All items tagged with "Steve Wozniak"

Woz Is Unimpressed By Apple’s New iPads

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says he’s not interested in Apple’s new iPads because the neither model meets his needs. Woz didn’t get a chance to watch the keynote live because he was on a plane, but he caught up with the news when he landed and then emailed his wife to say, “nope, I don’t want one of those.”

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Apple’s Privacy Scorecard

Chart Source: EFF.org - Note: Companies are listed in alphabetical order.

Chart Source: EFF.org
Note: Companies are listed in alphabetical order.

When we share our innermost thoughts on a blog, send pictures of loved ones through Facebook, or even divulge the unhealthy foods we ate for dinner from our iPhone, we trust the companies that run those services with our data. Companies like Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Companies like Dropbox, AT&T, Foursquare, and Linked In.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), initially funded by three big donors in 1990 including Apple’s own Steve Wozniak, published its third yearly report on the best and worst of these companies.

The results may surprise you: Apple has one of the worst scores on the chart.

The Cupertino company gets only one star – on par with internet behemoth Yahoo and telcom giant AT&T – and that was awarded for fighting for privacy rights in congress. (It’s worth noting that Yahoo’s one star gets an extra sparkly patina due to the company’s “silent battle for user privacy” in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court).

The report examined the public policies of major internet companies, including service providers, cloud storage companies, blogging platforms, social networking sites, and the like, to figure out whether they were committed to backing us up when our own government wants access to our data. The point of the report is to motivate companies to be more transparent, and do better.

EFF’s scorecard was released in the spring, before NSA and PRISM were in the spotlight, but the criteria were prescient.

Companies were rated by whether they:

  • Require a warrant for content of communications.
  • Tell users about government data requests.
  • Publish transparency reports.
  • Publish law enforcement guidelines.
  • Fight for users’ privacy rights in courts.
  • Fight for users’ privacy in Congress.

Apple earned its lone star for joining the Digital Due Process Coalition. However it does not require a warrant, tell users about government data requests, publish transparent reports or law enforcement guidelines, nor does it fight for users’ privacy rights in court.

Compare this to a company like Twitter, which does all of these things. The microblogging service scores favorably across all the EFF categories, as does internet provider Sonic.net.

Google rates a five out of six, falling short a star for not telling users about government access requests; Dropbox ranks the same, demoted a star for not fighting for users’ privacy rights in court.

Overall, it’s great to know how private our communications are. (Or not, as the case may be.) Reports like this one are a step towards transparency and understanding of our own ability to interact privately, at least within the realm of the law. If a company we trust is cavalier about our own data, perhaps we should contact them and ask them why they aren’t scoring so well. Maybe the companies will make some changes in policy, or maybe they’ll lose some customers when they don’t.

Either way, if privacy is important to you, you can see above exactly how important it isn’t, and the companies it isn’t important to.

You can download the full PDF report here.

Fact vs. Fiction: Steve Wozniak, Dan Kottke & Andy Hertzfeld Discuss the Film Jobs

John Wants Answers

John Vink interviews Steve Wozniak, Daniel Kottke and Andy Hertzfeld (photo: Jeff Lee)

The big screen biopic Jobs opened this summer to mixed reviews, primarily over the film’s lack of accuracy in depicting events from Steve Jobs life and Apple’s history. It’s not the first movie out about Jobs and it definitely won’t be the last as filmmakers strive to tell a celluloid version of the life of the mercurial Apple co-founder.

A lot of Apple old-timers have commented on the accuracy of the movie, but it took a Mountain View, CA local-access TV show called John Wants Answers to get Steve Wozniak, Daniel Kottke and Andy Hertzfeld together to dish fact from fiction. Host John Vink has a long history with the Cupertino company; he was an engineer at Apple from 1996 to 2012 and currently heads Macintosh desktop engineering for Nest Labs.

The two-hour discussion went through the film scene by scene, peppered with entertaining banter and some surprising recollections from the panel. Dan Kottke, who also worked as a script consultant on the movie, noted that “in making that film, it was a huge choice of where to start it and where to end it…I thought the movie did a pretty good job of getting the emotional notes right.”

Read on to know more about why no one ever got fired over kerning, had to ask what a Macintosh was and why you should watch TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley.

Fact Versus Fiction

The general consensus was that events, dates, facts and fiction were occasionally conflated to tell a better story. Many scenes were partially correct, but key details were altered. Some events portrayed were complete fiction, and the chronology wasn’t always right.

One example is the story of the Apple I and the Homebrew Computer Club. In Jobs the film, a young Steve Jobs stumbles across Wozniak’s new creation – a computer with a keyboard and screen – and becomes mesmerized staring into the TV monitor. He then sells the idea of a computing revolution to a reluctant Woz and convinces his shy companion to bring his system to the Homebrew Computer Club.

Woz spoke at length about what really happened:

“Steve and I both had gone over to a friend’s house, Captain Crunch, John Draper of the old blue box phone phreaking fame,” recalled Wozniak. “He sat down at a terminal, a teletype, and he started typing. Then he began playing chess with a computer in Boston.” Woz and Jobs were dumbfounded.

“Whoa!” said Woz. I thought: “this is just like Pong. I have to have this ability.”

Woz got some chips, an expensive keyboard ($60 – uppercase only) and wired the thing into his TV set. “This was not a computer, this was a terminal,” said Woz, “But it was a very short step before that terminal just got a little addition that made it a computer.”

Soon Woz made those additions and while Jobs was off at college, he started going to the HomeBrew computer club. Every two weeks, Wozniak hauled his TV set in the car, set up everything on a table in the lobby and started programming in earnest. Soon crowds began gathering and he started showing off his creation.

The buzz was growing, so Woz recalled that during one time Jobs was back home, “I pulled him to the club and showed him all the people around me. And he got the idea that we could sell them. I would have given them away for free.” The HomeBrew computer club already was full of people who wanted to change the world and Woz wanted to help.

“This is the complete opposite of the movie,” interjected show host John Vink. “In the movie we had Steve Jobs trying to convince you [Woz] to come to HomeBrew and you said ‘Nah, I don’t wanna go.'”

“Oh no,” replied Wozniak, “I’d been there since day one.”

What’s a Macintosh?

The development of Lisa and Macintosh were seminal events for the future of Apple. The group concurred that the scene where the Lisa team was chewed out for not having multiple fonts in the word processor was complete fiction. Nobody was fired for a lack of typefaces or kerning, but they did note that a different engineer at Apple was fired around that same time for not wanting to undertake the effort to build a mouse for the system.

511px-Macintosh_128k_transparencyMany of the celluloid scenes did portray parts of events accurately, with dramatic effect added for flair. One clip included in the trailer portrays Jobs drafting a young Andy Hertzfeld for the Macintosh team. When Hertzfeld asks for more time to continue working on his Apple II project, Jobs yanks the computer off his desk and says “you’re working on the Macintosh team now.” Then a quick cut to Apple employee Bill Fernandez, who asks “What’s a Macintosh?”

Via email I asked the panel if that was how things really happened, or just good theater?

All three agreed that the Mac project was not a secret around Apple engineers and management at that time.

Nobody would ever have asked “What’s a Macintosh?” That line was just tossed in for dramatic effect, and Fernandez was actually working in Japan at that time. But Hertzfeld did confirm that he lost his computer in the transition.

“[Jobs] came by my desk and said “you’re working on the Mac now’,” said Hertzfeld. “I had just started this new OS for the Apple II, DOS 4.0… and I wanted to get it in good enough shape that someone else could take it over. Steve said ‘Are you kidding? The Apple II’s obsolete, the Apple II’s gonna be dead, you gotta work on the Mac!”

Hertzfeld pleaded for more time, but ultimately to no avail. “Then he unplugged my computer and carried it away. So I had no choice but to go after him!”

The Mac Failed Terribly

Some of the most animated discussion centered around Jobs departure from Apple in 1985 and the initial failure of the Macintosh project. They felt the movie didn’t accurately portray why Jobs was removed from the Mac team.

Woz: “The real situation was that the Mac failed terribly. Totally. We built a factory to build 50,000 of them and we were selling 500 a month. Steve had cancelled projects because they could only sell 2,000 a month.”

“I think he was taking it real hard that he’d failed for a third computer he’d tried to create and his vision really didn’t understand you have to build a market, it takes time, you aren’t going to sell 50,000 on day one. And meanwhile, we had to save the company.”

Jobs wanted to cancel or hamstring the Apple II in favor of the Macintosh, but it was important to continue selling and marketing the older system for a few more years. It generated most of the revenue. That was the primary business decision.

Hertzfeld chimed in: “I tell that story a little bit differently. The Mac did sell a lot of units initially, because of its novelty, because of its positive qualities. In June of 1984 it sold over 60,000 units. So they upped the forecast because Christmas was the big time and they thought they’d sell 80,000 units.”

But sales fell off steeply after the back-to-school rush in early fall, and by the end of the year sales were down to about 1,000 a month.

“When the Macs weren’t selling, a major mistake they made was trying to focus it on the office market,” recalled Hertzfeld. This was the time of the Lemmings commercial, a disastrous followup to the wildly successful 1984 spot. “The whole Macintosh Office thing never really got developed. The Mac needed a hard disk, that was really the biggest single design mistake that we made.”

Kottke: “And meanwhile Lisa had a hard drive.”

Woz: “Patience, patience, patience. Don’t put out a machine when it’s not a good enough machine for the price you’re selling this year. Work on it, work on it, work on it, and put it out when it is a good enough machine to sell at the price you’re offering.”

Steve Jobs and Apple clearly learned that lesson in the post-NeXT period.

Woz: “The Lisa was the right machine, with the right amount of RAM, but it was the wrong year for pricing. We finally got the Lisa back when we got OS X, actually, that’s what I like to say.”

Summing Things Up

The panel generally thought the that TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley was a better portrayal of events of this period. Regarding Jobs, “there was no sense of suspense about this movie” said Wozniak. It didn’t show Steve’s thought process, how he reasoned and argued with people.

Hertzfeld noted that both movies had good acting, but Pirates had the better script. He felt that Jobs often felt like a laundry list of incidents instead of something which would show a deeper meaning.

Kottke said the producers of the film faced many decisions about what to put in and what to leave out, such as details about Pixar and NeXT. He said the filmmakers had tried very hard to get things right.

But one of Kottke’s most surprising memories might have been a quick quip to Woz: “Did you not love the Apple III? Because we all thought it was great!”

John Wants Answers 2

John Vink, Steve Wozniak, Daniel Kottke and Andy Hertzfeld wave goodbye (photo: Jeff Lee)

For more fascinating details, you can watch the entire two hour episode of John Wants Answers on YouTube

Woz Says He Wants Apple To Make An iWatch And iPhones With Bigger Displays

Woz believes Siri went downhill the day Apple bought it.

“Siri, make me an iWatch.”

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is one to shy away from sharing his opinions on the state of Apple, but rather than giving a speech on the advice he would impart to Tim Cook, Woz recently shared his Apple product wishlist, which includes wearable computers and bigger displays.

During a recent interview with Reuters, Woz says that he wants Apple to make an iWatch that is as complete in functionality as the current iPhone. The wishlist also includes larger screens on the iPhone, more customizations, and a happy room full of Dreamers thinking up how to change the world with a product that you wouldn’t call a phone.

Here’s the full interview:

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Real Jobs Vs. Movie Jobs Plus Our iPhone Event Expectations On The CultCast

New cultcast site promo pic heath

This week on The CultCast: Jobs! We’ve seen it, and now the question is — is it any good? We’ll discuss the much-hyped movie (100 percent spoiler-free), Ashton Kutcher’s performance and love for the man, plus examine if the real Jobs fits the fictional portrayal.

Then, an all new Yay & Nay: September 10th edition. We’ll yes and no our way through the rumors and what we expect at the all-but-confirmed Apple iPhone event.

Have a few laughs whilst getting caught up on this week’s best Apple stories. Stream or download new and past episodes of The CultCast now on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing on iTunes, or hit play below and let the audio adventure begin. Show notes up next!

Cultcast 85 post player imageReal Jobs Vs. Movie Jobs Plus Our iPhone Event Expectations On The CultCast

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Ashton Kutcher Hits Back At Steve Wozniak’s Bashing Of Jobs [Video]

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Steve Wozniak has made his feelings about Ashton Kutcher’s Jobs movie pretty clear, but how does he really feel about the film? Kutcher believes Woz’s views could be swayed by the fact he’s being paid by another studio to support a different Steve Jobs movie, and because Jobs doesn’t place enough focus on Woz’s contribution to Apple.

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How Jobs Director Brought ‘Brutally Honest Character’ To Silver Screen

Joshua_Michael_Stern

Joshua Michael Stern, who directed Jobs, calls the late Apple leader a purist. Bingo!

It’s not easy making a posthumous movie about the world’s most well-known and beloved control freak. Just ask Joshua Michael Stern, director of new Steve Jobs biopic Jobs. The film delves into the early days of Apple Computer as Stern paints a picture of a man he calls a “brutally honest character.”

Don’t go into the PG-13 Jobs expecting any bombshells about Apple’s late, great maximum leader — you won’t find any. Instead, what you’ll get is a straightforward cinematic take on Jobs’ early partnership with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (played mostly for comic relief by Josh Gad), a healthy dose of Hollywood-style boardroom intrigue and a few glimpses into Jobs’ personal life. Many of the scenes, whether factually accurate or not, have been woven into the tapestry of tech history. And Jobs, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2011, obviously isn’t around to fact-check the past or exert his famous control over the final product.

“Part of the shackles for me as a director was, we really had to do everything that was sort of public domain, you know, we couldn’t stray too far off of what we basically knew about Steve,” Stern told Cult of Mac during a recent interview at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in San Francisco. “But the interesting thing about Steve, being such an enigma, there really isn’t that much more to know at all. I mean, everyone knows what they know.”

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Jobs: A Spoiler-Free Review Of The Movie All Apple Fans Must See

Jobs: A Spoiler-Free Review Of The Movie All Apple Fans Must See

You’re going to see it. Here’s what to expect.

Look, I’ll be straight with you, I’m not a movie critic. Nope, just an average moviegoer. But I am an Apple fan, and probably, like you, one who greatly admired Steven P. Jobs.

So ever since last Tuesday, when I got to sit through an early screening of Ashton Kutcher’s much-hyped new movie, Jobs, people have been asking me what I think of it. Is this a film that lives up to the buzz? Did Kutcher deliver? Or more often, “Just how bad was it?”

Well…

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New ‘Jobs’ Clip Shows How Woz & Steve Came Up With The Name Apple [Video]

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Yesterday, the makers of the upcoming Ashton Kutcher vehicle and Steve Jobs biopic Jobs released a featurette that went behind the scenes of the upcoming film.

Today, we get a new promotional clip, in which Kutcher as Jobs and Josh Gad as Steve Wozniak try to figure out the name of their new computer company? Whatever could it end up being?

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Woz: I Don’t Hate The Jobs Movie, But Steve Wasn’t The Saint You Think He Was

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak famously slammed the one-minute teaser for Ashton Kutcher’s Steve Jobs biopic and its script back in January, but that doesn’t mean he has a hatred for JOBS before he’s even seen it. In fact, Woz says he’s open to it as long as it’s entertaining and inspirational, and accurately portrays what really happened during the early days of Apple.

But he’s concerned the movie will depict Steve Jobs as a saint who was immune to failure.

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