Feb 282012


Looking back through the roster of shitheadedness that is Douchebag’s Row, I’ve noticed a trend that may explain my particular level of contempt for its inductees: all of these guys are old enough to know better. By my logic, once you’ve been banging a keyboard on the tech scene for awhile, ignorance is tantamount to trolling. The latest bust to be carved is that of Jesus Diaz, Senior Contributing Editor for Gizmodo and a person who proves that experience does not necessarily require advanced age when it comes to being an asshole.

Diaz represents the next generation of blogger, one who has consistently shown that he’s learned much from his elder hit-whores. In addition to a less-than-perfect grasp of English diction and grammar, Diaz’s prose is possessed by the slap-worthy self-righteousness common to countries that lie between the Prime Meridian and the former USSR. His ubiquitous presence in the comment sections of not only the articles he writes, but on most of the articles on the site, throws the window into his douchebaggery wide open. So much so that the site actually banned him from commenting temporarily because of how abusive he was (“no link for hit whores” policy suspension due to sheer hilarity of the incident).

No DBR induction ceremony would be complete without a sampling of Diaz’s stylings, so here are some of my favorites:

About the decline in Steve Jobs’ health being the reason for his cancellation of a Macworld appearance in early 2009:

“According to a previously reliable source, Apple misrepresented the reasons behind Macworld and Jobs’ keynote cancellation. Allegedly, the real cause is his rapidly declining health. In fact, it may be even worse than we imagined”

The source, of course, was anonymous, but it didn’t keep them from dolling up the entry with some classy artwork to go with their unsubstantiated story:


About the tight security surrounding Apple’s products, likening their tactics to those of the Nazi Gestapo (an excellent critique – and use of TMA’s douchebag trademark – from DED here).

“No, Tom (the story’s source) never lived in Nazi Germany, nor in East Germany, nor in the Soviet Union, nor in Communist China. He lives in the United States. For sure, he has never been scared of losing his life nor the ones he loves, like thousands of millions in those countries. But he knows how it feels to be watched, to always be considered guilty of crimes against another kind of state. He knew how it felt to have no privacy whatsoever when he was working right here, in a little Californian town called Cupertino, in a legendary place located in One Infinite Loop.

Tom knew about all that pretty well, back when he was working at Apple Inc.”

Lesson for junior link-baiters: few things bring in the link love better than comparing something trivial to the greatest atrocity of the 20th century.

His objective review of iPad app ecosystem:

“The iPad app store is now showing more than 100,000 apps available. That roughly means about one hundred apps that are actually awesome. Which, mind you, it’s about 97 more than everyone else. I don’t give a damn about the rest.”

To give you a sense of the kind of respect that Diaz’s posts elicit, the post was promptly followed by a flood comments listing awesome apps. Even now, Apple’s lame app store continues to hinder the iPad, evidenced by the fact that the company can’t seem to make enough of them.

His scintillating review of Apple’s latest OS, Lion:

“It breaks my heart to say this, but Mac OSX Lion’s interface feels like a failure.”

Another critical mistake on Apple’s part that has crippled Mac sales – oh wait – I mean the mistake that’s encouraging Macs to sell like crazy in a PC market that’s turned to shit. Almost had me there, Diaz.

His continued work reviewing the developer preview of Mountain Lion, an OS that won’t ship until this summer. That didn’t prevent him from giving it 3 stars, or for continuing his whiney detractions summarized thusly:

“It’s the antithesis of Jon Ive’s minimalistic design, all essence devoid of artifice.”

Maybe you meant “substance” instead of “artifice”? Or maybe your incorrect sentence structure mangled your point and you meant Ive’s design was “essence devoid of artifice”? Maybe I fell asleep 3 times trying to decipher the shitty writing that is your trademark.

And his latest contribution, a questioning of Apple’s tactics in acquiring the trademark for the iPad from a bankrupt troll:

“Proview—the former owners of the iPad trademark in China—is suing Apple in California for “fraud by intentional misrepresentation, fraud by concealment, fraudulent inducement, and unfair competition.” Are they right? This is how Apple tricked them. You be the judge”

If you were at all concerned that based on “You be the judge” that the evidence presented would be balanced, you need only look to the piece’s graphic – and the fact that the words were written by Jesus Diaz – that the facts would be somewhat tainted with an already-drawn conclusion.

Diaz does away with any illusion of objectivity in his summary: “Oh Steve, you dirty rotten scoundrel. How much I miss your ways (seriously). Between this and Mountain Lion’s Don Corleone approach to App Store features, you keep stealing my heart even after you are gone.” The practice of having a third party secure trademarks to prevent no-worth companies like Proview from milking the value of words is common, but don’t let a well-known business tactic jam the gears of your hate machine. That last sentence had a chance at some resonance if people didn’t already know you sold your heart for pageviews, just another Gawker whore holding onto his post at Gizmodo in the face of withering unpopularity (check the number of banned comments accompanying anything he writes) long after his co-contributors realized that there was life after penning lopsided anti-Apple screed.

So after what seemed like an eternity watching Jesus Diaz peg Apple for hits, TMA welcomes him into the hallowed halls of Douchebag’s Row, where Luddites and petulant children are embraced with equal warmth. Perhaps some day, during one of his SEO tantrums, Diaz will hold his breath long enough that we’ll all be free from his mangled, amateur, straw-man prose.

Oct 072011

To earn a place in the hallowed halls of Douchebag’s Row usually requires a career’s worth of hit-whoring, but for our latest inductee, I’m going to make an exception based on a single piece. As inevitable as the thousands of articles praising Steve Jobs – as inescapable as the thoughtful words of people such as President of the United States, countless Silicon Valley icons and leaders from every industry on the planet – some one-off classless scrawling about how Jobs was really not that big of a deal and that people should get over it was equally likely. I could tell you I was surprised that it came from Nick Denton’s Gawker Media, but that would be bullshit. In addition to severely compromising its users’ personal information and using stolen goods to blackmail people, Gawker methodically produces this kind of excrement with the frequency that a farmer milks a cow. It’s the entirety of their business model. Hamilton Nolan’s piece “Steve Jobs Was Not God” has no doubt generated hundreds of thousands of hits for the blog network that includes some of my personal favorites like Deadspin and Lifehacker. I, for one, will continue enjoying them, but from this point forward, I refuse to give them a single hit.  Whether through RSS reader or other means, I will scrape the shit out of their content, but I will not allow Gawker Media in any way to benefit from my presence. I’d encourage everyone reading this to do the same.

I don’t link to scum like Nolan, but I want to expose my readers to the full context of what’s got me so hot. To save you from having to visit the site yourself, here is the article in its entirety, which will be followed by a section where I swear a lot. If Nick Denton doesn’t like me scraping his content wholesale and dumping it into my blog, he can thoroughly and vigorously fuck himself.

Steve Jobs Was Not God

So, Steve Jobs is dead. A tech genius has passed on. Sad. Certainly a devastating loss to Steve Jobs’ close friends and family members, as well as to Apple executives and shareholders. The rest of you? Calm down.

Among my Facebook friends yesterday, more than one wrote publicly that they were “crying” or “can’t stop crying” or “teared up” due to Steve Jobs’ death. Really now. You can’t stop crying, now that you’ve heard that a middle-aged CEO has passed on, after a long battle with cancer? If humans were always so empathetic, well, that would be understandable. But this type of one-upmanship of public displays of grief is both unbecoming and undeserved.

Real outpourings of public grief should be reserved for those people who lived life so heroically and selflessly that they stand as shining examples of love for all of humanity. People like, for example, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who—along with his family—was bombed, beaten, and stabbed during his years of principled activism in the US civil rights movement. Shuttlesworth died yesterday, the same day as Steve Jobs. He did not die a billionaire.

Death, of course, is not a competition. All deaths are sad for the living. Everyone deserves to be mourned, and well-known people will inevitably be mourned more loudly than others. But it is actually important to keep our grief in perspective. When we start mourning technocrats as idols, we cheapen the lives of those who have sacrificed more for their fellow man.

Steve Jobs was great at what he did. There’s no need to further fellate the man’s memory. He made good computers, he made good phones, he made good music players. He sold them well. He got obscenely rich. He enabled an entire generation of techie design fetishists to walk around with more attractive gadgets. He did not meaningfully reduce poverty, or make life-saving scientific discoveries, or end wars or heal the sick or befriend the friendless. Which is fine—most of us don’t. But most of us don’t provoke such cult-like lachrymosity when we pass on. When even the journalists tasked with covering you and your company are reduced to pie-eyed fans apologizing for discomforting your insanely powerful multibillion-dollar corporation in some minor way, some perspective has been lost.

I’ve never owned an Apple product. Yet here I am, talking on phones, typing on computers, and reading the internet every day. If you like Apple products, fine. They are products. They do not have souls. They are not heroes, and neither is their creator, no matter how skilled he may have been. Let’s mourn Steve Jobs as we mourn the passing of any other good man—modestly, privately, and quietly. Those of you whose remembrances have already taken on a quasi-religious tone: seek help.

Let the sentiment wash over you. Read it again if it helps. Ask yourself if the condescension of a blog hack telling you how to express your grief over the death of another human being is worse than the casual talking-point diminishment of Jobs’s contributions to the way we interact with technology. How do you feel about being gamed into feeling guilty about Jobs’s death when you didn’t mourn a civil rights activist who died of natural causes after a long life? What does the phrase “fellate the man’s memory”, one that I’m sure got Gawker 100,000 clicks alone, do for you? Nick must be so proud of you, Hamilton.

Here’s my wish for you, Hamilton Nolan. That some day, you’ll be sitting across from a potential employer talking about your work and that he’ll come across the putridness that you will – by that time, if not already – regret having written. My wish is that he’ll ask you about it and that you’ll know, in that moment, as your heart creeps up into your throat and your brow explodes in perspiration, that you’re fucked. I hope this piece is the only thing that keeps you from a cushy writing gig and that it happens at a juncture in your life when you can least afford it. I hope that your interviewer tells his friends who you are and that the experience repeats itself, humiliatingly, over and over and over. My hope for you is that you’ll be condemned to life writing the literary equivalent of crackwhore blowjobs, scraping the bottom of the barrel for hits while your 15 year-old band of starred commenters cheer you on.  Welcome to Douchebag’s Row, dickhead. Everyone else here would be revolted to be in your company.

And no one will remember you when you’re gone.

Aug 312011

When Steve Jobs announced his resignation as CEO of Apple, you could almost tap out the beat (…2, 3, 4) before the first career hit-mooch would take to his keyboard and announce that the spell had been broken – that the “reality distortion field” that causes all Apple product users to make irrational purchasing decisions – had dissipated. I had a short list of pundits who would pick up this mantle, and I’m happy to say one of them came through. It’s long past time he was duly honored for his body of work.

Joe Wilcox is a garden variety anti-Apple troll who ambidextrously fluffs both Microsoft and Google at Apple’s expense. Like all DBR inductees, he’s also incredibly shitty at what he does, if you assume that thing involves “intelligently talking about trends in technology”. How bad is he? Let’s allow Wilcox to shine the light of his intellect on a couple of major technology stories and see where he comes out.

On Steve Ballmer’s leadership of Microsoft   

After firing a number of long-time senior executives at Microsoft, Ballmer’s actions justifiably came under fire from the tech press as short-sighted sacrifices made by an incompetent CEO. Not according to Wilcox: Ballmer’s doing it to show everyone who’s boss. Joe took to his favorite venue, Betanews, to set the record straight. From the section of the piece titled – I shit you not – “Captain, My Captain”:

Ballmer has something to communicate here to other Microsoft executives, employees, partners, Wall Street analysts and investors: He’s in charge and will do whatever is necessary to make Microsoft more competitive in the decade 2010.  No Microsoft leader is sacred enough; anyone can and will be sacked if they put personal agenda or perceived Microsoft agenda ahead of the company.

It’s certainly a good thing Ballmer chose the decade 2010 to jam a rocket in his ass, because the last one didn’t look so good. Here’s Ballmer’s “decade 2000” from an investor’s perspective – compared to another tech company with modest growth:

Yes, those are thousands of percent

That blue line should look familiar to anyone who’s ever seen an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. When you’re looking for vital signs, it’s what you see when something’s dead. But that was “the flaccid 2000’s”. How about the first year of that rocketship decade?


OK: so maybe Wilcox isn’t so good at spotting great leaders. Let’s try out some good old fashioned prognostication. When the tech press buzz was building about the rumored product that turned out to be the iPad, how did Joe feel about its prospects?

“The world doesn’t need an Apple tablet, or any other” By Joe Wilcox

I know what’s going on here. This is one of those “Brutus was an honorable man” articles – you know: the ones that throw you with the title but conclude 180 degrees away from it?

“So I’ll assert what should be obvious to anyone thinking rationally and not emotionally: Tablet is a nowhere category. For all the hype about an Apple tablet , it is at best a niche product. The world doesn’t need an Apple tablet, no matter what the hype about rumored features or regardless of what actually releases (if anything).

/prints out picture of Wilcox

//laughs maniacally in photo’s face

To his credit, Wilcox did publish an article in June of last year – after 6 months of the iPad kicking the shit out of his “nowhere category”. Of his original claim, he says “Yes, I was wrong. I admit it. Flail me in Betanews comments or other blogs. Surely Macheads will peck away even my bones. Go ahead. I won’t often give you such opportunity.” Then he went and published “iPad Cannot Win the Tablet Wars” a year later, asserting that Apple could not possibly keep its edge on Android’s offerings, while also proving that he can indeed provide future opportunities to be flailed – on the same topic no less. Of course, for people who have no shame about how fucktarded the things they say sound, opportunities for flailing also provide opportunities for pageviews. Turns out there are some people on the internet who love telling misinformed people how wrong they are. Go figure.

Which brings us back to Wilcox’s induction-tipping article “I Lost My Passion for Apple”. Let’s take her for a spin:

“Earlier this month I sold my 11.6-inch MacBook Air (using Samsung Series 5 Chromebook now) and iPhone 4 (switched back to Google Nexus S).”

I can almost fathom Wilcox getting a Nexus S to prove how thoroughly un-Apple he is despite having used their kit, but he’d have us believe he traded an Air in for a Chromebook? The hardware universally panned as too big and too expensive to make a decent netbook powered by Google’s wet fart of an OS?

Without Apple Chairman Steve Jobs driving innovation or inspiring passion — the oft-called “reality distortion field” — my Apple enthusiasm is gone. Perhaps it’s return to sanity.

Jobs retired on August 24. Wilcox wrote his article three days later. Is he claiming that “innovation and passion” is now retroactively missing from products released when he was still CEO? Was his returning the Apple products some sort of protest or does he honestly believe that every Apple product contains a whisp of Jobs’ soul – as long as he’s CEO, that is.

But on reflection, I now see how much simplicity, one of Apple products’ best attributes, is giving way to complication creep. Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and iTunes 9 and 10 are glaring examples of increased complexity, as are iOS 4 (and soon v5), Safari 5.1, iLife `11 and most other Apple software.

More specifically…

Oh. I guess Wilcox doesn’t need to be any more expository than putting a bunch of Apple products in a list. What the fuck is “complication creep”? How piss-poor of a writer do you have to be to run off a list like this and not even drill down on one item on it? Wait: you do have an example, Joe?

Still, where Steve Jobs’ influence still touched so did simplicity remain, which iPad 2, MacBook Air and Mac App Store imbue. But other recent attempts at simplicity have failed, with Final Cut Pro X example of increased complexity coming from an attempt to make video production simpler. Many of Apple’s elite customers complained about the product, and there was even a petition to bring back the old version! Could such a thing really have happened with Steve Jobs hands-on at Apple?

So, aside from nonsensically returning a product he claims is still “imbued” with Jobs’ characteristic “simplicity”, Wilcox cites people complaining about a new version of an Apple product as evidence that Jobs no longer cares. Maybe Joe doesn’t peruse the Apple Discussion Boards, like say someone who was preparing to write something about which they wanted to appear knowledgable. How about the clamor over the introduction of glossy screens? iMovie ’08? As an Apple product user, I can attest that there are no bitchier end-users on the planet. Final Cut is just another example of Apple doing something that some users don’t like. If anyone’s attitude towards change has been “not a big deal”, it’s been Jobs. If anything, knee-jerk responses to every user gripe would be characteristic of Apple without Jobs, not the other way around.

Apple feels quite different to me now in 2011 than it did in 2008. It’s all corporate now.

How exactly does that feel, Joe? Does it feel like someone has pulled a Ziploc over your head while your hands and feet were bound, because for some reason, that image of you is really sticking with me.

 Just dollars and cents on a ledger.

And ubiquitously best-in-class products and services, as reviewed by every respectable outlet in existence, but go on…

What Jobs imbued already is gone, at least for me.

Except for the MacBook Air, but I returned it anyway, because my writing has the continuity of someone still learning cursive.

I predict it will fade for many technophiles.

And I’m awesome at predicting things.

But not anytime soon for the mass market of buyers, who are more influenced by what their friends and family use than by the aura of Steve Jobs. His legendary “one more thing” was one last thing long ago.

I confess I don’t even know what that closing means, but the trickle of blood from my left ear suggests I should leave Wilcox’s prose before one of my anterior lobes implodes.

So: Joe Wilcox. Stunningly ignorant blatherer of things anti-Apple, relentlessly incorrect interpreter of technology trends, clueless prognosticator, archetypical hit-whore: welcome to Douchebag’s Row. There is no one who writes so much about Apple that knows as little as you. In the rare air you now share, that’s saying something.

 Posted by at 12:33 am
May 042011

Observe the haymaker-inducing smirk.

Apple is a company that brings out the worst in some people.  Whether they be fanboy-bashers or CEOs of bloated software juggernauts, there’s something about Steve’s condescending little smirk that drives people absolutely batshit.  I get it.  I really do.  For most of these individuals, the knowledge that I work with a superior OS is satisfaction enough.  But for a select few, the magnitude of their assholery cannot be dismissed by that melodic C Major chord.  These are the members of Douchebag’s Row.  This series is designed to honor those who, through word and/or deed, have distinguished themselves as something more than mere assholes.

Let’s begin, shall we?

In TMA’s informal query – or the factual equivalent of the average analyst’s survey – Wall Street criminals rank 1/2 notch above pedophiles on the “most loathsome creatures on the planet” list. And much like pedophiles, many Street analysts no longer get to do the thing they love the most because it’s thoroughly illegal. Take the case of Henry Blodget.

Young Henry made a name for himself pre dot-com by predicting that Amazon would reach $400 a share. According to an article in Forbes, that prediction alone landed him a gig at the now-beloved Merrill Lynch, where he proceeded to spew prognostications for internet start-ups that were all over the map. He predicted big things for eToys, only to have them fold 3 years later. His “stopped clock analysis” continued garnering attention despite its pretty dismal track record. Leading up to the dot-com bubble burst, not everyone was chalking up Henry’s schizophrenic recommendations to the fact that he didn’t know what he was talking about. Turns out Blodget didn’t necessarily believe everything he was saying publicly about the companies and that’s kind of a no-no. The Securities and Exchange Commission got a whiff of Merrill’s – and Blodget’s – “inconsistencies” and launched an investigation. In 2003, Merrill settled with the State of New York for $100 million. The SEC fined Blodget $4 million and banned him from the securities industry for life. From the SEC’s press release:

“Blodget, of New York City, issued fraudulent research under Merrill Lynch’s name, as well as research in which he expressed views that were inconsistent with privately expressed negative views. Blodget’s conduct constituted violations of the federal securities laws and NASD and NYSE rules, which require that, among other things, published research reports have a reasonable basis, present a fair picture of the investment risks and benefits, and not make exaggerated or unwarranted claims.”

Understandably Blodget doesn’t talk a lot about the settlement. And he gets a little annoyed when he’s forced to. I’m sure he thinks he did nothing wrong. If you shell out multiple millions in order to not have to go to trial, not only are you guilty, you’re probably guilty of 500 times more shit than you’ve been accused of. Did you want exoneration? Then you should have gone to trial. GUILTY.

After the SEC told Blodget that he couldn’t get a job talking up the value of something worthless and profiting from it, he no doubt spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of gig would allow him to take his finely-honed fomenting skill and make money with it. Where else could one use a background in technology to disingenuously misdirect people and profit from it? I’ll leave my readers to reconcile the SEC directive that Blodget be “banned from the securities industry” with Blodget’s current title of “Co-Founder, CEO, and Editor in Chief of The Business Insider, a blog about internet business trends”.

So what pearls of wisdom has Henry bestowed upon the technology community? Most recently, he’s been butchering the “OMG Android will so crush iOS any day now” riff  worse than the intro to “Smoke on the Water” at an Intro to Electric Guitar class. But Blodget persists, despite the fact that several smart people have made rational arguments as to why the claim is little more than rhetorical masturbation. In his own words, here are some of the precocious one’s most valuable gems:

About the aforementioned Android market share: “As we’ve said before, Apple is fighting a very similar war to the one it fought–and lost–in the 1990s…Importantly, it’s not a question of which platform is “better.” (This is irrelevant.) It’s a question of which platform everyone else uses.”

On “Locationgate”: “Apple built a system into your iPhone that secretly tracks and records everywhere you go.  This system records your exact location and the exact time you were there–down to the second…Please explain, with a straight face, how that could possibly be a ‘mistake.'”

Henry Blodget is a valuable lesson to all of you career-minded individuals who have been dealt a setback – say, a $4 million fine – that challenges you to reinvent your most valuable asset. One day Blodget was fellating value onto something worthless to make money off idiots who took his advice; now Blodget is fellating value onto something worthless to make money off pageviews from people who want to tell him how much of an idiot he is. Now that is making a silk purse out of sows’ ears.

So it is my distinct pleasure to welcome Henry McKelvey Blodget to Douchebag’s Row. Although he is its youngest member, he has provided us with one of the earliest examples of why we currently hate traders slightly more than lawyers. Equal parts dishonest broker and spin doctor, Blodget has shown us that the mantle of douchebaggery can be carried proudly by my generation.

Dec 012010

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.

Jun 112010

Apple is a company that brings out the worst in some people.  Whether they be fanboy-bashers or CEOs of bloated software juggernauts, there’s something about Steve’s condescending little smirk that drives people absolutely batshit.  I get it.  I really do.  For most of these individuals, the knowledge that I work with a superior OS is satisfaction enough.  But for a select few, the magnitude of their assholery cannot be dismissed by that melodic C Major chord.  These are the members of Douchebag’s Row.  This series is designed to honor those who, through word and/or deed, have distinguished themselves as something more than mere assholes.

Once upon a time, a writer started a blog satirizing the life and business decisions of Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs. In the early days of the blog, you could actually picture the opinionated and sometimes-vulgar head of Apple saying some of the things that the blog – Fake Steve Jobs – attributed to him. As Apple’s stock ascended, the mystery writer who penned the site’s entries gained quite a following.

But the laughs could not go on forever. The first blow came when a New York Times writer discovered that Fake Steve was actually some tech editor at Forbes named Dan Lyons. Then, after announcing that he was leaving the personna of FSJ behind because he was so distraught over Steve Jobs’s poor health, many of his snarky followers lamented their loss – for the 5 minutes it took Lyons to realize that he couldn’t produce anything that anyone gave a shit about but Fake Steve. Of course, Lyons spun Jobs’s return to Apple as the reason for his return to FSJ.

With this return, no doubt fueled by the certitude that aping someone else’s success was the only gig that was going to put food on his table, the darkness descended. Dan’s resentment of the role he chose for himself as Fake Steve began to boil. FSJ began manifesting his hatred of Jobs and Apple in less and less satirical ways. Lyons penned an unflattering recounting of the “backdating scandal” called iCon. Trying desperately to make something more of his career than jetwash recycler for Apple’s CEO, Lyons took a job at Newsweek as a writer on their tech beat, where he got several additional opportunities to snipe at Apple while continuing to bare his teeth as FSJ.  The infectious disease known as hitwhoria, which had plagued Lyons his entire career, became chronic. His entries for both Newsweek and FSJ, now devoid of facts, logic and humor, are now strictly a repository for the self-loathing he feels having dedicated his best years siphoning real accomplishments from someone else – like some tech laureate lamprey. Most recently, examples of Lyons’s shark jumping include “screw the iPhone, I’m with Android!” and “the Macintosh is dead”.

If you look at Fake Steve Jobs now, you’ll see some of the most bitter, contrived and vacant writing of his career, designed only to pull in eyeballs. Some of TMA’s favorites:

Mocking Jobs’s comment at D8 defending the work environment at Foxconn, which include restaurants and a movie theater, playing a role in a series of suicides there: “Obviously we feel terrible about this but it’s important to keep things like this in perspective. Foxconn has restaurants and swimming pools. It’s a pretty nice place.” Stay classy.

Trying to make fun of Jobs’s habit of responding to emails he receives directly by “responding” to a writer’s question about why Macs cost more than PCs (wasn’t that the theme of a couple of commercials a while back?): “The times they are a changing, and very soon the all-purpose computer, where you can buy and run any software you want, will be obsolete, replaced by the iPad, which costs more and does less and only runs software made by Apple or approved by Apple and sold through Apple’s store. This is the future and it will be way better than what we’ve had so far…” This hits the Lyons trifecta of “bash Apple’s closed ecosystem”, “bash Apple’s price premium” and “bash Apple’s limited functionality”. A drinking game based on spotting these themes from the last month on FSJ is guaranteed to send you to the emergency room.

I could continue citing Lyons for pages but frankly every other sentence is laced with this kind of venom, as unfunny as it is accuracy-free.

So at long last, TMA has added another bust to the 2 man menagerie that is Douchebag’s Row. Daniel Lyons. Once an occasional provider of crafted snark, he has joined the other red-faced tantrum throwers who envy success – especially because his meager spoils came exclusively from being the jizzmopper of an icon.

May 042009

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EnderleDoucheApple is a company that brings out the worst in some people.  Whether they be fanboy-bashers or CEOs of bloated software juggernauts, there’s something about Steve’s condescending little smirk that drives people absolutely batshit.  I get it.  I really do.  For most of these individuals, the knowledge that I work with a superior OS is satisfaction enough.  But for a select few, the magnitude of their assholery cannot be dismissed by that melodic C Major chord.  These are the members of Douchebag Row.  This series is designed to honor those who, through word and/or deed, have distinguished themselves as something more than mere assholes.

Let’s begin, shall we? Continue reading »

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