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Hackers by Steven Levy

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Chapter 12. Woz

Steve Wozniak did not sit near the front of the SLAC auditorium along with Lee Felsenstein during Homebrew meetings. His participation in the mapping sessions were infrequent. He had no great social scheme, did not incubate plans for a Community Memory-style assault on the foundations of the batch-processed society. Meeting after meeting, Steve Wozniak would be at the back of the room, along with a loose contingent of followers of his digital exploits—mostly high school-age computer nuts drawn by the sheer charisma of his hacking. He looked like a bum. His hair fell haphazardly on his shoulders, he had the kind of beard grown more to obviate the time-consuming act of shaving than to enhance appearance, and his clothes—jeans and sports shirts, with little variation—never seemed to fit quite right.

Still, it was Steve Wozniak, known to his friends as “Woz,” who would best exemplify the spirit and the synergy of the Homebrew Computer Club. It was Wozniak and the computer he’d design that would take the Hacker Ethic, at least in terms of hardware hacking, to its apogee. It would be the legacy of the Homebrew.

Stephen Wozniak did not reach his views of hackerism through personal struggle and political rumination as Lee Felsenstein did. He was more like Richard Greenblatt and Stew Nelson: a born hacker. He grew up in Cupertino, California, amidst the curving streets lined with small single-family homes and the one-story, sparsely windowed buildings that sowed the crop of ...

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