Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Steve Jobs and Heathkit

In my book Classic Heathkit Electronic Test Equipment I mentioned under Heathkit trivia that Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs built some Heathkits as a teenager. I found this link to a full video of a 1995 Steve Jobs interview as well as this transcript. Here is the portion of the discussion where he mentions Heathkit:

I got to know this man, whose name was Larry Lang, and he taught me a lot of electronics. He was great. He used to build Heathkits. Heathkits were really great. Heathkits were these products that you would buy in kit form. You actually paid more money for them than if you just went and bought the finished product if it was available. These Heathkits would come with these detailed manuals about how to put this thing together and all the parts would be laid out in a certain way and color coded. You'd actually build this thing yourself.

I would say that this gave one several things. It gave one an understanding of what was inside a finished product and how it worked because it would include a theory of operation. But maybe even more importantly it gave one the sense that one could build the things that one saw around oneself in the universe. These things were not mysteries any more. I mean you looked at a television set you would think that "I haven't built one of those but I could. There's one of those in the Heathkit catalog and I've built two other Heathkits so I could build that."

In related news, my book is now available from Amazon.com and most country-specific Amazon sites like amazon.de and amazon.co.uk (but unfortunately, not amazon.ca). This will give the book much wider exposure although I'd prefer people order from lulu.com as Amazon takes as much larger commission from the authors.

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