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Woz Expounds On His Hacking Shenanigans and Online Mischief 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-for-fun dept.
coondoggie writes "In his keynote address at a security conference today, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak admitted he has enjoyed many adventures in hacking often for the sake of pranks on friends and family, especially back in his college days and the early years of working on computers and the Internet. 'I like to play jokes,' said the Wozniak jovially as he addressed his audience of thousands of security professionals attending the ASIS Conference in Chicago. The famed inventor at Apple admitted he also had some fun with light-hearted forays into hacking computer and telecommunications networks several decades ago back in his college years and while learning about electronics and computers."
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Woz Expounds On His Hacking Shenanigans and Online Mischief

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  • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdotNO@SPAMworf.net> on Thursday September 26, 2013 @01:35AM (#44956737)

    Imagine if Woz would have had an early job offer at say HP. He might have become a respected engineer over there, but unlikely with the same recognition today.

    Woz was working at HP (in their calculator division) while he was building the Apple I. In fact, HP had a policy that allowed people to take parts home for experimentation (and Woz used it to build the Apple I). The only catch is that if you build anything, you must show it to HP to give them right of first refusal to build and commercialize the product.

    In fact, during this time, Woz applied to transfer to HP's computer division, and was rejected, multiple times.

    Eventually he built the Apple I, and he showed it to HP management. They liked it, HOWEVER, they rejected the idea that it can connect to an ordinary TV. They felt that doing so violated the HP way - what if the customer has a piss-poor TV? They'll blame HP for making a crap product! No, your device must use an HP display.

    So in the end, Woz got his release on the Apple I, HP only made workstations (and nothing for the home computer market). When Jobs went about selling the Apple I, and got an order for 1000 of them, Woz quit HP and they entered into building the Apple I full time.

    There was insufficient capital, so Woz sold his HP calculator to pay for the PCBs, and they could only build about 10 or so at a time - they'd build 10 of them, then they'd pay the suppliers for the next batch (whom refused to release the parts until they were prepaid - so the parts sat in a secured locker at the factory). Jobs would take the 10 units and deliver them and take partial payment.

    Woz and Jobs complimented each other. It was Jobs' idea to sell the Apple I (Woz was planning on just selling boards and schematics). That was innovation #1, because it meant a computer no longer was the exclusive territory of the big companies nor hardcore hackers - people could *buy* one prebuilt (and many stores threw in the requisite additional parts - power supply, keyboard, case). Until then, even the Altairs were shipped as a kit you had to put together, so limited to the hobbyist market. Of course, even the hobbyist market was big enough to create Microsoft and have Gates port his BASIC to it. Of course, it's also when Gates wrote his famous piracy letter.

    Innovation #2 came with the Apple II - in which Jobs packaged it all up in a plastic case so now any mom and dad with no engineering skills can go to the store and buy it completely assembled and for the time, stylish looking.

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