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Steve Jobs Movie Clip Historically Inaccurate, Says Woz 330

Posted by Soulskill
from the movies-aren't-burdened-with-trivialities-like-accuracy dept.
Yesterday saw the release of a clip from the upcoming movie jOBS, a biopic about the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The clip shows Jobs, played by Ashton Kutcher, having a conversation with Steve Wozniak, played by Josh Gad, about how influential an operating system for a personal computer would be. The real Steve Wozniak commented on the clip, saying the situation it portrayed was "totally wrong." He said, "Personalities and where the ideas of computers affecting society did not come from Jobs. They inspired me and were widely spoken at the Homebrew Computer Club. Steve came back from Oregon and came to a club meeting and didn't start talking about this great social impact. His idea was to make a $20 PC board and sell it for $40 to help people at the club build the computer I'd given away. Steve came from selling surplus parts at HalTed he always saw a way to make a quick buck off my designs (this was the 5th time). The lofty talk came much further down the line." Wozniak was quick to add that he isn't making any judgment on the quality of the movie based on a single, 1-minute clip, and that the rest of the movie may or may not be more accurate. He also says he hopes it's entertaining.
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Steve Jobs Movie Clip Historically Inaccurate, Says Woz

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  • by Sheetrock (152993) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:18PM (#42696709) Homepage Journal
    This scene came after the bit where Jobs signed The Beatles, and before he wrote the software that made the special effects in the original Star Wars trilogy possible.
  • by phx_zs (1772496) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:21PM (#42696731)
    "His idea was to make a $20 PC board and sell it for $40 to help people at the club build the computer I'd given away"
    • by icebike (68054) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:42PM (#42696883)

      Ok, the Apple Mod Army will be here any minute now. Grab your ankles.

      Aggrandizement of Jobs was probably the only option open to the screenwriters.
      If the movie were written to show the real Jobs, they would have been sued into oblivion.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @09:03PM (#42697629)

        I have mod points right now, I'm an across-the-board Apple user, and I think this movie is very likely no more than sycophantic shite for pinheads.

        Everything the Mac is, came from Apple engineers. Not Jobs. Everything I like about Macs (which is almost everything), and everything I hate (like the stupid, stupid one-menu-to-serve-them-all, the inability to send keystrokes to anything but the frontmost app, the immense memory leaks in Safari, the limited control of the audio system, the broken color pipeline, the constant stream of deprecated APIs, the crackpot leakage of IOS concepts into OSX, the lack of a mid-tower... I could go on but I'll spare you.) Likewise, everything the iPad/Phone/Pod ecosystem is, came from Apple engineers. Not Jobs.

        Jobs took these things and marketed them. He cherrypicked them, too. Whoopie. This is only notable in a culture that is in love with illusion -- television, etc.

        Jobs is gone. Apple isn't. Apple still puts out great products. And bugs and irritations. And tries to be our "mommy." It's like anything good, really... issues remain. So the best users keep poking at them, hopefully they will do better as a result.

        Anyway, none of my mod points, at least, will be used to step on those irritated with the Apple PR machine, which, IMHO, is the only place you will ever run into Jobs. Or his shade.

        • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @06:09AM (#42699485)

          Everything the Mac is, came from Apple engineers. Not Jobs.

          At least one mac engineer has a strongly different view [inventor-labs.com] than you.

          Not only did he know and love product engineering, it's all he really wanted to do. He told me once that part of the reason he wanted to be CEO was so that nobody could tell him that he wasn't allowed to participate in the nitty-gritty of product design. He was right there in the middle of it. All of it. As a team member, not as CEO. He quietly left his CEO hat by the door, and collaborated with us.

          I dislike the guy as much as anyone -- I believe that he is directly responsible for apple becoming exactly what their 1984 Mac commercial parodied and I think he was a giant prick for abandoning his daughter for the first two years of her life, making her mother live on welfare while apple was booming -- but I believe it is entirely possible for a person to have more than one side to their personality.

      • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday January 25, 2013 @09:08PM (#42697663)

        You mean the part where he stole all of his ideas from existing works by some of the first "open source" people before there was even an "open source" or the part where he parked in handicap spots for most of his life using his money to keep his Mercedes unregistered, just so he could... because simply getting his own parking slot wouldn't show the world just how big his dick really was?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 26, 2013 @01:36AM (#42698815)

        They made a real Jobs movie. It was called American Psycho..

    • by Kenja (541830)
      Actually, I would say that's every commercial company ever summed up.
  • Oops (Score:5, Funny)

    by Computershack (1143409) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:23PM (#42696737)
    Bit of a bitch for the script writer when someone who was actually there at the time who was 50% of the partnership is still alive and can call bullshit. One wonders why they didn't bother asking Woz for information about what happened.
    • Re:Oops (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:35PM (#42696823)

      One wonders why they didn't bother asking Woz for information about what happened.

      Because they are more interested in making the movie entertaining than historically accurate. Woz is quibbling over details. Most movies about things that really happened have huge deviations from accuracy. For example, the movie about Facebook [wikipedia.org] had a completely made-up girlfriend as a significant character.

      • Re:Oops (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:41PM (#42696875)

        Because the truth doesn't sell well. Blind idol worship over a dead guy is much sexier.

      • Re:Oops (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:47PM (#42696939)

        Woz is quibbling over details.

        I dunno. Woz is actually quite nice. If somebody made a movie with me in it in which I wear a suit and tie even though I never do that in real life, I'd be pretty pissed.

      • Re:Oops (Score:5, Insightful)

        by antdude (79039) on Friday January 25, 2013 @08:28PM (#42697335) Homepage Journal

        If they were accurate, then they would be documentaries. ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Gothmolly (148874)

        Its not quibbling, its "totally wrong".

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Darinbob (1142669)

        This is more than just details. It's actually presenting Steve Jobs as a different person than he was. A hero figure instead of a businessman.

        Though it depends on how realistic they make it. "Pirates of Silicon Valley" had a whole lot of inaccuracies in it, but on the surface it didn't appear to be a documentary. If this new movie is similar and appears to be just a generic movie with lots of hand waving then it won't be a big deal either. But it if is presented in a way that makes it appear to be fact

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by BasilBrush (643681)

      You think all the scenes in Lincoln really happened? Or The Iron Lady? Or Moneyball? Or the Social Network? Or 127 hours?

      It's a movie. It's entertainment. Just because it's a biopic, doesn't mean it's a literal reporting of history as it happened. If they made them like that, they'd bomb at the box office for being 4 hours of tedium.

    • Re:Oops (Score:5, Funny)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:57PM (#42697047) Homepage Journal

      One wonders why they didn't bother asking Woz for information about what happened.

      I think the quote shows exactly why they didn't bother asking Woz for information about what happened.

      It's hard to create a hagiography when the saint's family is around to tell everybody that he pissed in the bathtub.

    • Re:Oops (Score:5, Funny)

      by SolitaryMan (538416) on Friday January 25, 2013 @08:25PM (#42697303) Homepage Journal

      Bit of a bitch for the script writer when someone who was actually there at the time who was 50% of the partnership is still alive and can call bullshit. One wonders why they didn't bother asking Woz for information about what happened.

      Because they want to spend $20M on the movie and sell it for $40M.

    • Two movies are being made about Jobs.

      One is written by Aaron Sorkin.

        One is staring Ashton Kutcher.

      I'll let you guess to which one Woz is probably offering consulting comments.

  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:25PM (#42696761)

    Does anyone want to see something historically accurate? Do you really want to see Jobs portrayed accurately?

    It will never happen because the hero worship that is going to sell this movie would die if people knew the real Steve Jobs. You know the guy that stole other peoples ideas, actively suppressed worker wages, humiliated employees and random people he met, screwed over Steve Jobs, refused his own daughter for years, tore apart people's life work, disrespected other companies intellectual property and then started World War P.

    You could fill this thread with war stories from the people that Steve Jobs burned. That's now what's going to sell this movie at this time, give it a few years and someone might be willing to do so, but until the idol worship tempers down it simply wont sell.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:36PM (#42696831)

      Jobs is the new Edison. They were both self-loving monsters who stole and borrowed, then claimed credit.

      • by onyxruby (118189)

        Good comparison, makes me wonder if history will come through or not. Tesla eventually started to get his due in society but it took decades and many school children are still taught to treat Edison as a hero.

        • by ganjadude (952775)
          It wasnt until the late 90s that were were even introduced to tesla. but in the past 15 years or so he has been givin his credit, many decades to late. but to be fair the books were telling us about edison stealing the ideas, but worded in a way that made edison look like a good guy
          • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:46PM (#42696933)

            True enough on what you have said. The sad thing is Edison /was/ a genius and did invent quite a few things on his own. He didn't need to steal ideas from other people like he did in order to be one of the greatest inventors in history.

            Unfortunately he was an incredible asshole and went ahead and stole other peoples ideas anyways. I have heard it said that Edison was histories first great patent troll, and I think you could make a fair argument for that.

            • by cusco (717999)
              Edison was also one of the first great marketing geniuses. We can only imagine the world we would live in today if he hadn't gone so far out of his way to first rip off and then piss off Tesla and the two had been willing to work together. Tesla's creative genius and Edison's remarkable talent for manufacturing and marketing practical devices would have given us an entirely different world than we have today. Instead he was such a greedy and aggressive asshole that he even managed to get the better of Ge
              • by ganjadude (952775) <pmalloy4391.gmail@com> on Friday January 25, 2013 @08:55PM (#42697563) Homepage
                when you think about it, jobs /woz and edison /tesla is a damn good comparison. I would say that tesla did the "hard work" not that edison didnt do much hard work, but tesla was the brains. Edison had the marketablility. You can make the same argument with jobs woz. I dont think anyone can argue that woz was the brains behind the technical side of things while jobs was the mouthpiece, he was the salesman. not that jobs was not technical but he was no wheres near woz on that level.
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by Bing Tsher E (943915)

                  One of the big differences that breaks down your equivalence theory is that Edison really did invent some things, just not everything he claimed. Jobs, not so much. He was pretty much entirely a braggart/thief.

                  Also, Edison was a notorious eccentric slob. Jobs, you get the feeling he always wore a fresh black turtleneck each day.

            • He didn't need to steal ideas from other people like he did in order to be one of the greatest inventors in history.

              He didn't need to, but that was no barrier for him. See, e.g. the regenerative receiver.

            • by dbIII (701233) on Friday January 25, 2013 @09:46PM (#42697883)
              No, his labs "did invent quite a few things on his own". He employed genius but was not a genius himself. The American hero worship and myth of the lone individual did the rest.
            • Edison stole some ideas. The ideas weren't where the greatness was, though. Most people here have had several great ideas. How many of us have had any noticeable impact on the world?
              Edison designed and hand built about a THOUSAND different lightbulb designs that didn't work before finding one that did work well. That effort made changed the world. Lots of people had ideas, Edison had determination and worked like crazy to turn an idea into an immensely useful product.

              Similarly Jobs. I'll never buy
              • by jamstar7 (694492)
                Couple things worth mentioning...


                Edison was a nut about direct current and wanted to find a way to transmit it over long distances. He never did. Tesla discovered how to make alternating current, which could be sent over long distances. Edison never forgave him for it.

                Yeah, some of Tesla's inventions were 'tin-foil hat' quality, but those were mostly in his later years, and only because his notebooks were lost so his experiments aren't repeatable. If nobody tells you to put an emulsion of silver nitr
          • by icebike (68054)

            Did you mean many decades TOO late ??

            Also, don't minimize the amount of hero worship that Tesla is now receiving. Not all of it is warranted.

            • by ganjadude (952775)
              also true, tesla,while ahead of his time was horrible when it came to paperwork. he was also very bitter, which I cant blame him when he was always under the shaddow of edison.
    • by jlund (73067) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:37PM (#42696841)

      My understanding is that Pirates of the Silicon Valley is fairly accurate. Does not paint Jobs in the best light.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0168122/

    • by icebike (68054)

      if people knew the real Steve Jobs. You know the guy that stole other peoples ideas, actively suppressed worker wages, humiliated employees and random people he met, screwed over Steve Jobs,

      Wait, he screwed over himself?

      You mean screwed over Steve Wozniak I presume.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      Don't forget how he changed cars every six months (same model, different car) so he never had to have a licence plate and could park in disabled bays with impunity.
    • by Jonner (189691)

      It will never happen because the hero worship that is going to sell this movie would die if people knew the real Steve Jobs. You know the guy that stole other peoples ideas, actively suppressed worker wages, humiliated employees and random people he met, screwed over Steve Jobs, refused his own daughter for years, tore apart people's life work, disrespected other companies intellectual property and then started World War P.

      At least Jobs didn't discriminate in the screwing over.

      • by onyxruby (118189)

        Fair point, he was equal opportunity, he screwed over everybody.

        • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday January 25, 2013 @09:24PM (#42697761)

          As early as 1980, when Apple had it's IPO, Job's had created 300 millionaires, 40 of which were employees.

          Woz himself is worth 100s millions of dollars, thanks to Steve Jobs taking an interest in his hobby projects. Without SJ, Woz would undoubtably have been an obscure engineer. He's certainly done nothing impressive without SJ.

          • by dryeo (100693) on Friday January 25, 2013 @11:39PM (#42698427)

            Aren't you being backwards? It was Woz who created the hardware without which Jobs would not have amounted to much more then another salesman and the reason that you're unaware of Wozniak's impressive work at Apple is that Jobs did his best to kill it.
            Killing superior hardware to stroke an ego is not a good trait.

            • by sydneyfong (410107) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @04:17AM (#42699215) Homepage Journal

              After Jobs was booted from Apple, he built two companies, without involvement from Woz.

              One merged into Apple. One merged into Disney. The transactions were in the order of billions of dollars, and arguably revitalized the two companies, and helped them keep their positions as the leaders of their respective industries.

              Call it salesmanship if you insist -- it was *very* fine salesmanship. Could Jobs have done it without Woz? Yes, he actually did it twice. You don't have to like him personally to recognize that.

    • made up bullshit in a biography. I love to watch shows on Hitlers double life of killing Jews in his day to day in front of the public job while saving them after work hours.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:26PM (#42696763)

    What a shit piece of film-making. Woz was the real hero behind Apple.

  • by Aryeh Goretsky (129230) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:38PM (#42696849) Homepage

    Hello,

    The company Woz mentioned, Halted Specialties Company [halted.com], is still around. Great source of electronics surplus and I have any fond memories of visits there over the past decades and wandering around their dusty shelves. I had no idea they were so instrumental in the founding of Apple Computer.

    Regards

    Aryeh Goretsky

    • Halted isn't HalTed (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The original place was sold many, many years ago. The original location on Fair Oaks is under condos now.

      • by Animats (122034)

        The original place was sold many, many years ago. The original location on Fair Oaks is under condos now.

        No, that was HalTek, a competitor of HalTed. HalTed is still there. They have a faded copy of a receipt from Steve Jobs, buying a used 'scope, on their bulletin board.

  • by chepati (220147) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:46PM (#42696929)

    ... that 50 years from now the media will have deified Jobs and next generations will believe he was a much much larger than life superhero who bootstrapped the entire computer industry and singlehandedly created new innovative products and touched so many people on a deep and personal level through his enduring work. And the real heros, Woz and the hundreds of Apple engineers and designers, will remain a footnote in some obscure appendix in a seldom read computer book, if that.

    Makes me sick, this cult of the Jobs personality and posthumous canonization of a glorified $20-profit salesman.

    • I stand my my theory [slashdot.org]. Steve Jobs is looking more and more evil.

    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday January 25, 2013 @08:08PM (#42697145)

      The sad fact of life is that 50 years from now the media will have deified Jobs and next generations will believe he was a much much larger than life superhero who bootstrapped the entire computer industry and singlehandedly created new innovative products and touched so many people on a deep and personal level through his enduring work. And the real heros, Woz...

      It's quote amusing to see all these people criticising the deifying of Jobs, which isn't actually happening, whilst at the same time they are deifying Woz.

    • by tyrione (134248) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @07:48AM (#42699735) Homepage

      ... that 50 years from now the media will have deified Jobs and next generations will believe he was a much much larger than life superhero who bootstrapped the entire computer industry and singlehandedly created new innovative products and touched so many people on a deep and personal level through his enduring work. And the real heros, Woz and the hundreds of Apple engineers and designers, will remain a footnote in some obscure appendix in a seldom read computer book, if that.

      Makes me sick, this cult of the Jobs personality and posthumous canonization of a glorified $20-profit salesman.

      The only people complaining of any fame are fans of Woz. Follow Wozniak's track record once the Macintosh [which he had nothing to do with] arrived. He completed a double B.S., got married, and did nothing but small, mindless little startups while getting paid today $120k a year [honorarily by Apple] for simply being alive. The real talent at Apple are the guys who Steve cultivated and who demanded he create NeXT when the board ousted him. I worked around them at NeXT. They dwarf Wozniak in knowledge, skills and capabilities to create great products. That same zeal was brought back to Apple. Wozniak had decades to extend his respect technologically by actually pioneering research in design of CPUs, GPUs, etc. He doesn't know it. He never did. Technology blew past Steve Wozniak and he decided to play Steve Jobs as a CEO and failed miserably every single time. The guy holds 4 patents in his entire engineering career, while being given Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory of resources to create. He isn't that genius. He's a celebrity who will always be the fat kid who Steve Jobs pulled out of his shell [Wozniak is quite clear on this point] and made him wealthy.

  • by beltsbear (2489652) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:51PM (#42696981)
    Well they certainly were not kind to the Woz on looks in this movie. Go back and look at the Woz in the 70's not today. He was a good looking guy, arguably better looking then Jobs. Aston Kutcher does look like Jobs in some of the other pics, remarkably so. http://images.intomobile.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/steve_wozniak_steve_jobs11-660x465.jpg [intomobile.com]
  • by stevew (4845) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:51PM (#42696985) Journal

    The comment about Halted needs a little context. Halted (still in business) is an Electronics part store in the Silicon Valley (Sunnyvale off of Central Expressway & Lawerence for those who care..) I is the place you go when you need the odd-ball capacitor or resistor for your electronics project. Lots of good quality junk there.

  • by MrKaos (858439) on Friday January 25, 2013 @07:53PM (#42697001) Journal
    • Our steve jobs our asshole brethren
    • profit be thy name
    • thy kingdom dumb
    • they will by done, in consumerism
    • as it is in manufacturing
    • give you our pay and all our bread
    • to deliver us new shiney elation
    • as you deliver the drm used against us
    • and lead us not into education
    • but deliver us new shiney
      • da man

  • by Sheetrock (152993) on Friday January 25, 2013 @08:00PM (#42697079) Homepage Journal

    ...if you're a fan of late 70s/early 80s computer culture.

    Somebody gave me Steven Levy's Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution as a teen (thankfully missing the minefield of shitty books with the term "hacker" in their title) and it was amazing. Early days computer hobbyists, Paul Allen and Bill Gates writing BASIC for the Altair on a timeshare and dealing with the hobbyists who wanted to copy it instead of buy it, Ken and Roberta Williams and Sierra On-Line, and so much more.

    Also loved the more recent Commodore: A Company on the Edge by Brian Bagnall. Just captivates the imagination to read about people hand-drawing their CPUs. There's an enthusiasm in the early computer industry that seems to have dampened over the years, as startups and corporations begin with the money in mind rather than the starry-eyed idealism and hobbyist tendencies that powered the first personal computer businesses.

    Neither of these feature Ashton Kutcher, however, or even Steve Jobs to any great extent. But if your passion for computers is in their function rather than their form I highly recommend the above books.

  • It's a movie about Steve Jobs; the only way for it to be honest is if it's filled with rewritten history and selectively ommitted truths and just blatent lies.
    Also, unless Apple sues the producers of this movie, it's not very realistic.

  • Steve Jobs was a bad apple.

  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Friday January 25, 2013 @08:31PM (#42697359)

    If Charlie Sheen had been cast as Jobs.

  • by AmazingRuss (555076) on Friday January 25, 2013 @08:59PM (#42697599)

    ... just wait until the climactic finale, when MegaJobs burns down Cupertino with his laserbeam eyes.

  • by skidisk (994551) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @03:12AM (#42699035)

    ...read Andy Hertzfeld's site http://www.folklore.org/ [folklore.org] which contains stories from the people who actually designed and built the Mac. Some of these stories went into the book "Revolution in the Valley" which you can still buy on Amazon.

  • by lightknight (213164) on Saturday January 26, 2013 @10:49AM (#42700365) Homepage

    And in an effort to prevent others from finding their own way to the top, from time to time the various organs of the Republic would engage in a disinformation campaign. Histories of successful people were reportedly distorted and 'enhanced,' to make their later success easier to understand, while at the same time ensuring that their efforts could not be easily duplicated by simply copying their behaviors & actions. It was trivial to enact: those who had achieved great wealth often enjoyed the ego-feeding exercise of believing that they were predestined to achieve it, that they were special; rather than the reality that at that age, they had run calculation after calculation, and were never sure of their own success.

    The effects were plain to see -> a heavily romanced view of reality often lead to others internalizing the various actions of the characters seen on screen and in books; watchers would come away, thinking that if they were simply passionate enough about their chosen road to riches, then they could achieve all things; the prerequisites for achieving this success were sadly glossed over, and almost totally unreplicable. Just as 'Stand and Deliver' gave way to an entire generation of teachers who believed that they could change things by just caring a little more / fighting the system on behalf of their students, the point of these works was to activate the emotional centers of the brain, while deactivating the logical centers. Thus you ended up with what is essentially a headless army -> people willing to do something, but with no idea how to actually achieve it; they bought the kit for an airplane, which they believe will give them wondrous weekend holidays in Canada, but lack the instructions and know how to put it together.

    It would be three centuries before anyone realized how damaging these efforts were, and an additional 150 years before they would be disbanded.

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