I remember in my 20’s I got a nasty case of food poisoning, which is a common culinary hazard facing recent college graduates living in New York City. What made this particular incident of poisoning memorable was the “end-to-end” nature of the problem. Imagine someone clutching a Rubbermaid trash container, sitting on toilet for 5 hours while his body ejected every ounce of fluid periodically.
For those of you that haven’t understandably opened a new tab in your browser to embrace the comfort of LOLcats, there is an analogy here. Dan Lyons, already an illustruous member of Douchebag’s Row, has written a piece for Gizmodo, whose senior editor is also a member of Douchebag’s Row. Of anything I’ve panned, this is the closest thing I’ve seen resembling simultaneous bi-orifice evacuation.
Upon the limited reflection I’ve allowed myself about Dan Lyons penning something for Gizmodo, it’s really amazing that the two hadn’t found each other before now. Both try so hard to slam Apple that they’ve inserted themselves into their own asses to do it, yet they remain desperately dependent on everything Apple does for the pageviews that feed and clothe them. Their self-loathing comes from having to regurgitate the company’s successful endeavors while they watch their more successful peers do real journalism. Lyons is still listed as the Newsweek’s “Technology Editor”, even though he’s only written one thing for them since June (must be all that editing). He can’t do Fake Steve Jobs anymore. The inconvenience of the lamprey’s host passing away must have really infuriated him. He does still blog, but he can’t put his anti-Apple screed on the Internet without making a reference to the only thing that made people pay attention to him: his “new” blog is called Real Dan Lyons. Keep huffing Apple’s tailpipe, Dan. Breathe deeply.
So what does it look like when the premier Apple hater writes for a site that hates Apple. Maybe I have a link here somewhere…
So let’s do the Dew and make with the command-x, command-v, disabuse routine that has lowered my blood pressure and added years to my life.
Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field Lives On
Because no piece of anti-Apple linkbait can be written without some trope about “great artists stealing” or the “reality distortion field”. At least Lyons does everyone the courtesy of announcing his intentions up front by putting one in the title of his piece. Not that anyone didn’t know what they were in for with him as its author.
The rule of thumb for following Apple is that if you want to know what Apple PR’s official line is, you just need to read the top-tier Apple apologists like John Gruber and MG Siegler.
Another lesser-known rule of thumb is that if you want to know how to hyperbolically slag Apple without evidence, you just need to read Dan Lyons.
They’re pretty much operating as unpaid Apple spokesbots. Apple briefs these guys, but instead of having the balls to do it on the record, Apple feeds them some spin with the condition that they will write it up while attributing their info to “sources who are familiar with the situation.” It’s a bit like being a Kremlinologist and reading Pravda and Izvestia.
Lyons is only interested in unsubstantiated sources when it proves his points – when he can be bothered to source anything at all.
And, sure enough, in the wake of the Mapocalypse, today come Gruber and Siegler with Apple’s spin. Gruber pens “On the Timing of Apple’s Map Switch” and Siegler provides “Ripping Off The Bloody Band-Aid.”
Both fail to discuss the suckiness of the maps app itself and instead spin the story to one about timing. Meaning, why did Apple do this now? Why not wait and switch later? And, of course, in this version of events, Apple is doing the right thing. And, of course, the villain is Google.
Neither “fail to discuss the suckiness of the maps app itself”. Both of them admit to the app’s data shortcomings. What neither is interested in doing, being two rational people that also happen to report on Apple, is rolling around in the company’s perceived missteps like a Golden Retriever in another dog’s shit. That’s Lyons’ trademark move. Apple did this now because it wasn’t worth it to them to wait a year while Google continued to receive location information from hundreds of millions of iOS devices using Google’s maps – which would have made their product better – while denying Apple access to services like turn-by-turn navigation and street view. Mind you, this has been covered by about a thousand other people, but it doesn’t serve Lyons’ purposes, so it doesn’t make it into the piece. Presenting any evidence that may substantiate Apple’s decision-making has no place in the Dan Lyons Vomitorium.
So this is the best Apple can do. They can’t try to pretend that their maps app isn’t a huge step backward. They can’t try to pretend that they aren’t putting their own squabble ahead of the needs of their customers. They can’t try to pretend that they’ve actually devoted sufficient resources to solving a very difficult problem.
Tim Cook thinks it’s the best Apple can do. He’s not pretending that maps isn’t a huge step backwards because it’s just you and dickheads like you that are pretending that it is. Cook’s open letter admitting that maps isn’t up to Apple’s standards may be different than the experiences Dan Lyons is used to with Microsoft – who is typically mute, or Google – who blames everyone else (carriers, manufacturers, those “privacy nutjobs”) for their screw-ups.
I’m going to go off-topic a little here, because it doesn’t address Apple Maps’ shittiness directly. Let me say this bluntly: if you counted on maps – whether it be Google’s or Apple’s – to get you from place to place without any other backstops, you’re a fucking moron. My navigation system consists of Navigon and/or Waze for turn-by-turn and HopStop and/or KickMaps for NYC subway information and iTrans NJT for New Jersey Transit train schedules and gate information. This is the beauty of having a diverse, healthy app ecosystem that isn’t 90% infected by copyright and trademark-destroying sideloadable crapware.
To address Apple Maps’ shittiness directly: it’s not. I fully understand that this may be a product of my living in a relatively populated area of the Northeastern United States. I’ve used Maps and driving directions since the first developer build of iOS 6. I can say without hesitation that the only thing Apple’s Maps have been worse at is the number of local businesses that appear in a particular location. Again, I’m not stupid enough to rely on either Google or Apple to get me where I need to be if it’s important. If that applies to you, you deserve to be as lost as you got. I didn’t spend $400 on a phone that was going to cost me another $2,400 over the term of its contract to cheap out when it came to applications.
What’s left? Stories about Band-Aids, and timing. Yes, by all means, let’s all talk about timing. Timing timing timing. Let’s talk about why this happened now instead of next year. It’s called misdirection, and it’s mostly used by magicians and PR people.
Remember when Bill Clinton was on the ropes with the Lewinsky mess, and every day some Clinton shill like Lanny Davis would come on TV and raise a stink about Ken Starr’s law firm having some kind of conflict of interest, and try to spin the story to be about Ken Starr rather than about whether Clinton was lying or not?
Don’t look here, look there. Oh, hey, up over the hill – is that a flying saucer?
This is pure Apple. They knew – had to know – when they first showed off the new maps earlier this year that the app was a piece of shit. How could they not know? So they did what Apple always does, which is to go out full-blast saying that this new maps app was the bestest, smartest, superduperest maps app ever created in the history of mankind. Oh, and Flyover! Wow! Look at how amazing Flyover is! Why it’s so amazing that TechCrunch said it made Google Maps look antiquated! “Are you listening Mountain View?” is how they put it, saying Apple had just released its own “stunning” maps app.
So let me get this straight: Apple programmed 2 unpaid bloggers – who, unlike Dan Lyons, have otherwise very successful careers – to spew pro-Apple propaganda in the face of a huge app debacle? Not only that, Apple has the press so bedazzled through the use of their “reality distortion field” that they’ve actually praised an Apple product and announced it superior to the offerings of its competitors? That must be some payroll Apple is maintaining.
Remember that now? Apple’s new maps were going to kill Google. This was the death blow. Same for Garmin and others who, the Telegraph noted, were stubbornly “not conceding defeat.” (Fools!)
Imagine: the tech press setting up a dichotomy consisting of one company succeeding at the expense of another. I think you might actually be able to monetize that dynamic on these here intertubes!
See, this is how it works. When you’re foisting a turd off on your customers, you don’t call it a turd. You cover it with shiny sparkly fake jewels and call it a tiara.
Here we start into Lyons’ frothy conclusion segment where he starts banging out his paragraphs without even reading them – faster and faster until he has taken any Apple feature he can think of and mocked it with absolutely no substantiation – other than an over-inflated sense of his own rhetorical prowess – a bulge in his pants growing larger with every keystroke. I’ve got to think that if you did a luminol pass over Dan Lyons keyboard, you’d be a little disgusted with the results.
If it’s FaceTime, the videoconferencing that nobody uses and that just does what loads of other products have done for years, you talk about the Jetsons and how we’re entering a magical space age thanks to Apple and you make a call to Jon Ive and act like you can’t really believe it and oh my God are we actually looking at each other and talking to each other the same time?
FaceTime, the feature that I use every week to speak with my family back home? Is that the feature Lyons’ is raving about? He doesn’t think anyone uses it? What fucking planet are you transmitting from, Dan? I will bet Lyons one thousand dollars that no fewer than 10 million people use FaceTime every day. How about it, Dan?
If it’s Siri, the voice assistant that doesn’t really work, you talk about the power of the revolutionary artificial intelligence that is going to change human civilization and is the product of profound research that has taken decades to perfect and now is “heralding the future,” as Siegler gushed on TechCrunch.
Yes – that’s exactly how Apple billed it: as something that would change civilization. You really have to wonder how Dan Lyons perceives reality. Do you think he reads passages like this to anyone before he publishes them? Maybe he has a gimp in his basement that serves as his editor. It’s at this point in a Lyons piece that I start feeling “Lyons Fatigue”, a condition that comes from ingesting his bile in the quanities that Jizzmodo is allowing him.
Fortunately Apple still has shills who will carry water for them. But it seems significant to me that they’re down to only Gruber and Siegler on this one. I’m sure Apple is briefing others, but so far it appears they’re not going for it. Even Pogue couldn’t bring himself to hold his nose and read from the script this time.
Fortunately for Apple, they still make devices that hundreds of millions of people own and enjoy, evidenced by the lion’s share of the market’s profits they reap and the endless list of customer satisfaction surveys they own. And fortunately for Lyons, enough people will drag their eyeballs across a temper tantrum that would put a 6 year-old to shame for him to eek out a living – for now.
For what it’s worth, there’s still no word from Gruber and Siegler on how they never noticed any problems with maps when they were writing their original reviews. Siegler, for the record, wrote in his original review for TechCrunch that he’d “come away impressed” by the new maps, saying “they’re not bad by any stretch of the imagination.” Now it’s like tearing off a Band-Aid.
For what it’s worth, Dan Lyons is a pathetic human being who sifts through the ashes of controversy for a living while regretting every second of his career since the FSJ salad years, aware that every piece of excrement he throws up for public viewing is another point closer to the origin on the graph of his career trajectory, which can be plotted thusly: r = aθ, where a is a real-number constant greater than 0. Did I go off-topic? Must be this nasty case of Lyons Fatigue.
And, painful as that might be, it’s actually a good thing. See how we did that? The new maps app sucks, but we’re ripping off the Band-Aid quickly, so that’s a good thing.
The only pain being endured here is that of people watching your “journalistic” career die a humiliating death, relieving itself while begging for mercy.
Steve is dead, but the reality distortion field lives on.
And with Steve went any hope Dan Lyons had of remaining in the tech spotlight. Dan’s distortion field, however, will persist as long as there’s sites like Jizzmodo willing to indulge him.
At least the food poisoning left me 20 pounds lighter.