Life on the mobile edge: Revenge of the fanboys

Some people get really ticked off when you say their robot baby is ugly

One of the joys of being a pundit is stimulating readers. But sometimes, that stimulation stirs up a hornet's nest, especially among the many fanboys whose attachment to specific technologies crosses into unnaturally personal territory. Often, that takes the form of online trash talk.

I do get the joy and allegiance one can form with technology, whether it's cars or computers. That enthusiasm and emotional investment is part of what makes a geek a geek, and if you're going to spend your workdays with technology, you really should enjoy it. But at the end of the day, it's just inanimate technology. As technology changes, you need to be able to adapt your passions and loyalties as the technology actually merits.

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Not everyone shares that point of view, as the often extreme comments on this blog demonstrate.

Corrections that, well, aren't correct
Many comments are thoughtful even when passionate, bringing up an alternative viewpoint or framework for judging a particular technology. A great example is the discussion thread for a post I did on the openness of Android. I love those comments the most, as there is no one-size-fits-all way to evaluate technology fit and utility, and these different points of view truly enrich the discussion for all readers.

I also appreciate when people correct factual errors in my writing. I try to be correct, but sometimes I err. I may be out of date in my knowledge, especially for technologies that vendors provide limited access to. I use iOS and Android devices every day, and have ready access to Chrome OS devices, a WebOS-based HP TouchPad tablet, and a BlackBerry OS-6 based Torch smartphone, but not to Windows Phone 7, Bada, or BlackBerry 7 smartphones or BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. All the mobile vendors are terrible about responding to inquiries, and even fewer actually try to answer the question, instead referring me to vapid blog posts or telling me they'll look into it, then disappearing. I do Web research to explore an issue if I don't have hands-on access, but that's hit-or-miss. So do let me know of any errors, as I will correct them.

What I don't appreciate are people who "correct" things that are not incorrect. Often, the person making the correction has no idea what he (it's almost always a he) is talking about. He just wants something to attack with. A recent example comes from my post "A year with the iPad: How it's changed me." In it, "FrankLeeSpeakin" wrote, "How it's changed me? ... Baaad English! Well, that is what happens when one uses an iPad for too long."

Ah, but anyone with knowledge of basic English knows that "it's" is a legitimate contraction of not only "it is" but "it has." There is no grammatical error. But I bet "FrankLeeSpeakin" felt better after posting that comment and has no idea he just made himself look illiterate.

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