Co- Founder - Apple Computers Inc.

Stephen Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computers, is often given credit for starting the PC revolution.

Born August 11, 1950, Wozniak built his own amateur radio station when he was 11 years old, and got a ham-radio license. Two years later, he built his first computer. In the 1970's he built blue-boxes which he later sold with Steve Jobs.

Having dropped out of college in 1975, Wozniak was working with a group called the Homebrew Computer Club, based in Palo Alto, CA. There, he developed a successful computer, but was working as a hobbyist. That is where he met Jobs, and the two decided that a completely assembled and inexpensive computer would be a hot item. They raised some money and built a prototype in Jobs' garage. Named Apple I, it was a fully assembled and functional unit that contained a $25 microprocessor on a single-circuit board with ROM. On April 1, 1976, Jobs and Wozniak formed the Apple Computer Company. Wozniak quit his job at Hewlett-Packard and became the vice president in charge of research and development at Apple. Apple I was priced at $666.66. Jobs and Wozniak sold their first 25 computers to a local dealer. In later versions, his computer was able to display high-resolution graphics and a floppy-disk drive. Woz, as he was called by his friends, developed much of the software for the computer, as well. In 1980, the Apple company went public and made Jobs and Wozniak millionaires.

In 1981, Wozniak was in a plane crash which caused him short-term memory loss. He withdrew from his work at Apple, and went back to school, earning degrees in computer science and electrical engineering. He went back to work at Apple, in development, but decided to leave the company for good in 1985. That year President Ronald Reagan presented Wozniak with the National Medal of Technology. Among other projects, he was involved in UNUSON ("Unite Us In Song"), with its goal of eliminating international enmities by using new communication devices. In 1990 he also joined Mitchell Kapor in establishing the Electronic Frontier Foundation to provide legal aid for computer hackers facing criminal prosecution and to research the legal aspects of computer communication.

In 2000, Wozniak was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2001, Woz founded Wheels Of Zeus, a company that provides wireless solutions. Since leaving Apple Computer, Woz has provided all the money, as well as a good amount of on-site technical support at the local Los Gatos School district; among other things he volunteers his time teaching fifth-graders to use computers. In May, 2004, Woz received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from North Carolina State University for his contributions to the field of personal computing.

Stephen Wozniak (Polish: Wozniak, nickname (The) Woz or Wizard of Woz) (born August 11, 1950) is credited with initiating the entry of computers into private homes. Although his contribution may be seen as a compilation of a few well-known ideas that have perfectly coincided with the technological readiness for a mass-produced computer, Stephen Wozniak's ingenuity and relentless creativity made him uniquely suitable to pick up the credit for starting the personal computer revolution.

Early life and inspiration

Wozniak's early inspirations came from his father Jerry who was a Lockheed engineer, and from a fictional wonder-boy: Tom Swift. His father infected him with fascination for electronics and would often check over young Woz's creations. Tom Swift, on the other hand, was for Woz an epitome of creative freedom, scientific knowledge, and the ability to find solutions to problems. Tom Swift would also attractively illustrate the big awards that await the inventor. To this day, Wozniak returns to Tom Swift books and reads them to his own kids as a form of inspiration.

Woz's values were shaped and strengthened over years by his family and individual thinking, ethical and moral philosophy, radio amateur ethics (helping people in emergency), books (Swift's utilitarian and humanitarian attitude) and others.

As a lasting Swift legacy, throughout his life, Wozniak loved all projects that required heavy thinking, even if they were void of any practicality or marketability. He learned the basics of mathematics and electronics from his father. When Woz was 11, he built his own amateur radio station, and got a ham-radio license. At age 13, he was elected president of his high school electronics club, and won first prize at a science fair for a transistor-based calculator. Also at 13, Woz began designing his first computers, which laid the engineering foundation of his later success.

Together with John Draper he made Blue Boxes, devices with which one could (mis)use the telephone system by emulating pulses (i.e. phone phreaking). Wozniak met Steve Jobs while working a summer job at HP, and they began selling blue boxes together.

The dawn of Apple

By 1975, Woz dropped out of the University of California, Berkeley (he would later finish his degree in 1982) and came up with a computer that eventually became successful nationwide. However, he was largely working within the scope of the Palo Alto-based Homebrew Computer Club, a local group of electronics hobbyists. His project had no wider ambition.

Jobs and Wozniak came to the conclusion that a completely assembled and inexpensive computer would be in demand. They sold some of their prized possessions (e.g. Woz's HP scientific calculator and Steve Jobs' Volkswagen mini-van), raised $1300, and assembled the first prototype in Jobs' garage. Their first computer was quite unimpressive by today's standards, but in 1975 it was an engineering marvel. In simplicity of use it went years ahead of the Altair, which was introduced earlier in 1975. Altair had no display and no true storage. It received commands via a series of switches and a single program would require thousands of toggles without an error. Altair output was presented in the form of flashing lights. Altair was great for true geeks, but it was not usable for a wider public. It would not even come assembled. Woz's computer, on the other hand, named Apple I, was a fully assembled and functional unit that contained a $25 microprocessor on a single-circuit board with ROM. On April 1, 1976, Jobs and Wozniak formed Apple Computer Company. Wozniak quit his job at Hewlett-Packard and became the vice president in charge of research and development at Apple. Apple I was priced at $666.66. Jobs and Wozniak sold their first 25 computers to a local dealer.

Wozniak could now focus full-time on fixing the shortcomings of Apple I and adding new functionality. Apple I earned the company close to a million dollars. His new design was to retain the most important characteristics: simplicity and usability. Woz introduced high-resolution graphics in the Apple II. His computer could now display pictures instead of just letters: "I threw in high-res. It was only two chips. I didn't know if people would use it." By 1978, he also designed an inexpensive floppy-disk drive. He and Randy Wigginton wrote a simple disk operating system.

In addition to his hardware skills, Wozniak wrote most of software that ran Apple. He wrote a Basic interpreter, a Breakout game (which was also a reason to add sound to the computer), the code needed to control the disk drive, and more. On the software side, the Apple II was also made more attractive to a business user by the famous pioneering spreadsheet: Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston's VisiCalc. In 1980, the Apple company went public and made Jobs and Wozniak millionaires. At the age of 27, Jobs was the youngest Fortune 500 man in 1982—a very young age before the dot-com era.

Incidentally, in 1978, when the company cut the price of Apple II, it helped to launch yet another meteoric software career, that of Mitch Kapor. Kapor scraped enough money to buy his own Apple. Inspired by VisiCalc and a meeting with its inventors, he went on to develop Lotus 1-2-3 and swept the spreadsheet market place for years to follow.

A decline for Apple

For years the Apple II was the main source of profit at Apple, and it assured the company's survival when its management undertook much less profitable ventures like the ill-fated Apple III and the short lived Lisa. It was because of the reliable profits from the Apple II that Apple was able to develop the Macintosh, market it, and gradually make it evolve into a machine which is now at the center of all Apple products. In a sense then, Wozniak can be considered as the financial godfather of the Mac.

In February 1981, Steve Wozniak's private plane crashed. As a result, he had temporary short-term memory loss. He had no recollection of the accident and, for a while, did not even know he had been involved in a crash. He began to piece together clues from things people had said to him. He asked his wife if he had been involved in an accident of some kind. When she told him of the event, his short-term memory was restored.

Woz became burned out at Apple. He got married and returned to the University of California, Berkeley under the name "Rocky (Raccoon) Clark" to get his degrees in 1982 in computer science as well as in electrical engineering. In 1983 he decided to return to mainstream Apple development. However, he wanted to be no more than just an engineer and a motivational factor for the Apple workforce.

In 1982 and 1983, Wozniak also sponsored the two editions of the US Festival, which were a celebration of evolving technologies and a marriage of music, computers, television and people.

The end of an era

Woz left Apple for good on February 6, 1985, nine years after setting up the company. Wozniak then founded a short-lived venture called CL9 which developed home remote control switches. Out of spite, Jobs threatened his suppliers to not do business with Wozniak or risk losing Apple's business. Wozniak was able to find suppliers other than the ones he had worked with for years, but was disappointed in his former friend's bitterness.

Jobs was eventually forced to leave Apple as a result of a power struggle. Wozniak and Jobs were proud to have originated an anti-corporate ethic among big players of computer market. Jobs focused on not always practical innovation with his NeXT vision, while Woz went into teaching (he taught fifth grade students) and charitable activities in the field of education.

Recognition and afterward

Steve Wozniak received the National Medal of Technology from the President of the United States in 1985. In September 2000, Steve Wozniak was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Wozniak was a key contributor and benefactor to the San Jose Children's Museum.

Since leaving Apple Computer, Woz has provided all the money, as well as a good amount of on-site technical support of the local Los Gatos School district (the district in which he lives and his children attend school).

In 2001, Woz founded Wheels Of Zeus, acronymed "WoZ", a company that provides wireless solutions. In the same year, he joined the Board of Directors at Danger, Inc., the maker of the HipTop (aka SideKick from T-Mobile).

In May of 2004, upon nomination by Dr. Tom Miller, Woz received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from North Carolina State University for his contributions to the field of personal computing.

BIOGRAFIA EN ESPAÑOL

Co. Fundador de Apple Computers Inc.

El inventor de la primera Macintosh es ahora un maestro de escuela que ha encontrado en la enseñanza su verdadera vocación.

Un hombre que en su momento cambió el rumbo de la historia en la computación, está cambiando el mundo de la educación.

Analicemos sus antecedentes históricos:

  • 1972 Universidad de Colorado, DeAnza, U.C. Berkeley
    1976 Programador de chips para HP
  • 1979 Diseña los primeros sistemas Apple
  • 1980 Se casa con Alice Robertson - no tiene hijos
  • 1987 Se casa con Candice Clark - 3 hijos alternan los fines de semana la custodia.
  • 1990 Se casa con Suzanne Mulker ella tiene también 3 hijos
  • 1991 Siente la llamada a la educación a través de pequeño hijo Jesse de 9 años donde empieza a explicarle desde como conectar los cables y descubren Bit por Bit la nueva vocación de Woz!
  • 1996 Se involucra profundamente a la educación en computación para "Los Gatos Unified School" donde incluye tecnología de planeación, planeación LAN, así como enseñanza básica de computación para maestros y temas relacionados con redes.

El poder darles a los niños una nueva perspectiva en el mundo de la computación es para Wozniak un gran placer.

A volado en helicóptero sobre el gran cañón pagando él los costos, a reído con sus alumnos enseñándoles como rellenar una galleta Oreos con pasta de dientes y a sorprendido a propios y extraños cuando sus alumnos toman Coca en latas de cerveza previamente vacías.

 

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