Monday, January 14, 2008

Dear Gizmodo: Don’t even think about fucking with the screens at our show

So you might have heard about this big kerfuffle at CES where some reporters from Gizmodo went around blasting out TV screens with some kind of little remote control device and then filming themselves doing it. Now one of them has been banned for life from CES and Gizmodo editor Brian Lam (photo) has penned this lame defense saying that blasting out screens at a trade show is a form of civil disobedience and I guess is right up there with MLK at Selma or something. I will address Brian’s essay below but before I do I just want to send out this warning to Gizmodo and anyone else who might be thinking about blasting out TV screens at Macworld: Think twice, losers. Because we will not be banning you from our show. We’ll be fucking tasering you right there on the floor. Then, when you’re lying there on the floor in shock, we’ll carry you off the floor and put you on a plane and rendition your ass to someplace so awful you’ll be praying for death. I mean it.

Brian’s argument seems to be that Gizmodo’s rebellious pranksters are real journalists and the rest of the filthy hacks are just a herd of sheep who do whatever we vendors tell them in order to keep getting access to our products and those of other vendors. Says Brian: “Every tech journalist has to decide whether or not he’s writing for companies or for readers.” Brian seems to think that if hacks just rewrite press releases and regurgitate the info we give them that somehow they’re not legitimate journalists. I disagree. What is the point of turning this wonderful symbiotic relationship between vendors and hacks (access, articles, advertising) into some kind of adversarial relationship? Why can’t we all just get along? At Apple we hire the finest writers and thinkers we can and set them to the incredibly difficult task of explaining our amazing products and guiding customers and media people alike to a deeper understanding of why these products are so exceptional. Why wouldn’t the best reporters in the field take advantage of this service? They’d be foolish not to. And why make an enemy of us? What’s the point? Because you think you’re “serving readers” and giving them “the truth,” whatever that is? Friends, I kind of resent that statement, because it implies that the story as we vendors tell it is not the truth. That people at Apple are liars. That we consciously set out to mislead the outside world or give them bad information. We all know that’s not true. We wouldn’t still be here in business after thirty years if we were doing stuff like that, would we?

If you want the God’s honest truth, it’s this: Nobody needs the media. They really serve no useful purpose. They know it, and we know it. We can tell our story much better than they can, and we do exactly that, every day of the week. Nonetheless, the media refuses to go away — not because they have some big holy mission, but because there’s money to be made at what they do. From our perspective it doesn’t hurt to have a venue that appears to be independent and objective and trustworthy. So we form an unholy bargain with them. We never discuss this bargain openly with them, but sooner or later the scales fall from everyone’s eyes and we all know exactly how the deal works. It’s like this: We keep the hacks alive by buying ads from them, and we let them preen and preach about their sacred calling and we even pretend that they really are objective and intelligent and that we totally respect them, even as we utterly control them and totally shape their coverage of us; then to add a final layer of irony we pay them to let us reprint their rave reviews on our Web site, and we pretend that these puff pieces actually count for something, even though we the truth is we practically wrote them ourselves.

Brian Lam seems to think there’s something wrong with this. Oh well. He’s young. He’ll learn.

Snipers in position above Moscone Center

Moshe’s teams are moving into position in the buildings around Moscone. Katie and I took a chopper ride this morning to inspect the outposts and gun placements. Naturally I had some suggestions for how things could be done better — I didn’t like the lack of symmetry in the way the snipers were arranged. Moshe gave me some lame excuse about how they were limited by the layout of the buildings in the area and they don’t have eight identical buildings in perfect symmetry around Moscone. We’re bringing up a construction crew from Cupertino to build some extension ramps on local rooftops so we can get a perfect eight-point circumference. Otherwise things are fine except the SmartWater in Katie’s cooler backpack was at least three degrees colder than it’s supposed to be and I had to glare at her in silence for about thirty minutes as punishment. Great thing about Katie is she’s been with me for a long time and really understands me and she knows when she’s done something wrong and deserves to get yelled at or glared at. She knows it’s her fault. And she knows that this is Macworld and everything needs to be perfect. Well, namaste, Apple faithful. I honor the place where your admission fees and my greatness become one. Already the city of love is filling up with aging overweight graybearded hippies. They’re hanging out in the bar at the W sipping sophisticated beverages and acting like they’re the coolest people in the entire world. Which, let’s face it, they are. I love it.

Woz thinks this is a joke about him — and he’s pissed

Little back story here. Way back a hundred years or so ago when we were in the garage, Woz had a few little issues with flatulence. I mean the guy lived in a garage and never worked out and ate nothing but burritos and Big Macs. Worse yet, his patented attack is the SBD — silent but deadly. So you’d get no warning horn alerting you to leave the area. You’d just be sitting there, working, and suddenly this smell would hit you. We used to call it Chernobyl. You’d have to clear the garage. Woz would just sit there snickering. Anyway, after a while nobody wanted to work around Woz or even hang around with him because he’d do this anywhere — in the car, in a restaurant, at the movies. Didn’t care. And Randy Wigginton used to have this saying whenever Woz would be spotted coming toward us. He’d say, “There’s something in the air.”

But Woz, I swear to God this slogan has nothing to do with you. We’re doing wireless sync on iPod and iPhone, that’s all. Oops. Did I just say that out loud?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I’m going to try live-blogging during the keynote

Have you ever sat there during a keynote and wondered what Dear Leader was really thinking even as he was restoring a sense of childlike wonder to your life? Well, I’m going to try to help you find out, by blogging here on this blog even as I’m doing the keynote. Impossible, you say? That’s what my events people said too. I told them it’s our job to make the impossible possible, and if they couldn’t make this happen they were all out of jobs. Well, we got it done. Involves a tiny brain-sensor placed just behind my ear — you can’t even notice it. It looks just like the one all our PR people wear, the one we use to tell them what to say, over and over and over again. Only in my case the signals will be traveling out instead of in. A receiver off-stage will pick up the signals and convert them to spoken words which Ja’Red will hear in a pair of headphones. Then he’ll type them up into blog posts. We’ve been testing it out during rehearsals and I’ll admit, it’s not perfect. But I’m confident we can get it going by Tuesday. For the folks at home, it’ll be a way of finding out what’s being announced. For the folks in the audience with EVDO cards, it’ll be, well, a kind of performance art. Hope you’ll tune in.

Can anyone organize a Tuesday night event?

I know it’s last minute but I’m going to be at Macworld and a few people have suggested some kind of FSJ get-together on Tuesday night. Can anyone facilitate? I’m going to be traveling all day tomorrow so won’t have chance to make arrangements. Just need a location that will put up with us, I guess. Someone must have some connections. Let me know if anything pops up and I’ll promote it here on the blog.

Can only be Tuesday night, however. Others are already booked up. Sorry.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Check this shit out

The crazy bastards at Indie Tech have created a gorgeous Fake Steve Jobs T-shirt. You can buy them on their site. They sent me a few samples and I must say they’re very comfortable and attractive. Way better at drawing chicks than my Axe body spray. And that’s saying something. Perfect for Macworld though it’s probably too late to get one for the show. Nevertheless, these guys do have the official blessing of FSJ, having passed our rigorous compliance program and paid us an enormous though undisclosed amount of money. Just kidding. But they seem like nice guys. So pony up, you cheap bastards. While you’re at it you might considering buying five or ten copies of my book. It’s guaranteed to restore a sense of childlike wonder. For me anyway.

Another Macworld challenge

What will be the “One more thing” this year? Free fake black mock turtleneck to anyone who guesses right.

The suspense is killing you, right?

So I was just hanging out in the executive sweat lodge with Jonny and we were laughing about how all the fanboys are just salivating and drooling and peeing in their pants this week wondering what we’re going to announce next week. Jonny says that in the world of an Apple true believer this week, the week before Macworld, is either the best week of the year, or the worst, or both. He says you’re all like a bunch of kids on Christmas Eve, all amped up on sugary treats and unable to sleep. Apparently a shitload of kooks have already started landing at SFO today, with more flocking in all weekend.

Well, I can’t tell you what the big surprise is. But as I’ve said before, it’s big. And it’s a surprise. It’s something you’d never have imagined, not in a million years. It is going to change the world. Like, from now on, all of history will be divided into two eras — the time before this product was unveiled, and then the rest of time. It’s the future. Only, as John Edwards says, tomorrow begins today. Or Tuesday. Whatever. You get it.

So anyway. Just for kicks, Jonny says we should ask everyone to take a guess. Go ahead. Take your best guess. What is Product X? Free fake copy of it to anyone who guesses correctly.

Macworld celebrity checklist

Joy of Tech has the entire roster here. Yes, it’s true. I’ll be at the show. Please track me down and say hello. Unless you’re Daniel Eran Dilger, in which case don’t bother taking your head out of your ass and trying to speak. Just keep on walking.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

We are going to blow your mind next week

I can’t get into details but we have something really big and really super surprising for you next week. I’m not talking about the flashbook or the new software for iPhone or the movie rentals on iTunes. I’m talking about something else. Something nobody has even speculated about. Something nobody could even imagine. We think it’s a game changer. And we’re all really, really excited about it.

However, our rehearsals are still not where they need to be. So I’ll be going into hardcore seclusion mode for the rest of the day today. I’ve told the staff and crew: Nobody goes home until we get this right. And nobody goes to the bathroom unless they get permission from me. Believe me, that gets people’s attention.