Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Whistling in the dark of a blank TV screen

Forget about Dre, let's talk about Woz and the claim that his stunts were a predecessor to the Gizmodo thingie.

Sarah Meyers went to the source:

This is what Steve Wozniak, aka Woz, has to say about it: “I do believe that when others are putting on some sort of show they deserve not to have it disrupted. They deserve not to have it heckled or lasered or turned off. But I also feel that Brian’s mistake was a simple human one that any young person trying to find the proper ways to have fun with such tech jokes might stumble into, probably only once in their lives. I would have spoken with him and forgiven him if I were in charge of the TV’s he turned off. I’m glad it didn’t go further, like to arresting him.”

Of course, Woz then admitted to doing things that could result in his arrest. One example:

He used to take Japanese knives on planes....Woz adds, “also, for many years, all before 9-11, I would take folding ceramic knives that I purchased in Japan in my pockets. I’d make sure there was nothing metal on me and I’d walk through the metal detector. On the planes I’d often rub the knife and tell the stewardess that I hoped the meat was tender. When served, I’d pull out my ceramic knife and cut the steak with it. Other passengers seemed agitated but the most a stewardess ever said was “oh, a plastic knife.” The blade was 6 inches long. I told friends that it was legal because of the 3-finger rule, that if a flight attendant would likely break the knife before losing 3 fingers then it was legal.”

Meyers then delineates what she sees as the difference between Gizmodo and Woz.

When Woz invented the Apple computer and put it on display at the Homebrew club for the first time he didn’t have to push it into the public eye in order to get everyone to take a look. He knew if it was good and useful people would come to him. And they did. Take it from me, the infamous party crasher who crashed about every high-profile event out there, we all want to get in trouble for our pranks. Even if you don’t realize it when you pull the prank, there is something that compels you. For Woz it was to make a point about how ridiculous the laws are. For Gizmodo it was to make a good video that would get lots of hits. For me, it was to make a name in Silicon Valley and break into tech, something that isn’t easy to do.

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