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Silicon Alley Insider on the King of the Apple Geeks

by Joey deVilla on August 10, 2009

Screenshot of the "Daing Fireball" blog Silicon Alley Insider states the obvious – at least it’s obvious to Macintosh fans: John Gruber is King of the Apple Geeks.

On the off chance that you hadn’t heard of John before, he’s the one-man force behind Daring Fireball, one of the must-read sites for fans, followers – and yes, even evangelists for the competition — of Apple. He’s been writing the blog since the summer of 2002 and over time has acquired a legion of readers that includes higher-ups at Apple, Inc. His recent article about how Ninjawords, an iPhone dictionary and the latest app to get rejected by Apple’s Kafkaesque approval process was not just spot-on; it also got linked to by a large number of influential tech sites and managed to garner a response from Apple senior VP Phil Schiller, which he published as a follow-up article.

As with any site created by an Apple True Believer, Daring Fireball devotes a number of electrons to taking on The Empire, the most recent set being Microsoft’s Long, Slow Decline, a long but interesting (and also much-linked-to) article on the company’s current state and the challenges it faces. Whereas  lesser, more rabid fanboys — Daniel Eran Dilger of Roughly Drafted, I’m lookin’ right at you – would’ve been content to prematurely dance on the company’s grave, John enumerates the company’s missteps with solid reasoning and soberly (well, mostly soberly – hey, I’m not going to deny him his little bit of glee on behalf of his team). Even when he’s pummelling the organization for whom I work, I have to credit him for going beyond mere tribalism and penning some of the best-thought-out tech articles on the web today.

Why do I read him?

  • For starters, he’s good. I’m working on becoming one of the web’s best writers, and it pays to learn from the pros.
  • It’s also partly out of habit; I was a Mac user prior to my hire as a Microsoft Developer Evangelist.
  • It’s also my job. I do both Microsoft and its customers a disservice by not looking (and learning) outside Microsoft’s walls, especially since I was hired for my outsider’s perspective.
  • It helps me with my job. His blog is practically a laundry list of things I need to focus on.

Here’s a question for which I can’t easily come up with an answer: is there a Jon Gruber analogue in the Windows world? If not an analogue, any close approximations? Let me know in the comments.

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Unwitting Facebook Spokesmodels

by Joey deVilla on January 2, 2008

If you’re going to become a fan of a business on Facebook, you’d better make sure that your profile photo is a good one — you might end up as that company’s unwitting spokesmodel!

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