If you ever find yourself wondering what kind of person it was that, back in the 1970s, thought it would be incredibly cool to create a home computer - one that ordinary people could use, not just megacorporations and academics - then you should take 90 minutes out to watch An Evening with Steve Wozniak, now available over at Google Video.
The footage is of a public talk Woz gave at the Computer History Museum back in December 2002, so it’s not exactly new. But it is an enlightening and amusing tale of Woz’s wide-eyed journey through the subjects that interested him the most - science, maths, electronics and computers.
You’ll find out how he first got interested in radio, gained a ham radio licence, and started designing computers while still at school. How Dial-a-Joke was harder work than setting up a company; and how the orders were met for the first Apple I computer when the company itself had no money at all (Steve Jobs got the components on 30 days credit, and sold the rapidly-made machines for cash at a local store).
You’ll learn how Hewlett Packard, Wozniak’s employer at the time, turned down his designs for a simple home computer that could be plugged into a TV set; and how the boss who turned it down later admitted that he had suffered sleepless nights because he couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Woz (in the headlines recently for other reasons) is an entertaining speaker, and this is a great way to get the real skinny on Apple’s early history if you haven’t got the time to sit and read a book. He is also, famously, a bit of a joker: