Saturday, October 8

John C. Dvorak

My goodness, this guy is great. I didn't know much about him until I started listening to Leo Laporte's This WEEK in TECH podcast (where John C. Dvorak is one of the regular panelists), but I got intrigued by his intelligent and slightly offbeat look at technology and the world in general.

The link in this post goes to the page on PC Magazine's website that lists all of John's recent columns. I recently ran across one of his pieces via Google News, and I was hooked. On the podcast he's kind of the guy who sits in the corner and doesn't say a whole lot until he's pontificated a bit and worked up a really awesome way to hit the audience with pith and wisdom, but reading an entire article by this guy is a hoot. He's smart, funny, and a bit sarcastic (my wife compared my description of him to Kelsey Grammer's inimitable Frasier Crane, which gets the idea across pretty nicely).

I've got five of his recent PC Magazine articles that I found particularly poignant, but rather than link to them all as separate blog posts I figured that I would have just one "Mega-Dvorak" post this time. First off, an August column entitled "Knowing Too Much," which is about the information Web sites can find out about us just through our casual browsing. By the way, this site can get about the same information as Dvorak says he gets. However, since joining Blog Explosion, I get so many hits I don't ever even look at individual entries in my log anymore. I just look to see where my visitors come from and what links they click on from my blog.

Next, an article from September 6th entitled "Podcasting: The Next Big Thing. This is about the recent emergence of podcasts as a news and entertainment media, and about how they will eventually eclipse major broadcasters. Leo Laporte describes podcasting as "TiVo for radio," and in fact many radio stations are releasing podcast feeds of their shows. Of course, he also mentions how the TWiT podcast will likely take over the world one day. Interestingly, he mentions that it seems that many, many people are getting into podcasting in some way, but they all seem to think that nobody else knows about it.

Another column, entitled "Microsoft Should Confuse The Market More," is just pure entertainment. This is like stand-up comedy for nerds. Since Microsoft has announced that it will publish seven different enigmatic editions of Windows Vista (the successor to Windows XP due out next year), Dvorak riffs on the marketing opportunities that Microsoft could have by tailoring a different edition of the new OS to every niche segment of the population. You just have to read it.

"The Hard Drive and Human Behavior" waxes a bit philosophical. In it, Dvorak muses about how the proliferation of hard drive space in today's computers (which renders the maintaining of a neat and tidy desktop computer unnecessary) is partly to blame for the mess on his physical office desktop.

Finally, a column from this past Monday is called ""The Future of Advertising." In it, he describes Google's targeted ads and how beneficial they are. For instance, when he enters a search query about DVD media, he gets ads in the right-hand column detailing where he can buy blank DVD discs. This is, as he says, a useful feature. However, the developers of Interactive TV who want to provide you with targeted ads based on your viewing preferences are creating an intrusion... because, when you sit down to watch a TV show, "YOU'RE NOT SHOPPING." Read it. It's hilarious, and it's insightful.

John C. Dvorak also has a blog at (if you've heard even one episode of TWiT, you know this already). It's titled "Dvorak Uncensored," and it's just a tad too "uncensored" for me. He goes off on weird tangents, sometimes, gets a bit political, and pretty much just rants about whatever is annoying him. I like his writing a whole lot better when he's got his "journalist hat" on for PC Magazine. He also writes a column entitled "John Dvorak's Second Opinion" for MarketWatch. That link goes to an RSS feed of his MarketWatch columns, because I couldn't find a page dedicated to his stories like PC Magazine has for him.

In any case, read this guy's work. It's great stuff.

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The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.