Dear Lyons: You Got Pwned Even Harder

by Joey deVilla on August 31, 2009

John Gruber: Slick. Dan Lyons: Dick.

In his latest Daring Fireball blog entry, So Dan Lyons Called, John Gruber does a great job giving Dan “Fake Steve Jobs” Lyons a much-deserved pimp-slapping. It’s a fun-to-read response to Lyon’s article on the Fake Steve Jobs blog titled Dear Gruber: You’ve Been Pwned, in which Lyons, writing as a fictionalized Steve Jobs, takes great glee in the fact that Gruber got the story wrong – he wrote that AT&T killed the Google Voice app for the iPhone, after which it was revealed that it was Apple all along.

While Gruber got the story wrong, he did something very admirable and honourable: he very clearly and plainly admitted it, without weasel-words, and even went to the trouble of analyzing where we went wrong – openly, on his blog. It’s going to happen to all of us who blog about technology news, and especially when it’s news about an organization that’s as notoriously tight-lipped as Apple: sooner or later, you’re going to report something that’s not true, and the best policy, as mom always said, is honesty.

Even when Gruber makes seat-of-the-pants predictions, as he often does before big “Stevenotes” when it seems that Apple is about to announce something new, he tends to be more right than wrong, and that’s one of the reasons I read Daring Fireball.

In the article, Gruber does a good job of reminding us of where Dan Lyons is coming from – remember, he writes for Newsweek, which is a pretty sad substitute for Time, where the preferred style of reportage was described to me by a friend of mine who wrote for them as “sustained obviousness”. Yes, it’s all ad hominem-y. but it’s entertaining and filled with lots of truth. Besides, I’ve made my feelings clear about Mr. “Fake Steve Jobs” in my article titled Fake Steve Jobs is a Dick.

I come away from reading Daring Fireball articles knowing more than before, even when Gruber is operating in Smug Apple Fanboy mode. He’s great at “reading the tea leaves” where Apple is concerned, and there’s plenty of food for thought. The ideas, analysis and pointers in Daring Fireball make it a worthwhile read for me, even though I work for The Empire and he cheers for the Rebel Scum. On the other hand, the Fake Steve Jobs blog is just Dan Lyons doing a Steve Jobs impression with the dials turned up to eleven. There’s the occasional tidbit that’s amusing, but for the most part, there isn’t much meat there. If Daring Fireball is The Daily Show, Fake Steve Jobs bounces between being Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” segment and the Royal Canadian Air Farce.

(For those of you who haven’t seen the Royal Canadian Air Farce, consider yourself very, very lucky.)

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Broon August 31, 2009 at 2:25 am

Tech journalism’s getting real bitchy these days. And Gruber, while a good writer, is not slick. He’s a touchy nerd.

2 Joey deVilla August 31, 2009 at 8:13 am

Broon: “Good writer, albeit a touchy nerd” just wasn’t pithy enough for the graphic. I believe “slick” at least covers the “good writer” bit.

3 Mark Jaquith August 31, 2009 at 8:32 am

Put “Being a dick” on top, spanning both, and then “doing it right” “doing it wrong” under the respective pictures. Gruber is the dick you root for against lesser dicks.

4 Joey deVilla August 31, 2009 at 8:37 am

Mark Jaquith: I figured that “slick” was the more diplomatic (diplomadick?) way of doing it.

And wouldn’t Gruber be the lesser of the two dicks, if dickishness is not a quiality to aspire to?

(It looks as though “dick” is going to be the word of the day here at Global Nerdy.)

5 Reg Braithwaite August 31, 2009 at 9:25 am

Dear Joey:

You got pwned!

I suggest that Gruber and Lyons are “frenemies,” and that their little feud is full of nudge-nudge-wink-wink. In this age of attention-whoring, the more we analyze it and call attention to it, the more both parties win regardless of how we call the fight.

Now that I think about it, maybe you’re part of the frenemy circle and I just got pwned by calling attention to your post;. D’oh!

6 Steve Syfuhs August 31, 2009 at 9:25 am

I’ll just go out and say it… they are both terrible writers. But, they also tread deep waters when discussing what Apple is going to do next. It’s a hard place to be.

Therefore, the best option is to add the two together, and split the difference. Might get 90-95% accuracy…way better than most tech news these days. Just a thought.

7 Joey deVilla August 31, 2009 at 9:45 am

Reg Braithwaite: Shhh! You’re not supposed to give away my Sith Lord secrets!

8 Mark Jaquith August 31, 2009 at 10:52 am

And wouldn’t Gruber be the lesser of the two dicks, if dickishness is not a quiality to aspire to?

Ah, I see the confusion. Lyons is the lesser dick not because he’s less of a dick but because he’s a dick who I judge to be lesser than Gruber in terms of my esteem. Lesser dick != Less dickish. Lesser modifies Lyons, not dick. He’s more of a dick, but the lesser of the two dicks.

This inverse relationship between dickishness and regard doesn’t hold with all dicks, however. Steve Jobs (the real one) is probably a bigger dick than both of them, but he’s also greater in my esteem than both of them. That’s the difference between Steve Jobs and Fake Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs earned the right to be a dick. Fake Steve Jobs is 300% of Steve Jobs’ dickishness with 0% of Steve Jobs’ righteous claim to it. You might say that Steve Jobs has eminent dickmain.

9 Joey deVilla August 31, 2009 at 12:00 pm

I suppose this is the appropriate time to feature this scene from Team America World Police:

10 giantslor August 31, 2009 at 12:35 pm

I haven’t seen Royal Canadian Air Farce, but I can’t imagine it’s any worse than the Red Green Show.

11 Joey deVilla August 31, 2009 at 12:52 pm

giantslor: I think Red Green has its moments, but maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for duct tape humour. You’d have to drug me to make me watch a marathon, however.

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