Book Review: iWoz

November 8, 2011


Some time after I announced over on Google+ that I had posted my review of the biography of Steve Jobs, which was the post previous to this, a follower recommended I read a book about another co-founder of Apple, who is just as important in the history of computers as Steve Job. Today's post is a review of that book, which is called iWoz by Steve Wozniak.

iWoz is about the life of Steve Wozniak, who invented the personal computer, and apparently the universal remote. It discusses Steve Wozniak's life before and after Apple, such as the things he created for science fairs that gave even high school students troubles before entering high school, as well as the pranks he pulled off during his school life and during his time at Apple as an engineer. Unlike the biography of Steve Jobs, it covered more about the life of Steve Wozniak than the history of computers, although a bunch of geeky things were discussed.

The autobiography was extremely enjoyable and funny. I could definitely get his sense humor. For example, he created a TV jammer in his college life that he would use to make people do some weird things all because they thought it fixed the television, when really Steve Wozniak was in control of the entire situation. However, the pranks were not all that made this enjoyable. Steve Wozniak discussed the escapades that he and Steve Jobs had together, which were all discussed in Steve Jobs' biography, such as the Blue Box and starting Apple. The description of the events pretty much coincided with how they were described in Steve Jobs' biography, which meant that the latter was pretty accurate. The book also confirmed my guess that Steve Wozniak did indeed make the game called Breakout. Of course, according to the book, Atari knew of Wozniak's abilities because he was the first to have a version of Pong in his home, way before Atari had a game console, which he showed to the Atari folks. Steve Wozniak mentioned that at this time, games were all hardware-based, unlike today's games that are produced via software. In addition to the times he was with Steve Jobs, the book discussed that he found the exact reason why Mac OS 7, at the time Apple was doing poorly and neither Steve Jobs nor Steve Wozniak were active (as Steve Wozniak was still on Apple's payroll after leaving to create the universal remote) or, in the case of Steve Jobs, employed, was continually crashing. The problem was all due to Internet Explorer, as Steve Wozniak's investigation showed almost everyone who never had their Mac crash were using a different browser, such as iCab or Netscape. Man, even back then, Internet Explorer was a piece of junk. All this time, I thought it was due to the fact that Apple took a turn for the worst without Steve Jobs. The book went in more deeply about what Steve Wozniak accomplished before and after Apple than just the computer industry and even confirmed the accuracy of Steve Jobs' biography a bit.

While I did enjoy the book, there was something that did annoy me. iWoz was at least a bit more in chronological order than Steve Jobs' biography, so that was not an issue here. Instead, the issue was grammar, more so punctuation. I have encountered probably countless places where there should have been commas, instead of a period. Also, there were sentences that started with the word and, which most schools try to instill should not even be in the beginning, since it usually connects items or sentences. Other than that, the book kept me pretty well entertained via the funny stuff that Wozniak did. The grammar was not that great, which kind of takes down the book's quality a bit, but it can be overlooked by the humor that Wozniak provides.

Despite the grammar issues, iWoz was a very enjoyable read and a good complement to Steve Jobs' biography. I would definitely recommend this to people interested in computers, technology, or who are Apple fans, but especially the former two, as Steve Wozniak shares much of the same ideals as those who like to tinker with their computers these days. As for everyone else, it talks a lot about some geeky stuff, but explains it pretty well that it might be worth reading, especially if you want to know the history of modern day PCs, which will be learned pretty thoroughly through both this book and Steve Jobs' biography.

While Steve Jobs brought PCs to the masses, instead of large businesses, government agencies, and universities, which predominately used mainframes, I doubt we would be where we are today without Steve Wozniak actually creating the stuff we utilize today. As I said in my review of Steve Jobs' biography, concerning Jobs' accomplishments, no doubt somebody else may eventually have come up with the stuff that Steve Wozniak created, but it would probably take even longer than it did. So, we have to thank both Steve Jobs, for his ability to get things out to the masses, and the genius of Steve Wozniak for actually making everything.

What is your opinion of the book? Was there anything I got wrong? Feel free to comment.

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