When officials with London-based cloud service provider Civo opened a U.S. headquarters in Orlando, they quickly recognized Tampa Bay’s burgeoning technology industry.
Mark Boost, co-founder and CEO, told the Catalyst that he thought the area’s waterfront location, weather and preponderance of innovative startups made it ideal for an expansive conference focused on helping companies leverage cloud-native technologies. The event began today and will continue Wednesday Tampa’s Armature Works. In total, Civo Navigate features 50 speakers.
However, only one helped lead the personal computer revolution.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak kicked off Civo Navigate Tuesday morning and provided attendees with an inside look into how he developed and designed the Apple I and Apple II, which became one of the first mass-produced and highly successful microcomputers, in the mid to late 1970s He discussed misconceptions promoted by feature films based on the life of his former business partner, the late Steve Jobs.
Affectionately known as “Woz,” the engineer, programmer, inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist shared his thoughts in his typical intellectual yet affable manner. Here are some highlights.
Meeting Steve Jobs
High school classmate Bill Fernandez, who Wozniak said “comes up in so many important places in Apple and my own life,” first introduced the founders of Apple in 1971.
“He (Fernandez) said, ‘he (Jobs) likes pranks and electronics,’” relayed Wozniak. “And Steve wasn’t that much of a prankster or creator. I took Steve to my house – he was 16 years old – and he didn’t have any albums. I showed him all the Bob Dylan albums … and this became a big part of our lives. We would drive long distances to get Dylan memorabilia, go to concerts and things like that. That was the start of it.”
How Pong led to a revelation
Pong is a table tennis-themed arcade game manufactured by Atari and released in 1972.
“One day, I went into a bowling alley with a girlfriend, and there was a game called Pong sitting there,” Wozniak said. “A little black and white TV and paddles for two people to play. I said, ‘oh my gosh, a television could be an output device. I said I was going to build Pong, and I built it out of 28 $1 chips. I took it and showed it to my friends, it was kind of impressive, and I played it on a TV set. That was my first time finding an output device that cost $0. You already owned a TV.”
In 1975, Wozniak began developing what would eventually become the Apple I. He “showed it off” to fellow members of the Palo Alto-based Homebrew Computer Club.
“Every computer after that had a keyboard and a video display,” Wozniak explained. “It was obviously the right, affordably designed way to go. There’s a movie that shows Steve Jobs finding me in a basement working on a computer, and he calls me down to the club to show it to the world. I had been at the club every day since it started, and Steve had never been there once. Every time he came into town – about once a year – he would find my latest invention and turn it into money for us both.”
Jobs and Wozniak launched the Apple Computer Company in 1976. Following some initial success with the Apple I, Wozniak went to work on an upgraded model. The Apple II became the first personal computer to display color graphics in 1977, and his Disk II floppy disk drive followed in 1978.
“It was the first time ever that arcade games were software,” Wozniak said. “You didn’t have 100 chips; you didn’t have 1,000 wires. A 9-year-old could write a decent game for the days in one day. The Apple II was a huge, huge thing to start Apple with. Hewlett Packard turned me down five times … but they lost sleep over it.”