and they are kids.

An adult holding solder in his mouth is not a problem.

FWIW, I did this myself for many years from 13-24 without any problems... and I don't recall ever swallowing a single piece of solder.


Looks like solder to me. I can't imagine holding some solder (usually only ~40% lead) in your teeth would give you that much exposure to be an issue. But I suppose doing it all day, every day, for years could add up.


The lead vapors from having your unshielded mouth that close would be much worse than any direct contact with your tooth enamel, from what I know.


Lead vaporizes at 1749 °C. Not going to happen while soldering.


I don't believe that's quite how it works. I don't think it needs to vaporize the way boiling water vaporizes, to be entrained in the smoke.


Of course, liquids have vapor pressure at any temperature between melting and boiling. I think there is no question that whatever vapor there is can be carried by convection along with the hot gases.


Gee, it's almost as if the dangers of elemental lead poisoning have been exaggerated, or something.

Of course, it's much easier to downvote than to explain the apparent logical dissonance at work.


There's no dissonance, only scads of evidence suggesting lead is dangerous, and no evidence from you to the contrary.

Same as if I said to you, "Open your eyes the sun clearly orbits the Earth!". You'd either ask for proof, or shake your head and laugh.


It's not my place to provide evidence, as I'm not the one making a positive assertion. It'd be nice if someone has done formal research on lead levels in electronics workers, but I've never seen anything like that posted, just a lot of scaremongering and ill-informed legislation.

Edit: you do realize what the term elemental lead refers to, correct? Here's another complex multi-syllable word that's worth of study by HN moderators: bioavailability.


A perfect example of a guy who has achieved enough self actualization (Jung) to understand what makes him happy in life, (and spend time doing that) and what doesn't (don't spend time doing that). He has said in many interviews he would rather stay at the bottom of the org chart doing what he loves (engineering) than to be "promoted" and move up the (managerial) chain.


How special was the Apple II. Was it just special in its own market (US) or globally? What about the Spectrums, Amigas, Ataris, Commodores, Acorns etc... how do they compare?


Timing is everything.

The Apple II was special because it was released in 1977 with bit-mapped color graphics and sound. The Apple Disk II disk drive was released in 1978. Being a few years early with an all-in-one computer with a fast disk drive, bit-mapped color graphics and sound gave the Apple II an edge over the others. Five years later, Commodore released the low cost Commodore 64, and Apple no longer had the edge in the 8-bit market, but did have significant market share.

Radio Shack TRS-80: 1977 mono-text (Z/80)

Commodore Pet: 1977 mono-text, VIC-20: 1981, Commodore 64: 1982, Amiga 1985

Atari 2600 game console: late 1977, Atari 400/800: 1979, Atari ST: 1985

Acorn System 75: 1979

ZX 80: 1980, ZX 81: 1981, Spectrum: 1982

CP/M operating system: 1973-74, S-100 bus: 1974, Altair: 1974

Those CP/M "business" machines, CP/M (Z80) and 80-column cards that you could plug into the Apple II, and then the IBM-PC was released in 1981.

Apple Lisa: 1983 mouse mono, Mac: 1984 mono 3 1/2" disk drive, 1985 AppleTalk networking


I always believed Jay Miner (RIP) and the Atari folks built a better machine in the Atari 8-bit series. They actually designed custom chips for video and audio.

If you look at market share before the IBM PC, Commodore actually owned the market. [edit] Looking at the graph from http://arstechnica.com/business/2012/08/from-altair-to-ipad-... Commodore peaked in the 80's (Commodore 64 launch). Apple wasn't the market leader, but probably made a lot of the profit.

The Amiga is not really of that era but is really a successor in spirit and technique to the Atari 8-bit computers (Jay Miner again). It is definitely a superior machine to the same eras Macintosh (Macintosh 512K vs Amiga 1000).


I held a similar view for quite some time. And I own a nice Atari, Apple //e and CoCo 3 system today. They all work, and I sometimes do stuff with them.

Over time, the simple design of the Apple meant it could be added to, and it's programming environment was very friendly.

Truth is, I learned 6502 assembly, and various languages on an Apple 2. The ROM code listing was right there, so was the schematic. That open nature meant people could open the box and just go.

Atari machines are capable, and fast, but...

They don't do that out of the box, and it took people a while to really exploit the things.

Apple got 80 column text, and it got cards for all sorts of things. Heck, I'm working on one myself. Always wanted to, so why not?

That expansion capability meant an Apple 2 made for a great 8 bit workstation, and an awful lot of Atari related development happened on the more usable Apple 2.

I think the technical capabilities of machines like the Atari were really noteworthy at that time. But, the Apple 2 did just enough. 6 colors on the high-res screen, for example, was just enough. You can do anything in 6 colors, but it's harder to do it in 4...

Today, I can fire up that machine, write some stuff, save it to a USB thumb drive, plug that into my PC, get the disk image open, get the data and go. Spiffy, if you ask me.


I'll give the Apple 80 column text

> They don't do that out of the box, and it took people a while to really exploit the things.

I never really had much problem programming the Atari, the Apple II was simpler but it sure is a less capable machine overall. Music and graphics are pretty simple on the Atari once you get the hang of it (which I don't think takes very long given the right book) and you can do things the Apple just cannot do.


Depends on capability.

Having 80 column text, a nice office type suite, lots of expansion options: test & measurement, industrial control, etc... made an Apple quite a nice machine.

In terms of entertainment, games, etc... yeah. Totally. Though I have to admit, many of the greater game experiences on an Apple are pretty darn great. But, there were a ton of things done on more capable machines with custom chips that were better. No argument.

But, when it came to getting shit done, making money?

I made a ton of money with an Apple computer. Money that was off the table with the Atari one, unless I was going to write a killer game. Plenty did.

But plenty more did things that were not so much entertainment too.

I love my Atari machine and spent long hours on it making it do all sorts of spiffy things with graphics and sound, and I really loved the bi-directional game ports. It is a nice machine.

We need to be careful about "less capable" in this context though. While I didn't spend the same hours on that Apple in the same way, because the simpler design didn't require it, I did spend them getting lots of things done for people, and for myself. Often somewhat boring things, compared to fun graphics and sound, but important things. The software was there, storage etc...


It was hugely popular and influential in a way that only the PC and its clones ever eclipsed. (the picture was probably a bit different in Europe)

As far as the hardware itself, it really doesn't compare to Amigas and 32-bit Ataris and so on. It managed to stay popular a long time by providing a software ecosystem that people were comfortable developing for and buying into and by Apple's courting relationships with schools.


For a lot of people, an Apple was special because their school had a pile of them, well equipped.

True for me.

Most of us got something else at home. For me that was an Atari, but I wanted an Apple. The Atari had fun chips and it was fast. But the Apple, well equipped, was a workstation, and that little difference meant a lot to some people. Others not so much.

Depends on games, programming, etc...


Each computer is special for someone. For me was the ZX Spectrum +3 .


I was so f'n envious of Sinclair owners since someone sold a keyboard replacement for them and I could never find one for my Atari 400.


This is interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIvtXDCP2CE

I really love how he talks about his work.


wonder if he's seen the kids react to episode with the apple II?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PF7EpEnglgk


isn't it weird that most of today's computer still kinda have the same design that the apple II ? or was there other computers as small as the apple II before ?


Really? Not sure what makes you think that.

The Apple II is one of a number of machines at the time that had the system-unit-plus-keyboard as a base on which a matching monitor was put. The HP 9845A and PET 2001 for example.

Later CP/M systems often had the system unit built into the monitor - and sometime the keyboard as well in systems like the Intertec Superbrain.


Compared to the ZX80 the apple ][ was fairly large - though I always wnted one of the perspex covers that showed off the expansion cards.

though back in the day it was the PET's that where big - though some of the CPM systems could be bulky


I have a similar passion for both but often to struggle to grasp things at a similar high level by far


Does anyone know what watch he's wearing in the video?


Its an Old Nixie Watch by Cathode Corner

http://www.cathodecorner.com/nixiewatch/


Pretty sure that is a Moto 360 (with a case?) http://moto360.motorola.com/

Woz is famously agnostic when it comes to what brand phone/gadget he carries. I think he carries them all.


It's not a Moto 360, it's actually his famous Nixie tube watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4R3hODnTGo Made by: http://www.cathodecorner.com/


Oh nice! Thanks for the correction.


Interesting video, but the title is a complete fabrication - no myths were debunked.


I could be wrong, but I think the myth part had more to do with the garage being their base of operations.

The headline is a bit of click bait in that sense, sadly!


We changed the title to something from the photo caption that describes the video accurately.


So where did the Apple I boards get assembled? How could this story have been told so wrong for all these years? Sometimes I get a vague feeling that Woz is still suffering the effects of brain damage from his plane crash and that we shouldn't instantly accept his recollections.


Probably in a very drab, anonymous office park just like most companies in the Valley.




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