Steve Wozniak on the Raspberry Pi

BBC Click interviewed Steve Wozniak this week, and he had a few words to say about a certain little computer. If you’re in the UK you can watch the programme on iPlayer for the next month. The bit we’re interested in starts at 2:19.

Woz talks Pi. Click to visit iPlayer if you’re in the UK.

Since many of you aren’t in the UK (or may be coming to this late), I’ll transcribe the pertinent bits of the interview: namely the bits that had us smiling so widely we were a little worried that the lower parts of our faces might fall off.

Spencer Kelly: Do you think, then, that things have got better? Or do you think, with the return of the app…that we’re back to the days of the bedroom programmer – that any one person can be a success?

Woz: There are Arduino boards, and Raspberry Pi boards that young people can buy and learn about technology, and even drive motors and things: but there isn’t as much of it. It’s not as easy as it was back then. But the creative desires come out of a brain. (Gestures at head.) And the creative desires are coming out in other ways – thank god for the App Store! I’m so glad for that, that Apple didn’t say “No apps can come out except for ones that we write”; that would have been horrible.

(Spencer and Woz talk about the App store and Steve Jobs. Then:)

Spencer Kelly: You mentioned the Raspberry Pi. Are you a fan of getting real nuts-and-bolts engineering into schools as early as possible?

Woz: From a very young age on. You don’t need the high-level math of calculus or the stuff you get at university level. Any young child, even ten years old, can understand enough to learn to program, and the Raspberry Pi – you can hook wires to little motors, you can build devices that do things. What an incredible learning experience. Or sensors – you know, or when I say a certain word it’ll turn on the lights. Those are really fun projects for young people. And they are a growing step in developing the great technologists of the future, that build the devices we all live with.

As far as we at Raspberry Towers are concerned, Woz occupies the same bit of the pantheon as Merlin the Magician. We have now watched this clip about forty times, and it’s still not getting old. Thank you Woz. That absolutely made our day.



Matt avatar

Always happy to hear when you guys get some well deserved love from pioneers of the industry. Keep up the great work!

Davespice avatar

I love the guy in the DC Flash costume with a couple of Arduino’s and Pi’s strapped to himself :)

ric96 avatar

Ha ha ha ha !!!!!!
im sure he’d look great ;)

Dave Akerman avatar

I have very, very few heroes, and he’s one of them.

Doug avatar

Lovely thing for a very accomplished maker to say! Woz has always been a hero to me.

I’ve enjoyed watching Dave’s wonderful HAB flights and look forward to seeing the flight of the Vulture 2.
Wish we could see the BBC video in the U.S. (No, I don’t have time to fiddle with VPN.)

Jeff Ledger avatar

Install Hola! plug-in for firefox. Works like a champ for viewing videos like this in the US.

Ralf Quint avatar

Nice tip!
Really bothers me that the BBC is soooo stupid in their restrictions…

colin allison avatar

… and Woz said, “Raspberry Pi is beautiful”, and lo and behold ….. it is!!

Kevin Hainsworth avatar

Not not wishing to be parochial: It will only be when the Raspberry Pi is featured in a BEANO Numskulls cartoon strip that I will know that the foundation has achieved its aim. If its good enough for Jessica Ennis, Dynamo and Dave Myers, its good enough for Liz and Eben.

RobV avatar

or randall monroe’s strips

paddyg avatar

Bash Street Kids would be closer to the educational aspirations.

IrishFramboise (AlanMc) avatar

Now that’s a flashback, Paddy!
Je me trouve 30 ans en arrière….au même moment que j’apprenais Turtle à l’école primaire =o) PS: If you dont understand French please set up your universal framboise Π translator…mdr(=>lol)

Shea Silverman avatar

Such high praise :)

RobV avatar

what a wonderful wiz he woz..

Stu P. avatar

Doug: If you are in a different country you can try a browser add on called Hola unblocker, works very well for my friends in the U.S.

Philip Ashmore avatar

I tried Hola unblocker in Google Chrome (I’m in Dublin, Ireland)
– paste the link, select GB VPN, refresh the link and voila!

Jonathan Hill avatar

Who do you think will play Eben and Liz in the movie that come out in 20 years time to cover the story of the way the Raspberry Pi and made such a difference in the world!
Well Done. Ant thanks to the BBC

The Raspberry Pi Guy avatar

Absolutely incredible… Woz is my hero!

The Raspberry Pi Guy

Peter Müller avatar

Yeah Woz is right (as usual), first i thought i get a freaky little media player… But after ordering my third one something changed. I can do what ever i want. And its fun ever for a grown up kid.

Philip Ashmore avatar

The number of times I heard “Woz”, “the Woz”, and talk about a voyage of discovery, that old song started rattling around in my head, “because because because because… because of the wonderful things he does!”
I just hope kids can click their parents don’t live in Cansa when their kids ask them about “intellectual property”, “broadcom” or “videocore”.
Like the woz said “these companies have to make money” and “if it were up to me, companies would cross-licence more – I would love to see some of Samsungs ideas running on the Apple and vice-versa”.

As far as a retractable displays, they have origami solar cells that unfold themselves in orbit, but putting one on the wrist might be a problem if you’ve got cuff links.

And @woz, please get an exercise belt! You put it on every five hours and leave it running for 30 minutes.
That’s it!

Live longer Woz, the world is a better place with you in it!

Philip Ashmore avatar

Damn my fertive typing!
I meant to say “I hope the kids parents do not live in Cansas”.
You know, tornados, house in the air, Toto!, Toto!

Homer Hazel avatar

Here in the USA, we spell it Kansas.

Seth avatar

Oh come on, what American ever spelled “Wales” as “Whales”?

Just kidding.

Balthazar54 avatar

I first learned to program with the basic (pre-Applesoft) that Woz wrote for the Apple ][, using as part of my reference the Red Book he published, part of it handwritten. One of the nifty basic programs that came with it on a cassette was an address book. The program had a bunch of remark lines at the end, and when you put a new entry in, it was poked into one of them, so that saving the program back to tape saved the address info also without needing a separate data file. It gave me the example that you can program your way around limitations if you thought about it enough.

I guess that’s why the RPi intrigues me, it just invites you to dig in and get your hands dirty.

Mac Rutan avatar

Woz has always been a conceptual big picture visionary . He seems to have high confidence in the capabilities of the RP platform in the broadest sense. It’s a great moment that carries a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. It certianly makes me feel fortunate to be a part of the Raspberry Pi community. I hope that it brings good vibes to all of you.
So, celebrate this weekend!…and then keep on pioneering!

IrishFramboise (AlanMc) avatar

@RPI team: could you maybe ask Spencer, Rory, LJ… very nicely if they could share that bit “globally” on the BBC Click site, please?

FYI-The bit with Spencer&Woz about smart wristwatch/phones seems 100% accessible right now (from France at least, as is the Tech DIY bit from 16/02/2013). It’s one thing to find a “workaround”, another to solve the problem! Problem: no permission to watch outside UK. Potential solution: ask for permission?

Bonne journée à tous =o)

Simon D avatar

The other thing that connects them is that the Apple ][ had a really simple interface bus so you could build your own daughter boards. Our university had a number of hacked machines joined to experiments.

Jim Manley avatar

I had offered to Liz and Eben to get Woz’s attention if needed when it became obvious that 10,000 boards weren’t going to be enough by at least an order of magnitude, but they wanted to maintain independence so I didn’t press the issue (I’m sure he would have done whatever they needed with no quid pro quo because he spends the majority of his time personally educating young people). It’s nice to see that they’re getting his attention independently a couple of years later, but I have to wonder what could have been, much, much sooner (and obviating the initial five-and-a-half month wait for a Pi).

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was right, sometimes it’s better to just act to make important things happen and beg forgiveness than to ask and wait for bureaucratic permission that never materializes. This is an important lesson for us all.

Graham Fowler avatar

maybe the great Woz could come up with there own version of the Pi & call it an ‘Apple Pi’! :)

Dave Schmenk avatar
Ralf Quint avatar

Holy Pi Batman,….

Looks like I now have to get one of my Apple IIs out of storage and working again… ;-)

Bullen avatar

Argh, youtube mirror!

Gary avatar

Someone put it on youtube:
Woz clip

Sam Gray avatar

Hi Liz/Eben,

Brilliant words from the Woz!

I’m not sure if you will remember me but I met you both after Steve’s talk in Edinburgh last year, I was the guy who worked for Maplin. Hopefully this makes up for not getting to meet him afterwards that day!


liz avatar

I most certainly do remember you! (And our sad moment of bonding while we looked at the queue for the bar growing, and growing…) And yes, it makes up for it in spades.

Sam Gray avatar

Ah glad to hear it :-). As disappointing as it was, I think we made the right decision, there is probably a significant chance we would still be queueing!

Congratulations to both of you (and the whole foundation) on such a huge compliment!

Derek Campbell avatar

Woz followers might be interested to know that a rare original Apple 1 complete with its box is being auctioned today. Might well set a new record price, the current record is half a million Euros!

To commemorate the occasion I have put together a web page that shows you how to run an Apple 1 emulator on your Raspberry Pi.

Find out more here:

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