Machines of Loving GraceIn San Francisco and

Machines of Loving GraceIn San Francisco and the Santa Clara Valley during the late 1960s, various cultural currents flowed together. There was the technology revolution that began with the growth of military contractors and soon included electronics firms, microchip makers,

video game designers, and computer companies. There was a hacker subculture—filled with wireheads, phreakers, cyberpunks, hobbyists, and just plain geeks—that included engineers who didn’t conform to the HP mold and their kids who weren’t

attuned to the wavelengths of the subdivisions. There were quasi-academic groups doing studies on the effects of LSD; participants included Doug Engelbart of the Augmentation Research Center in Palo Alto, who later helped develop the computer mouse and graphical user interfaces, and Ken Kesey, who celebrated the drug with

music-and-light shows featuring a house band that became the Grateful Dead. There was the hippie movement, born out of the Bay Area’s beat generation, and the rebellious political activists, born out of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley.

Overlaid on it all were various self-fulfillment movements pursuing paths to personal enlightenment: Zen and Hinduism, meditation and yoga, primal scream and sensory deprivation, Esalen and est.

This fusion of flower power and processor power, enlightenment and technology, was embodied by Steve Jobs as he meditated in the mornings, audited physics classes at Stanford, worked nights at Atari, and dreamed of starting his own business.

“There was just something going on here,” he said, looking back at the time and place. “The best music came from here—the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin—and so did the integrated circuit, and things like the Whole Earth Catalog.”

Initially the technologists and the hippies did not interface well. Many in the counterculture saw computers as ominous and Orwellian, the province of the

Pentagon and the power structure. In The Myth of the Machine, the historian Lewis Mumford warned that computers were sucking away our freedom and destroying “life-enhancing values.” An injunction

on punch cards of the period—

“Do not fold, spindle or mutilate”

—became an ironic

phrase of the antiwar Left.

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years later revised his famous mBy far the most important

years later revised his famous mBy far the most important example of this involved the choice of a disk drive for the Macintosh. Apple had a corporate division that built mass-storage devices, and it had developed a disk-drive system, code-named Twiggy, that could read and write onto those

thin, delicate 5?-inch floppy disks that older readers (who also remember Twiggy the model) will recall. But by the time the Lisa was ready to ship in the spring of 1983, it was clear that the Twiggy was buggy. Because the Lisa also came with a hard-disk drive, this

was not a complete disaster. But the Mac had no hard disk, so it faced a crisis. “The Mac team was beginning to panic,” said Hertzfeld. “We were using a single Twiggy drive, and we didn’t have

a hard disk to fall back on.”antra to proclaim, “Turn on, boot up, jack in.” The musician Bono, who later became a friend of Jobs, often discussed with him why those immersed in the rock-drugs-rebel

counterculture of the Bay Area ended up helping to create the personal computer industry. “The people who invented the

twenty-first century were pot-smoking, sandal-wearing hippies from the West Coast like Steve, because they saw differently,” he said. “The hierarchical systems of the East Coast, England, Germany, and Japan do not encourage this different thinking. The sixties produced an anarchic mind-set that is great for imagining a world not yet in existence.”

One person who encouraged the denizens of the counterculture to make common cause with the hackers was Stewart Brand. A puckish visionary who generated fun and ideas over many decades, Brand was a participant in one of the early sixties LSD studies in Palo Alto. He joined with his fellow subject Ken Kesey to produce the

acid-celebrating Trips Festival, appeared in the opening scene of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and worked with Doug Engelbart to create a seminal sound-and-light presentation of new technologies called the Mother of All Demos. “Most of our generation scorned computers as the embodiment of centralized

control,” Brand later noted. “But a tiny contingent—later called hackers—embraced computers and set about transforming them into tools of liberation. That turned out to be the true royal road to the future.”

Brand ran the Whole Earth Truck Store, which began as a roving truck that sold useful tools and educational materials, and in 1968 he decided to extend its reach with the Whole Earth Catalog. On its first cover was the famous picture of Earth

taken from space; its subtitle was “Access to Tools.” The underlying philosophy was that technology could be our friend. Brand wrote on the first page of the first edition, “A realm of intimate, personal power is developing—power of the individual to

conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested. Tools that aid this process are sought and promoted by the Whole Earth Catalog.” Buckminster Fuller followed with

a poem that began: “I see

God in the instruments

and mechanisms

that work reliably.”

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working prototype, just a crude model. Jobs thought it was great

working prototype, just a crude model. Jobs thought it was great, but Belleville was appalled. There was no way, he thought, that Alps could have it ready for the Mac within a year.

The final stop was the Sony factory, located in a drab suburb of Tokyo. To Jobs, it looked messy and inelegant. A lot of the work was done by hand. He hated it. Back at the hotel, Belleville argued for going with the Sony disk drive. It was ready to use. Jobs disagreed. He decided that they would work with Alps to produce their own drive, and he ordered Belleville to cease all work with Sony.

 

typewriter?” it asked. “If so, you might like to come to a gathering of people with like-minded interests.”

Allen Baum spotted the flyer on the HP bulletin board and called Wozniak, who agreed to go with him. “That night turned out to be one of the most important nights of my life,” Wozniak recalled. About thirty other people showed up, spilling out of

French’s open garage door, and they took turns describing their interests. Wozniak, who later admitted to being extremely nervous, said he liked “video games, pay movies for hotels, scientific calculator design, and TV terminal design,” according to

the minutes prepared by Moore. There was a demonstration of the new Altair, but more important to Wozniak was seeing the specification sheet for a microprocessor.

As he thought about the microprocessor—a chip that had an entire central processing unit on it—he had an insight. He had been designing a terminal, with a keyboard and monitor, that would connect to a distant minicomputer. Using a

microprocessor, he could put some of the capacity of the minicomputer inside the terminal itself, so it could become a small stand-alone computer on a desktop. It was an enduring idea:

keyboard, screen, and computer all in one integrated personal package. “This whole vision of a personal computer just popped into my head,” he said. “That night, I started to

sketch out on paper

what would later

become known

as the Apple I.”

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Veterans of the Mac team had learned that they could stand

Veterans of the Mac team had learned that they could stand up to Jobs. If they knew what they were talking about, he would tolerate the pushback, even admire it. By 1983 those most familiar with his reality distortion field had discovered

something further: They could, if necessary, just quietly disregard what he decreed. If they turned out to be right, he would appreciate their renegade attitude and willingness to ignore authority. After all, that’s what he did.

cultural mix that the catalog sought to celebrate. “Steve is right at the nexus of the counterculture and technology,” he said. “He got the notion of tools for human use.”

Brand’s catalog was published with the help of the Portola Institute, a foundation dedicated to the fledgling field of computer education. The foundation also helped launch the People’s Computer Company, which was not a company at all but a

newsletter and organization with the motto “Computer power to the people.” There were occasional Wednesday-night potluck dinners, and two of the regulars, Gordon French and Fred Moore, decided to create a more formal club where news about personal electronics could be shared.

They were energized by the arrival of the January 1975 issue of Popular Mechanics, which had on its cover the first personal computer kit, the Altair. The Altair wasn’t much—just a $495 pile of parts that had to be soldered to a board that would then do

little—but for hobbyists and hackers it heralded the dawn of a new era. Bill Gates and Paul Allen read the magazine and started working on a version of BASIC, an easy-to-use programming language, for the Altair. It also caught the attention of Jobs

and Wozniak. And when an Altair kit arrived at the People’s Computer Company, it became the centerpiece for the first meeting of the club that

French and Moore had

decided to launch.

The Homebrew

Computer Club

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After a dozen assembled boards had been approved by Wozniak

After a dozen assembled boards had been approved by Wozniak, Jobs drove them over to the Byte Shop. Terrell was a bit taken aback. There was no power

supply, case, monitor, or keyboard. He had expected something more finished. But Jobs stared him down, and he agreed to take delivery and pay.

Speech Movement, and an antiwar activist. He had written for the alternative newspaper Berkeley Barb and then gone back to being a computer engineer.

Woz was usually too shy to talk in the meetings, but people would gather around his machine afterward, and he would proudly show off his progress. Moore had tried to instill in the Homebrew an ethos of swapping and sharing rather than commerce.

“The theme of the club,” Woz said, “was ‘Give to help others.’” It was an expression of the hacker ethic that information should be free and all authority mistrusted. “I designed the Apple I because I wanted to give it away for free to other people,” said Wozniak.

This was not an outlook that Bill Gates embraced. After he and Paul Allen had completed their BASIC interpreter for the Altair, Gates was appalled that members of the Homebrew were making copies of it and sharing it without paying him. So he

wrote what would become a famous letter to the club: “As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Is this fair? . . . One thing you do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional

Steve Jobs, similarly, did not embrace the notion that Wozniak’s creations, be it a Blue Box or a computer, wanted to be free. So he convinced Wozniak to stop giving away copies of his schematics. Most people didn’t have time to build it themselves

anyway, Jobs argued. “Why don’t we build and sell printed circuit boards to them?” It was an example of their symbiosis. “Every time I’d design something great, Steve

would find a way to make money for us,” said Wozniak. Wozniak admitted that he would have never thought of doing that on his own. “It never crossed my mind to sell computers. It was Steve who said, ‘Let’s hold them in the air and sell a few.’”

 

work for nothing? . . .

I would appreciate

letters from anyone

who wants to pay up.”

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Apple. It was a smart choice. The word instantly signaled

Apple. It was a smart choice. The word instantly signaled friendliness and simplicity. It managed to be both slightly off-beat and as normal as a slice of pie. There was a whiff of counterculture, back-to-nature earthiness to it, yet nothing could be more

American. And the two words together—Apple Computer—provided an amusing disjuncture. “It doesn’t quite make sense,” said Mike Markkula, who soon thereafter became the first chairman of the new company. “So it forces your brain to dwell on it.

Apple and computers, that doesn’t go together! So it helped us grow brand awareness.”

Wozniak was not yet ready to commit full-time. He was an HP company man at heart, or so he thought, and he wanted to keep his day job there. Jobs realized he

needed an ally to help corral Wozniak and adjudicate if there was a disagreement. So he enlisted his friend Ron Wayne, the middle-aged engineer at Atari who had once started a slot machine company.

Wayne knew that it would not be easy to make Wozniak quit HP, nor was it necessary right away. Instead the key was to convince him that his computer designs would be owned by the Apple partnership. “Woz had a parental attitude toward the

circuits he developed, and he wanted to be able to use them in other applications or let HP use them,” Wayne said. “Jobs and I realized that these circuits would be the core of Apple. We spent two hours in a roundtable discussion at my apartment, and I

was able to get Woz to accept this.” His argument was that a great engineer would be remembered only if he teamed with a great marketer, and this required him to

commit his designs to the partnership. Jobs was so impressed and grateful that he offered Wayne a 10% stake in the new partnership, turning him into a tie-breaker if Jobs and Wozniak disagreed over an issue.

“They were very different, but they made a powerful team,” said Wayne. Jobs at times seemed to be driven by demons, while Woz seemed a na?f who was toyed with by angels. Jobs had a bravado that helped him get things done, occasionally by

manipulating people. He could be charismatic, even mesmerizing, but also cold and brutal. Wozniak, in contrast, was shy and socially awkward, which made him seem childishly sweet. “Woz is very bright in some areas, but he’s almost like a savant,

since he was so stunted when it came to dealing with people he didn’t know,” said Jobs. “We were a good pair.” It helped that Jobs was awed by Wozniak’s engineering wizardry, and Wozniak was awed by Jobs’s business drive. “I never

wanted to deal with people and step on toes, but Steve could call up people he didn’t know and make them do things,” Wozniak recalled. “He could be rough on people he didn’t think were smart, but he never treated me rudely, even in later years

when maybe I

couldn’t answer

a question as

well as he wanted.”

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Jobs immediately called Wozniak at HP. “Are you sitting down?”

Jobs immediately called Wozniak at HP. “Are you sitting down?” he asked. Wozniak said he wasn’t. Jobs nevertheless proceeded to give him the news. “I was shocked, just completely shocked,” Wozniak recalled. “I will never forget that moment.”

To fill the order, they needed about $15,000 worth of parts. Allen Baum, the third prankster from Homestead High, and his father agreed to loan them $5,000. Jobs tried to borrow more from a bank in Los Altos, but the manager looked at him and, not surprisingly, declined. He went to Haltek Supply and offered an equity stake in Apple in return for the parts, but the owner decided they were “a

couple of young, scruffy-looking guys,” and declined. Alcorn at Atari would sell them chips only if they paid cash up front. Finally, Jobs was able to convince the manager of Cramer Electronics to call Paul Terrell to confirm that he had really committed to a $25,000 order. Terrell was at a conference when he heard

over a loudspeaker that he had an emergency call (Jobs had been persistent). The Cramer manager told him that two scruffy kids had just walked in waving an order from the Byte Shop. Was it real? Terrell confirmed that it was, and the store agreed to front Jobs the parts on thirty-day credit.

highlighted the shift from the interests of his father’s generation. “Mr. McCollum felt that electronics class was the new auto shop.”

McCollum believed in military discipline and respect for authority. Jobs didn’t. His aversion to authority was something he no longer tried to hide, and he affected an attitude that combined wiry and weird intensity with aloof rebelliousness. McCollum later said, “He was usually off in a corner doing something on his own and really

didn’t want to have much of anything to do with either me or the rest of the class.” He never trusted Jobs with a key to the stockroom. One day Jobs needed a part that was not available, so he made a collect call to the manufacturer, Burroughs in

Detroit, and said he was designing a new product and wanted to test out the part. It arrived by air freight a few days later. When McCollum asked how he had gotten it, Jobs described—with defiant pride—the collect call and the tale he had told. “I was furious,” McCollum said. “That was not the way I wanted my students to behave.”

Jobs’s response was, “I don’t have the money for the phone call. They’ve got plenty of money.”

Jobs took McCollum’s class for only one year, rather than the three that it was offered. For one of his projects, he made a device with a photocell that would switch on a circuit when

exposed to light, something any high school science student could have done. He was far more interested in playing with lasers, something he learned from his father. With a few friends,

he created light shows

for parties by bouncing lasers off mirrors that

were attached to the

speakers of his stereo system

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It was a rather odd motto, one that fit Wayne’s self-image

It was a rather odd motto, one that fit Wayne’s self-image more than Apple Computer. Perhaps a better Wordsworth line would have been the poet’s description of those involved in the start of the French Revolution: “Bliss was it in

that dawn to be alive / But to be young was very heaven!” As Wozniak later exulted, “We were participating in the biggest revolution that had ever happened, I thought. I was so happy to be a part of it.”

After work each day, Wozniak would go home for a TV dinner and then return to HP to moonlight on his computer. He spread out the parts in his cubicle, figured out their placement, and soldered them onto his motherboard. Then he began writing the

software that would get the microprocessor to display images on the screen. Because he could not afford to pay for computer time, he wrote the code by hand. After a couple of months he was ready to test it. “I typed a few keys on the keyboard

and I was shocked! The letters were displayed on the screen.” It was Sunday, June 29, 1975, a milestone for the personal computer. “It was the first time in history,”

Wozniak later said, “anyone had typed a character on a keyboard and seen it show up on their own computer’s screen right in front of them.”

Jobs was impressed. He peppered Wozniak with questions: Could the computer ever be networked? Was it possible to add a disk for memory storage? He also

began to help Woz get components. Particularly important were the dynamic random-access memory chips. Jobs made a few calls and was able to score some from Intel for free. “Steve is just that sort of person,” said Wozniak. “I mean, he knew

how to talk to a sales

representative.

I could never have

done that. I’m too shy.”

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Paul Jobs suspended his sideline of repairing old cars

Paul Jobs suspended his sideline of repairing old cars so that the Apple team could have the whole garage. He put in a long old workbench, hung a schematic of the computer on the new plasterboard wall he built, and set up rows of labeled drawers for the components. He also built a burn box bathed in heat lamps so

the computer boards could be tested by running overnight at high temperatures. When there was the occasional eruption of temper, an occurrence not uncommon around his son, Paul would impart some of his calm. “What’s the matter?” he would say. “You got a feather up your ass?” In return he

occasionally asked to borrow back the TV set so he could watch the end of a football game. During some of these breaks, Jobs and Kottke would go outside and play guitar on the lawn.

soldering chips. “Most I did well, but I got flux on a few of them,” she recalled. This didn’t please Jobs. “We don’t have a chip to spare,” he railed, correctly. He shifted her to bookkeeping and paperwork at the kitchen table, and he did the soldering himself. When they completed a board, they would hand it off to

Wozniak. “I would plug each assembled board into the TV and keyboard to test it to see if it worked,” he said. “If it did, I put it in a box. If it didn’t, I’d figure what pin hadn’t gotten into the socket right.”

Jobs knew how to appeal to Wozniak. He didn’t argue that they were sure to make money, but instead that they would have a fun adventure. “Even if we lose our money, we’ll have a company,” said Jobs as they were driving in his Volkswagen bus. “For

once in our lives, we’ll have a company.” This was enticing to Wozniak, even more than any prospect of getting rich. He recalled, “I was excited to think about us like

that. To be two best friends starting a company. Wow. I knew right then that I’d do it. How could I not?”

In order to raise the money they needed, Wozniak sold his HP 65 calculator for $500, though the buyer ended up stiffing him for half of that. For his part, Jobs sold

his Volkswagen bus for $1,500. But the person who bought it came to find him two weeks later and said the engine had broken down, and Jobs agreed to pay for half of the repairs. Despite these little setbacks, they now had, with their own small

savings thrown in, about $1,300 in working capital, the design for a product, and a plan. They would start their own computer company.

Apple Is Born

Now that they had decided to start a business, they needed a name. Jobs had gone for another visit to the All One Farm, where he had been pruning the Gravenstein apple trees, and Wozniak picked him up at the airport. On the ride down to Los

Altos, they bandied around options. They considered some typical tech words, such as Matrix, and some neologisms, such as Executek, and some straightforward

boring names, like Personal Computers Inc. The deadline for deciding was the next day, when Jobs wanted to start filing the papers. Finally Jobs proposed Apple

Computer. “I was on one of my fruitarian diets,” he explained. “I had just come back from the apple farm. It sounded fun, spirited, and not intimidating. Apple took the edge off the word ‘computer.’ Plus, it would get us ahead of Atari in the phone book.” He told Wozniak that if a better name

did not hit them by

the next afternoon,

they would just stick with

Apple. And they did.

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Jobs and Wozniak took the stage together for a presentation to

Jobs and Wozniak took the stage together for a presentation to the Homebrew Computer Club shortly after they signed Apple into existence. Wozniak held up one of their newly produced circuit boards and described the microprocessor, the eight kilobytes of

memory, and the version of BASIC he had written. He also emphasized what he called the main thing: “a human-typable keyboard instead of a stupid, cryptic front panel with a bunch of

lights and switches.” Then it was Jobs’s turn. He pointed out that the Apple, unlike the Altair, had all the essential components built in. Then he challenged them with a question: How much would people

be willing to pay for such a wonderful machine? He was trying to get them to see the amazing value of the Apple. It was a rhetorical flourish he would use at product presentations over the ensuing decades.

Had he stayed on and kept his 10% stake, at the end of 2010 it would have been worth approximately $2.6 billion. Instead he was then living alone in a small home in Pahrump, Nevada, where he

 

played the penny slot machines and lived off his social security check. He later claimed he had no regrets. “I made the best decision for me at the time. Both of them were real whirlwinds, and I knew my stomach and it wasn’t ready for such a ride.”

Jobs was able to get his first car, with his father’s help, when he was fifteen. It was a two-tone Nash Metropolitan that his father had fitted out with an MG engine. Jobs didn’t really like it, but he did not want to tell his father that, or miss out on the chance to have his own car. “In retrospect, a Nash Metropolitan might seem like the most

wickedly cool car,” he later said. “But at the time it was the most uncool car in the world. Still, it was a car, so that was great.” Within a year he had saved up enough

from his various jobs that he could trade up to a red Fiat 850 coupe with an Abarth engine. “My dad helped me buy and inspect it. The satisfaction of getting paid and saving up for something, that was very exciting.”

That same summer, between his sophomore and junior years at Homestead, Jobs began smoking marijuana. “I got stoned for the first time that summer. I was fifteen, and then began using pot regularly.” At one point his father found some dope in his son’s Fiat. “What’s this?” he asked. Jobs coolly replied, “That’s marijuana.” It was

one of the few times in his life that he faced his father’s anger. “That was the only real fight I ever got in with my dad,” he said. But his father again bent to his will. “He wanted me to promise that I’d never use pot again, but I wouldn’t promise.” In fact by

his senior year he was also dabbling in LSD and hash as well as exploring the mind-bending effects of sleep deprivation. “I was starting to get stoned a bit more. We would also drop acid occasionally, usually in fields or in cars.”

He also flowered intellectually during his last two years in high school and found himself at the intersection, as he had begun to see it, of those who were geekily immersed in electronics and those who were into literature and creative endeavors.

“I started to listen to music a whole lot, and I started to read more outside of just science and technology—Shakespeare, Plato. I loved King Lear.” His other favorites included Moby-Dick and the poems of Dylan Thomas. I asked him why he related to

King Lear and Captain Ahab, two of the most willful and driven characters in literature, but he didn’t respond to the connection I was making, so I let it drop. “When I was a senior I had this phenomenal AP English class. The teacher was this

guy who looked like

Ernest Hemingway.

He took a bunch of

us snowshoeing in Yosemite.”

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