Tag Archives: technology

Day 236: Steve Wozniak


Steve Wozniak, photo: mashable.com

Today’s letter is to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak with a special request for my Dad’s 75th birthday. This would make him so happy. The Apple my Dad owns has a label with some numbers on it, something like 00003. Some people say this is a serial number and that this is the third one ever made, others say this is a number put on the computer by the Byte Shop, the store where he bought the Apple I. Regardless, there are not many of these guys in existence today – I think less than 50. Pretty cool.

Day 236-2

Dear Steve,

Happy belated 65th birthday! I hope you and Janet had a wonderful celebration.

Wozniak and Jobs circa 1976 Photo: BusinessInsider.com

Wozniak and Jobs circa 1976 Photo: BusinessInsider.com

My brother and I grew up knowing your name since as early as I can remember. You see I was born in Los Gatos and when I was two you created the Apple I and my father purchased one at the Byte Shop. A veteran of mainframe computing at the time, this was and continues to be his most prized possession. Perhaps he had the vision to know that it would some day be a rare gem or maybe he was just too busy working and raising two kids that he procrastinated and never exchanged it for an Apple II in ’77.

My letter with a birthday card that I made for Steve to send to my Dad.

My letter with a birthday card that I made for Steve to send to my Dad.

Today its at a bank in a safe deposit box. I have seen it and he enjoys telling me about the early days of personal computing. 

My father, Jerry Sandridge, turns 75 this October 15th.  I failed to do something really memorable for his 70th birthday and was hoping to do something unique this year. I know you get lots of requests, but I am hoping you could send him a simple birthday wish.

I’ve included a birthday card and addressed stamped envelope for your convenience. I sincerely appreciate your considering this birthday wish – It would mean the world to my father.

Warm regards,
Reed Sandridge 

P.S. My Dad’s phone number is [number removed] in case calling him is easier – 90% chance you’ll get his voice mail as he doesn’t answer unknown numbers!


UPDATE: 10/15/2015

Woz came through and sent Dad a birthday card!!!! THANK YOU WOZ! You made his day!

Birthday card to my Dad from Steve Wozniak!

Birthday card to my Dad from Steve Wozniak!

Day 56: Aunt Patti

Mom (left) and Aunt Patti circa 1951 In Tazewell County, Virginia.

Mom and Aunt Patti circa 1951 In Tazewell County, Virginia.

My mother used to talk to her siblings regularly on the telephone. When I was a kid, I’d wake up on Saturday mornings to the sound of her laughter coming from the kitchen as she talked to one of them on the phone.

Mom was one of six children. She died in 2006 and she had a brother, Jack, who died in 1980. The remaining four live in Southwestern Virginia and Tennessee. I had planned to make a trip this weekend down to see all of them – but Winter Storm Remus had other plans for us so I’m having to postpone it until later this spring.

I called my Aunt Patti to check on the weather conditions there before deciding to postpone the trip and we ended up talking for almost an hour and a half. It was wonderful to catch up.


Dear Aunt Patti

Just a note to tell you how much I enjoyed talking with you tonight. With email and Facebook – sometimes we forgo picking up the telephone (and actually dialing instead of texting!) because we feel that we know what is going on in a person’s life, we see all their status updates on social media so we think we’re up to date and don’t need to know more. Well, what that leaves out is knowing how the person is truly feeling, not just what they are broadcasting to the online world, hearing the joy or uncontrollable laughter…and the tremors of fear and pain that can be masked by lifeless letters typed on a screen.

The only person I really have long phone calls with anymore is Dad and occasionally Aunt Sue. Before Mom died Dad would always get on the phone – but he wasn’t much of one to chat on the phone back then. Things have changed. I think he’s lonely now and as a result is much more prone to longer conversations that go beyond, “Hey kiddo – everything ok with you?”

I’ve made a commitment to write more letters this year – Mom used to write me regularly. I miss it – I miss seeing her handwriting. He voice, southern accent and all, could be heard in every stroke of the pen. In addition to my letter-writing, I hope to call loved ones more often. I look forward to calling you and hearing your voice more often.

Thank you again for taking time to talk with me tonight. It made my day – hell it made my whole week! I’m sorry I won’t get down to see you this weekend – but anytime the National Weather Service names the storm that is coming through I’m betting it’s going to be a doozy! Stay warm and safe.


Day 28: Fitbit

Everyone wants to be healthy – and there are billions of dollars spent every year to help us be healthier. But very few products actually have the power to change behavior. One that did just that though for me was the Fitbit. I started walking more. I would take the stairs instead of the elevator at work, walk to places I would normally take public transportation and I’ll even confess that I have left my house at almost midnight to go for a walk just to get more steps. Call me crazy.

Unfortunately my Fitbit seemed to fall apart and it got to a point where I could no longer use it. So, I’m hoping Fitbit can help me out and get me back to being more active. Part of my recent motivation to get this fixed could possibly be fueled by the fact that I weighed myself this week and topped the scales at 188 pounds – the most I’ve ever weighed. Time to get in shape!


Dear friends at Fitbit,

Two years ago I was given the Fitbit Zip as a Christmas gift. It was great – it changed my behavior and I was more active. Unfortunately it stopped working after 13 months of use. I kept saying to myself that I would get it fixed, but a year has gone by now. I have noticed that I am less active and decided I wanted to start using it again. My father told me that he had something similar happen and you were kind enough to send him a replacement, so I am reaching out to you. There are three main defects.

  1. The USB sync device has completely fallen apart and no longer works. (see photo) InterestinglyFitbit Fitbit-2enough it seems that sometimes the Fitbit will sync if I get close to someone else who has a Fitbit syncing device.
  2. The piece that holds the battery in place has become “stripped” and no longer holds the battery firmly in place. I have this working most of the time now through a solution that I learned on MacGyver many years ago – but it’s not perfect and sometimes it stops recording my steps.
  3. Part of the protective covering on the silicon housing has worn off or fallen off leaving bare metal which has damaged my clothes. (see photo) 

I’m hoping you can help me get this back to working condition. I went to a sporting goods store where they sell Fitbits but they said I had to contact you.

Looking forward to getting more steps,
Reed Sandridge

Shout out to MacGyver!

Shout out to MacGyver!