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.