Do to the acts of an extraordinary generous family, I was invited to a private gathering of micro-computer legends at the “Living Computer Museum” in Seattle, earlier this week. The gathering included a number of people that were involved with the Apple 1 while it was still based out of the Job’s home and others that were involved in the early days of the personal computer revolution. It was a gathering that, as long as my brain is functioning, I will never forgot. During this event, I learned several little stories and will share them in the coming days on this blog. Here is the first story.
While several of us were admiring the original Apple 1 that will be available to visitors to the museum to use, we discussed how it was being booted with the museum staff. Inevitably, the topic turned to how WOZ used to enter the 4K of BASIC object code by typing hex codes using the Apple 1 monitor. Several of the people there, said they witnessed him do it, and confirmed his amazing prowess at data entry through a keyboard.
Let me tell you, when I first built an Apple 1 clone, I tried to replicate the feat and gave up after screwing up a few hundred bytes worth of input. This was so difficult for me, that I found it hard to believe that it could be done. At the time, I sent an email directly to Woz to ask him about it. He responded that he did it all the time.
I can’t find any blog post that reported this exchange. I may have made one or perhaps, I was so dubious, that I decided to file the whole episode away. Anyway, hearing directly from a couple of eye witnesses has eliminated any remaining doubt and I’m rectifying any omissions in faith by making this post.
I can’t remember hearing about anyone else achieving this, but assume it’s possible. I’ll bet it’s not something that anyone else has done repeatedly. This is a difficult feat, and the fact that WOZ did it repeatadly makes it simply amazing.