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January 22, 2014 4:40 AM   Subscribe

The Verge examine the reasons IT fanboys fight their eternal war. [Plain text version]

For a neat bonus take a look at the header with different user agents.
posted by jaduncan (122 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just because you can animate your pullquotes doesn't mean you should.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:48 AM on January 22 [52 favorites]


Microsoft fanboys are so weird. I knew a guy in high school that ran a three person guest blog about the glory of Microsoft. He continues to work at Best Buy.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:50 AM on January 22 [18 favorites]


You get the fanboys you deserve.
posted by dobie at 4:53 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Can we please just stop with this kind of page design. It actually makes me not want to read the article.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:53 AM on January 22 [57 favorites]


It's the anger that I don't get. The frustration that seems to come across in the comments in an almost physical fashion.

A good read and an interestingly-designed page too - the Verge seems intent on trying different layouts that are something other than static text plus video and I appreciate it, even if it doesn't always work perfectly.
posted by modernnomad at 4:54 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


He continues to work at Best Buy in the Geek Squad section*
posted by oceanjesse at 4:54 AM on January 22


If you say "is actually a nice guy in person." you are wrong.
posted by srboisvert at 4:57 AM on January 22 [11 favorites]


Thorne, a fortyish IT manager with a preppy wardrobe and shy grin, is actually a nice guy in person.

When he wants to be, maybe. But I think the way people behave under online anonymity reveals their character more than distorts it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:00 AM on January 22 [40 favorites]


Can we please just stop with this kind of page design. It actually makes me not want to read the article.

Not just that, the page design was actively fighting my browser (Chrome today) and made it almost impossible to read.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:00 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


I favorited this, but not for my normal reason.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:02 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Some of the rage comes from the erosion of a special type of knowledge and status that used to exist for IT guys. Apple and tablets came along and destroyed that (obviously coders are different, but guys who look after IT for companies are facing 95 percent redundancy soon). I imagine most MeFites like me no longer get tech support calls from our parents since iPads came along. My dad's no longer angry at his screen. All that rage has got to go somewhere.
posted by colie at 5:03 AM on January 22 [17 favorites]


Fanboys are fanatical because they're a species of fanatics. Quelle surprise!
posted by drlith at 5:09 AM on January 22


I don't fully understand, but I think these things become part of people's identity. Disagreeing with someone's phone choice (for example) becomes a direct personal attack.

In mefi terms, imagine someone saying something about, say, feminism, that you disagree with (should work no matter your own views (except for the minority who don't care much about the topic)).
posted by curious_yellow at 5:09 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Some of the rage comes from the erosion of a special type of knowledge and status that used to exist for IT guys. Apple and tablets came along and destroyed that (obviously coders are different, but guys who look after IT for companies are facing 95 percent redundancy soon).

As a guy who regularly found himself as the lone Mac person in the company (i.e. the one-man art department) throughout the 90's and 00's, and had to endure the constant, bile-soaked get-a-pc berating of said IT "professionals", all I can say is...suck it.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:11 AM on January 22 [18 favorites]


BECAUSE MACS JUST SUCK OKAY, WHY CAN'T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT AAAAAAARGH *foam*
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:19 AM on January 22 [6 favorites]


This.
posted by Marky at 5:23 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Sayre's Law.
posted by aught at 5:23 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Man, I once worked with an absolute die-hard, rabid Microsoft fanboy. Everything Microsoft produced was golden to him. Any problems were 'not Microsoft's fault". He drove everyone on the development team up a wall. Then there was another guy who hated, just hated Borland...
posted by DarkForest at 5:25 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]




Microsoft generously gave IT guys lots to do all day. It was always 'patches' and 'server packs'. Then they teamed up with 'Legal' and 'Compliance' and were in a club, as opposed to those of us that used 'toys'. I still hear tablets being dismissed as 'toys' by IT guys. As a couple posts above show, the bitterness of those outside the club has now contributed to a sense of revenge.
posted by colie at 5:29 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


The weirdest part of all this to me is that is very few people can actually afford to try out the multiple platforms.
posted by srboisvert at 5:32 AM on January 22 [6 favorites]


That was always what I figured for console wars- you're not getting your folks to buy you both, so whichever one you got had better be the objective, obvious superior.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:34 AM on January 22 [12 favorites]


Gah - the stupid animations on that page are very distracting. I'm trying to read, and every time you scroll down something moves and pulls your eyes away from the text!

On the topic of fanboys - you've invested a bunch of $ and probably a 2 year contract into whatever phone you've got. Now you're stuck with it. So it better be the best, because you bought it, and therefore it can be nothing else! I'm glad there is competition in the mobile OS game, and I hope it keeps on for a good while, because otherwise we end up with IE6.
posted by defcom1 at 5:37 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Can we please just stop with this kind of page design. It actually makes me not want to read the article.

Seconded. (Or thirded, or what have you.) Is there a print-only version of this that strips out the jolly shiny candy-like presentation?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:43 AM on January 22


Here's a plain text version via Instapaper Mobilizer without shiny widgets.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:47 AM on January 22 [6 favorites]


“The world wants a big company to be behind.”

True. I hear Energy Corporation is going to be unbeatable in the rink this year.
posted by mph at 5:51 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


True. I hear Energy Corporation is going to be unbeatable in the rink this year.

It was tragic when the Standard Oil dynasty broke up. It was surprising when it happened; until Roosevelt got involved those guys could really dominate the court.
posted by jaduncan at 5:53 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Big on examples but short on reasons. And the real tragedy is that politics has become an arena for fanboys.
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:56 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


"IT guys" are bitter. Their relationship with development is often terrible. The job status has been eroding for years; now we have DevOps who get paid three times as much and whose automation can replace a half-dozen sysadmins.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:56 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


[Plain text link added to FPP. Now, may kindly I suggest we focus on the content of the article, not so much its presentation? I understand that the parallax scrolling article trend is a thing worthy of discussion, it just isn't the thing currently under discussion. Sorry to be a stickler for protocol here but I feel like otherwise we're having two separate conversations at once. Thanks.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:08 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I, for one, like the page design. Why should creativity be limited just because some people are on old computers/browsers? Take chances, I say.

If you check the comments, though, the coolest thing about the design is that it's different for every platform. As if the design itself is trolling your inner fanboy.
posted by fungible at 6:08 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Does the MIDI not work for anyone else?
posted by thelonius at 6:26 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


> True. I hear Energy Corporation is going to be unbeatable in the rink this year.

ROLLERBALL!

Reference Man awaaaaaay
posted by davelog at 6:26 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Big on examples but short on reasons.

Yes, I feel like the ideal version of this would have had a touch more essay-like insight from the author. They assemble a bunch of theories but can't seem to hit on the thread that pulls them together, some new way of looking at the phenomenon.

And the real tragedy is that politics has become an arena for fanboys.

Dunno man, I think I'd disagree with your choice of tense.


On another note, one thing I always wonder about stuff like this --- and people who are super into model trains or a model of car or something --- is, would they always have been like this about something, and this is the thing they happened to land on? Or is it truly that this one thing calls out to them from deep to deep, there's some affinity between them that makes the thing beloved and the person a bit of a nutter on the subject?
posted by Diablevert at 6:26 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Apple and tablets came along and destroyed that (obviously coders are different, but guys who look after IT for companies are facing 95 percent redundancy soon).

Eh, I think this kind of definitive statement is just another form of fanboyism itself, partly because it's wrong and partly because it just assumes complete dominance for one company or group and complete failure in another. In this case, Apple has no enterprise business to speak of, and is unlikely to have one anytime in the foreseeable future, so that's not what's causing any IT layoffs. That's not what Apple does. What they do is create hardware and software for consumers with an eye for simplicity and mobility, and they do it so well that it not only props up the rest of the company, it dominates it and propels them to be one of the top companies in the world. On the other hand, they also have an dependence on direct competitors such as Samsung for hardware that is unsustainable in the long run, and have not yet been able to capitalize on cloud services, streaming/downloadable media, or non-casual gaming to nearly the extent they portrayed when those services were rolled out. That's not to say that they won't, but they're being outstripped by all the other big players in those areas.

Speaking of big players, in the enterprise and most of the consumer desktop market, Microsoft reigns supreme and will continue to do so unless Apple or anyone else decides to create an entire market based on ability to work across billions of different hardware and software configurations. Of course, that means that no one thinks of Microsoft as a mobile computing company, despite their mugging for the camera with Surface and Windows Phone. Their gaming division is strong, but has suffered some serious missteps in the past 2 years, and their cloud services are a joke. Amazon's really stepped up to the plate when it comes to the cloud: the platform for Netflix, almost all of the US civilian government, and the most popular storage apps is the 500-pound gorilla in that room. They've also managed to firmly plant themselves in the distribution sector, both online and in the real world. However, apart from books, their steps into direct distribution and mobile computing have been fairly poor. The Kindle Fire, in particular, is the worst of both worlds (Apple's closed garden and Google's willingness to let corporate partners clutter their OS), and Prime video is a kludge no matter if you use it on a PC, console, or mobile device. Google still maintains the lead when it comes to the combination of the cloud and (ugh) Big Data, and dominates the mobile field in number of devices and worldwide market share. They might have the future of media consumption in their hands with the Chromecast, undercutting a number of hypothetical Apple TV ideas. And yet, they allow their mobile products to be victims of fragmentation at the hands of everyone but themselves, which lets both hardware manufacturers and telecoms to simultaneously claim their successes and blame them for failures. They jumped into the music and video sales/rental business way too late to be a force in the market, and as good as the Chromecast is, it has practically zero presence.

Everybody has their pluses and minuses, and portraying Saint Jobs vs the world, or Sony vs Microsoft vs Nintendo vs the PC Gaming Master Race, or what have you as something a binary is fairly useless. Especially when there's stuff that hasn't worked at all. For instance, fundamental problems with current technology means that nobody has been able to make voice control or non-mobile touch computing viable, contrary to the promises from everybody that it's just around the corner for the last several decades. Propping up one company as the be-all, end-all of one or several or even all tech fields is extremely silly no matter who it is. And even if it was, it's not necessarily permanent nor does loss of such status mean certain death. Remember, IBM is not only still around, it's huge in several fields, contradicting the predictions of several decades of fanboys,
posted by zombieflanders at 6:26 AM on January 22 [37 favorites]


Man, that article is gorgeous on my Apple iPad Retina Mini.
posted by empath at 6:26 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Some of the rage comes from the erosion of a special type of knowledge and status that used to exist for IT guys. Apple and tablets came along and destroyed that (obviously coders are different, but guys who look after IT for companies are facing 95 percent redundancy soon).

Uh, is Apple putting any serious dent in the MS stranglehod on the enterprise? Do they even want to?

It's probably true that maturing technologies and cheaper, more scalable and manageable solutions (e.g. virtualization, lights-out management) have cut down on the need for warm bodies in IT, but I'm not seeing the Apple or tablet angle.
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:28 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


In all seriousness, most of the hardcore fanboyism is about protecting an investment. All these technologies become more valuable, the more people that use them. More software, more peripherals more people to connect with, and so on. Doesn't matter if you're talking about the iPhone or the xbox, the economics is more or less the same. Even when you're a kid, you want your friends to have the same console as you, so you can trade games and play together.
posted by empath at 6:29 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I also like the design and that they created different versions based on browser/os.

I've always been the Mac person in workplaces full of windows mega fanboys. Because I use macs and iOS devices people call me a fanboy. Yes, I like Apple stuff but I'm not as obnoxious about it as they are.

I used to work for a major PC OEM and we would do research on the user base. There were hardcore zealots for the brand, for the platform. There were Mac zealots that we'd never convert even if we gave our product away. We started doing this in the mid 90s up until I left the company about 10 years ago. Fanboyism isn't new in tech. And it really isn't new in other things like sausage, beer, sodas and religion.
posted by birdherder at 6:38 AM on January 22


I imagine most MeFites like me no longer get tech support calls from our parents since iPads came along.

Nah. They still use a PC. But, they're reasonably smart people who can be taught new things. They could probably do what they need to on a 500 dollar iPro MaciPad Fistula X11 but, they really like the larger screen that their machine provides.

Personally, as an IT professional, I'm not inclined towards fanboyism and never really understood it. The current state of the art in IT sucks. It sucks less than it did, but it still sucks. Apple, MS, PC, Linux you choose it, and the technology has weak spots, compromises, flaws and mistakes all over the place.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:42 AM on January 22 [9 favorites]


Apple, MS, PC, Linux you choose it, and the technology has weak spots, compromises, flaws and mistakes all over the place.

After 40 years of work, Unix and Windows won.

How did we screw up this badly?
posted by eriko at 6:54 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


Some of the rage comes from the erosion of a special type of knowledge and status that used to exist for IT guys. Apple and tablets came along and destroyed that (obviously coders are different, but guys who look after IT for companies are facing 95 percent redundancy soon). I imagine most MeFites like me no longer get tech support calls from our parents since iPads came along. My dad's no longer angry at his screen. All that rage has got to go somewhere.

There was Linux/Windows/Mac fanboy-warring back in the freaking nineties, when Sysadmins Ruled the Earth. The rise of Apple and the degraded prestige & income of IT workers are a total red herring when it comes to the phenomenon of treating comparable software packages like holy texts requiring crusades.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:54 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


I imagine most MeFites like me no longer get tech support calls from our parents since iPads came along.

I spent something like 150 hours doing phone support and training with my mother when she first got her iPad. I still do about an hour a month helping her remember how to do something or figure out how to do something which, given her knowledge and experience with the device by now, she should be able to figure out for herself.

She's never gotten over her "I might erase everything" fear she had with the PC.
posted by hippybear at 6:56 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


If you check the comments, though, the coolest thing about the design is that it's different for every platform. As if the design itself is trolling your inner fanboy.

Heh, you're right! The article's code does indeed change the appearce of the article based on your browser's user agent. Sneaky.
posted by RichardP at 7:01 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


As a former ruler of the earth, sysadmin, I was always worried that my job wasn't secure... the idea of showing up, waiting for something to break, and going home at the end of the day none the less for wear if it didn't seemed somehow lazy or dishonest. It's been a year since that sense of doom finally hit reality, and I got replaced by offsite admins (or possibly devops types)

The big problem with being a sysadmin is that you can't ever start a long term project, because you never get un-interrupted time, as soon as you start anything productive, something will break. This leads to a lot of surfing, and is a very bad habit.

I've got 15 years of this bad habit to break, and it ain't easy. Now I have to move into devops, or be a machinist... not sure which yet.

---

As far as Mac, Linux, Windows... they all suck because they aren't a multi-level secure type OS. The user can't choose what resources to throw at a problem, they have to trust it blindly, in all cases. This is insane.
posted by MikeWarot at 7:05 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


For a neat bonus take a look at the header with different user agents.

You can also just be lazy and add ?ios, ?android, or ?windows to the end of the URL and it changes the stylesheet to the reflect the platform - not just the header, but all of the icons and quote boxes reflect the chosen platform as well. Very clever, in my opinion.
posted by cmonkey at 7:09 AM on January 22 [9 favorites]


Chromebook fanboyz represent!

I'm actually not really kidding. This dumb little $250 laptop is the fastest, most reliable computer I've ever used.
posted by octothorpe at 7:10 AM on January 22 [9 favorites]


I imagine most MeFites like me no longer get tech support calls from our parents since iPads came along.

I) two hour long call from my ESL in-laws featuring volume 10 Pavarotti looping on youtube as they shouted into the phone asking me "how do you turn this thing off? I can't just unplug it!"

II) many, many hours spent on the phone trying to prompt my parents on, among other things,
--a) how to use the onscreen keyboard instead of an external
--b) trying to figure out what to call the new screen widgets consistently
--c) how to get them to orient the device consistently so that I can visualize where the physical input stuff is
--d) reminding them we can't screen share
--e) explaining that there is no 'card' and that iTunes/iPhoto is the only (sort of) way to get usercontent off the device

so, like, ymmv, man
posted by mwhybark at 7:13 AM on January 22 [9 favorites]


My mom cut back on the tech support calls several years ago when my boss invoiced her (jokingly) because of the number of HELP EMERGENCY HELP HELP 911 EMERGENCY calls and emails I was dealing with that were inevitably "I changed all the formatting in my Word doc to bold" rather than actual emergencies. Miraculously she figured out how to do most everything herself. And for the rest, I switched my desktop to Mac several years ago so I can just shrug and suggest some things she might Google.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:19 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Hey, I was a holy warrior for the Z80 against the heathen madness of the 6502.

(Oddly, you can see the x86 as being an evolutionary brother to the Z80 - both have 8080 DNA - and ARM was designed by people trying to do a better 6502, so that one's still in play.)

It all went wrong after the Archimedes failed. We were lost at that point.

(Just kidding. Amiga.)
posted by Devonian at 7:23 AM on January 22 [5 favorites]


This was nowhere near as intriguing as I thought it was going to be when I read it was an examination of IT fanboys by The Verve.
posted by biffa at 7:33 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Cripes, why all the hate on IT people here? IT people are just doin' their jobs. Most of the IT people I've known have been pretty nice people, both at work and not at work.

My suggestion is to not work with assholes, regardless of the department.
posted by GuyZero at 7:58 AM on January 22 [10 favorites]


“The world wants a big company to be behind.”

That's why we have professional sports.
posted by Pudhoho at 8:00 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Cripes, why all the hate on IT people here? IT people are just doin' their jobs. Most of the IT people I've known have been pretty nice people, both at work and not at work.

Because of conversations like this :

FNG : Hi, I'm the new Creative down in Marketing and I need you guys to get my mac attached to the network. Also, why are you paying to run exchange, OSX server comes with a mail server for free!

Me : Hi, I'm the Useful in the IT department. You'll have to RDP to the app server for the windows apps, but we can get you onto the file shares. And as for Exchange vs. Apple Mail Server - have you ever gotten a box of Cracker Jacks ? Was the free toy ever any good ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:03 AM on January 22 [17 favorites]


One small part of what gets me hired, I have been told, is that I mention that I'm not a zealot--right tool for the right job. I just don't understand the fan thing, unless it's about The Smiths, or, like, prosciutto.

Not Morrissey, The Smiths.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 8:17 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


I think the key insight here is not so much 'people are really, really, really into their phones', it's 'men tend to argue about things they're passionate about in this particular way and phones are one very odd example of it'. The author touches on that when she talks about how similar it is to sports fandom.

I've mentioned it before in threads about how hard it is to be a geek girl, because (and I know, I'm generalizing here), most women don't feel the need to break things down into their absolute technical minutiae, memorize all those details and then decree that anyone who disagrees with them on even the tiniest thing is obviously a giant jackass who knows nothing about anything.

Compare this article to ones about furries or people who fall in love with the eiffel tower or balloon fetishists. Those articles are all kind of the same, in the same way articles about people who fanwank about phones are kind of the same as articles about people who fanwank indie bands, Star Trek or the Red Sox.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:20 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Oops I forgot: I hate notepad.exe with a fiery, burning fire made of flames. Why, in 2014, can we not oh fucking hell never mind.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 8:20 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Why, in 2014, can we not oh fucking hell never mind.

I've been using Etidpad instead for years and while I'm in no way a power user, so ymm definitely v, it has never failed me and often surprised with nifty and useful features. And it allows me to never ever open Notepad.
posted by hat_eater at 8:28 AM on January 22


Also, why are you paying to run exchange, OSX server comes with a mail server for free!

That comment will basically guarantee an obnoxious answer from the IT guy.
posted by Slothrup at 8:37 AM on January 22 [6 favorites]


most women don't feel the need to break things down into their absolute technical minutiae, memorize all those details and then decree that anyone who disagrees with them on even the tiniest thing is obviously a giant jackass who knows nothing about anything

I don't think many holy wars are about memorizing technical minutiae: they are just about shouting louder than the other side. Also, with all due respect - I bet geek women would be just as obnoxious if they weren't in danger of being characterized as shrill, not real women or not real geeks for voicing a strong opinion.
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:50 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Cripes, why all the hate on IT people here? IT people are just doin' their jobs. Most of the IT people I've known have been pretty nice people, both at work and not at work.

I don't hate IT people! I've worked as an "IT person." There are many who are not very good, though, and who give rise to unpleasant interactions sometimes based around their fanboyism. God help you if you need a Linux server in a place that runs mostly Windows.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:57 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


That was always what I figured for console wars- you're not getting your folks to buy you both, so whichever one you got had better be the objective, obvious superior.

Microsoft Surface! Now with BLAST PROCESSING!
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:57 AM on January 22


Also, why are you paying to run exchange, OSX server comes with a mail server for free!

When I worked in IT and was forced by business requirements to support an Exchange server, I'd have asked if OSX server had any kind of calendaring system that would support PC clients. It's not the email part that made me put in Exchange over just about any Unix flavored mail server (Mac Server 1.0 was in release around the end of that company).

I never really got the point of being patronizing or snarky though, it's not like IT people have a monopoly on skilled labor.

I used to joke that the best companies shot evangelists on sight (I doubt I'd heard fanboy back then, and if I had I wouldn't use it), but once in a rare, rare while, there is a technology that's simultaneously broken and entrenched that makes you almost wish you had a couple zealots around to help bring in the bright shiny new thing.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:14 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I used to hate tablets back when they didn't have bluetooth keyboards and lipophobic coatings, but I still recognized that there was a use case for them.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:18 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


most women don't feel the need to break things down into their absolute technical minutiae, memorize all those details and then decree that anyone who disagrees with them on even the tiniest thing is obviously a giant jackass who knows nothing about anything.

I know you said you were generalising, but I will add that if you want to see that kind of behaviour from women you just have to go to media fandoms. 10 minutes on Sherlock Tumblrs or forums devoted to Harry Potter and you can find the exact same behaviours. I do agree it's a more male behaviour - hence 'fanboy', really - but I also think it's a sign of a zealot, and that's what these fans usually are.

And it's honestly the worst, and I wish it didn't happen, because as someone who can get enthusiastic about things without adopting an 'us vs. them' mentality, fanboys take that shared enjoyment and inject aggression, anger and disdain.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:18 AM on January 22 [9 favorites]


Worst. Enthusiast. Ever.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:19 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


The buried nut of the piece is when the MS fanboy says that he listens to the podcast to see if one of his comments get read out. He's quite explicit about how he invested all this time in learning the technology deep down, and there's a validation cycle he's trying to keep going where winning or being cited or just expressing himself is payoff for that huge investment.
posted by fatbird at 9:21 AM on January 22 [2 favorites]


And of course the flipside to that is that if he's ignored or stops caring, his investment is wasted and he has to face the fact that he was a complete asshole for no good reason. So, wild dogs nipping at his heels and angels up ahead, is what keeps him going.
posted by fatbird at 9:23 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Okay, I'm going to be the lone example to mess up all your curves.

I'm a primarily UNIX/Linux guy. For years (and well, I still do) I ran one of the largest third-party Solaris-enthusiast sites that existed on the Internet and was unofficially supported by Sun with stuff and hardware and goodies. Got my Sun and RHCE certifications, all that.

I'm sitting in front of a Mac Mini, happily running OSX. Got Win7 in a full-screen VM on a second monitor for my required "work stuff", Outlook, etc. My phone's a rooted Nexus 5, next to it is my "spare", a Moto G. Previously I was an iPhone/iPad person; I think people should use what they're comfortable with and works best for them.

To my left is a HP Chromebook 11, closed and charging. On top of that Chromebook 11 (personally owned, my main portable device when I need something bigger than my Nexus 7 or the Macbook Air that the CB11, previously Samsung ARM Chromebook, has mostly replaced) sits a Microsoft Surface RT tablet with Type Cover 2 that I picked up during last Black Friday sales.

Surprisingly enough, I've found the Surface RT, with all its limitations, to be a *great* "work laptop" that does everything I might need to do during meetings or when I need to grab something to haul to the datacenter - remote desktop back to my VM here, or SSH to a *nix system. Windows 8.x actually *makes sense* with the weird UI on it (for once)....

At home in addition to the previously mentioned Macbook Air, is another Chromebook - one of the 2G RAM versions of the Haswell based Acer C720s, picked up because they were $199 and hey, I might need a near-disposable laptop one of these days. I've also got an i5-based Chromebox I picked up used for $125, and my main desktop at home is an i5-based Mac Mini, except for when I'm playing games - then it's a 64-bit 6-core AMD box running Windows 7.
posted by mrbill at 9:45 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


most women don't feel the need to break things down into their absolute technical minutiae, memorize all those details and then decree that anyone who disagrees with them on even the tiniest thing is obviously a giant jackass who knows nothing about anything

Have you ever looked at any fashion blogs?
posted by winna at 9:46 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Somewhere out there is the guy who got that Zune tattoo. I wonder what he's up to.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:53 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Somewhere out there is the guy who got that Zune tattoo. I wonder what he's up to.

Sadly, he squirts alone these days.
posted by jaduncan at 10:02 AM on January 22 [9 favorites]


Cripes, why all the hate on IT people here?

It's a good question, and one that deserves some thought. Individually, almost all of the IT support and client people I've met are good folks. There are some crazy dipshits, of course, but then there are everywhere.

The problem is that most IT policies are insane, when it comes to user requirements. Users never get rationales or explanations, they just see invasive and unworkable things like password change rules, dick quotas, limitations on email and web usage, all of which get in the way of what they want to do. The IT people are usually the enforcers of these rules, the people saying "Sorry, but...." Seemingly arbitrary rules, petty enforcement powers, little flexibility to work around policy, it's no wonder they're often disliked.

Cap this with IT management that (still) grew up without computers, and (still) don't really grasp technology well, CIOs who think that security rules they learned from IBM in the 1980s still are best practice. Those seemingly arbitrary rules are often actually arbitrary and poor use of resources. So, even the informed users who do try to understand IT policies often end-up disagreeing with policies being put in place.

And finally, let's not forget the programmers who make the programs people have to use more "complicated and confusing" with each iteration. This is partly just people hating change, but there's a lot of churn and deliberate inconveniences in things like Office and Illustrator that frankly isn't necessary (eg. changing document formats, dropping legacy supports, minor interface changes).

All of this adds up to a seemingly uncaring, capricious system that seems mostly to have its own goals, rather than those of the users in mind. For the average person, IT, in the forms of the support staff, policies and the very programs it requires people to use, is something that prevents them from doing whatever they need to do. The help and aid that users are provided are, fairly or unfairly, minimized in the shadow of the routine hurdles and petty degradations IT imposes on it's users.
posted by bonehead at 10:04 AM on January 22 [7 favorites]


dick quotas

Where do you work?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:06 AM on January 22 [10 favorites]


"The help and aid that users are provided are, fairly or unfairly, minimized in the shadow of the routine hurdles and petty degradations IT imposes on it's users."

Maybe, but what *I* see from my (large, corporate) clients is that the this perception is pretty fair. IT's in the way, and (today) is staffed mostly by people who don't understand much about the underlying technology.
posted by uberchet at 10:09 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Sadly, he squirts alone these days.

I'd actually forgotten about that particular bit of unfortunate Zune jargon. How did that ever get past marketing?
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:09 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I never really got the point of being patronizing or snarky though, it's not like IT people have a monopoly on skilled labor.

Yeah, but when (as Tomorrowful put it) "Sysadmins Ruled the Earth" they were the keepers of the meta-knowledge/labor which kept everything else running. It's a strain of thought which still persists, the idea that sure, other people might be doctors, lawyers, and CEOs, but without the IT Illuminati keeping their computers running and their phones synced up they'd be helpless.

Combine that with the fact that the IT Guys tend to come from a background of being NERDS with all the accompanying baggage that brings. Now add in that (particularly in the past) a lot of jobs in IT could be had with very little education or experience, just a demonstration of a competency that none of the older workers had, and you've got another layer of smug self-appraisal. I had several friends who, both before and after the Dot Com bust, parleyed their GEDs and their in-depth fanwankery into jobs which paid more than I make now. And you can bet they felt superior as fuck to the dudes who had 20 years of experience, but still needed help with their email.

Improved tech literacy and accessibility (both in terms of price and ease of use) have eased this divide, but it's also opened up the field to a broader audience beyond the IT Essenes. That's really an underpinning fact of the article. It's not about chipsets or nitty gritty of the OS code, it's about consumer products. This is the key quote for me:
It used to be that phone debates were solely about specs: which device had the most processing power, better battery life, highest screen definition, and so forth. Now, he says, we’re entering a time when phones have mostly achieved the same benchmarks on those fronts. The competition is becoming: Do you like the way the touchscreen works? The colors of the interface? The size of the device?

Baker believes that as phones’ differences move into more subjective arenas like design and “user experience,” the debate becomes by its very definition more emotional.

“That’s where it descends into personal attacks,” says Baker.
Computers/smartphones/etc. are mainstream now, but they still carry the cachet of being a highly technical pursuit, even if the common experience with them has little to do with that aspect. It's like how you can go argue about gear-ratios and cam degrees when talking about cars, but you're mostly going to end up buying the one in your budget, probably of the same brand as your last one, since that's what you're most comfortable with.
posted by Panjandrum at 10:11 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Since when did sysadmins stop ruling the earth? Who do you think keeps fluffing the "cloud"?

I don't remember the original source of the quote, but "The cloud is just servers in someone else's rack."
posted by mrbill at 10:19 AM on January 22 [10 favorites]



bonehead: "The problem is that most IT policies are insane, when it comes to user requirements. Users never get rationales or explanations, they just see invasive and unworkable things like password change rules, dick quotas, limitations on email and web usage, all of which get in the way of what they want to do. The IT people are usually the enforcers of these rules, the people saying "Sorry, but...." Seemingly arbitrary rules, petty enforcement powers, little flexibility to work around policy, it's no wonder they're often disliked."

Which also explains a lot of the bitterness in the IT world because 80% of the things people complain about could be solved with more money and it's budgeting who ultimately controls how much disk quota a user gets or how fast their machine is.
posted by Mitheral at 10:22 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Sadly, he squirts alone these days.

I'd actually forgotten about that particular bit of unfortunate Zune jargon. How did that ever get past marketing?


I have owned three different Zunes (the hardware was pretty good) and I don't recall it at all. And it's not like something I'd forget.
posted by Foosnark at 10:40 AM on January 22


Researching this article must have been terrible. Just terrible.
posted by tmt at 10:43 AM on January 22


Since when did sysadmins stop ruling the earth? Who do you think keeps fluffing the "cloud"?

Sysadmin = fluffer
posted by Thorzdad at 10:45 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Thank goodness we MeFi sophisticates are above crass technology-brand partisanship.
posted by Zed at 10:49 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I don't know where the idea that sysadmins aren't still a thing comes from- the world's getting more technical, techies are just getting better at convincing the rubes that it isn't.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:04 AM on January 22


Yeah, but when (as Tomorrowful put it) "Sysadmins Ruled the Earth" they were the keepers of the meta-knowledge/labor which kept everything else running. It's a strain of thought which still persists, the idea that sure, other people might be doctors, lawyers, and CEOs, but without the IT Illuminati keeping their computers running and their phones synced up they'd be helpless.

There are sysadmins and then there is desktop support. Sometimes the two roles would overlap, but it has become less of a grey area as desktops are increasingly replaced with self-supporting iPads, iPhones etc. So what will be left are the techs who can grok the command line and get things done for OS X and Linux behind the scenes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:10 AM on January 22


self-supporting iPads, iPhones etc

As a helpdesk person who works directly with customers, this is a fanboy fantasy. I've handled numerous calls from people who can barely figure out how to turn them on. Lazy and incompetent are lazy and incompetent no matter how hard UX designers work.

(The best story was the actually fairly knowledgeable guy whose iPad's touchscreen was acting funny, registering touches at places other than where he was actually touching it. The problem? It was an iPad for use in an anatomy lab, the premed students weren't leaving the iPads in the plastic baggies like they were supposed to, and the glass was covered with a thin layer of people grease that was interfering with the screen. Ewwwwww.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:28 AM on January 22 [13 favorites]


I wonder if there's a biological component to all this - perhaps some brains are just wired towards obsessive behavior.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:37 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


what will be left are the techs who can grok the command line and get things done for OS X and Linux behind the scenes

We've seen the opposite. Servers are getting consolidated with the move to virtualization, which means fewer admins are needed, right? Also, all those client support jobs can be farmed out to an off-site minimum wage call center, whose only resources are a simple script (which, in our case, literally has as its first step "have you tried turning it off and on again?"). Second-level support (people who grok command lines) is roughly one person per two hundred employees. They're expensive after all.
posted by bonehead at 11:39 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


There are sysadmins and then there is desktop support. Sometimes the two roles would overlap, but it has become less of a grey area as desktops are increasingly replaced with self-supporting iPads, iPhones etc.

There is not, as yet, a meaningful trend in this direction, and certainly not in the enterprise computing world. Also, there isn't really any significant "self-supporting" role for Apple devices. They depend on external tech support just as much if not more than any other company and/or platform. And no, companies will not start sending their employees down to a Genius Bar every time something goes wrong. It's barely a workable solution for consumers (try getting an appointment at a store in a densely-populated area on short notice), and completely useless in emergencies, or really when it comes to anything more than the basics.

So what will be left are the techs who can grok the command line and get things done for OS X and Linux behind the scenes.

OS X has a fairly paltry market share on desktops and laptops, and almost none in the enterprise and server market. For instance, Windows 8.x is installed on more computers than all versions of OS X combined, and Windows 8.1 and Vista(!) are each on more desktops than Mavericks. The server market is basically split 60-40 between the various flavors of Unix (including Linux) and Windows. As others have said, what you're describing is a fantasy scenario.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:02 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Mr. Bill, you guys hiring?
posted by mmrtnt at 12:12 PM on January 22


I think a lot of people really do confuse desktop support and actual Information Technology (or even worse, Information Systems) people. They all get the same moniker, but they are worlds apart, especially when it comes to their "product loyalties".

Many times, the reason someone will push a particular product is because it comes within their budget to support it. Nothing more, nothing less. If Apple were to get serious about Enterprise, it would need to hire thousands of trained, experienced (and expensive) Enterprise level support specialists, who understand what the CIO means when he says "support contract". It doesn't mean just break/fix. It means that if they are having problems deploying a necessary piece of 3rd party software, there is someone they can call who will go the extra mile and help them figure out why it is not working, and come up with a solution to fix the problem, be it working with the 3rd party vendor (often for "free") to address the issue and get the products to work, or some other form of blanket coverage for technical problems, even ones as simple as "did you turn it off and on again?".

Of course, finding someone who has in depth product knowledge of not just their own companies products, but also as many 3rd party vendors as possible is often nearly impossible to do. And many times it falls to the 3rd party vendors being shit to begin with and not actually wanting to support their own products (I'm looking at you Avid).

There is also the tools for the Sysadmin side. To a greater degree, if you want to support OS X, you need to be a massive Open Source/*nix guru to start with. While Apple has provided a lot of pretty UI controls for really basic things with OS X Server, if you really want to make it work, you need to be both comfortable going it alone on the command line and willing to understand that you might have to install your own binary of apache2 and php5 in order to get it to work for what you want to do.

As to the question about OS X Server and it's built-in Mail, Calendar, etc. It's great it your clients are running OS X and understand using the Mail.app and Calendar.app and Contacts.app. It's also really awesome that all of those apps understand a lot of open source standards based things, lilke IMAP, iCal, LDAP, etc. But to be cross-platform and support any type of client AND compete with the features of Exchange, you really have to look at something like CommuniGate Pro, which IS a real Exchange replacement, with full calendaring, contacts, and e-mail. It even has a voice messaging system in it (which is really awesome and integrates with Asterix). But you have to be comfortable with reading a lot of technical documentation and not having Wizards to help you install and configure the software.

A lot of "sysadmins", at least ones who only want to support one platform, tend to fall into the category of people who learn only what buttons to push, and don't have either the natural ability to dig deeper into systems and troubleshoot difficult problems beyond "reinstall it" or "run the repair program". Thankfully, since I moved across country and no longer worked as a consultant, I have had much less interaction with this type of sysadmin. I also have a very low opinion of anyone who decides without actually using a product that it "sucks" or whatever. The main reason my primary platform is on the Mac is that for me, it is the most versatile hardware platform. I can run Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, or BSD on the exact same hardware, and since the hardware is pretty standardized, I KNOW that I can find drivers for it. I know people love building their own PC's for as cheap as possible, but frankly, I do not have time for the headaches of getting a low cost system functional and keeping it stable. Even going through manufacturers like Dell and Lenovo, I still have major issues because of the chipsets they decide to use, or not use, as the case may be. Also, for my end users (video editors, video producers, and general office people), they want what OS X offers. They've been forced to use Windows before, and the headaches of supporting that environment caused the previous sysadmin to switch to being a web developer. He had fewer headaches writing php code than trying to keep Adobe and Microsoft working happily together (mind you, I have supported both Windows video editors and Mac video editors [Final Cut versus Premiere/Avid anyone?], and you think the sysadmins are full of hate, you should hear some of the ignorant and stupid shit editors have to say about their tools).

Above all else, having an understanding of the underlying technology and how it works is WAY more important than any kind of fanboy fawning over a companies products. A competent IT professional should be able to evaluate everything for the purposes that the end users need, not because of some ignorant faith in one product or company over another. And even if you do favor one company over another, you should be able to understand where the short-comings are and use your time and energy pushing your chosen company to do better instead of trying to slag your competitors.
posted by daq at 12:23 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


Sysadmin = fluffer

With dick quotas, no less.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 12:25 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


self-supporting iPads, iPhones etc

I'm sure this is at least partly confirmation bias, since I wouldn't come across too many people who have no problems with their iOS devices, but it seems to me like the users who are trying to do work related tasks on these devices need more support than the ones who don't. Needing support isn't a bad thing, though!

Fairly often, the solutions they want IT to implement in order to access their work (dropbox, forwarding to gmail, installing iTunes, WiFi) are directly against corporate policy. These policies are often desperately in need of revision, so it is really frustrating when the C*O/VP wants you to break the policy "just this once" instead of getting a reasonable one in place.

Not that this is the fault of iOS devices directly, but they've been pretty good at highlighting these sorts of issues, I've found.
posted by ODiV at 12:33 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Emacs vs Vi, anyone? Fanpeople gonna fan. It certainly isn't limited to Windows and smartphone brands - I get derisive comments from Mac people all the time. Anyone who makes something - technological or otherwise - a fundamental part of their identity is going to passionately defend that choice, often by deriding others who chose differently.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:03 PM on January 22


you guys hiring

The only piece of kit that work provides is the Mac Mini that I'm sitting in front of, and it's only by favor and experience that it's not a company-issue PC with the standard Windows load or whatever my preference of Linux desktop (since I'm IT, I support myself...). Everything else I bought on my own dime and brought in (including my tenkeyless keyboard w/Cherry Brown MX switches, fancy, mouse, etc.)

Also, anyone that thinks iDevices and so forth are "self-supporting" has clearly never had to configure said devices to work according to a large company's data access acceptable use policies, procedures, proxies, restrictions, and so forth. Or iOS major-version upgrades. Or had an Important Person in their company walk into your office, place something on your desk, and ask "Why Doesn't This Work?"
posted by mrbill at 1:04 PM on January 22


dropbox, forwarding to gmail

Not for nothing, but resistance to these things has generally derived from an actual legal compliance problem (HIPAA, FIPS, etc.) and less because of some authoritarian nazi BS.*

Every semester I would have conversations with grad students - who really should know better - about the dangers in using gmail to screen research subjects, or using Dropbox to store HIPAA encumbered patient data. Yes, I know these policies make it harder to get at that data - that's the point!

Then they go and complain about the IT dick fluffer who won't install the apps they want because he is an authoritarian jerk.

This is why I drink, people.

* although yeah, sometimes it's authoritarian BS
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:09 PM on January 22 [14 favorites]


there are universes where "best tech" does not equal "best-selling tech".
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:17 PM on January 22


...resistance to these things has generally derived from an actual legal compliance problem...

Oh, absolutely, which is why it doubly frustrating when someone in charge tells you to just do it instead of sitting down and reviewing the damn policy with someone who knows the corporation's legal requirements.

But I'm not bitter.
posted by ODiV at 1:17 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


A side effect of gadget fanboyism is that people train themselves to notice and focus on extreme nuances in devices that are constantly being updated and made fake-obsolete by marketing, so they can never be satisfied.

I have that with beer and coffee - I'm spoiled now and can't drink a crappy beer or mediocre cup of coffee. But even as a software guy I am thankful to have mostly escaped having that disease with gadgets.

Example 1: I finally got a flat screen HDTV in 2010. After living to age 41 with a CRT tv, it was a great and noticeable upgrade. I hope it lasts 10 more years. But some of the guys at work are all like "How can you not have full 1080pxqz with progressive quark scanning and 3rd emulation" and I'm like "I dunno, it seems fine". My tv needs are met, I guess. They just keep buying new ones over and over ... seems dumb.

Example 2: I have an iPad 1 I got given at work. My wife kept talking about the iPad Air so I swallowed my curmudgeonliness and surprised her with the Air this Christmas. It's lighter and the wifi is a lot better, but I would have kept using the old one until it died. In fact I still use the old one sometimes even when the new one is sitting right there because I haven't bothered to move my apps over. I can sort of tell the Retina thing but I grew up looking at TRS-80 monitors and stuff so even in the iPad 1 I don't really notice the pixels, even running an iPhone app at 2x. It all seems miraculously hi-def to me.

I did have an HTC phone (Thunderbolt) running Android that was so noticeably crap that I switched to an iPhone 4s. Giant screen, but super laggy and the battery ran out at like 4pm every day. But things have to actively annoy me before I replace them.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:33 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


*I may have passed this on to my offspring. We still have a CRT tv hooked up to the Wii that my 6 year old plays in the bonus room. There's also a Wii in the LR with the nice TV (because my wife and I both had a wii when we met). We talked about getting a small HDTV for the bonus room and he threw a fit. He says the CRT is "better" and he likes playing Wii on it more.
posted by freecellwizard at 1:38 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of people really do confuse desktop support and actual Information Technology (or even worse, Information Systems) people.

I think the phenomenon I described is real and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who noticed it. I think the overlap stems historically from people in IT having primarily had to work with Windows, so they get called on by friends and family to do local tech support. For non-IT folks, they see it all as the same problem domain, even as there exist numerous and complex specialities, not just operating systems, but telecom, server administration, networking, etc.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:48 PM on January 22


Or small businesses where one person ends up doing a little bit of everything.
posted by ODiV at 1:51 PM on January 22


Emacs vs Vi, anyone?

I used to catch an amazing amount of shit for being a Vi user. I wasn't an evangelist about it or anything. I never recommended it to anyone. I just quietly used it. And I'd get these Joe Fucking Nobodys walking up to my desk, who didn't know shit about Vi, and they'd start telling me I'd be getting RSI soon and I should be using a "modern" editor like [insert favorite editor or IDE here]. That Windows fanboy I mentioned upthread? He said I should be using Notepad.

For the record, I have no dog in the Emacs vs Vi fight.
posted by DarkForest at 2:44 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


vi is like riding a bike. It's slightly hard to learn, but then you never forget.

And someday, in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, it will be the only editor available.
posted by GuyZero at 3:57 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


I, for one, encourage all young people to get certified in one technology area and then tirelessly evangelize for that technology to the exclusion of all others. I make a nice living being hired by the finance department to do what IT says can't be done.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:20 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


"IT fanboy" is a stereotype created by the patriarchy to keep the nerds in line and the women away from IT. Next up 3000 words on dirty hippies.
posted by humanfont at 4:41 PM on January 22


colie: "Some of the rage comes from the erosion of a special type of knowledge and status that used to exist for IT guys. Apple and tablets came along and destroyed that (obviously coders are different, but guys who look after IT for companies are facing 95 percent redundancy soon). I imagine most MeFites like me no longer get tech support calls from our parents since iPads came along. My dad's no longer angry at his screen. All that rage has got to go somewhere."

For that to be true, a significant portion of the fanboys would have to have been IT guys in that pre-Apple era. I doubt that's true.

I certainly was, but then: I'm a tool-user, not a tool-worshiper. If a can of peas is all I have, it will work as a hammer, too.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:18 PM on January 22


Had this wonderful discussion with an iPhone user this summer. He asks me if I like my Android phone, and is almost incredulous that I do. He then extolls all the features of his iPhone... all of which my phone does as well.

He then falls back to the position, "Well, but the iPhone interface is just so much more intuitive. I tried to use an Android after my last iPhone died, and it wasn't nearly as intuitive."

Me: "But that's not a fair statement. You were already familiar with the iPhone interface; of course the Android system will seem less intuitive - it's unfamiliar."

Him: "It's not just me! My other friends who use iPhones agree the Android isn't as intuitive!"

Me: "How many of them used Android first?"

Him: "That's not the point!"

Sadly, he probably considers himself a rational human being, capable of more than just pulling the lever to get a food pellet when he hears the bell.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:25 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


colie: "guys who look after IT for companies are facing 95 percent redundancy soon"

Ahahahaha! Oh, my god, that's funny!

Wait... you aren't serious, are you?
posted by IAmBroom at 5:33 PM on January 22


I learned vi first - and even got paid REAL MONEY to write some tutorial chapters about it in a couple of books - but after working for a couple of years in an office full of emacs users a while back, I usually spend about one month a year forcing myself to use emacs as my default editor just to stay proficient in it.

There's some Really Awesome things that emacs will do (orgmode) that just don't have a vi/vim equivalent, no matter how hard people try to shoehorn equivalents in.
posted by mrbill at 5:34 PM on January 22


humanfont: ""IT fanboy" is a stereotype created by the patriarchy to keep the nerds in line and the women away from IT. Next up 3000 words on dirty hippies."

Can't tell if you're simply a troll, or paranoid-delusional. Either way, you're adding nothing.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:41 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Referring to people in IT as fanboys suggests that they are not women. It also suggests that they are not men. Promulgating this stereotype is supportive of the existing social norm where IT is a lesser profession undertaken by low status males. If this position bothers your or makes you uncomfortable or you disagree there is no need to call me names.
posted by humanfont at 6:04 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


Data point: Closest thing I've met to a fanboy IRL was the woman who owned a company I worked for. I have never had one as a colleague, at least to the extent of my knowledge. I can't imagine that being a useful trait in real, grown-up jobs outside of partisan blogging.

OTOH, I see them on the internet all the damn time. What do I know?

* Gallic shrug *
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 6:24 PM on January 22


I see your point humanfont and will exploit this moment to suggest "fanchild" as a substitute but it sounds too much like "man child" so I'm gonna stick with "zealout" or "fanatic," the latter of which makes a special sort of linguistic sense and also sort of implies that fanatics are ruled by their fancy in the same way "lunatics" are ruled by the moon. If you're from the 1700s maybe but my point is that the word "fanatic" is kind of like "batshit insane about things they like" packed into into a succinct word and "fanboy" removes agency in addition to what you wrote.
posted by lordaych at 6:50 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


"zealout"

I'm going to guess this was a misspelling, but I like it and may start using it.
posted by hippybear at 8:19 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Since when did sysadmins stop ruling the earth? Who do you think keeps fluffing the "cloud"?

Devops folks, mostly.
posted by Itaxpica at 9:33 PM on January 22


And someday, in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, it will be the only editor available.

Surely even in a post-apocalyptic wasteland there would be easier and less painful ways to autoeuthanize?
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:42 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


It will be vi users all around, and then a water chip will break. Someone will have to go on a quest to find a replacement, come accross the hidden caches of elisp and come back as the Emacs messiah.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:10 PM on January 22 [3 favorites]


The Emacs Haderach, as it were.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 8:27 AM on January 23 [9 favorites]


Isn't 'fan' pretty much a male thing anyway? Females often go crazy for boy bands in their early teens but then almost universally grow out of it. Males get into being sports fans at the same age and often never grow out of it. So it's natural for them to get all hyped up about who makes the best tech, to which the only conclusion tends to be 'OK OK man, they're both good teams'.

I can't recall meeting many female 'fans' of anything in this immature way - fandom that is endlessly indulged by the patriarchy and conveniently keeps men from concerning themselves with anything truly meaningful (Chomsky is good on this, with guys who know all about batting averages etc).
posted by colie at 9:48 AM on January 23



Isn't 'fan' pretty much a male thing anyway?

Depends on what fandom you're talking about. TV fandom is largely driven by women. Depending on the property, most of the fan-fiction is also written and read by women.
posted by empath at 12:39 PM on January 23


> Can we please just stop with this kind of page design. It actually makes me not want to read the article.

NoScript to the rescue. Page still looks like shit but becomes frozen and easy to read. It's like putting a cartoon clothespin on the bill of a cartoon duck. Still looks just like a cartoon duck, but can no longer QUAAACK maddeningly.
posted by jfuller at 12:42 PM on January 23 [1 favorite]


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