Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sign in | Create Account

iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It

09/28/2006 11:00 AM Walker Morss Hall
Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder, Apple Computer

Description: Steve Wozniak tells the tale of Apple's early years with such illuminating details and brio that engineers (and ordinary mortals) will feel they'd actually been on the scene. While lots of books recount this story, Wozniak says many of them -got it wrong." So he decided to set down his own version, by book and lecture. A ham radio licensee in 6th grade, Wozniak envisioned becoming an engineer, building -radios, TVs or guidance systems." It was a time when one -couldn't hope to see a computer, and never own one because it cost as much as a house." Wozniak put himself through U.C. Berkeley by working in electronics firms, including Hewlett Packard. All the while he was designing primitive computers. Then came the fateful day when he met Steve Jobs, with whom he had an immediate affinity. -A lot of my life is driven by how you should live, your goals and values. A lot came from the pop music of the day, and we had similar tastes, like Bob Dylan." Both Wozniak and Jobs were fascinated by the early video games, like Pong, which had simple displays and controls. Wozniak stumbled on to the ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet, and was inspired by the idea of typing and seeing words appear on a video screen. 'I said, Wow, I can design my own computer and build it almost for free." Wozniak devised a microprocessor with some memory and created the first -local computer." Jobs set out to sell the invention. The Apple 1 was born, and in record time, they had an order for 100 computers, at $666.66 each. The famous garage was a staging area where Wozniak tested the machines for defects. He notes about this time, -You can do things amazingly fast when you don't have any lawyers." In 1977, Wozniak's new and improved Apple 2 added basic programming language, as well as color and graphics, sound and paddles. This was the machine that convinced the world that computers didn't just belong in big companies, but in everyone's homes. -It was the biggest eureka moment of my life," Wozniak says, when he realized that with software on a computer -you could do in half an hour what would take you a lifetime in hardware." Whether with games, spreadsheet calculations or recipes, his computer had seized the imagination of an entire nation.

About the Speaker(s): Steve Wozniak was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1985, the highest honor bestowed America's leading innovators. In 2000, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment for -single-handedly designing the first personal computer and for then redirecting his lifelong passion for mathematics and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade school students and their teachers."

Wozniak founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and was the founding sponsor of the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet and Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose.

Wozniak recently published iWoz From Computer Geek to Culture Icon: How I invented the personal compter, co-founded Apple, and had fun doing it., (2006 Norton).

Host(s): Alumni Association, MIT Coop

Comments (0)

It looks like no one has posted a comment yet. You can be the first!

You need to log in, in order to post comments. If you don’t have an account yet, sign up now!

MIT World — special events and lectures

MIT World — special events and lectures

Category: Events | Updated almost 3 years ago

Created
December 13, 2011 18:01
Category
Tags
License
All Rights Reserved (What is this?)
Additional Files


Viewed
3336 times

More from MIT World — special events and lectures

Technology and Humanity in the 21st Century

Technology and Humanity in the 21st...

Added almost 3 years ago | 00:21:45 | 1761 views

The Idea of Universality in Linguistics and Human Rights

The Idea of Universality in Linguis...

Added almost 3 years ago | 01:38:00 | 1984 views

Community Discussion on Open Sharing and OpenCourseWare

Community Discussion on Open Sharin...

Added almost 3 years ago | 00:38:34 | 2005 views

Bridging the Delivery Gap to Global Health

Bridging the Delivery Gap to Global...

Added almost 3 years ago | 00:49:32 | 2150 views

Global and Regional Climate Change: Underlying Science and Emerging Riddles

Global and Regional Climate Change:...

Added almost 3 years ago | 01:12:00 | 2561 views

The Emergence of China in the Global Economy

The Emergence of China in the Globa...

Added almost 3 years ago | 00:57:26 | 1957 views