"iWoz: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Along the Way", Gina Smith

A quote from the book:

I don’t believe anything really revolutionary has ever been invented by committee.

Huh!? Only for the sake of this quote this book is worth to be read.

Steve Jobs biography was interesting reading, even quite long though. Steve Wozniak’s book is much shorter, and also closer to people with engineering background.

Steve Wozniak tells a story how it all happened. How he spent nights at school time designing, re-designing, then again and again re-designing non-existent yet computers just on paper. It helped him develop a unique habit to always use a minimum number of chips in his circuit designs. A perfect example is a first floppy disk controller for the Apple 2 computer. Instead of a complicated and costly purely hardware solution he put a few chips and then implemented the rest in 6502 assembly language, having masterly fulfilled requirements for signal timings. Additionally, he designed, again using a few chips, a state machine, which he programmed directly in 4-bit machines codes also designed by himself (a handmade programmable logic matrix approach). Eventually, at some day Steve had invented the Apple 2, a revolutionary personal computer with the color TV-display and the full keyboard. By the way, contrary to the ordinary opinion, Jobs didn’t participate in its development. In a few years that computer made both Steves multi millionaires and started the Apple Computers. It is no wonder that the Apple surpassed everybody on the market – it was simpler, cheaper and have a bunch of unique features.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. After Steve got into a plan crash on a small airplane, operating himself, and after that incident he was suffering from partial amnesia for some time. Then he quit Apple, and, again, contrary to the ordinary opinion, he wasn’t fired, suspended or something because they all had quarreled. He just wanted to start another project – a universal remote control for consumer electronics. Formally, till now Steve is still an Apple employee, even with a salary.

But that wasn’t also the end of the story. For some reason Steve decided to organize an open air rock gig, a festival, similar to Woodstock. In fact, he did a few of them. Of course, the technology was involved. These festivals had a live satellite connection to USSR (they used equipment installed for the Olympic games in Moscow in the eightieth), right through the “iron curtain”.

After that Steve taught bases of computers at school for more than ten years and was engaged in philanthropy.

The whole slice of the book is also devoted to pranks Steve have been constantly doing through his life. For example, a Dial-A-Joke service he ran in his own apartment, or a portable TV jammer, and that big one, “The Zaltair Prank”, when Steve spread a rumor about a competing computer company, called Zaltair (remember The Altair which launched Bill Gates to the orbit?). Even Jobs believed it and only after years realised that it was a setup.

So, if you have at least a little interest in biographies, it is worth to read this engaging story about the good fellow, genius engineer, who transformed the industry of personal computers once and for all.