When Steve Wozniak checks into a hotel, he doesn't judge the accommodation by the quality of the room or size of the bed, but by the number on his door.

Speaking at a one-off event in Auckland yesterday, the Apple co-founder said he spends his life looking for numbers he can play games with in his head.

For Apple fans at least, it is a mind the world can be grateful for, as Wozniak whittled away his youth mastering the programming skills which led to him starting Apple Computers with Steve Jobs in 1976.

"I was very much a nerd," Wozniak told the audience at the Viaduct Events Centre. "I had almost no chance of finding a girlfriend or wife, so I had a lot of time."


Wozniak fell in love with computers early and decided he wanted to spend his life as an engineer. He gained a ham-radio licence at 10 and went on to win every school science award going.

"I wanted to learn everything I could about computers," he said.

It was during a year off school that Wozniak met another young student, Steve Jobs. It was a winning combination - Wozniak the engineering genius and Jobs the businessman with a head for money.

"Every time I came up with something good, he found a way to turn it into money," Wozniak said. "I was so far from being a businessman, I just wanted to design."