Friday March 7, 2014
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I don't know about you, but I was right on top of the story of the invention of the Apple computer by an engineer named Steve Wozniak and the startup of a computer company by Wozniak and businessman Steve Jobs. I have read I do not know how many stories from those days--written and told IN those days.
Here came the Apple IIe, the Mac, and a multi-million dollar company. Wozniak was right there plugging away, but after a power struggle between Jobs and the board of directors, Jobs went off and tried to sell his idea elsewhere. What idea? The NeXT Computer, which failed.
Woz, happy with what he had accomplished, retired after a time, and has lived well since, a respected and admired inventor, while Jobs, always the businessman, worked to wangle his way back into Apple.
He finally succeeded, but from that day on Apple computers began a long downhill slide which continues to this day. The focus of the company, once a powerhouse of slick, smooth computing and unbeatable software, has been away from a viable tool that can be used to fundamentally change the world, to a series of brightly colored toys which fit in a pocket.
Although I still use a Mac, I do it almost under protest and would switch to a Windows machine if I felt there were enough years left in my life to make it worthwhile. Many things that Jobs could not sell in his failed NeXT Computer have now found their way into Macs I own. All of them are things I turn off and do my best to ignore. If I ever find it necessary to upgrade again, it will NOT be to a Mac.
I have kept quiet about all this, but something has happened that I just cannot ignore. Some jerk out in Hollywood has just made a movie about the invention of the Apple IIe, the microcomputer that started it all. In it he has Woz saying, "Nobody wants to buy a computer... nobody," while Steve Jobs is spouting glorious, inspiring messages about "computers affecting society."
Wozniak's comment about the movie? "Totally wrong. [The personalities are wrong] and... the ideas of computers affecting society did not come from Jobs."
Wozniak says the idea of designing a personal computer came from his time as a member of Homebrew Computer Club, a group for computer hobbyists, and long before Jobs had joined.
He points out, "It's ok to make up a dramatic scene but is much better if it sort of happened..."
Who you would you believe?
In case anybody is wondering, I believe Wozniak.
PS: I didn't think anyone would have any doubt. :-)
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