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iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It Paperback – October 17, 2007
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ââThe Wozâ built the first [personal computer]âby hand, by himself.ââUSA TodayBefore slim laptops that fit into briefcases, computers looked like strange vending machines, with cryptic switches and pages of encoded output. But in 1977 Steve Wozniak revolutionized the computer industry with his invention of the first personal computer. As the sole inventor of the Apple I and II computers, Wozniak has enjoyed wealth, fame, and the most coveted awards an engineer can receive, and he tells his story here for the first time.
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In those days, Jobs and Wozniak were household names. Everyone was amazed at what they had done. I took an early Apple II running UCSD Pascal into work at Control Data (fast dinosaurs), and the editor impressed people so much that CDC introduced its own "full-screen editor" very quickly. When I was assigned to explain the internal workings of our Sort / Merge product, it was extremely easy to look up the relevant algorithms in Knuth and translate them to Pascal --- and print out traces which enabled everyone to grasp the inner details of a tournament sort. It is no exaggeration to say that an Apple II was, in many respects, quicker and easier to use than a CDC computer which cost millions of dollars.
Clearly, the world of computing was in for a total tranformation.
Steve Wozniak's book explains just how he did it. I was surprised to learn that his IQ measured over 200, and then I sort of kicked myself: "Well, what did you expect?" This is the man who designed the Apple I singlehandedly, and then surpassed himself by designing the completely different Apple II a few months later. He had the vision of a computer with a keyboard and a screen --- very new concepts when the hobbyist world was still dealing with punched cards and "blinken lights." Wozniak, acting alone, defined the new world of the personal computer simply by inventing it. He was a true American genius who is simply stating the truth about his amazing accomplishments --- including writing the original Integer Basic interpreter for the Apple machines.
A lot of people may wonder what Woz has to say about Steve Jobs, and I will report that Woz admired Jobs terrifically, especially when Jobs played the comeback kid and returned to an Apple that seemed to be losing direction.
There may be an underlying story in this book, which Woz does not clearly bring out, and it has to do with what may have been a classic case of burnout. This occurred after his stunning successes, and after he was worth $100 million, when he went to Hawaii and simply stopped working on engineering. He decided that there were plenty of engineers in the world, but his kids had just the one father, and he decided to devote much more time to his family. In fact, he became a teacher and really devoted the rest of his life to educating the next generation.
In fact, leaving aside his very short life of crime (selling illegal Blue Boxes) this seems to be the tale of a model citizen, and someone you might have enjoyed knowing --- if you could follow his thoughts.
A very enjoyable read, and a definite contribution to history.
This book is written as if he was talking to you in his living room. The editors were lenient and didn't re-arrange the content very much, so on occasion you need to follow him down a twisting road. But this is good because it makes the feel of the book more conversational.
I was really impressed and not bored at all with this biography. Other reviewers said it was a little technical, and I guess it is, but he explains everything in such a straight forward manner that the average person shouldn't get lot.
As a geeky guy myself I really appreciated the technical aspects of the book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the history of Apple and its co-founders. I would also recommend this book to anyone who is an engineer or inventor.