Woz’s math puzzle

So, I was out to dinner tonight at San Jose’s Fishmarket (we like it cause they have good fish for decent prices) and while waiting for a table Steve Wozniak (cofounder of Apple Computer) walks in with some friends and family. He is gracious as always, later in the evening I get to talking with him (my son wanted to see his video iPod) and he pulls a fun little math trick on him. I wrote that up over on Channel 9 cause I wanted to show you how he did it and Channel 9 lets me ink my way through stuff like that.

Anyway, we had a neat little talk. He showed Patrick his two iPods (a black Nano and a black 60gb video iPod). Showed me his Sony camera (same one that Steve Gillmor has). Showed me how to break a pencil with a $2 bill. Told me that his son, Jesse, had graduated from college and was working on software for NASA (on the project to repair the Hubble telescope). I remember helping Jesse and his computer club layout San Jose State’s newspaper back when he was about Patrick’s age (he already knew more about page design and fonts at that time than most college students did).

I talked about the Xbox 360 and how the team asked me “doesn’t this look like something Apple would have done?” We had a good laugh over that.

We talked about his phone numbers (remember, he is famous for phone phreaking before he started Apple Computer. He also played lots of practical jokes on people with his phones — called the Pope up one time and almost got him on the phone. He also had a famous joke line back in the 70s and 80s). I memorized his office phone number back in 1989 and never forgot it (weird how I can do that, but can’t remember names of people very well). He’s never changed it. He told me he also owns the number 888-888-8888. Can you guess why he can’t use it? Yeah, when he had that number he just got call after call from babies who picked up their parents’ phones and accidentally dialed that number. His cell phone number is very similar, but changed by a single digit to avoid the baby problem.

I remembered from my time hanging out with him that he always has a laser pointer on him. The color tonight was green. He was having fun with me by pointing it at the lemons on the table. His daughter told me about a time that he played some tricks on members of the Dallas Cowboys who were sitting in a restaurant nearby and they came over and sang her happy birthday.

It was a real treat running into Woz again. He got me my start in this crazy industry (I asked him for Macs for our college journalism department back in 1989 and he ended up donating $40,000 worth, which got me to learn all about how they worked).

Oh, and if you know Woz, you know he regularly attends concerts at Shoreline Amphitheater (right behind where Google’s headquarters now are). He told me stories of taking his Segway and heading off by the waters edge along the Amphitheater. Turns out there are a ton of skunks that live there. So, how do you Segway past a skunk, I asked? “Slow and steady. Don’t stop.”

Heh. He told me that members of a famous band went running along the same trail and got sprayed by three skunks. Gotta note that: if Woz asks me to go on a Segway ride, reconsider.

“I like the smell of skunk,” he told me. Says it’s sorta sweet. He said if you really want to smell something bad you should get a llama to spit on you. He said that happened to him once and it was the worst, most vile, smell he’d ever encountered. Take the worst sewer smell, mix in skunk, barf, and few other disgusting things and you’ll get llama spit. He said if you ever get spit on, just take off your clothes and burn them cause you’ll never be able to get the smell out again.

It sure doesn’t come through on ASCII text here on the blog, but the way he told it had me busting out laughing.

Advertisements

24 thoughts on “Woz’s math puzzle

  1. Ahh, you’so lucky. This man is my hero, hands down! Isn’t it odd how he still is so down-to-earth? Did he tell you about his backpack? I think he mentioned it at the ItConversations speech he did, about how everything fits perfectly in every little pocket, why does geeks do that?:D

    Like

  2. Ahh, you’so lucky. This man is my hero, hands down! Isn’t it odd how he still is so down-to-earth? Did he tell you about his backpack? I think he mentioned it at the ItConversations speech he did, about how everything fits perfectly in every little pocket, why does geeks do that?:D

    Like

  3. Jorgen, I am lucky. I’ve gotten to meet many great people in the last few years.

    I’ve seen his backpack. Even funnier. Do you know how I tracked him down when I was in college? I first saw his car in the parking lot.

    He parked in the same spot every day (his car had “WOZ” license plates and I knew that had to be him, which I couldn’t believe cause I went to a cheap community college — turned out he was studying Spanish there). I waited for him to arrive one morning. Turned out he arrived at almost the exact same time too.

    Like

  4. Jorgen, I am lucky. I’ve gotten to meet many great people in the last few years.

    I’ve seen his backpack. Even funnier. Do you know how I tracked him down when I was in college? I first saw his car in the parking lot.

    He parked in the same spot every day (his car had “WOZ” license plates and I knew that had to be him, which I couldn’t believe cause I went to a cheap community college — turned out he was studying Spanish there). I waited for him to arrive one morning. Turned out he arrived at almost the exact same time too.

    Like

  5. What no RFID-will-save-the-world pitch? Woz reminds me of some old 80s ‘one MTV video hit’ band forever reliving the glory days on the Southern-Fried-Chicken State Fair Tour-of-Duty. A geek hero I guess, and quite gracious to his fans, but frankly grant a dinner with Tom Wolfe or Thomas Fleming and I will be there. 😉

    Like

  6. What no RFID-will-save-the-world pitch? Woz reminds me of some old 80s ‘one MTV video hit’ band forever reliving the glory days on the Southern-Fried-Chicken State Fair Tour-of-Duty. A geek hero I guess, and quite gracious to his fans, but frankly grant a dinner with Tom Wolfe or Thomas Fleming and I will be there. 😉

    Like

  7. Way to go coulter,snark is cool sometimes, but this time it says a lot about you, and it’s not pleasant.

    (Tom Wolfe?)

    Like

  8. Way to go coulter,snark is cool sometimes, but this time it says a lot about you, and it’s not pleasant.

    (Tom Wolfe?)

    Like

  9. the magic sqaure also works with any group of 4 numbers within the main square that are next to each other.

    its a very old magic trick, there a many different ways of doing it, Harry Lorraine from NYC has a wonderful one.

    Derren Brown (a UK mond-reading type magician closed his last tour with this as the ender. Marc Salem – an American mind-reading type magician opens his recent show with the same thing.

    It’s getting very popular again.

    Best

    Damian

    Like

  10. the magic sqaure also works with any group of 4 numbers within the main square that are next to each other.

    its a very old magic trick, there a many different ways of doing it, Harry Lorraine from NYC has a wonderful one.

    Derren Brown (a UK mond-reading type magician closed his last tour with this as the ender. Marc Salem – an American mind-reading type magician opens his recent show with the same thing.

    It’s getting very popular again.

    Best

    Damian

    Like

  11. Im a fairly new blogger with a niche industry (logistics). I kept seeing this guy Robert Scoble mentioned on line as a super resource/god in blogging…so I wonder…Who the F is Robert Scoble?”

    This post told me a lot. Man who knows his business, was hugely fortunate to live in the right place in the right time, and has a valuable message to deliver now.

    Eric

    Like

  12. Im a fairly new blogger with a niche industry (logistics). I kept seeing this guy Robert Scoble mentioned on line as a super resource/god in blogging…so I wonder…Who the F is Robert Scoble?”

    This post told me a lot. Man who knows his business, was hugely fortunate to live in the right place in the right time, and has a valuable message to deliver now.

    Eric

    Like

Comments are closed.