[LINK] What Do Steve Jobs' Obituaries Leave Out? His Appreciation for LSD
fcassia at gmail.com
Wed Oct 12 16:11:32 AEDT 2011
On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 03:52, David Goldstein <wavey_one at yahoo.com> wrote:
> . But a great man's reputation can withstand a full accounting. And, truth be told, Jobs could be terrible to people, and his impact on the world was not uniformly positive.
Steve Jobs, Atari Employee Number 40
Jobs and Woz Break Out
As the story goes, Atari suddenly found itself facing competition in
the arcade video game industry it created, most of it from former
Atari engineers who struck out on their own, stolen parts and plans in
tow. No longer able to survive on various iterations of Pong, the
company designed a single-player game called Breakout, which saw
players bouncing a ball vertically to destroy a series of bricks at
the top of the screen.
The game was prototyped, though the number of TTL chips used would
have made manufacturing expensive. The company offered a bounty to
whoever was up to the task of reducing its chip count: the exact
numbers seem to have become muddled throughout history, but the
general consensus among those who are there said that the company
offered $100 for each chip successfully removed from the design, with
a bonus if the total chip count went below a certain number. The young
Jobs, who in retrospect comes across as an excellent liar, somehow won
the bid for the project.
"Jobs never did a lick of engineering in his life. He had me snowed,"
Alcorn later recalled. "It took years before I figured out that he was
getting Woz to 'come in the back door' and do all the work while he
got the credit."
Jobs convinced Wozniak to work on the game during his day job at
Hewlett-Packard, when he was meant to be designing calculators. At
night the two would collaborate on building it at Atari: Wozniak as
engineer, Jobs as breadboarder and tester.
Allegedly, Jobs told Wozniak that he could have half of a $700 bounty
if they were able to get the chip count under 50 (typical games of the
day tended to require around 100 chips). After four sleepless days
that gave both of them a case of mono (an artificial time limit, it
turns out: Jobs had a plane to catch, Atari wasn't in that much of a
rush), the brilliantly gifted Wozniak delivered a working board with
just 46 chips.
Jobs made good on his promise and gave Wozniak his promised $350. What
he didn't tell him -- and what Wozniak didn't find out until several
years later -- was that Jobs also pocketed a bonus somewhere in the
neighborhood of $5,000. Though it's often reported that this caused a
rift in their friendship, Wozniak seems to have no hard feelings.
"The money's irrelevant -- and it was then. I would have done it for
free," he said in a recent interview. "I was happy to be able to
design a video game that people would actually play. I think Steve
needed money and just didn't tell me the truth. If he'd told me the
truth, he'd have gotten it."
I guess he eventually figured that if he could do it for long time
friend Woz, he could also do it to his customers!
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