to redesign the computers using these newer parts

6 Nov

to redesign the computers using these newer parts

Getting shocked was a badge of honor for Woz.

He prided himself on being a hardware engineer, which meant that random shocks were routine. He once devised a roulette game where four people put their thumbs in a slot; when the ball landed, one would get shocked. “Hardware guys will play this game, but software guys are too chicken,” he noted.

During his senior year he got a part-time job at Sylvania and had the

chance to work on a computer for the first time. He learned FORTRAN from a book and read the manuals for most of the systems of the day, starting with the Digital Equipment PDP-8. Then he studied the specs for the latest microchips and tried

to redesign the computers using these newer parts. The challenge he set himself was to replicate the design using the fewest components possible. Each night he would try to improve

his drawing from the night before. By the end of his senior year, he had become a master. “I was now designing computers with half the number of chips the actual company had in their own design, but only on paper.” He never told his friends. After all, most seventeen-year-olds were getting their kicks in other ways.

then stepped out Man Chong, replying, “Do not let that trouble you. I will have a word with him. I shall disguise myself as a soldier this evening and steal over to the enemy’s camp to talk to him. I shall incline his heart toward you.”

  That night Man Chong, duly disguised, got over to the other side and made his way to the tent of Xu Huang, who sat there by the light of a candle. Xu Huang was still wearing his coat of mail.

  Suddenly Man Chong ran out in front and saluted, saying, “You have been well since we parted, old friend?”

  Xu Huang jumped up in surprise, gazed into the face of the speaker a long time, and presently said, “What! You are Man Chong of Shanyang? What are you doing here?”

  “I am an officer in General Cao Cao’s army. Seeing my old friend out in front of the army today, I wanted to say a word to him. So I took the risk of stealing in this evening and here I am.”

  Xu Huang invited Man Chong in, and they sat down.

  then said Man Chong, “There are very few as bold as you on the earth. Why then do you serve such as your present chiefs, Yang Feng and Han Xian? My master is the most prominent man in the world——a man who delights in wise people and appreciates soldiers as everyone knows. Your valor today won his entire admiration, and so he took care that the attack was not vigorous enough to sacrifice you. Now he has sent me to invite you to join him. Will you not leave darkness for light and help him in his magnificent task?”

On Thanksgiving weekend of his senior year, Wozniak visited the University of Colorado. It was closed for the holiday, but he found an engineering student who took him on a tour of the labs.

He begged his father to let him go there, even though the out-of-state tuition was more than the family could easily afford. They struck a deal:

He would be allowed to go for one year, but then he would transfer to De Anza Community College back home. After arriving at Colorado in the fall of 1969, he spent so much time playing pranks (such as producing reams of printouts saying “Fuck Nixon”) that he failed a couple of his courses and was put on probation.

In addition, he created a program to calculate Fibonacci numbers that burned up so much computer time the university threatened to bill him for
the cost. So he readily
lived up to his bargain
with his parents and
transferred to De Anza.
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