Paul Thurrott reminds me a lot of Charlie, the main character from “Flowers for Algernon”. If you’re one of the 8 people who didn’t have this short-story-turned-novel inflicted on you in the 7th grade – or never made it to 7th grade – the story is an allegory about how life is enriched through the acquisition of power (in this case intelligence) and its subsequent decline when the lights go out. Through an experimental operation, Charlie temporarily acquires super-intelligence, transforming him from retarded (the technical term, not the nonchalant descriptive term TMA uses to describe Windows UI elements) menial worker to someone with an almost godlike level of consciousness. Written as a series of journal entries, Charlie’s progress is tracked from retarded to super genius – and back again – after the effects of the augmentation procedure dissolve.
The thin analogy here is that Thurrott’s entire career is derived from Microsoft’s artificial ascendancy through its theft of intellectual property and abuse of monopoly power, followed by an inevitable and seemingly never-ending fall. As long as Microsoft’s star shone brightly, Thurrott’s career blossomed. He was a speed dial call for several tech news outlets, enjoying numerous television appearances, paid speaking engagements, podcasts – you name it, Thurrott did it. But as the source of his prolificacy was exposed again and again as a company as likely to produce cold fusion as anything remotely attractive to customers in a competitive market, his defense of Redmond became evermore nonsensical screed, sounding more like it came from someone who needed to wear protective gear to keep from hurting themselves than from a respected member of the tech journalism community. Some selected gems from the mouth/fingertips of Charlie:
“The New York Times asks, “With so much going for them why, eight months after the iPad’s release, is the design of so many of those apps so boring?”To which I answer: They’re boring because the iPad is boring. Rather than create an environment that was specially tailored to the unique iPad form factor, Apple instead chose to simply stretch the iPhone UI out to meet the size of the new device, making only small changes to accommodate the additional onscreen real estate.”
“When you go out and about with just an iPad, you’re sending a message that you’re not going to contribute. You’re just there to consume. This is why the iPad is, to my mind, uniquely unsuitable in the workplace. Knowledge workers don’t just read documents. They comment on them, edit them, send feedback. They contribute…The iPad is not a business tool. In fact, for most people, it never will be. (And those who contort their workflow to make this possible are, of course, simply trying too hard to justify their vanity purchase.)” Ed. The use of the ellipse here is not to hide the part of the quote containing its compelling logic, as is the case in most tech blogging, but simply an attempt to staunch the hemorrhaging stupidity.
“There’s been a lot written about Apple’s iPad, but little of it, to date, has reflected the very real problems with this device. I’d like to correct this, not because the iPad is horrible, but because the iPad is simply good. And this is not what those in the lamestream media would have you believe. Instead of actually reviewing the iPad objectively, they have opted to ape Apple’s marketing mantra, calling it “magical” or “innovative” or, worst of all, “a game changer.” It is none of those things. It is just good.”
This is all on one topic. Paul’s entire body of mystifyingly bad analysis is probably the largest on the internet. You might be tempted to feel sorry for Paul, much like the sympathy one would have for the intellectually challenged protagonist in Keyes’ book. It’s much more likely, however, that Paul’s position as the last person religiously fluffing Microsoft and bashing Apple is nothing more than garden variety hit-whoring schtick as opposed to the expression of below-average intelligence. OK: well below average intelligence. The tip-off is that he spells most of his words correctly.
And so concludes TMA’s induction ceremony for our third member of Douchebag’s Row: Paul Thurrott. Welcome to your place among the internet’s elite FUDruckers, Paul: you should feel right at home.