Category Archives: Apple Computer

Steve Wozniak 8.11.13 Thought of the Day

“Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window.” — Steve Wozniak

Steve Wozniak

Stephen Gary “Woz” Wozniak  was born on this day in San Jose, California in 1950. Today is his 63rd birthday.

Woz was always interested in electronics. Even as a kid he had the ability to build gadgets from scratch. He wasn’t a great student (he only stayed one year at UC Berkley) but he  was able to design the hardware, circuit boards and operating system for the original Apple computer on his own and with out a formal engineering degree.  (He later went back to UC Berkley under the name Rocky Clark — a combination of his dog’s name and his wife’s maiden name — and earned his Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences degree in 1986).

Apple I Computer

Apple I Computer (Photo credit: euthman)

He and friend Steve Jobs were members of a Palo Alto electronic hobby group called the Homebrew Computer Club and they premiered the Apple 1 at one of the groups meetings. Wozniak quit his job at Hewlett-Packard and he and  Jobs started Apple Computer  on April 1, 1976.

With Wozniak’s knowledge of electronics and Jobs’s marketing skills, the two were well-suited to do business together. Wozniak went on to conceive the Apple II as part of the company’s personal-computer series, and by 1983, Apple had a stock value of $985 million. []

Wozniak was severely injured in an airplane accident in 1981. It took two years before he returned to Apple. He eventually left the company in 1987.

Post Apple Woz founded CL 9, a company which developed the first programmable universal remote control. His Wheels of Zeus venture developed wireless GPS

Steve Wozniak thumbs up

Steve Wozniak thumbs up (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He pursued a lifelong goal  when he began teaching science and technology to kids from 5th to 9th grade.

Wozniak published his autobiography,iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It. Three years later, he joined the Salt Lake City-based start-up Fusion-io as its chief scientist. []

Steve Wozniak - Apple Co-Founder


Steve Jobs 2.24.13 Thought of the Day

“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone...

English: Steve Jobs shows off the white iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference Español: Presentación del iPhone 4 por Steve Jobs en la Worldwide Developers Conference del año 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)*

Steven Paul Jobs was born on this day in San Francisco, California, USA in 1955. Today is the 58th anniversary of his birth.

Adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs when he was a baby, he was five when the family moved to Mountain View, California. His parents later adopted a second child, his sister Patty. His dad worked with Steve on electronics and woodworking projects  in the family’s garage.

My father was a machinist, and he was a sort of genius with his hands. … I started to gravitate more toward electronics, and he used to get me things I could take apart and put back together. –Steve Jobs []

He was a bright, inquisitive child, but he lacked focus and motivation. Because he was bored he became a class prankster. Then he met Imogene Hill, his fourth grade advanced class teacher, who “kindled a passion in me for learning things. I learned more that year than I think I learned in any year in school.” [Ibid] He scored so well in standardized testing that he could have skipped two grades (his parents let him skip one grade.)

He began Homestead High School in 1971. When he was a teen he met another electronics enthusiast, Steve  “Woz” Wozniak. They two became friends over their shared interest in computer chips and electronics.


jobs_woz (Photo credit: Revolweb)

After High School  Jobs went to Reed College but dropped out after a half a year. He felt the school was taking to much of his parent’s nest egg and he wasn’t getting enough from it. He continued to take creative classes for another year and a half, most notably calligraphy, which sparked his interest in typography. Then in 1974 he took a job with video game designer Atari.

An original Apple I Computer. [Image courtesy:  Wikimedia Commons]

An original Apple I Computer. [Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]

In 1976 he and Wozniak formed Apple Computer Company to sell circuit boards. The company was housed in the Jobs family garage. Wozniak invented the Apple 1 computer. They displayed it in July at he Homebrew computer Club in Palo Alto. To finance the  production of the computer Jobs sold his VW Microbus and Wozniak sold his HP-65 calculator. The price of the computer was $666.66. About 200 computers were produced, about 50 of which are documented to still be in existence.

Jobs and Wozniak are credited with revolutionizing the computer industry by democratizing the technology and making the machines smaller, cheaper, intuitive and accessible to everyday consumers. []

In April of 1977 the Apple 11 came out. The Apple 11 ran at a lightning fast 1MHz with a whopping 4kb of RAM. The next improvement involved a floppy disk drive and a color monitor.

Apple 11 with floppy disk drive [Image courtesy: Wikipedia]

Apple 11 with floppy disk drive [Image courtesy: Wikipedia]

Apple Computer became a publicly traded company in 1980. John Scully, formerly of Pepsi, came on board as Apple’s president.

But as the 80’s dawned so did IBM’s dominance in the personal computing world.

Steve Jobs - Placard

Steve Jobs – Placard (Photo credit: The Seg)

“In 1984, Apple released the Macintosh, marketing the computer as a piece of a counter culture lifestyle: romantic, youthful, creative.”[] Apple has always had a certain attitude and style to their marketing. This is especially evident with the famous “1984” Apple ad …

Despite Jobs’ creative influence in including things like a WYSIWYG screen interface (vs the PC’s coded  approach) choices in typography and a drawing package the Mac couldn’t compete with Big Blue’s stronghold in the business world. Sales were still strong, especially among the graphic design and art world, but Mac executives began to see Jobs as “hurting Apple” and began “to phase him out.” [Ibid]

This NeXT Computer was used by Sir Tim Berners...

This NeXT Computer was used by Sir Tim Berners-Lee at CERN and became the world’s first Web server. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He resigned in 1985 and started a new company called NeXT. In 1986 he joined with George Lucas to form what became Pixar Animation (“Jobs invested $50 million of his own money into the company.” [Ibid]) Pixar became one of the most successful animation studios in Hollywood history. It was eventually bought by Disney and Jobs became Disney’s largest shareholder.

Apple bought our NeXT in 1997 for $429 million and “Jobs returned to his post as Apple’s CEO.” [Ibid]

For much of the 90’s Apple, Inc. was a follower. It’s designed resembled IBM PCs and PC clones. a lot of the Apple magic was squandered.

With a new management team, altered stock options and a self-imposed annual salary of $1 a year, Jobs put Apple back on track. His ingenious products such as the iMac, effective branding campaigns, and stylish designs caught the attention of consumers once again. [Ibid]

An iMac looked nothing like the tower, keyboard and screen of its competitors. (Yes, I have one.)

An iMac looked nothing like the tower, keyboard and screen of its competitors.*

The Macbook Air, iPod, iPhone and iPad followed. As did 2008s music and media download service iTunes.

English: Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad...

English: Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad in San Francisco on 27th January 2010. Version without watermark and with reduced noise in the background. Deutsch: Steve Jobs stellt das iPad in San Francisco am 27. Januar 2010 vor. Version ohne Wasserzeichen und reduziertem Bildrauschen im Hintergrund. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)*

in 2003 Jobs was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor. He had it successfully removed in 2004, but battled pancreatic cancer for nearly a decade until his death in 2011.

My first Mac was a Mac SE with dual floppy drive. It still sits on my shelf, and it still works (though the software and cables are so antiquated it can't communicate to anything.)

My first Mac was a Mac SE with dual floppy drive. It still sits on my shelf, and, as I found out  in 2011,  it still works.  However, the software and cables are so antiquated it can’t communicate to anything.*


So are you a Mac or a PC?

Apple Product Timeline [Image courtesy: Innovations In Newspapers]

Apple Product Timeline [Image courtesy: Innovations In Newspapers]

* Yeah, I got that.

Apple Logo created in 1977 by Rob Janoff. [Image courtesy:  Wikimedia Commons]

Apple Logo created in 1977 by Rob Janoff. [Image courtesy: Wikimedia Commons]

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