Today, August 11, is Steve "Woz" Wozniak's 61st birthday. We know, 61 is really an insignificant birthday for us to be mentioning it. Normally, once you pass the big 6-0, any birthdays you have up until 80 are pointless and involve "Over-the-Hill" party favors that usually have crows flying over your grave. However, Art Attack felt insensitive to have missed Woz's 60th and thought, we could throw the guy a memory stick and celebrate a little. If Steve Jobs was our former partner, watching his total domination over the world might give us the occasional case of the Green Monster, and who doesn't want to be celebrated?
Woz is a big man, in more ways than one. He has had his fair share of accomplishments and just as much drama, more than we had any idea of. For example, did you know that Woz was in a plane crash and developed temporary amnesia? According to his book, he credits the Apple II computer games with bringing back his memory. We learned that Woz is an avid Segway Polo player (we also learned that there is such a thing as Segway Polo) and the name of his team is the Silicon Valley Aftershocks.
Woz has done a slew of crazy things in his 61 years and we decided to say Happy Birthday by listing our top ten favorite factoids. 10. Apple I The Apple I started it all. It wasn't a fully built computer, but a circuit board to be used inside other computers. Woz describes himself as working tirelessly to conceive and build the Apple I. The magic happened all by hand and in his bedroom. The Apple I was sold for $666.66, which is an odd choice of numbers worth pointing out.
9. Apple II We had to put the Apple II second on the list, even though it was a far superior computer to its predecessor. The Apple II was a tangible piece of machinery, and anyone who grew up in the late 1970s/early 1980s remembers how amazing they were. Woz is credited 100 percent with the design of the Apple II and we thank him for the thing that introduced us to Flight Simulator and Oregon Trail.
8. Electronic Frontier Foundation Woz gave significant funding to help establish the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The EFF is an international organization that fights for human interests in the territory of computers and telecommunications. From bloggers' rights to privacy acts on the Internet, the EFF has had a hand in shaping the legal woes of the World Wide Web. 7. Inventors Hall of Fame In 2000, he was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame alongside such brilliant minds as Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone, and Arthur Fry, who invented the Post-it note. Woz was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for Technology, The Economy and Employment for "single-handedly designing the first personal computer." 6. Dancing With the Stars Despite his incredibly high IQ, Woz thought it would be a good idea to perform on Dancing With the Stars. He was considered the star. The Samba proved to be too scientific for him and he was eliminated in week four of the competition. That being said, you have to applaud the guy for breaking out of his comfort zone and looking very bad on national television. Very bad.
5. Celebrated Jokester Woz is a self-proclaimed prankster and is one of the first people to Photoshop something for the sake of a joke. As he tells the story to CrazyEngineers.com
Long ago, before Internet or printers that could print things like photos, I told a Mexican friend that there is a state of Jalepeño in Mexico. She knew of the state of Jalisco (JAL). I got 2 maps of Mexico, imported them into the largest memory computers of the day and photoshopped "Jalepeño" on each, then mailed them (letters back then) to her. Boy was she shocked. This was the earliest period of Photoshop too and nobody knew such things were possible.
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4. New York Times Bestselling Author Woz wrote an autobiography titled iWoz in an attempt to dispel some rumors about Apple and his relationship with Jobs, among other things. The thing we found most interesting was that he is still an employee of Apple after all these years. It's doubtful that Woz intended this fact to be the only one that most reviewers hung to when the book hit the shelves in 2006, but that was the case. How about this, then -- the book reached number 21 on the New York Times bestseller list. There you go, pal! 3. He was engaged to Kathy Griffin
Yes, that Kathy Griffin. She later denied it, but he showed up on her My Life on the D List show and escorted her to the Emmys. Whether they dated or were just friends, Woz isn't afraid to make a joke out of his personal life -- a bizarre, somewhat creepy, disturbing and not that funny joke. 2. Woz the Philanthropist Woz is not just a brain, but also a humanitarian. In 1987, he was a financial supporter for the first ever joint-sponsored U.S./USSR rock concert in Moscow featuring the likes of James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt and The Doobie Brothers. He has given countless computers to classrooms across his home state of California, going as far as teaching computer basics to fifth graders. His giving nature has added to the fabric of his community in museums, children's institutions and art organizations. 1. Holds Computer Patent On January 23, 1979, patent # 4,136,359 was issued to Steve Wozniak for a microcomputer, and that's still pretty cool today!