Things Scott Doesn't Get

on TUAW (or WTF, AOL?)

I never really thought I’d be a writer. In fact, for a long time, I thought I was going to end up being a physicist. Fast forward to freshman year in college when I realized that calculus wasn’t for me and I waved goodbye to my aspirations of a career in the hard sciences.

I didn’t immediately think, “Well then, I’ll just be a writer!” I had to pick a major, so I went with English. I graduated, started looking for careers and ended up in Higher Education (which is where I still work!). I never really thought of myself as a writer until I saw a post by Barb Dybwad on The Unofficial Apple Weblog. They were looking for bloggers (not writers) and since I had been blogging for awhile and I liked Apple stuff I figured why not apply.

I sent off an email and waited. I didn’t hear anything, so I figured that was that.

This was all 10 years ago, mind you, but I still remember seeing that email from Barb asking me to join up with TUAW. I did, and wrote this first post, and after a few years I ended up becoming the Lead Blogger at TUAW. I covered a couple of Macworlds for the site (that first Macworld I wrote something like 25 posts A DAY, which meant that I didn’t talk to anyone at the actual event), “starred” in a couple of videos, and wrote and wrote and wrote (my back of the envelope math shows that for the 3 years I was there I wrote 2.7 posts a day on average, or a little over 3000 posts).

More importantly TUAW gave me the opportunity to meet lots of people: fellow bloggers, writers,  developers, and fans. So many people, in fact, that as I started listing them it grew so long that I decided not to include it with this post.

I left TUAW 7 years ago mostly because of AOL’s incompetence, so it came as only a mild shock to hear that AOL is shuttering the site and waving goodbye to all the talented folks who worked there. There’s some corporate speak saying that TUAW would be “rolled into” Engadget which means, I assume, the content will be absorbed into Engadget’s archives so they can still put advertising around it (and sip on that sweet, sweet SEO juice). A sad end to a fine site. A site that is directly responsible for the fact that I now honestly think of myself as a writer (though I still find it hard to believe that I’ve written books that you can buy in a bookstore! Sure, no one actually buys them, but they could and that’s what counts!).

Since today is the last day of publication for TUAW I wanted to thank everyone who read the site, anyone who was involved with it, and everyone I’ve met because of it. Writing for TUAW gave me my first taste of limited highly specific notierity (there was a time when I was recognized whenever I walked into an Apple Store), and my first realization that somewhere on the Internet there is someone who has nothing better to do than to tell you how whatever you’ve shared sucks (now I just go to Twitter for that).

You can read some more about my thoughts about TUAW in my farewell post (which used to have lot of lovely comments from readers wishing me well, but they seem to have been axed whenever TUAW changed commenting sytems. You can see why I have my doubts about the TUAW posts being around for the longhaul).

Meme me?


The Internet is an odd thing. Case in point, the above picture.

My Internet pal, and yours, Grant Robertson tweeted to me:

I was not! It seems Reddit user KodyRite came across my picture somewhere on the Internet (it happens), and decided my face could launch a meme called "Downer Dave." The idea being: I congratulate someone on some good news, and then add some sad little sentence at the end.

I was amused (still am, really) and so I tweeted about it and went to bed.

The logical next step happened: Redditors in the comments section assumed this was a sad cry for attention from the person pictured (i.e. me) who must have submitted his own photo to create a meme featuring himself.

There are a couple of problems with this line of thinking:

  1. I am not KodyRite (as of a little while ago I am blankbaby on Reddit).

  2. Even if I were a frequent Redditor I would never submit a picture of myself to the site. Why? Because I'm a fat geek with a beard, the perfect target for untold numbers of insults from Redditors.

Today I went out to meet a friend and came home to find this in my Inbox:


It seems the first post spawned another post on Reddit in the cringpics titled, "Guy on r/adviceanimals tries to turn himself into a meme called Downer Dave" featuring this picture:


The comments, as one might expect, aren't too kind to the chubby bearded fellow claiming to have had sex with some fictional lady. That being said most people seem to be more upset by the text alignment issues in the picture, which is pretty awful. Had I created this picture I can assure you that the text would have been properly aligned, and the joke would have been funnier.

My reaction to all this? Amused befuddlement. I did create a Reddit account so I could comment and say, "Nope, I didn't post this," knowing full well that it doesn't really matter if the story is true. To channel Steven Colbert: it feels true, and that's good enough.

Also, I look pretty good in that picture, don't ya think?

Why I dread going to the Apple Store by me at Macworld

Scott with the Apple Store

That's a picture of me 6 years ago (and many pounds heavier… sheesh. I think I'm fat now but I forget how much progress I have made!) at the Suburban Square Apple Store grand opening. How times have changed.

Not only have I lost some weight, and look much more handsome, I also don't like going to the Apple Store any more. The fine folks over at Macworld asked me to explain why, and the result was this: Why I dread going to the Apple Store.

Somehow I don't think this is going to be popular over at Macworld.

Nothing says Philadelphia championship like a crystal baseball

crystalphilliesball.jpgPhiladelphia is going wild at the moment since the Phillies just won the World Series (their second title in 28 years). Macy's, ready to cash in, sent out a mass email to, I assume, anyone on their email lists with a Philly address pointing us to the perfect way to celebrate: Waterford Philadelphia Phillies 2008 World Series Commemorative Crystal Baseball.

Having lived in Philadelphia for 5 years I know that Philadelphians always celebrate with expensive crystal (though usually we're breaking it).

Good job, Macy's. Now, were did I put that $170?

Internet Curmudgeon

naughtyscott.jpgI remember when 'personal brands' were called 'personalities.'

I remember when cult leaders where the only people who had followers, and making friends was a littler harder than clicking a button.

I remember when conversations took place face to face.

I remember when 'user generated content' was just called 'making crap.'

Social media has changed all that, though. Now it is all about 'following your DNA,' and Digging your top ten list while rushing to get into the latest closed beta from yet another company that promises to help you manage your online interactions, or that let's you tag your workout schedules.

Don't get me wrong, I love the Internet. I blog like a maniac, I Twitter with the best of them... but lately the ratio of sensible talk to crap spewing has really gotten out of control.

Alex Hillman who I am a big fan of, is a passionate and smart fellow. I recall when I first met him (well, the second time I met him) all he could talk about was co-working. And then every subsequent time I saw him over the next year all he could talk about was co-working. His focus and drive is very impressive (and you can't argue with the results: I'm a huge Indy Hall booster even though I am a lame work a day dude myself).

Clearly, I wouldn't have said all these nice things unless I was leading up to something less than nice (that's a rhetorical device, kids). Alex recently penned his first post on Mashable (a site which I find almost as annoying as TechCrunch, but not quite) titled "How to Know if You Should Fire Your Social Media Consultant."

He missed one important sign, though: they use the term 'social capital exchange' without a hint of irony (what does it even mean?!). Call me old fashioned, I won't hear you over my phonograph anyway, but what the hell is a 'social media consultant' anyway? Is that like paying someone to find you friends? I'm all for people getting big corporations to give them lots of money for very little work, but when a whole class of people who seem to exist merely to go to conferences and talk about the same things over and over again, with the same people, crops up I know that the party is over.

But who am I to stop you from thinking that Gary Vaynerchuk is a genius for telling people to do what they like, and work hard? If you want to spend all your time making virtual friends rather than actually creating something be my guest. But I, for one, would like it if you did it quietly and without labeling yourself as an expert on anything.

Yep, I'm an Internet Curmudgeon. I can't be the only one out there. Someone else must have to resist rolling their eyes as much as I do when someone introduces themselves as a 'social media consultant,' or suggests that what your small business really needs is a CXO (that's 'Chief Experience Officer'), can I?

Cute, Denny.

kucinich.jpgHave I told you lately that the political process in this country is broken (though it is great that I can post that opinion without fear that the government will track me down and haul me off somewhere unpleasant)? I'm watching the Democratic Debate on CNN at the moment and I am not pleased with what I hear.

Dennis Kucinich is part of the debate, though no one really thinks he has a chance in hell to win the nomination. We all know this, but that doesn't excuse his fellow Democratic candidates from patronizing him.

Kucinich was asked if people who voted for open trade with China should be held responsible for the various toy recalls and such. Kucinich answered with the obvious, 'Yes, they should be held responsible for the consequences of their actions. Senator Edwards voted for open trade with China, and he's a trial lawyer, he should know better.' I'm paraphrasing, of course, but that's the thrust of what he said. Edwards was given the chance to respond, and he said, 'Well, I don't know what being trial lawyer has to do with anything but...' Here's where Kucinich interjected with, 'Product liability.'

Now that's a zinger if I've ever heard one. What was Edwards' response? 'Cute, Denny,' he said with that bright smile of his and then went on not answering the question of whether he should be responsible, partly at least, for our troubles from China. It really turned my stomach because that phrase right there sums up the contempt the frontrunners have for anyone that says things we, the American people, know to be the simple truth. The truth ain't pretty, and as we all know it won't get you elected to be the next President.

Now, I don't agree with everything Kucinich wants to do but I damn sure think that his candidacy deserves respect. He's working just as hard, if not harder, than Hillary, Obama, and Edwards.

I'm just saying.

My brain is odd (but you already knew that)

For some reason I knew that residents of Quebec are called Québécois, and yet I can never remember people's names, where my keys are, or important dates, let alone who I am going to see.


The other day I went for a followup Doctor's visit (diagnosis: fat). I checked in, and the woman behind the counter said, 'What doctor are you here to see?'

I replied, 'I don't know. I can't remember her name.'

'Well, when were you here last?'

'Umm... hard to say. It wasn't that long ago,' I said deep in thought.

She continued, 'Do you remember if you registered as a patient?'

'Not exactly, but the Doctor did see me, so that's a good sign, right?'

It just got worse, folks.