Every Simon had his Garfunkel, every Leopold had his Loeb, the indispensable partner who nonetheless was never quite the equal of the other. And the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak, the one-time dater of Kathy Griffin, Dancing with the Stars contestant, and, by all accounts, the tech wiz who as much as any individual on the planet helped revolutionize computing and make it personal in a way that was just unimaginable to the slow-moving icebergs of companies such as IBM.
Post-Apple (he officially left the company in 1987), Woz has padded around the globe as an eccentric tech guru and peace bear and occasional cameo presence on nerd-heavy shows such as The Big Bang Theory. Now, as Reason 24/7 notes, he's plumping for Australian citizenship because he digs the Land Downunder's plan to subsidize its lagging broadbrand penetration:
Wozniak told The Australian Financial Review in Sydney that he had spoken to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and was in support of the federal government's fibre rollout.
"I spoke to him and they plan to roll it out to everyone in the country," Mr Wozniak said.
And there's this: "I live in a country where we don't have any regulation of telecommunications."
Woz further said this to AFR:
Despite his status as a technology icon, Mr Wozniak said he was not connected to a broadband service in his home in California, classing the options available to him as a "monopoly". "There's only one set of wires to be on and I'm not going to pull strings to get them to do something special for me," he said. "When I worked at Hewlett-Packard we treated ourselves like a family and protecting each other and I believe in that.
"I've sat with our FCC [Federal Communications Commission] commissioner and told him that story in his office, but it's not going to happen. We just don't have the political idea to bring broadband to all the people who are 1 kilometre too far away."
As it happens, the United States has higher broadband penetration by household than Australia. And it's a country where the regulation of telecommunications is not simply present but overbearing—and itching to expand its province all the time. One of the reasons that the internet and World Wide Web flourished in the U.S. (and elsewhere) is precisely because the FCC and other parts of the government have been thwarted in ongoing attempts to regulate content and access to the 'net.
Part of me would like very much to live in Woz's world: Money beyond calculation, rightly earned gadget guru status, a legacy of liberatory technology. And part of me wonders how the hell this guy ties his shoes in the morning. No telecon regulation in these United States? His reality testing is about as powerful as the old Apple IIe I used 20-plus years ago.
To remind yourself that the FCC exists, watch this 2010 Reason TV vid, "3 Reasons the FCC Shouldn't 'Touch' the Internets":