Sunday, July 15, 2007

We are a community, not a lynch mob ... why do Mac bloggers have to hang another when they make a mistake?

I like John Gruber of Daring Fireball when he writes his masterpiece explanations of "Apple Tech-headedness" or when he gets the laugh with his "Jackass Of The Week" columns. But, when he stoops to the lowest of the low and almost crucifies a fellow Mac blogger, it makes me hate him - and want to protest him for as along as I can possibly stand to. It's unnecessary. The Macalope did this to me when he first started because I made the assumption that George Ou might be behind the writing of the Macalope. In fact, I misinterpreted John Gruber as saying so himself.

The post I misread as George Ou's New Blog:

This was a nothing short of a lynch mob. It invited my critics to a bash of my website on the Macalope's blog. It was uncalled for. It was unnecessary. The Macalope should have just emailed me and let me know my error.

Gruber REGULARLY makes grammar errors that more times than not go uncorrected:

A Gruber Grammar Error:

Gruber's "near invincibility" and immense popularity give him a lot more power than most bloggers. He can withstand a major blow - some of us can't. I don't really know how this would affect Roughly Drafted, but it really doesn't matter. Gruber OWES it to Daniel Eran to allow a correction THEN he also owes it to his readers to report that he emailed Daniel Eran about the mistake and that it was changed or retracted quickly (or if it wasn't).

From Daring Fireball:

‘OS X iPod’ Nonsense

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Daniel Eran at Roughly Drafted published a piece over the weekend claiming that “the iPod is running Mac OS X – with a Mach kernel and a Unix userland – and have been for years”. The story was picked up by Slashdot earlier today, originally with the title “iPods Run OS X and Always Have”.

Eran’s evidence for this claim is based on this April 2004 article in MacTech about a supposed method of developing QuickTime-based applications for iPods, using a programming language called “SNOJOB”, derived from SNOBOL. This MacTech article was a joke. Current iPods do not run OS X, or anything even vaguely resembling it. There is no programming language called SNOJOB. There is no secret “laf” option for the ls command-line tool that will reveal a “hidden” mach kernel on iPod file systems.

Ok, so he was wrong. Ok, so he made a mistake. HOW ABOUT EMAILING HIM DIRECTLY OR CALLING HIM and telling him about it rather than try to capitalize on some kind of news that he was wrong? This is no different than the ethical dilemna that Engadget was in a month ago when Ryan Block (lead editor of Engadget) tried to justify his stance on publishing a story that Apple had delayed the iPhone at the last minute.

All Block had to do was WAIT and just verify the story. Engadget STILL had a great scoop and still could have reported the story. Engadget didn't need the hits - it's one of the highest hit sites on the net! Gruber didn't need to point this out in an almost crucifying manner - he doesn't need the hits - he's the darling of the Mac web at the moment.

Besides, I think the more interesting story is usually how fast, how slow, or how someone tries to cover up a mistake ... any way.

[UPDATE] Apparently there is some sort of "cover up" by Daniel Eran and "a retraction" without any mention of mistake - just a "note for page skimmers" ... I'll let you read:

This article simplified for readers

I think THAT is much more interesting than if he were wrong.

Can't we all just get along?


Anonymous said...

This whole thing is kind of a mess. I read RD's article last night and wasn't at all clear on whether the April Fool's joke (which Daniel mentions) was considered as part of his supprting facts for the story or not. I wasn't the only one so confused, as the RD comments forum bears out.

Then I see DF's piece and it looked pretty snippy (even petty) to me. Of course, we don't know what his readers felt about it because DF doesn't allow comments.

Then today I read more of the RD forums and Daniel himself weighs in with this:

"I think Gruber framed his link in such a way (the word is "contemptuously") to make it look like I had no idea that the SNOJOB article was a... snowjob because he was unhappy that I introduced the article by referencing his comment that Apple "hadn't used ARM" for nearly a decade when it most certainly was using ARM in the iPods."

Public payback from DF? Hell if I know.

I don't know either of these men. I read their blogs and like them both for what they offer. But one or both of them ought to step up and then just move on. As for DF, I'd still like some clarification on the article in question.

I wonder if Daniel's more vocal nature and borderline confrontational style is irking others in the Mac community? Personally, I'm fine with it as long as he's done some research and has facts. Daniel gets lots of feedback (good and bad) and frequently writes whole articles about that. He's never shied away from debate in his forum that I've seen.

This is all in the way of saying that I've seen more of Daniel's character than I have Gruber's. With Daniel I see how he handles criticism. He doesn't ignore it or delete it, and his replies are usually well-reasoned. I respect that. I cannot and will not make any pronouncement on Mr. Gruber because I have zero to go on except his blog sans comments. Perhaps he'd be the same as Daniel in this regard, I simply don't know.

One note: Eran appears to be Daniel's middle name. The name is Daniel Eran Dilger. His email is danieleran so the confusion appears common (Mac Daily News does it all the time). I didn't use 'Dilger' in this post because you might have wondered who the heck I was talking about!

Anonymous said...

The world can get by without bloggers. It won't grind to a halt.

Who cares what Grubber thinks? Or if Elan is stupid enough to think that OS X is running on an iPod. The fact he 'writes' for that fool Palmer speaks volumes of his technical knowledge. He obviously is not very good at spotting 'jokes'...

Grubber is 'powerful'?In a small circle of you bloggers maybe - not in my universe.

This is like the world of podcasters - it's full of people who think they are the 'stars' just because they now have a way to get their crap listened to. Who wants to listen to some sad individual (or worse, a pair of sad individuals) pontificating about their view on a subject.

Give us rest and stop churning out your vacuous ramblings...

FYT said...

I'm not sure if that's the real Roget I am responding to or not ...

My post wasn't about "getting by with or without bloggers" - its about treatment of bloggers amongst the community. I'm getting tired of these little, "blogflames" with no point behind them other than to generate more controversy and hits. What bothers me the most is that the big guys are doing it.

By the way, Gruber (I'm guessing here) gets 75,000 to 100,000 hits a day (maybe much more). Pretty big numbers if you ask me. When he so much as says the word "the" - the Mac blogs start saying, "Gruber just said "the" - and I agree"

I wasn't aware that Dilger writes for Bill Palmer ... do you have proof or linkage of that?

Unknown said...

Gruber pointed this out because Eran's bluster made Slashdot and he felt the need to defuse it. I don't see why one shouldn't point out mistakes made by other bloggers. That's pretty standard.

DF aside, I really wish MacSurfer would stop linking to Eran. His articles, when they address technical topics requiring basic knowledge of Unix or Mac system architecture, make me cringe. It would be bad enough on a random blog, but Eran's self-assured authoritarian writing style makes it ten times worse by misleading anyone who don't have the knowledge to realize that he's full of BS.

Eran has read just enough to have a vague idea of how things interrelate, but he's got no clue how the Mac actually works beneath the covers. And, to write the articles he's frequently prone writing, discussing system architecture in depth, you have to have more than just your high school keyboarding class and your own assumptions.

FYT said...

Honestly ... I'd have to say i agree with you Massive about defusing the comment because it gained popularity ... but crucifying Eran is not necessary. Gruber should have emailed him or called him.

Truthfully, I enjoy Roughly Drafted, even with the laymen understanding of things. He often has great pieces on the site.

I wouldn't have found him had it not been for Macsurfer ... many say the same thing about me and have said it (in the comments one of my previous articles) about Steve Jobs.

We all make mistakes and understand things differently (sometimes incorrectly) but we invite the Dvoraks to come out of the woodwork when we don't communicate civilly with one another.

I also have to say i agree with Tom - it wasn't cool for Daniel eran to post the UPDATE like he did ... that looked more a cover up than a retraction ... he was wrong and he should admit it.

Anonymous said...

"Daniel Eran Dilger - Syndicated Columnist

Daniel Eran Dilger is the publisher of Roughly Drafted Magazine, where he frequently writes in-depth analysis on the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and other Apple-related products. Dan's in-depth articles are frequently syndicated/excerpted here on iProng with his blessing."

Can be found here -

It is the 'real' Roget - btw my last line was not aimed at you - just at the 'community' of bloggers who seem to have hoisted themselves up onto their own pedestals/soapboxes and "publish" "magazines" just by having a website.

I have a low opinion of some - sorry if speaking my mind is so unusual. If you knew me you'd see where I was coming from.
I dislike podcasters as much....

FYT said...

Ah, he doesn't write for Bill Palmer - he's just syndicated. Whew ... that scared me. I was going to send off an email to daniel Eran asking about that.

Roget I understand where you're coming from, but none the less ... some bloggers DO have a lot of power and my analogy is very poignant.

Tim said...

I'm sorry, it's my fault. On Tuesday, I noticed John's article "Non-Top-Posting Reply Scripts for Apple Mail". Unfortunately, I'm not on that magical all-Apple-blogger's-cell-phone distribution list, so I emailed him and pointed out that Daring Fireball uses 'top posting' on its main page.

On Wednesday he posted "On Top," in which he defended this particular usage, while still decrying it in email (within limits). But it put him into a funk, until he wrote "‘OS X iPod’ Nonsense" on Sunday to work through his feelings.

Apologies to John, Daniel, George, Andy, the Macalope, the Naked Mole Rat, Chris, David, Walt and the inimitable Jack Miller for any hard feelings I've caused. (I still think Ryan's a putz, though, for the fake Apple email thing.)

Anonymous said...

Dilger should admit the mistake and write the article over again, with corrections.

BTW, Gruber who I've respected till late — should stop with the filthy language. But, think of the buzz that would be raised if he went back thru' several years of posts, and removed said gutter talk.

Anyway, because of this public attack; the language; and the shrill tantrum over the lack of an iPhone SDK; [LOL] I can't recommend him as a level-headed resource for our Windows friends.

Oh well, everyone should be redeemed WHEN they fix their mistakes. [Or thinking, if you will.;-)]

Anonymous said...

What's the big deal really? These are blogs, not real news stories, etc. Nobody is perfect. The moment you write a blog, you open yourself up for criticism. If you can't take the heat, stop writing.

I like Gruber for the most part. He's more in touch with the Mac community that Dilger. Of course, his rants about e-mail lately demonstrate that he's completely out of touch with corporate life/requirements. On a side note, it's worth noting that Gruber has given Dilger positive press in his blog when it's been warranted.

As for Dilger, every once in a while he hits a home run with his blogs, but for the most part, he's definitely on the zealot fringe of the Mac community. He tows the Apple company line as an apologist to the point it's sickening. This is coming from someone who prefers Macs.

All the same, I read both blogs. There is nothing wrong with a little criticism. That's the chance you take when you spout off in a blog, right?

FYT said...

I certainly don't think that because you write a Mac blog that you are immune to criticism ... and it has nothing to do with what level of writer one is. I think Roughly Drafted hits an occasional home run, but Daring Fireball is the blogging world's Barry Bonds.

To the post that commented on Gruber's filthy language - I have posted on this in the past. The funny thing is he occasionally posts about his children - would he want his children reciting his blog like a play? I doubt the answer is yes.

Paul Douglas said...

Gruber is like Thurrott - powerful and often right, but dangerous. Though for different reasons.

Gruber's word is law in the Mac community as far as I can tell. I read Daring Fireball for a while, then I switched to Fix Your Thinking only. Mostly because I couldn't stand him blasting people when it wasn't really warranted. The danger comes when he's wrong. Would people even care?

Thurrott meanwhile is dangerous because his fact-checking is often flawed, he inserts diplomatic fallacies (Not lying, just not saying something important) and falsifies independence. Yet still he is trusted by the uneducated (That is to say, people who do not know enough about X topic to spot bull).

Two different figures, two different types of power, two different yet equally powerful dangers.

FYT said...

Wow here's a testimonial:

"...then I switched to Fix Your Thinking only"

I need to put that on my about page JensonB

Thanks for the compliment.

Paul Douglas said...

Well hey, it's true. This blog gelled with me better than all the other similar ones.

Anonymous said...

Oh please. Daniel's article was stupid and spread misinformation. Jon Gruber just did what he always does: he told the truth and pointed out misinformation as being misinformation.

I used to like Daniel's articles because he spent a lot of time researching his topics and he made some pretty compelling cases in the entertaining "myth-busting" format. For the last several months, however, he's seemed to have gone off the deep end.

The thing about Daniel is that he writes with a histrionic tone of absolute certainty and authority and yet when he's shown to be wrong he repeatedly seems incapable of any graciousness or humility. I've noticed him frequently make excuses that really don't seem to get that he was wrong.

At this point, unfortunately, Daniel's RoughlyDrafted largely makes Mac/Apple users look looney, arrogant and cultish. Like we need any more of those stereotypes thrown on us.

FYT said...

I disagree that it was stupid. It was a good read. I do agree that Daniel Eran's articles have grown a bit fanatic. His actions yesterday didn't help my "defense" of him with Gruber. I wish he would have admitted the mistake then roasted Gruber for some of his faults - as some have here.

Anonymous said...

So, Dilger indeed re-writes the article to appeal to us simpletons that weren't brilliant enough to see the OBVIOUS 'subtlety'.

I usually get subtlety. This time I clearly missed the 'subtlety'. But, what I clearly did see — as does FYT, is a — "I was looking at you Mr. Hutchinson, but I was telling Polly to shut-up" style of 'cover-up'.

I hope that Dilger actually finds this FYT blog. Maybe he could use another POV, hmmm?

FWIW, I don't think less of Dilger for making a mistake, but I do so because he doesn't seem to own it.

It will be difficult to recommend him as-well.

FYT said...

I alerted him this morning to my article:


I love your Roughly Drafted website. I read it regularly.

I tried to defend you concerning Gruber - then it seems like( to most) you tried to cover up a pretty major mistake and not admit you were wrong.

philip smith

Anonymous said...

Both have their good points.... I find it interesting that Gruber doesn't allow comments though. :)