Meeting Woz

When I think of CeBIT, I fondly remember many things: my first trade show, my first glance at a Macintosh in 1985, my first mobile phone that I got at CeBIT in 1992.

CeBIT 2014 will be remembered as the year we met "The Woz."

It is a sunny, mild spring Thursday morning when Achim and I made our way from the medieval city of Celle to CeBIT. It is a trip down memory lane. For the final 20 years of the 20th century, we spent a week each year in Celle while commuting to the world’s largest IT trade show, CeBIT. Back in its heyday, CeBIT had more than 800,000 visitors and hotels were booked in a 100 mile radius around Hannover.

Those days are gone, but the car ride down Autobahn 3 is still a thrill as we ponder the good luck that leads us to today’s adventure. Steve Wozniak has been invited to speak at CeBIT and has agreed to a brief meeting with us before his talk. We fully expect the meeting to last no longer than a few minutes, after all, Woz is a busy person and someone else is paying for him to be in Hanover.

"Here we are, past 40 and have met many people, but still we get nervous,“ remarks my brother Achim as we sit in the lobby of the hotel where the meeting is going to take place. I know what he means.

Only a minute after the agreed time, Woz exits the elevators and strides through the lobby, approaching us with a big, warm smile on his face. He shakes our hands, we exchange business cards – Woz’s card is the coolest card ever, laser cut aluminum and his famous phone number encoded like an ancient punch card – and we sit down, unpacking the object of our meeting: an Apple 1 left to us by our dad. Woz has graciously agreed to sign it for us.

As he sees the board, his eyes light up and you can see the excitement of the memories it evokes. "When I designed the Apple 1, I wasn’t designing a computer,“ Woz recalls. "I wanted to design a terminal to access this new thing I had discovered, the Arpanet. Back then the Arpanet had only a couple of nodes and you got access by dial up from a terminal. So I built a terminal,“ he explains, shedding light on one of the things that puzzled us about the design of the Apple 1. "Then I thought: why not add a computer directly on the board so we wouldn’t have to dial up?“ That is why the board features two distinct sections, the terminal and the computer that communicate through a very slow serial connection just as if you would dial up to a mainframe. "For the Apple II, I came up with the idea to make it faster by integrating the terminal and the computer, and that was a much better design,“ says Woz.

Woz is also able to solve another mystery: My father always said that he got the Apple 1 in early 1977 when visiting Apple in their first office building, about the time when Apple introduced the Apple II. Woz explains that by the time the production of Apple 1 was ramping up, the Apple II design was already finished, so the period the Apple 1 was actually available was very short. "Steve [Jobs] thought that the Apple 1 and Apple II would be sold in parallel, but it soon became obvious that with the Apple II, nobody wanted the Apple 1," he says. He guesses that there were a total of about 150 Apple 1 computers ever sold and most were returned to Apple when they offered an upgrade to the Apple II in exchange for the Apple 1.

Woz’s eyes sparkle when he talks about all the great ideas they had back in those days. "I was always good at engineering things, making things work, but I wasn’t good at finishing the product, like making the board look good. It was always Steve doing that,“ he says.

Time flies, we get the signature and a 25-minute meeting that was well worth the 16 hour car drive from Munich to Hanover and back again, comes to an end. A final picture, a handshake and Woz turns to his next appointment approaching from the shadows of the lobby. As the sun shines on us when we are leaving the hotel with huge smiles on our faces, we wonder if all of this was real.

PS: Later that day, Woz spoke at the CeBIT Global Conference; you can watch the session here.


Check mate! One of our iStopMotion users recently created a creative Claymation video using a chess board and clay figures shaped as chess pieces. The video was created for a film class. Using some inspiration and ideas from their family, each piece is moved one frame at a time with precision to make the results perfect – much like a real life chess game!

[iStopMotion] was very helpful,” YouTuber "Moose C" says. “...This was a great app and I love it. It had great instructions and it was amazing. It was easy to figure out and I would DEFINITELY use it again.

We think using iStopMotion to document playing a game is a great idea, whether it's making the pieces move on their own or creating a time-lapse of the action. Ready to play some iStopMotion-opoly, anyone?

Be a Hummingbird

Ryan Matthews, a grade 7 teacher at the John P. Robarts Public School in London, Ontario, Canada, started using iStopMotion with his students last December for the filming of Claymation videos. When the class had the idea to start their #beahummingbird project, they knew iStopMotion would be the perfect program to help their project take flight.

The "Be a Hummingbird" project is a social justice initiative that the class started to raise funds and awareness for education in the Chimborazo province of Ecuador. It’s a part of the Me to We and Free the Children programs, which enable kids to be agents of change. Ryan’s students took this mantra to heart. They wanted to make a change, and they wanted as many people to know about #beahummingbird as possible. To reach out, the students shot iStopMotion videos to introduce the initiative to their school.

They started out by watching some successful social initiative advertisements to get some ideas, and after that, they began creating their storyboards. Each group of students mapped out their videos prior to shooting to make the most of their day of filming. They loved how easy iStopMotion was to use and understand, and although it took time (like every good stop motion animation does), the finished product was totally worth it!

iStopMotion allowed for lots of creativity,” Ryan says. He appreciated the advanced form of presentation iStopMotion allowed the class. “It was smooth looking and easy to alter settings!

He says that many students’ favorite feature was the onion skinning option. They liked seeing the transparent image of the previous photo so they could line up their next shot perfectly. They also particularly enjoyed how easy it was to record and integrate music into the animation, the time-lapse option to eliminate camera movement, and the easy transition, upload adjustable frames options.

Because iStopMotion is so easy that it can be used to create a full animation in just one day, Ryan thought the students’ videos came out the very best that they could, since they had plenty of time to work and make adjustments as needed.

The first video started out being filmed with the iPad standing up on a stand,” Ryan says. “This made the captured images seem far away and not so prominent on the screen. Due to their extra time, the students were able to secure a device that would allow them to shoot the video from above, which in my opinion, made the video much better.

To share the wealth, so to speak, Ryan and another teacher gave a presentation on iStopMotion at the school’s technology conference. Every year, their board (Thames Valley District School Board) hosts a technology conference in which teachers from across the board can either attend or present on different uses of technology in the classroom. Ryan and his colleagues took the other teachers through iStopMotion for iPad and allowed them to experiment with a variety of tools they brought, such as Playdough, math manipulatives, white boards and markers, and Lego characters. It was a hit! Side note: We love seeing teachers advocate for educational technology use in the classroom, and it’s great to see them using iStopMotion as a way to introduce this idea.

Ryan and his students plan on using iStopMotion to shoot videos on the War of 1812 in the coming weeks. Last year, Ryan’s class focused on the battles, but this year he wants to allow them more freedom for a topic of their choice. The videos will be shot using Claymation, which we’re sure will introduce a whirlwind of great ideas!

The class has some great advice for stop motion beginners. First, don’t be afraid to fail! If you go in with no inhibitions, then creativity will spark naturally. In relation to using iStopMotion for iPad: plan, plan, plan. Ryan’s students say that come filming day, everything will be much more successful if you have a plan or storyboard to follow. Allow yourself to play with the program. You’ll be surprised at what you can come up with! And finally, share your work. It will help you to work harder and take more pride in your creation … and sharing that pride might even help to begin someone else’s animation career!

Take a look at the class’s #beahummingbird video above. Also be sure to check out two examples of their fantastic Claymation skills here and here, as well as another stop motion animation example here to help spark your imagination! We’re ready to #beahummingbird and start making some change … are you?

iStopMotion “Outnumbers” the Competition

… According to blog “Outnumbered 3 to 1,” that is! Outnumbered, a blog run by “real moms keeping it real,” says that iStopMotion is worth the download in a sea of overwhelming apps, especially for children.

[iStopMotion] will turn your children into rising star animators and filmmakers,” Katrina, mother, blogger and app reviewer, praises.

Outnumbered notes that coming up with a really fun idea is always the hardest part, but once you have that down, just get out your iPad and get to making it (they suggest putting your iPad in a holder to keep it still).

My skill on making movies is at complete beginner,” says Katrina. “I literally downloaded the app a week ago and played with it for a little bit but I was still able to make a video right away. When I was done I was able to download it directly to my YouTube channel … Really all you need is patience because the app itself is super easy to use. I do not consider myself to be a technology expert and I still found it a ton of fun … The iStopMotion app for the iPad is a way to use technology but still have your kids using their imagination. It does not get any better than that in an app!

Check out the rest of Outnumbered 3 to 1’s review here! Also be sure to take a look at the iStopMotion clip Katrina created above to spark some great ideas of your own!

Happy St. Patty's Day! Go Green!

There's only a few more hours to enter the Animation Chef's "Go Green Screen" St. Patrick's Day contest!

Head on over to their website and subscribe to the Animation Chefs member's area to download the PDF of a little piggy you'll get to animate for the chance to win an iPad mini and table mount! This challenge is all about green screen, people! Download Green Screen by Do Ink and our own iStopMotion for iPad app (hint: iStopMotion Remote Camera app will help as well!) to get started.