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In the 1960s and early '70s, the first generation of hackers emerged in university computer-science departments. They transformed mainframes into virtual personal computers, using a technique called time sharing that provided widespread access to computers. Then in the late '70s, the second generation invented and manufactured the personal computer. These nonacademic hackers were hard-core counterculture types -- like Steve Jobs, a Beatle- haired hippie who had dropped out of Reed College, and Steve Wozniak, a Hewlett-Packard engineer. Before their success with Apple, both Steves developed and sold ``blue boxes,'' outlaw devices for making free telephone calls. Their contemporary and early collaborator, Lee Felsenstein, who designed the first portable computer, known as the Osborne 1, was a New Left radical who wrote for the renowned underground paper the Berkeley Barb.
As they followed the mantra ``Turn on, tune in and drop out,'' college students of the '60s also dropped academia's traditional disdain for business. ``Do your own thing'' easily translated into ``Start your own business.'' Reviled by the broader social establishment, hippies found ready acceptance in the world of small business. They brought an honesty and a dedication to service that was attractive to vendors and customers alike. Success in business made them disinclined to ``grow out of'' their countercultural values, and it made a number of them wealthy and powerful at a young age.