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A Conversation with Woz

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Uploaded on Mar 30, 2011

Steve Wozniak is one of the true icons of Silicon Valley. An engineer's engineer, Woz helped spark the personal-computing revolution, designing the Apple I (introduced in 1976), and most notably, the Apple II (introduced in 1977). Even in those early days of computing, Woz began to include features in Apple's computers that would help everyday people learn and explore — color, sophisticated graphics, powerful storage capabilities, and multi-voice audio — but he also insisted on two essential and transformative characteristics: simplicity and usability. In the intervening years, Wozniak's notion that empowering everyday people with easy-to-use technology and broad access would help drive a social revolution has proven strikingly true. In this conversation, we'll ask this Silicon-Valley pioneer about his focus on education, his ongoing work with emerging technologies, and his vision for the future of technology and society.

A Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist for the past three decades, Steve Wozniak helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple's first line of products, the Apple I and II, and he also influenced the popular Macintosh. In 1976, Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer Inc. with Wozniak's Apple I personal computer. The following year, he introduced his Apple II personal computer, featuring a central processing unit, a keyboard, color graphics, and a floppy disk drive. The Apple II was integral in launching the personal computer industry. In 1981, Wozniak went back to UC Berkeley and finished his degree in electrical engineering/computer science. For his achievements at Apple Computer, Wozniak was awarded the National Medal of Technology by the President of the United States in 1985, the highest honor bestowed on America's leading innovators.

After leaving Apple in 1985, Wozniak was involved in various business and philanthropic ventures, focusing primarily on computer capabilities in schools and stressing hands-on learning and encouraging creativity for students. Making significant investments of his time and resources in education, Wozniak "adopted" the Los Gatos School District, providing students and teachers with hands-on teaching and donations of state-of-the-art technology equipment. He founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and was the founding sponsor of the Tech Museum, Silicon Valley Ballet and Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose. In 2000, Wozniak was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment for "single-handedly designing the first personal computer and for then redirecting his lifelong passion for mathematics and electronics toward lighting the fires of excitement for education in grade school students and their teachers." Wozniak currently serves as Chief Scientist for Fusion-io and is a published author with the release of his New York Times Best Selling autobiography, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon, in September 2006 by Norton Publishing. His television appearances include reality show "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List," season eight of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," and "The Big Bang Theory."

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