The Macalope Daily: Tools of the trade

The Macalope, as you know, has long been an observer of the fine art of technology punditry. Today, he’s spotlighting three tools of the trade in this, the dumbest of arts.

Tool number 1: The online poll. Any time you see the word “poll” in a headline, you are guaranteed there will not be one iota of value in the piece.

Case in point: Dan Rowinski’s piece for ReadWriteWeb titled “[Poll] Has Apple Gone Too Far?”

Has? Apple? Gone? Too? Far?

Wait, is “not far enough” not an option?

To many, Apple can do no wrong.

They think that every decision is right, every mistake is someone else’s fault.

Rowinski shall light the way to the truth by burning an entire field of straw men.

But the courtroom battles are straining the affections of buyers and the trade media. Comments on Apple/Samsung articles that we have published are more vitriolic than usual even if Apple still has phalanxes of staunch, vocal supporters.

Comments.

You must be new here on the Internet, Dan.

Yet more people are questioning Apple’s motives and whether it is still a mobile innovator.

Tool number 2: The supposedly proving link to something that proves nothing of the sort.

That link is to another piece by Rowinski, which shows Android smartphones gaining overall market share on the iPhone, but does not indicate any actual reason for this gain.

One wonders why—if so many people are turning against Apple because of its legal challenge to Samsung—the iPad actually gained market share last quarter. Well, one wonders as long as one’s name is not Dan Rowinski.

And then Rowinski finishes off by inviting readers to fill out his totally scientific online poll, the two extremes of which are “Apple Can Do No Wrong” and “Android For Life.”

The poll has a margin of error of infinity.

Tool number 3: Asking questions in the headline that are specifically refuted in the piece itself.

PadGadget’s Jenni (no last name given) asks “Is the iPad Hurting Children’s Brain Development?”

Dunno, Jenni. Maybe we should read your article, which says that while one doctor has only begun to study its effects …

…preliminary findings have reportedly shown that for some children, touchscreens appear to motivate and enhance learning rather than hinder it.

Maybe it’s just the Macalope, but wouldn’t a more accurate title have asked the question the other way around, since that’s what the current—albeit minimal—evidence shows, rather than parroting the tired accusations of the usual Luddites?

Seriously, people, the Macalope’s impending vacation cannot come too soon.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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