Steve Wozniak

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Stephen Gary "Woz" Wozniak

Born August 11, 1950 (1950-08-11) (age 58)
San Jose, California, USA
Occupation Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
Spouse(s) Alice Robertson (m. 1976–1980) «start: (1976)–end+1: (1981)»"Marriage: Alice Robertson to Steve Wozniak" Location: (linkback:
Candice Clark (m. 1981–1987) «start: (1981)–end+1: (1988)»"Marriage: Candice Clark to Steve Wozniak" Location: (linkback:
Suzanne Mulkern (m. 1990–2004) «start: (1990)–end+1: (2005)»"Marriage: Suzanne Mulkern to Steve Wozniak" Location: (linkback:
Janet Hill (m. 2008–present) «start: (2008)»"Marriage: Janet Hill to Steve Wozniak" Location: (linkback:
Children Three

Stephen Gary "Woz" Wozniak (born August 11, 1950 in San Jose, California) is an American computer engineer who founded Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) with Steve Jobs. His inventions and machines are credited with contributing significantly to the personal computer revolution of the 1970s. Wozniak created the Apple I and Apple II computers in the mid-1970s. The Apple II gained much popularity, eventually becoming one of the best selling personal computers of the 1970s and early 1980s. Wozniak was also a contestant on ABC's 8th season of Dancing with the Stars. Wozniak has several nicknames, including "The Woz", "Wonderful Wizard of Woz" and "iWoz" (a reference to the ubiquitous naming scheme for Apple products). "WoZ" (short for "Wheels of Zeus") is also the name of a company Wozniak founded. He is sometimes known as the "Other Steve" of Apple Computer, the better known Steve being co-founder Steve Jobs. He is of Polish descent.


[edit] Apple Computers

[edit] Origins of Apple

In 1970, Wozniak had become friends with Steve Jobs, when Jobs had a summer job at the same business where Wozniak was working on a mainframe computer.[1] According to Wozniak's autobiography, iWoz, Jobs had the idea to sell the computer as a fully assembled PC board. Wozniak, at first skeptical, was later convinced by Jobs that even if they were not successful they could at least say to their grandkids they had their own company. Together they sold some of their possessions (such as Wozniak's HP scientific calculator and Jobs' Volkswagen van), raised USD$1,300, and assembled the first prototypes in Jobs' bedroom and later (when there was no space left) in Jobs' garage. Wozniak's apartment in San Jose was filled with monitors, electronic devices, and Wozniak had developed some computer games, similar to SuperPong but that had voice overs to the blips on the screen. Wozniak carried electronic devices with him often, and would entertain partygoers with novel devices.[citation needed] The Apple I Computer was similar to the Altair 8800, the first commercially available personal computer, except it had no provision for internal expansion cards. With the addition of these cards, the Altair could be attached to a computer terminal and it could be programmed in BASIC. The Apple I was purely a hobbyist machine, a $25 microprocessor (MOS 6502) on a single-circuit board with 256 bytes of ROM, 4K or 8K bytes of RAM and a 40 character by 24 row display controller. It lacked a case, power supply, keyboard, or display, which had to be provided by the user.

By 1975, Wozniak withdrew from the University of California, Berkeley (he would later return to finish his B.S. in EECS, which he received in 1986 enrolled under the alias Rocky Clark) and came up with the computer that eventually made him famous. However, he was largely working to impress other members of the Palo Alto-based Homebrew Computer Club, a local group of electronics hobbyists. His project had no wider ambition.

On April 1, 1976, Jobs and Wozniak formed Apple Computer. Wozniak quit his job at Hewlett-Packard and became the vice president in charge of research and development at Apple. The Apple I was priced at $666.66. (Wozniak later said he had no idea about the correlation between the number and the mark of the beast, and "I came up with [it] because I like repeating digits." It was $500 plus a 33% markup.) Jobs and Wozniak sold their first 100 computers to Paul Terrell, who was starting a new computer shop, called the Byte Shop, in Mountain View, California. Terrell bought just the circuit board for the Apple I; he had to supply the keyboard, monitor, transformer, and even the case in which to put the computer. [2]

Excerpt from the Apple I design manual, including Wozniak's hand-drawn diagrams

Wozniak could now focus full-time on fixing the shortcomings of the Apple I and adding new functionality. His new design was to retain the most important characteristics: simplicity and usability. Wozniak introduced high-resolution graphics in the Apple II.[2] 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 controller. He and Randy Wigginton wrote a simple disk operating system and file system. Shepardson Microsystems was contracted to build a simple command line interface for the disk operating system.

In addition to designing the hardware, Wozniak wrote most of the software initially provided with the Apple. He wrote a programming language interpreter, a set of virtual 16-bit processor instructions known as SWEET 16, a Breakout game (which was also a reason to add sound to the computer), the code needed to control the disk drive, and more.

In 1980, Apple went public and made Jobs and Wozniak multimillionaires. However, Jobs refused to allow some members of Apple to receive stock options, so Wozniak decided to share some of his options with the rest of the team by either giving it away for free or at a heavily discounted price. This was dubbed "The Woz Plan". [3]

[edit] Aircraft accident

In February 1981, Steve Wozniak crashed his Beechcraft Bonanza while taking off from Santa Cruz Sky Park. The NTSB investigation[4] revealed that Wozniak did not have a "high performance" endorsement (making him legally unqualified to operate the airplane), and had a "lack of familiarity with [the] aircraft." The cause of the crash was determined to be a premature liftoff, followed by a stall and "mush" into a 12-foot embankment. As a result of the accident, he had retrograde amnesia and temporary anterograde amnesia. He had no recollection of the accident and, for a while, did not even know he had been involved in a crash. He also did not remember his hospital stays or the things he did after he was released: he followed his previous routine (except for flying), but could not recall what had happened. He would walk into rooms and forget why he was there and couldn't even remember which day it was. For example, he would go to work on Sunday, or stay home on a Wednesday, thinking it was the weekend[2]. He began to piece together clues from what people told him. He asked his girlfriend, Candice Clark (an early Apple employee who worked in the accounting department), whether he had been involved in an accident of some kind. When she told him about the event, his short-term memory was restored; Wozniak also credits Apple II computer games for aiding him in restoring those "lost" memories. Wozniak and Clark got engaged later that year.[2]

[edit] Ending employment with Apple

Wozniak did not immediately return to Apple after recovering from the crash. Instead, he married Clark and returned to UC Berkeley under the name "Rocky Raccoon Clark" (Rocky was his dog's name and Clark his wife's maiden name), finally earning his undergraduate degree in 1986. In May 1982 and 1983, Wozniak also sponsored two US Festivals to celebrate evolving technologies; they ended up as a technology exposition and a rock festival as a combination of music, computers, television and people.

In 1983 he decided to return to Apple product development, but he wanted no more of a role than that of an engineer and a motivational factor for the Apple workforce[2].

Wozniak permanently ended his full-time employment with Apple on February 6, 1987, 12 years after creating the company. He still remains an employee (and receives a paycheck)[2][5] and is a shareholder.[6] He also maintains connections with Steve Jobs.

[edit] Post-Apple career

Wozniak founded a new venture called CL 9, which developed and brought the first universal TV remote control to market in 1987.[2] Wozniak also taught fifth-grade students.

In 2001, Wozniak co-founded Wheels of Zeus (note the acronym, "WoZ"), to create wireless GPS technology to "help everyday people find everyday things." In 2002, he joined the Board of Directors of Ripcord Networks, Inc., joining Ellen Hancock, Gil Amelio, Mike Connor, and Wheels of Zeus co-founder Alex Fielding, all Apple alumni, in a new telecommunications venture. Later the same year he joined the Board of Directors of Danger, Inc., the maker of the Hip Top (a.k.a. Side Kick from T-Mobile).

Joey Slotnick, left, poses with Steve Wozniak. Slotnick portrayed Wozniak in the film Pirates of Silicon Valley.

In 2006, Wheels of Zeus was closed, and Wozniak founded Acquicor Technology, a shell company for acquiring technology companies and developing them, with Apple alumni Ellen Hancock and Gil Amelio.

In September 2006, Wozniak published his autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It. It was co-authored by writer Gina Smith.

In March 2006, Wozniak attended the FIRST National Competition in Atlanta to show off LEGO robots.[7]

In February 2009 Steve Wozniak joined Fusion-io, a data storage and server company, in Salt Lake City, Utah as their chief scientist.[8]

[edit] Philanthropy

Since leaving Apple, Wozniak has provided all the money, as well as a good amount of on-site technical support, for the technology program in his local school district.[2] Un.U.Son. (Unite Us In Song), an organization Wozniak formed to organize the two US Festivals, is now primarily tasked with supporting his educational and philanthropic projects.[9] In 1986, Wozniak lent his name to the Stephen G. Wozniak Achievement Awards (referred to as Wozzie Awards), which he presented to six Bay Area high school and college students for their innovative use of computers in the fields of business, art and music.

[edit] Honors and awards

Wozniak received the National Medal of Technology in 1985 from Ronald Reagan, then President of the United States[2] In December 1989, he received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he studied in the late sixties.[10] Later he donated funds to create the "Woz Lab" at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 1997, he was named a Fellow of the Computer History Museum. Wozniak was a key contributor and benefactor to the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose (the street in front of the museum has been renamed Woz Way in his honor).[11]

In September 2000, Wozniak was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.[12]

In December 2005, Wozniak was awarded an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Kettering University, in Flint, Michigan. [13] He also received an honorary degree from North Carolina State University, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology.

[edit] Television appearances

After seeing her stand-up performance in Saratoga, California, Wozniak began dating Emmy-winning comedian Kathy Griffin.[14] Together, they attended the 2007 Emmy Awards,[15] and he subsequently made many appearances on the fourth season of her show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. Woz is on the show as her date for the Producers Guild of America award show. However, on a June 19, 2008 appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Griffin confirmed that they are no longer dating and have decided to remain friends.[16]

Wozniak portrays a parody of himself in the first episode of the TV series Code Monkeys; he plays the owner of Gameavision before selling it to help fund Apple. He later appears again in the twelfth episode when he is in Las Vegas at the annual Video Game Convention and sees Dave and Jerry. He also appears in a parody of the "Get a Mac" ads featured in the final episode of Code Monkeys' second season. Wozniak is also interviewed and featured in the documentary Hackers Wanted and on BBC.

Wozniak competed on Season 8 of Dancing With The Stars in 2009[17][18] where he danced with Karina Smirnoff. Despite Wozniak and Smirnoff receiving 10 combined points from the three judges out of 30, the lowest score of the evening,[19] He said in an interview that he was not nervous.[20]he remained in the competition/exihibition. He later posted on a social networking site that he felt that the vote count was not legitimate and suggested that the Dancing With The Stars judges had lied about the vote count to keep him on the show. [21] After being briefed on the method of judging and vote counting, he retracted and apologized for his statements. [22] Despite suffering a pulled hamstring and a fracture in his foot, Wozniak continued to compete,[23] but was eliminated from the competition on March 31, with a score of 12 out for 30 for an Argentine Tango.[24]

Steve Wozniak signs a Modbook for a fan during an appearance at the Axiotron booth during Macworld Expo 2009.

[edit] Personal life

Wozniak lives in Los Gatos, California. He is a member of a Segway Polo team, the Silicon Valley Aftershocks. In 2006, they were challenged to a game by the newly formed New Zealand Pole Blacks (the Woz Challenge Cup); the match ended in a 2-2 tie, with the Woz Challenge Cup staying in Auckland. In 2007, the Silicon Valley Aftershocks avenged the tie by defeating the Pole Blacks 5-0 in the Woz Challenge Cup finals. The 2008 Woz Challenge Cup was held at the SegwayFesT 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana from 8 - 10 August 2008 (polo events ran 7 - 9 August 2008).[25]

His favorite video game is Tetris. [26] In the 1980s he submitted so many high scores for the game to Nintendo Power that they would no longer print his scores, so he started sending them in under the alphabetically reversed "Evets Kainzow".[27]

He is married to Janet Hill.[28] According to his ex-girlfriend Kathy Griffin, “He met someone very quickly and then they [got] engaged. I have had dinner with them, and she’s a thousand times more appropriate! I hate to say it, but in the Bruce, Demi, Ashton [scheme of things], I’m the Bruce!”[29]

[edit] In popular culture

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Young, Jeffrey S. (December 1988) (in English). Steve Jobs: The Journey is the Reward. Lynx Books. ISBN 155802378X. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Wozniak, S. G.; Smith, G. (2006), iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It. W. W. Norton & Company
  3. ^ "The Woz Plan" from Newsweek
  4. ^
  5. ^ Welcome to
  6. ^ Apple's Other Steve (Stock Research) March 2, 2000
  7. ^ Weisman, Robert (2006-03-25). A star who aims to spark innovation by students. The Boston Globe. Retrieved from
  8. ^ Wozniak Accepts Post at a Storage Start-Up New York Times February 4, 2009
  9. ^ Wozniak, S. G.; Smith, G. (2006), iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It. W. W. Norton & Company
  10. ^ Seibold, Chris, This Day in Apple History December 28, 1989: Woz Gets Honorary Doctorate, Dish Incident Forgotten,, retrieved on 2007-07-31 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Inventor Profile - National Inventors Hall of Fame
  13. ^ Honorary Doctorate - Kettering University List of Honorary Degrees
  14. ^ Collins, Michelle. "VH1 Best Week Ever - Off The Market: Kathy Griffin Finds a New Man!". Retrieved on 2007-09-18. 
  15. ^ "Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Escorted Comedian Kathy Griffin & Her Potty Mouth To The Emmy’s.". Retrieved on 2007-09-18. 
  16. ^ Who’s so vain? - The Howard Stern Show
  17. ^ "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to compete on 'Dancing With the Stars'" from Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2008-02-8.
  18. ^ "Why Apple founders got 'fired up.'". BBC News. November 21 2008. Retrieved on February 5 2009. 
  19. ^ "Results page". 
  20. ^ >"interview". 
  21. ^ Matyszczyk, Chris (March 17, 2009). "Woz in ABC 'outright lie' accusation". CNet.;txt. 
  22. ^ Fashingbauer Cooper, Gael (March 19, 2009). "Wozniak sorry he called ‘Dancing’ show ‘fake’". MSNBC. 
  23. ^ Injured Woz Will Perform, March 23, 2009
  24. ^ Woz Gets Hipchecked Off the Dance Floor
  25. ^ "". Retrieved on 2008-03-03. 
  26. ^ "Woz and I agree: 'Tetris' for the Gameboy is the best game ever
  27. ^ "Tetris: The pieces fall into place
  28. ^ "Meet Janet Hill, the woman secretly married to Steve Wozniak" from
  29. ^ "Steve Wozniak Engaged"

[edit] External links

[edit] Interviews

[edit] Videos

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