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September 01, 2010

Woz's Surprise 60th Birthday Party!

How do you pull a prank on legendary prankster? You need to be his wife! Janet Wozniak pulled off a doozy of a surprise birthday party on Friday the 27th of August, and we had the honour of attending and being in on the fun!

Huh? A surprise birthday party for Woz? His birthday was on August 11th, no? Yep it was, which made this the ULTIMATE surprise party!

Code-named WOZ 6.0, this was a party to celebrate all things Woz. Janet sent us an invitation about a week ahead of the party... it was short notice for us way up in Canada, but we weren't going to miss this!

So we booked our flight, then started to think about what could we do for the party that would be cool. We decided to make a couple of special edition buttons... one a large 2.5" button celebrating his birthday party, and the other a cute mini 1" button that celebrated Woz in several different colors. We created 60 of each...

and to make them even more special, we signed and numbered them.

Where was this???
In downtown San Jose, California, at the Tech Museum. (No, that's not Woz's picture on the building, it's Genghis Khan's!)

The party started at 6:30, we were to be there by 6PM. At about 3PM Janet sent out a transmission... "I am getting so excited to see everyone tonight...Woz still doesn't know anything so let's keep it that way!" I tell ya, it was hard to keep a secret like this!

All the guests gathered in a room at the Tech Museum, and then were led down to the exhibit hall where the party was to be held. Janet kept everyone posted via text messages as to their location, and once she and Woz arrived at the site we all hid in a side room and awaited the surprise. The con was that Janet and the museum director were supposedly showing Woz an exclusive look at brand new special exhibit that Janet had help work on. Heh heh... apparently upon his arrival Woz told the director he hoped it wouldn't take long, as he wanted to get to dinner! Well sorry Woz, you'd be staying for about four more hours!

Woz came down a set of escalators to a roar of SURPRISE!! He was completely shocked... a difficult thing to do to the King of the Prank. Bravo Janet!

Soon after, we all started to move into the main exhibit hall where there was a dance floor, lots of drinks to be served, and tons of food... catered mini hamburgers and mushroom burgers, onion rings, fries, mac and cheese, salad, milkshakes, and lots more. Get a load of this crazy BIG BOY birthday cake!

We had a ton of fun, meeting old friends and new, and the place was filled with such interesting people. From HomeBrew Club hackers to tech celebs, lots of great people who worked at Apple over the years, and lots who work there still. People like Douglas Engelbart, (the inventor of the mouse and the guy who created the whole concept of modern day computers), Amy Tan, writer of the Joy Luck Club (she is so sweet), Drew Carey, star of The Price is Right (he is such a nice guy!), long time fans and hilarious geeks Keith and John, our Segway polo mentor George, Mark from the MIT robotics competition, and many members of Woz's family. There was even some of the students we taught in Woz's garage 10 years ago, all grown up now.

And our buttons were a huge hit! Everybody wanted one, and they were a great icebreaker and way to introduce ourselves and our work!

It's funny, Woz said he doesn't consider 60 an important year, as it has only human-made-up importance based on the Base 10 number system. He's more excited about and looking forward to his 64th, and here he explains why...

Steve Poltz played an easy-going set of guitar and vocal music, which acted as the perfect accompaniment to all the mingling and introducing that was going on. About halfway into the night, he invited up many people to talk about Woz, and tell some hilarious stories of past antics. Stories of his generosity, of his pranks, his $2 bill gags, and so much more. It was all very funny, very personal, and very moving too.

Here is a moment during a song written by Steve Poltz especially for Woz's birthday...

The party wrapped up around 10:30, and afterwards Nitrozac and I went out for a very late dinner with Woz and Janet, and Steve Poltz and his sound man Chris. It was the perfect end to a fun, exciting, sentimental, and surprise tribute to Woz!

(BTW, you can get a recording of Steve Poltz's performance from Woz 6.0. He'll ship you a CD for $15 or a USB flash drive for $20. The recording has all the songs Steve sang including Woz's birthday song. If you want a buy a copy email him via christophermodl at gmail.com )

and check out more pictures over at Jeff Cable's blog!

Posted by Snaggy at September 1, 2010 08:36 PM