Woz: Once A Genius, Always A Genius

I have been intrigued by all things electronic since a very young age. Even before I started grade school, I can remember taking apart my brothers' AFX cars to see how they worked, and modding the electrical contacts on the underside of the cars, in the trigger throttles, and on the track to make the cars go faster. I would pull apart transistor radios, walkie-talkies, old calculators, you name it. I found it interesting and fun, and still do today, although now I'm ripping apart notebooks, netbooks, graphics cards and the like.

Few things got put back together properly back then, but over time I got more adept at understanding the inner-workings of many electronic devices. Soon I was able to not only reassemble things correctly, but to repair and modify them as well. Through trial and error I taught myself to solder, to use a multimeter, and to identify and replace marginal components in many different devices. In high school I got a bit of "formal" training by taking a semi-advanced electronics class, and even got a part-time job at Radio Shack, but by that point I already had the basics down pat.

It turns out I have a lot in common with one of my idols, Steve "Woz" Wozniak, co-founder of Apple. I'm finally getting around to reading Steve's autobiography iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It and can closely relate to many of the stories he tells in the book. He too had an ingrained curiosity of electronics and taught himself many of the same things I did when he was young. Of course, while I was making simple solder connections Woz was designing advanced logic circuits and TV Jammers, but I can still totally relate to the sense of accomplishment Woz writes about after completing a particularly difficult project.

Woz's Signature On A Limited Edition Apple II GS: The System Still Works To This Day

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Posted Wed, Jun 17 2009 11:11 AM by Marco C


3vi1 wrote re: Woz: Once A Genius, Always A Genius
on Sun, Sep 20 2009 6:35 PM

As someone who also has a history of taking everything apart, I totally agree.

Back in the day, I was a C=64 geek.  Now, where I was from, C=64 geeks and Apple II geeks had nothing good to say about each other... just like when we morphed into Amiga and AtariST geeks.

BUT... I read a lot about Woz, and have nothing but respect for the man.  He had all kinds of inventive solutions for problems you would have thought to be insurmountable given the other large companies that could have solved them first.  It's the audacity that he had to tackle those problems with limited resources and actually succeed that makes him a hero to me.

Now, Steve Jobs on the other hand...  haha... just as bad as Gates or Irving Gould.  I might feel different if I had any business sense, but as is I can only relate to Woz.

If you want to check out other really cool stories of Apple history, read http://www.folklore.org.  Andy Hertzfeld's written a lot of great stuff there (he has a book too, if you'd like a more complete account!)

Great piece!

realneil wrote re: Woz: Once A Genius, Always A Genius
on Fri, Oct 9 2009 9:26 AM

Tinkering is the most fun one can have on a rainy day except chasing the missus around. I can remember  fixing toasters, hair dryers, washing machines, and all sorts of other stuff when I was a kid at home. It's only natural that I progressed into building Spaceships for NASA and starting an unofficial repair service for my friend's computers as a hobby.

I would have loved to work with the Woz back then.