Thursday, November 9, 2006

Book Review: iWoz

It seems his whole life was leading up to that moment... he spent his teenage years designing and re-designing time-sharing mini computers in his mind and on paper. He taught himself how to build a video display terminal by studying surplus video equipment. He constantly demonstrated his intellectual prowess by designing and re-designing hobby electronic projects to use fewer and fewer parts. But when this quiet engineer sat in the back of the room at an early Homebrew Computer Club meeting and heard of this new chip, called the 6502, it all came together.

His invention, a combination of a microprocessor, keyboard interface, and video display circuitry all on one board took the club, and eventually the world by storm. While Woz is no Shakespeare, his book does give a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a brilliant, and somewhat unknown other Steve, Steve Wozniak, the inventor of the Apple I and Apple II computers. It also makes one realize that while he developed the Apple II almost entirely on his own, he needed the opposite personality traits of Steve Jobs to complement his work and that combination is what really led to the winning team they built 30 years ago.