Originally Posted by 65C816
There was a great story of Woz going back to work after his plane crash. As an engineer. Not as a department head. As an engineer.
His manager was supposed to have said - WTF am I supposed to do with him? He's the fucking founder of the company!!! :) :)
Hey D.A. - is it still true that all systems have a WOZ machine built in to them? I know in the past, the disk interface on the Macs were called the Integrated WOZ machine.
Ahh... the IWM...
I don't know if it is still being used but it was used in Apple ][ and early Mac computers.
Here is the first version of the Apple ][ Floppy Disk Controller card:
Here is the version of the same card with a single IWM chip that incorporated several other chips... 8 chips replaced by 3 chips:
This was typical of what Woz prided himself with... he would poor over chip specs and circuit diagrams to see if he could simplify and improve on complex designs -- sound familiar?
To really appreciate what Woz did, you have to understand the "microcomputer world" as it existed in 1977.
Most "serious" computers were built to the S100* standard -- you had a [mostly] empty box called a "card cage" that contained a series of 100-pin connectors soldered to a backplane circuit board. Usually, the card cage included a power supply and fan. Here is a card cage populated with several S100 circuit boards.
* the 100 in S100 referred to the fact that each connector and circuit board had 100 distinct pinouts -- 50 per side. The contacts were all gold plated -- which made the boards and connectors quite expensive. By comparison Apple boards had 50 pinouts and were about 1/4 the size.
The S100 Card Cage
The S100* boards were inserted into the card cage to assemble a computer. In the above image, the S100 cards are plugged in to the backplane at the bottom (and interconnected). In addition, S100 cards, often, were interconnected with special [non-standard] cables shown at the top,
The typical S100 board was about the size of a sheet of paper -- about 4 times the size of an Apple ][ card shown earlier.
To build a workable computer, the card cage would be filled with several S100 boards -- each providing a separate function:
-- CPU Board
-- Tape and Serial I/O
-- Floppy Disk Controller
In addition, most S100 computers used an external CRT Terminal/KB for I/O.
So, here are some typical S100 boards (many of the boards have chips on both sides):
Serial I/O Board
Color Graphics - 2 board set
Floppy Disk Controller Board
Now, compare the above Floppy Disk Controller card with Woz' 3-chip equivalent at 1/4 the size (and a fraction of the cost and power/heat dissipation requirements).
Finally, Here's the Apple ][ motherboard which incorporates all of the above backplane and S100 boards (except the Floppy Disk Controller) into a single board.
That's the microcomputer state of the art circa 1977...
That's the genius of Woz!