Growing up around Stanford University and the greater Silicon Valley (before it was Silicon Valley) I encountered my fair share of electrical engineers—a brilliant bunch who, to a person, lacked any discernible sense of humor. Today’s crop of propeller heads are a wittier (though occasionally cruder) crew, as evidenced by some of my favorite Websites and Twitter streams:
A pseudonymous goof on Apple, its CEO, and its passionate fans and detractors, Dan Lyons’ fake diary (Twitter: @fsjblog
) can be funny, obscene, insightful, inspirational, and irritating—often all in the same post. Lyons started the blog while he was still a technology writer for Fortune. But even with his identity exposed, Lyons rarely pulls his punches: Companies, corporate heads, publications, politicians, journalists, and celebrities all suffer the wrath of Lyons’ faux CEO.
Another fake techno-celebrity site. Walt Mosspuppet (Twitter: @mosspuppet
) is a cantankerous puppet-version of Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg
. I’ve met Mossberg, and the puppet’s caustic personality is nothing like his. But that doesn’t make the videos, the blog, or the Twitter stream any less of a hoot. As with Fake Steve, the puppet’s humor often transcends mere jokes to offer real insights into technology and journalism.
Crazy Apple Rumors’ John Moltz (Twitter: @carumors
) does funny better than any technology writer I know. Why he hasn’t been snapped up by the entertainment industry is beyond me. (Oh, wait, maybe it has something to do with all the sexbot jokes). Crazy Apple Rumors went on hiatus in 2008, but it’s now kinda-sorta back on a “whenever I feel like it” basis.
27b/6 (pronounced “two seven bee slash six”) is the work of Australian humorist David Thorne (Twitter: @27bslash6
). He doesn’t focus purely on technology; he covers a wide range of subjects. His posts often take the form of e-mail exchanges in which he skewers his targets with charmingly clueless sincerity. Not-to-be-missed entries include Party in Apartment 3
, Overdue Account
, Simon’s Pie Charts
, and Photography Tips
Proving that stick figures can be funny, xkcd is (in the words of its creator, programmer Randall Munroe) “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” Published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Munroe’s work is by and for geeks. (I occasionally post a link to his Someone Is Wrong On The Internet
strip to make a point in the Macworld forums.) If you’re tickled by math and technology jokes, sci-fi references, and social awkwardness, bookmark xkcd.