Weekend news round-up: Woz pans Jobs biopic; Zuckerberg’s security headache

19 Aug 2013

Josh Gad (left) and Ashton Kutcher star as Apple co-founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs in the movie Jobs

In our round-up of some of the top tech stories from the weekend, Steve Wozniak, or Woz as he is known, reviewed the biopic of his Apple co-founder Steve Jobs; Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos is being portrayed as Steve Jobs’ natural heir; Vice magazine is being hailed as the saviour of media; and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was alerted to a security vulnerability in a very public way.

Steve Jobs’ natural heir?

Jeff Bezos, the 49-year-old multi-billionaire CEO of Amazon.com, caused quite a stir when he bought The Washington Post in recent weeks for US$250m. In an interesting New York Times profile, the e-commerce kingpin was portrayed as being outwardly goofy, but inwardly tough and natural heir to the late Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs.

“He has more than his share of detractors – just ask your neighbourhood bookseller, if you can find one. But it is increasingly hard to dispute that he is the natural heir of Steve Jobs as the entrepreneur with the most effect on the way people live now.”

Woz pans Jobs movie

Jobs, the new movie about Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher, was the subject of a review published on Gizmodo and written by none other than Jobs’ Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Woz, who happens to be consulting on another Jobs biopic by the director of The Social Network Aaron Sorin, said there was a lot of stuff the film failed to capture.

“I felt bad for many people I know well who were portrayed wrongly in their interactions with Jobs and the company,” Woz wrote.

“The movie ends pretty much where the great Jobs finally found product success (the iPod) and changed so many of our lives. I’m grateful to Steve for his excellence in the i-era, and his contribution to my own life of enjoying great products, but this movie portrays him having had those skills in earlier times.”

Early Apple employees also not fans of new Jobs movie

Early Apple insiders Daniel Kottke and Bill Fernandez were interviewed by Slashdot for their views on Jobs and echoed Woz in their feelings about how the early days of Apple were portrayed.

Kottke said: “Well, Ashton’s very good. I have no complaints with him at all, no complaints with his portrayal of Jobs. The complaint that people would rightly have about the film is that it portrays Woz as not having the same vision as Steve Jobs, which is really unfair.”

Apple teases Mac Pro

Apple has begun showing a teaser video in cinemas in the US for the next MacBook Pro, according to MacRumors.com.

“According to reports from several people who have seen the teaser, it ends with the line ‘Fall 2013,’ offering the first concrete hint of when the redesigned Mac Pro might launch. At (developers’ conference) WWDC, Apple gave a ‘later this year’ release date.”

Vice: the saviour of media

As the media industry struggles to come up with answers to its future as eyeballs and dollars go from physical print to online, Pandodaily’s Sarah Lacy pointed to an unlikely hero for the media business: magazine-turned-online-content-giant Vice, which has gone from a magazine to an online enterprise valued at US$1.4bn.

“Vice isn’t a new company, but it’s relatively newly sexy given a big push over the last five years to go beyond its magazine roots. When news just broke that it has sold a 5pc stake to 21st Century Fox at a deal valuing the company at US$1.4bn, I didn’t see the usual hating that you see when a media entrepreneur gets some cash – at least not in my Twitter stream. I saw a lot of high fives all over the place. Because Vice is the company that’s executing the playbook that so many diverse content companies also want to run. Even companies as diverse as Buzzfeed, NSFWCORP., and us. And since Vice started life as a magazine, it may well, too, become the patron saint for old media niche publications looking at the best way to embrace the web.”

Zuckerberg’s security headache

A Palestinian IT expert was forced to post a bug report on Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg’s personal page about a major vulnerability that allows individuals to post on anyone’s Facebook page whether they knew them or not, after the social network’s security team wouldn’t listen to him, according to Russia Today.

“The vulnerability, which was reported by a man calling himself ‘Khalil,’ allows any Facebook user to post anything on the walls of other users – even when those users are not included in their list of friends. He reported the vulnerability through Facebook’s security feedback page, which offered a minimum reward of US$500 for each real security bug report.

“However, the social network’s security team failed to acknowledge the bug, even though Khalil enclosed a link to a post he made on the timeline of a random girl who studied at the same college as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.”

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years