Episode 14: No Kind of Work for a Grown Man with John Gruber

Click above to listen in your browser or download the podcast directly (MP3, 50 MB, 1 hour, 43 minutes). Subscribe to the show's podcast feed to get every episode automatically.

John Gruber is either the world’s biggest Apple fanboy or the most nuanced explicator of Cupertino’s smoke signals, depending on whom you ask and on what day. In a more objective reality, John’s Daring Fireball is the place you go to if you want to have a bigger-picture understanding of the universe in which Apple is firmly in the center. We talk about how he turned Daring Fireball from a side project into a heavily visited and deeply satisfying outlet for his writing.

Show notes

John worked for Bare Bones, the makers of BBEdit. He cut his teeth in the community on the TidBITS Talk mailing list, the archives of which are lost to history.

Mirror-neuron theory, which is just a theory mind you, is that we model other people’s behavior in our heads while interacting with them. This is why we can have arguments with people when they are not around.

Assembler is a  low-level programming language, which comprises instructions that correspond directly to processor commands. John was programming for the Motorola 68000 (68K) at the time.

My book about BBEdit, Take Control of BBEdit, is a good introduction to using this sophisticated text editor for programming or writing. Richard Sapper designed the Tizio lamp. Alessi makes great stuff. Michael Lopp talked about group dynamics at Cingleton Deux. His talk isn’t up yet! Follow this Vimeo page to watch it when it’s posted.

Macworld’s series on long-developed Mac software ran last year, and I wrote about Photoshop.

Franz Kline, an action painter, used to pull out brushes and start reworking his paintings when he visited his patrons. John’s story about Microsoft’s astroturfing of the switcher campaign explains it all — and do you remember Ellen Feiss?

The Slashdot effect faded over time, and Fireballing and other link-avalanches took its place. But we’re seeing fewer problems with WordPress these days, especially if Super Cache is enabled.

Gizmodo was the first real gadget blog, and they kindly gave some credit for their inspiration to my Wi-Fi Networking News site. Clay Shirky’s Power Laws essay I have to reference nearly every episode.

David Frum, arch-conservative, is admired by lefties like Gruber and I for his honest assessment and logical statements of belief. Wirecutter is run by Brian Lam, former Gizmodo editor. Pete Rojas founded or co-founded Gizmodo, Engadget, and gdgt, the last of which was recently bought by AOL, which also owns Engadget. Josh Topolsky was a long-time editor of Engadget, and co-founded The Verge. David Carr published a neat interview with Brian Lam about the change of pace and Wirecutter’s success at the New York Times.

Google AdSense launched in March 2003, and I started using it later that month at Wi-Fi Networking News. Federated Media was founded in 2005 as an outgrowth of advertising work John Battelle did for Boing Boing, and I was an early part of its network.

Jim Coudal appeared on John’s show on February 22, 2013. He and I talked a few weeks earlier on this podcast on January 23 about the Deck network.

Author Steven Johnson sported a Daring Fireball T-shirt in a 2006 New York Times photo. John wrote a very, very, very long explanation of what he was doing by asking for money in 2004 when this was a weirder idea than today. In 2005, Jason Kottke opted to quit his job and go full-time working on his site, too, and asked for contributions.

Dave Sifry (mentioned twice in this podcast!) founded Technorati almost a decade ago, and referred to the magic middle in 2006 between the long tail and its big head.