Accidental Empires, Chapter 10 — The Prophet

steve_jobs_appleACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER TEN

THE PROPHET

The most dangerous man in Silicon Valley sits alone on many weekday mornings, drinking coffee at II Fornaio, an Italian restaurant on Cowper Street in Palo Alto. He’s not the richest guy around or the smartest, but under a haircut that looks as if someone put a bowl on his head and trimmed around the edges, Steve Jobs holds an idea that keeps some grown men and women of the Valley awake at night. Unlike these insomniacs, Jobs isn’t in this business for the money, and that’s what makes him dangerous.

I wish, sometimes, that I could say this personal computer stuff is just […]

Computer History Day — Part 2

I forget sometimes that my kids are as young as they are. And I’m also in the habit of packing as many interviews into a day as I can. Both of which explain why Computer History Day was both a success and a failure.

We made it on time to breakfast with Steve Wozniak, who very wisely arrived with magic tricks to entertain the kids. All of the carefully rehearsed questions for Woz were instantly forgotten, but we did come away having mastered a couple really good card tricks.

I did learn one new thing (at least new to me) from Woz. Steve Jobs told me in Steve Jobs — The Lost Interview that Woz had been thrown out […]

By |March 24th, 2012|2012|22 Comments

Computer History Day — Part 1

This week my kids are off school for Spring Break. Daytona and Cabo are out of the question for three caballeros ages 10, 7, and 5, but day trips around the Bay Area to learn about this or that are easy. Tuesday it’s San Francisco to learn all about the cable car system for Channing’s report on that topic. And Wednesday will be Computer History Day for the Cringelys.

It’s a no brainer for us to visit the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. That fabulous facility happens to be run by John Hollar, the guy who hired me in 1997 to write for pbs.org. My kids have never been there. But to make […]

By |March 18th, 2012|2012|113 Comments

Verizon's iPhone story isn't so black and white

Verizon announced its iPhone 4 today, as expected, but it was CDMA, not LTE, and it wasn’t white, which would seem to defy one of my 2011 predictions made only last week — that Verizon would get an exclusive on white iPhones. Rather than capitulate, though, I’ll tell a story about the invention of the nibble copier, followed by some dirt about Verizon’s LTE network that might be a big concern for corporations.

Steve Wozniak invented the Apple ][ disk drive with its Integrated Woz Machine (IWM) controller, which was revolutionary for its time. And unlike competing disk drives (these were floppies, by the way — hard drives and optical drives had yet to […]

By |January 11th, 2011|2011|56 Comments