By fourth grade Wozniak became, as he put it, one of the “electronics kids.” He had
an easier time making eye contact with a transistor than with a girl, and he developed the
chunky and stooped look of a guy who spends most of his time hunched over circuit boards.
At the same age when Jobs was puzzling over a carbon microphone that his dad couldn’t explain,
Wozniak was using transistors to build an intercom system featuring amplifiers, relays, lights,
and buzzers that connected the kids’ bedrooms of six houses in the neighborhood. And at an age when
“Do they mistrust me？” said Cao Cao.
“they are not worthy of your attention. They are a poor lot.”
“What of this departure of Li Jue and Guo Si？”
“Tigers without claws, birds without wings——they will not escape you very long. They are not worth thinking about.”
Cao Cao saw that he and his guest had much in common, so he began to talk of affairs of state.
Said Dong Zhao, “You, Illustrious Sir, with your noble army have swept away rebellion and have become the mainstay of the Throne, an achievement worthy of the ancient Five Protectors. But the officials will look at it in very different ways and not all favorably to you. I think you would not be wise to remain here, and I advise a change of capital to Xuchang. However, it must be remembered that the restoration of the capital has been published far and wide and the attention of all the people is concentrated on Luoyang, hoping for a period of rest and tranquillity. Another move will displease many. However, the performance of extraordinary deed may mean the acquisition of extraordinary merit. It is for you to decide.”
“Exactly my own inclination！” said Cao Cao, seizing his guest’s hand. “But are there not dangers？ Yang Feng at Daliang and the court officials！”
“That is easily managed. Write to Yang Feng and set his mind at rest. then say to the high officials plainly that there is no food in the capital here, and so you are going to another place where there is, and where there is no danger of scarcity. When they hear it, they will approve.”
Cao Cao had now decided； and as his guest took leave, Cao Cao seized his hands once more, saying, “I shall need your advice in future affairs.”
Jobs was building Heathkits, Wozniak was assembling a transmitter and receiver from Hallicrafters,
the most sophisticated radios available.
Woz spent a lot of time at home reading his father’s electronics journals, and he became enthralled
by stories about new computers, such as the powerful ENIAC. Because Boolean algebra came naturally
to him, he marveled at how simple, rather than complex, the computers were. In eighth grade he built
a calculator that included one hundred transistors, two hundred diodes, and two hundred resistors on ten
circuit boards. It won top prize in a local contest run by the Air Force, even though the competitors
included students through twelfth grade.
Woz became more of a loner when the boys his age began going out with girls and partying,
endeavors that he found far more complex than designing circuits. “Where before I was popular
and riding bikes and everything, suddenly I was socially shut out,” he recalled. “It seemed
like nobody spoke to me for the longest time.” He found an outlet by playing juvenile pranks.
In twelfth grade he built an electronic metronome—one of those tick-tick-tick devices that keep
time in music class—and realized it sounded like a bomb. So he took the labels off some big batteries,
taped them together, and put it in a school locker; he rigged it to start ticking faster when the locker
opened. Later that day he got called to the principal’s office. He thought it was because he had won, yet again,
the school’s top math prize. Instead he was confronted by the police. The principal had been summoned when the device was
found, bravely ran onto the football field clutching it to his chest, and pulled the wires off. Woz tried and
failed to suppress his laughter. He actually got sent to the juvenile detention center, where he spent the
night. It was a memorable experience. He taught the other prisoners how to disconnect the wires leading to
the ceiling fans and
connect them to the bars
so people got shocked
when touching them.