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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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  • Woz also invented the floppy disc drive for the Apple II. While floppy drives weren't exactly new at the time, the big innovation that Woz did was in reducing the chip count considerably and moving much of the timing circuitry and formatting systems into software, thus making the disc controllers much more affordable. The Apple II computers were one of the first mass produced computers with that technology and gave Apple Computer a very early lead over their competitors who were still using cassette tapes for data storage systems.

    I still have awe at how Woz was not able to create the Integer BASIC interpreter used on the Apple I & Apple II computers, but that he hand assembled every op code into raw binary before putting it into the ROM chip. It was something that a lack of capital forced to happen... which is also why Woz developed the mini assembler that was found in the Apple II monitor ROM so he didn't need to do that again.

    There certainly are some other gems in terms of just raw elegance in the design that Woz came up with that take somebody digging around the components to fully appreciate. It may seem quirky in terms of somebody developing an emulator with 21st Century technology, but it was utter brilliance at the time. Another chip reducing approach was to use the NTSC frame synch clock used for the display to also trigger the RAM data refresh cycle (thus refreshing the RAM at 60 Hz). Other computers of the era needed separate clock circuity. I could go on, but there were a whole bunch of similar genuine innovations.

...when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. - Fred Brooks, Jr.

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