Steve Wozniak, your time is up
Incompetence is not enough
Comment It's time to file each and every story about Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak into the circular "Does it really matter?" bin.
The latest Woz news clogging the intertubes is that - quelle horreur! - his Royal Rotunditude's new favorite gadget is Google's Nexus One smartphone.
Two words: Who. Cares.
Woz - as I'm sure every schoolchild is now taught - co-founded Apple along with St. Jobs and some other guy on April Fool's Day, 1976. He left his full-time gig at Apple on February 6, 1987. In between he designed the Apple I, the Apple II, a nifty floppy-disk controller, and some other stuff.
That's it, folks. No cure for cancer. No peace agreement in the Middle East. No fat-free chips or zero-calorie ale.
But yet his fame lives on. Why? Is it because, panda-like, he's a cuddly, infantile conglomeration of cuteness? Is it because his self-confident yet thoroughly unvarnishable geekitude gives each of us the inspiration to sigh, "If him, maybe me."
Or is that The Burgher of Big-Boned is simply a car wreck of a personage. You know you shouldn't look, but you must, God help you, you must.
It's not that Woz has done nothing noteworthy since he made his mark at Apple. On the contrary - he has kept himself in the public eye through a long series of thoroughly inconsequential pursuits. Examine the following half-dozen WozniFacts, and then let us know whether the Crown Prince of Chubby should be forever banned from the pages of El Reg.
He lost millions sponsoring two early-80s rock festivals
More than a dozen years after 1969's Woodstock Music & Art Fair had faded into a smoky haze and the Altamont Speedway Free Festival had scared away the 60s, Woz thought it would be a good idea to revive the spirit of those days by sponsoring what he dubbed the US Festival. (That's "US" as in "you and me," not as in "the States.")
Two US Festivals were held, one in 1982 and one in 1983. Both were intended to celebrate not only music, but also technology. The 1982 festival, for example, had five circus-sized tents with such exhibitors as Apple, Atari, and Quantel Computers, game-makers such as Fox Video Games, Sirius Software, and Sears Tele-Games.
A noble effort, perhaps, but a bust. Problems abounded. The inflatable multimedia Sensonics Theater, for example, collapsed after a power failure, and for the first two days of the three day festival its video and audio system refused to work.
It's estimated that Woz lost $12m on the 1982 festival - but he tried again in 1983. In some way, the second try was an improvement, with Woz losing only between $7m and $8m.
But in other ways, 1983 was worse. Far worse. Two festival goers died, one beaten to death in a botched drug deal and a second from a drug overdose. Van Halen's David Lee Roth exemplified the fact that the Woodstockian "peace, love, and beads" vibe was long gone by famously shouting to a concert-goer from from the stage: "Hey, man, don't be squirtin' water at me - I'm gonna fuck your girlfriend, pal!" Class act.
There was no third US Festival.
His favorite sport is Segway Polo
What do you get when you cross the earth's dorkiest form of expensive transportation with its most expensive sport. Yup, a sport for rich dorks: Segway Polo - and Woz fits right in.
Playing for the Silicon Valley Aftershocks, Woz was an early proponent of what has become a worldwide movement of, well, rich dorks, with teams from all over the world competing for an annual championship that's called - what else? - the Woz Challenge Cup
But as the corpulent competitor admitted to Forbes late last year after the Aftershocks lost the Challenge to the Flyin' Fish of Barbados: "I don't know if it's something that could ever be played in [the] Olympics."
As wrong as Woz was about the Us Festival, he's right on the money with that prediction. You can come to your own opinion after viewing this brief clip:
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