By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
July 23, 2010

John (“Daring Fireball”) Gruber is no Dan (“Fake Steve Jobs”) Lyons. Thank goodness.

At his prime — when he was on the lam, a bored editor at Forbes by day covering boring IBM (IBM) press events and a swashbuckling parodist at night, one step ahead of Silicon Valley hounds desperate to discover his identity — nobody was writing funnier tech copy than Fake Steve Jobs. See, for example, here and here.

Then he got outed by the
New York Times
and he became plain Dan Lyons, a fortysomething writer whose best gig was behind him. He cashed in his cachet for a third-rate novel
Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs (A Parody)
[Da Capo Press; $22.95] — and took a job at a dying newsmagazine.

“I’m just not as funny as Fake Steve Jobs,” he told a New York City audience two years ago. But he kept writing — heavily edited columns for Newsweek and entries in The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs that weren’t as amusing when you knew who wrote them. From time to time his two voices — the button-down columnist and the free-wheeling parodist — would get mixed up and the effect could be toxic. Take, for example, Apple’s Rotten Response, his Newsweek column on Steve Jobs’ Antennagate press conference.

Enter Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber, dean of the Apple bloggers and a rarity in tech circles — a software engineer who can actually write. On Thursday he tried his hand at parody. Taking on the persona of what his critics regularly accuse him of being — a fanboy shill on the payroll of Apple (AAPL) Public Relations — he sliced up Lyons’ latest column with a pretty sharp knife.

It’s not Fake Steve Jobs at his best, but neither is Fake Steve Jobs.

For anyone following the Antennagate saga, Gruber’s Sorry, No, I’m Not Going to Write a Piece Arguing That Dan Lyons Is a Jackass is a must-read.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

You May Like