Woz highlights eight key gadgets that deeply influenced his work

Complete your iPad experience with ZAGGmate!Jonathan Snyder and Brian X. Chen report for Wired, “Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, led a press tour Thursday morning highlighting some key gadgets that deeply influenced his engineering work.”

• IBM 026 Punch-Card Machine – 1949
• Stibitz 1-Bit Model K Adder – 1980
• IBM RAMAC Actuator and Disk Stack – 1956
• Control Data Corp. 6600 Supercomputer – 1964
• Data General Nova, Serial No. 1 – 1969
• Honeywell Kitchen Computer – 1969
• Regency TR-1 Transistor Radio – 1954
• Pong – 1972

The result: Apple 1 – 1975. “Steve Wozniak built the Apple I completely by hand and showed it off at the Homebrew Computer Club, a computer hobbyist club in Palo Alto,” Snyder and Chen report. “The Apple I didn’t work on its own: It was a fully assembled circuit board with about 60 chips that required owners to get their own case, power supply, display and so on before they could use it as a computer.”

Snyder and Chen report, “An idealistic Woz wasn’t interested in making money, and he gave away the instructions to build the Apple I for free. ‘I wanted to accelerate the world’s advancement into a social revolution,’ Woz said. ‘Eventually Steve Jobs came and said, ‘Why don’t we build it for them?””

Full article with photos and descriptions of each item here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]

18 Comments

  1. Woz left out of that list the dial tone generator that enabled him to make free long distance calls through the old AT&T landline network. That nearly landed him some jail time as it was completely illegal to dodge paying for calls through the POTS telephone system.

  2. I remember working with punchcards. You could tell the CS majors ‘cuz of the rubber bands we wore on our wrists (to hold our stacks together, in order). I still have a blank card around here somewhere.

  3. Those who may doubt that Woz is a genius should look up his development of the disk drive for the Apple II. (If you couldn’t afford a disk drive, the box included a few applications on cassette tape.)

    I had a “loaded” Apple II+ with 64 KB RAM, two disk drives and a 15-inch B&W monitor. Next to it sat a heavy printer that cost about $3,500 and had proportional type capability. My software included one of the first 800 copies of VisiCalc, a word processor by “Captain Crunch” and then a succession of software that let me do some good stuff on that equipment.

    Barney Stone’s programmable DB Master software allowed one to create amazingly flexible and powerful databases on the Apple II (but that took a lot of code writing). Add a hard drive and a DB Master database could handle some pretty big projects on the Apple II, and with surprising speed (everything was indexed). The full printout of one of my databases required seven 4-inch ring binder volumes.

  4. He’s a good man is the Woz. He did the work and he could do it all: hardware and software. Jobs on the other hand was a poor engineer and was widely regarded as such back then- time and herd ignorance seems to have elevated him to the greatest engineer of all time, rather than just one of the greatest salespeople/manager of smart people of all time. Woz and Jobs was like the unstoppable force (Woz) being given guidance, control, direction, reason and also space to be as such (Jobs). It certainly was a good match. Though I do believe that Jobs needed Woz more than Woz needed Jobs. Woz gives the impression of being perfectly happy to spend the rest of his life hacking (in the real meaning of the word, not the stupid meaning ascribed to it now by the ignorant and lazy) like his peer Lee Felsenstein (another great of the early days). Whereas no Woz -> no Jobs.

  5. No, I don’t think your criticism of Jobs is fair – he has never proclaimed to be a great engineer, nor has he been regarded as such – he has always been a great salesman and marketing wiz, and he has the people skills to know who to hire, and how to manage them to their best potential. Further, he has the visionary abilities to see how products (hardware and software) will work over time… this combination of long term vision and marketing talent is what makes him unique.

  6. @ X

    What is your problem with Woz, and how is it a “liberal” thing?

    There’s no question Wiz is/was a brilliant engineer. More to the point, he did what MOST of us would do if handed more money than you could spend in a lifetime — spent the rest of his life free of 9-5 work, filled with one pursuit after another.

    What’s not to love?

    Why the hate?

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