The son of an engineer at Lockheed Martin, Stephen Gary Wozniak, born on August 11, 1950, was fascinated by electronics at an early age.Although he was never a star student in the traditional sense, Wozniak had an aptitude for building working electronics from scratch.A lot of people in Silicon Valley either laughed or groaned or both when it became known that Steve Wozniak, the cofounder of Apple Computer, was going to compete on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," debuting this week. Paul Allen, who cofounded Microsoft with Bill Gates, became one of the richest people in the world and then, like Woz, bailed out early.Woz was the brains behind Apple in the early days, the one who did all the hard engineering work while his better-known partner, Steve Jobs, served as the public face of the company. Since then Allen has become a kind of parody of the aimless rich guy.Her comedy calling motivated her to join the famous Groundlings theater troupe.On the side, she nabbed guest-starring roles on sitcoms as well as minor movie parts.Thankfully, he eventually recovered from the amnesia. Woz has been awarded a total of 11 Honorary Doctor of Engineering degrees. Woz's start-up company CL 9 developed the first universal remote control, the CORE, in 1987.The company was in business for three years, from 1985 to 1988. A street in San Jose, California, is named Woz Way in his honour, thanks to his contribution to the Children's Discovery Museum located there. Woz made a guest appearance in The Big Bang Theory season 4.
Since then Woz has become a bit of a running joke in the Valley, a naive goofball who's always popping up in the news doing something weird, like playing polo on Segways (in full polo costume) or dating Kathy Griffin, the comedian and actress. Jobs, his onetime partner, has spent the past 30 years battling with Microsoft over market share, flying around the world, haggling with business partners, screaming at engineers, introducing new products—basically living and breathing the daily battle of the business world. To be fair, he's also done a great deal of philanthropic work and has been an active investor in new technology.The episode, titled 'The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification', Sheldon spots Woz having dinner in the Cheesecake Factory, and sends a robotic version of himself to chat with the Apple co-founder about the Apple II.Unfortunately, the episode ends with Sheldon tripping and breaking both the Apple II and his ankle as he rushed to take the computer to Woz for him to sign. In 1971, Woz appeared briefly as an extra (he played a hippie) in car chase movie "Vanishing Point"."I feel that I'm closer to real people and real product knowledge if I don't pull strings," he says.I met him a couple of years ago when I was on a book tour, promoting a novel that had made a few jokes about Woz.Some are entertaining (see number six) and others are impressively geeky (see number nine). Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter. An aeroplane crash in 1981 left Woz with memory loss that caused him to forget the crash and his time in the hospital afterwards.