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Steve Wozniak on artificial intelligence, virtual reality and his favorite new tech


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I've always been a fan of "THe Woz" (Steve Wozniak) the real designer of the Apple early systems. When he myth busts early computer hearsay as having been there, he makes it funny, interesting, and great reading. Here is an INterview that I realluy enjoyed.




"Apple's famous co-founder discusses everything from AI and VR to what Steve Jobs was really like and what he expects to see emblazoned on his tombstone.


There was no single moment that everything changed for Steve Wozniak.


Instead, it was years of creativity and work that led to his development of the Apple I and the Apple II computers. "I look back now and wonder how did I think of doing things that no one thought of back then?" Wozniak said, speaking at an Alltech conference.


Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer Inc. and chief scientist at Primary Data, received the Alltech Humanitarian Award at a conference in Lexington, Ky. Watching Wozniak talk is like seeing a brilliant orator at work, as he talks about numerous subjects at a lightning fast speed and gives insightful commentary on each topic before the listener can sometimes even process what has been said on the previous subject.


Despite his whirlwind mind, or perhaps because of it, Wozniak is a fascinating speaker and at the conference, he touched upon everything from AI to VR and many things in between.


On the early days

Wozniak said he knew, inherently, that computers would change the world. "I felt that was great, geeks are going to be more important than anyone. I was driven by those inspirations. I knew my talents. I could design any computer in two days if I knew its description. My goal was to design a new computer that never existed before we used the word revolution."


"I wanted to be a part of it. I gave away my design of this computer. I would show it off every two weeks at the club. There was no Steve Jobs around. He didn't know what was happening. I'd pass out my designs for free. I'd tell everyone, 'here's how you can build your own useful computer for $300.' But I believed in it. We have to start with the people who want to make the social change.


He said even the formula for the personal computer was new, since at that time there were no computers with a keyboard and video screen. "I'd built an ugly computer a few years early. But I didn't want to build those ugly ones. I wanted to build a useful one. So I went and did it the right way. I was forced in part because I had no money. When you have no money you think, 'how can I do this affordable.'"

"We were in our young 20's, we were just trying to learn and think well. We had no money. No savings accounts at all. To start this company with a few hundred bucks, I had to sell the most expensive thing I owned which was a Hewlett Packard computer," he said.

"I just wanted people to see my engineering. More than anything else in the world I wanted people to see my engineering and say, 'how did he think of that.'"

Wozniak said it was his need to avoid confrontation that led to the creation of the floppy disk. During the intense days of development in the early days at Apple, he felt inspired.

"I did a number of great products. The disk where you could type run a program. That was an incredible development of mine.

Where did it come from? Did it come from smarts? No. We were in a meeting, and Apple was going to be allowed in the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and we were going to bring three marketing guys," he said.

He desperately wanted to go to Vegas, but he said, "I was too shy to raise my hand and say, 'I'm a founder, I'd like to go to Las Vegas. So I raised my hand and I said, 'if we have a floppy disk, nothing like that existed, could we show it at this show in two weeks and Mike Markkula said yes, so I thought, if I can develop a floppy disk that would normally take a year, and I can do it in two weeks, they'll have to take me to Las Vegas with them in two weeks.""

He goes on to cover his views:


On the Lisa and the Macintosh


On social goals


On virtual reality


On artificial intelligence


On startups


On social media


On his return to college


On Steve Jobs


On the end he writes:


"When asked what he thinks will be on his tombstone, he said, "Steve discovered this cemetery on Foursquare and he decided he had to be there because he became the Foursquare mayor of it."

More seriously, he said, "I do not want to live forever. I've had ten lives. I don't think it's right to deprive the world of one spot for newcomers."


I enjoyed the trip down memory lane and his unique perspectives on things with the perspective of hindsight. You can read the whole interview here:


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Previous to the Apple was the Altair but it had just lights to indicate status it really was the Apple and several pothers that while inspired by the Altair, took it a step further with screens and keyboard inputs as well as tape storage then floppy with Apple using the 5.25" floppy as one of the, if not the first, in micro computers which morphed into PCs. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcomputer . No Apple user here but in PCs with full kb input, CRT output and printer ports and microprocessors on a single mobo they were in the vanguard don't you agree?

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I agree with those too. There are lots of points in development, invention, and innovation, we can all point to this and that and say that Gates or Woz did not invent this or that. What makes Woz special is his company and work in taking an invention like the mouse that was not being promoted, and may not have had any more success than the Microsoft CE early tablets or their phones today.


I am not a big fan of Jobs but I think equally well of Woz and Gates as far as personal computing advancement is concerned. But we don't have to agree on that. I think Linus Torvalds has done some interesting things but his Linux OS, derived as a "white box" Unix system, avoiding the licensing costs but being very similar has done less in my opinion. Why? Because he developed Linux in 1991 when MIcrosoft and PCs were all using command lines too, PCDOS, MSDOS, DR DOS, etc. When Windows emulated Apple in a Mouse driven GUI in 1993-5 with Windows for workgroups Linus did not follow along. I could go back and run DOS on any old XP box for nothing too! I don't because I detest text based GUIs and command line computing. I don't use DOS or Linux. I like Windows and Windows phone.


But in the history of computing no one, like them or not, can dispute Woz, Gates, Torvalds, and another favorite of mine, Gary Kildall who founded Intergalactic Digital Research, later just Digital Research. His DR-DOS, derived from Concurrent PC DOS 6.0, which was an advanced successor of CP/M-86 for C/PM, was another early innovator for OS'. I used DR-DOS for several years and loved it in addition to Geos/GeoWorks which I bought for my Commodore systems (I had the DX, two Commodore 64s and one Commodore Amiga[256] ) and for my pre MS Windows boxes, Geoworks for Windows, an early better windows GUI than the early MS Windows efforts. In my DOS days I used GEOS, also from Berkeley Softworks, on my IBM clones.


I love all their early stories and read or buy their books. The guys from the 60s and earlier were not on my radar screen as I did not get my first commodore until I was 30 years old! 1982.


I think we all have our favorite heroes of computing and innovators. I loved them all. I am not one of them, but sure like playing with the toys they made/make/are yet to make.


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To me ALGOL, the original procedural based language, Grace Hopper with COBOL, David Barton of Burroughs for stack based program execution and the MCP, a fully resource management operating system were the ground work. Packaging is not a revolution.


But then again, we tend to see things released today as revolutionary (or pedaled as so) even though they are based on old technology. Look at Mercedes bragging about collision control radar is based upon the EATON VORAD system of the 1990's.


But then again, I started with computers in 1964, a little before the toy computer revolution.

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What I loved about my Apple II, was I could put cards in it and turn it into a different machine. I had the CP/M card, which made it a Z80 machine. I had a Digital Acoustics 68000 system, that let me run 68000 programs. I had a 4MHZ 6502 card that made the machine run 4 times as fast. I learned Pascal, C and Forth on my Apple II and used Fortran on the CP/M card. I ended up knowing 6502, 68000 and Z80/8080 assembly language because of my Apple II. From that experience I ended up working on software that paid well enough, especially stock options, that I could retire early and live on the road.

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Ada Lovelace, considered by many to be the first programmer with Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine had a bit of a hand in things if you want to get down to basics. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Lovelace


Never mind Blaise Pascal's Pascaline, and all the earlier counting and navigating machines. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_calculator


Bill, and the Z-100 was both a CP/M, and with the MSDOS Card an MSDOS machine. The Zenith Z-100 was the first AF computer I had delivered to my AF office, and they took away my beloved Selectric typewriter. That was late 1986. I had an antique portable Remington typewriter in its own case that I wish I had kept along with my Commodore DX 64, which was in perfect condition when I sold it along with my last dot matrix printer, Color full size commodore monitor, 300 Baud Commodore Modem, and a Commodore external 5.25" Floppy drive. I had already sold my Amiga and other Commodore 64s, monitors, drives,programming boards, and EPROM eraser.

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