Nazi Apple supermen are our superiors

[ADDENDUM: A commenter rightly questions the use of the word "Nazi" in this post (the title is a riff on a gag from the Simpsons). The Macalope uses the word deliberately as a response to Ou's comparison of Apple to Joseph Goebbels.

Ou's comparison is absurd, insulting and trivializes what the Nazis did.

The Macalope thought about the implications of using the Nazi comparison throughout, but wanted to drive home the point. He hopes you understand.]

Following up on his successes yesterday, George Ou keys what should be called “Artie MacStrawman in Nuremberg” and will probably cause Macalope readers to hemorrhage out their eyeballs because, yes, we’re still talking about the wireless controversy!

The Macalope is terribly, terribly sorry. But, in for a penny…

Last summer when I wrote “Vicious orchestrated assault on MacBook wireless researchers”, it set off a long chain of heated debated [sic] and blogs. I had hoped to release the information on who orchestrated the vicious assault, but threats of lawsuits and a spineless company that refused to defend itself meant I couldn’t disclose the details.

Ah, we’re already off to a good start.

The problem with Ou’s entire premise — that Lynn Fox is a Nazi propagandist and has been whispering nothing but sweet, sweet lies into Mac users’ ears — is that he thinks Mac users can’t read.

Everyone simply assumed Maynor and Ellch were frauds because they supposedly “admitted it.”

No, George, “everyone” did not assume that. “Many” may have assumed that or “some” may have assumed that, but most simply thought that they might be frauds because they kept changing their story.

Ou has a particular beef with two pieces — one by Jim Dalrymple at Macworld and one by David Chartier at The Unofficial Apple Weblog — which he thinks were “hit pieces” all but commissioned by Lynn Fox and part of Steve “Call me Adolf!” Jobs’ master plan to take over the Internets by blitzkrieg.

The Macalope doesn’t recall reading Dalrymple’s piece at the time, but he did read Chartier’s piece and he knew it was wrong when he read it — Secureworks was not admitting anything — because he read the disclaimer on their web site. Chartier is a good blogger and the Macalope thoroughly enjoys TUAW, but that particular post assumed too much.

Ou wonders:

But did Chartier really just happen to come across the evidence?

Ou is clearly skeptical that Chartier would be able to type “www.secureworks.com” into his browser. The Macalope is not going to contest this particular point, but he will note that if you read the post Chartier ends with a thank-you to “NotVeryPC”. Why, maybe that’s Lynn Fox’s secret code name! Personally, the Macalope would have thought it would be something like “AppleFoxy” or “CleverLikeAFox”, but that’s exactly what she wants you to think!

Ou believes Chartier was fed erroneous and/or misleading information from Fox which he then — being the good German Artie MacStrawman blogger that he must be to keep Ou’s fantasy view of the Mac web whole — mindlessly regurgitated to please his Cupertino masters.

When I called David Maynor to get to the bottom of this, it turned out that Apple PR director Lynn Fox (who was also cited by Jim Dalyrimple [sic] as proof that the researchers “misrepresented” the research) was the puppetmaster from start to finish.

So, you called David Maynor and he said Fox was unleashing her Mac blogger Luftwaffe. Gotcha. No, no! That’s good enough for the Macalope!

And, dude, you did not just write “puppetmaster”, did you?! That is awesome.

She not only contacted sympathetic bloggers like Chartier and “journalists” like Jim Dalrymple, she was actually the one that got SecureWorks to publish the “clarification” in the first place.

Wow. George seems pretty sure of himself.

But the Macalope decided to check. He asked Chartier if he’d ever been contacted by Lynn Fox about this and here’s what he said via email:

What a riot: no, I have never been contacted by Fox or anyone else from Apple regarding any of this stuff. In fact, I’m not even receiving those post-support call surveys or notices that my Mac warranties are about to expire and that AppleCare is an affordable way to stay within Apple’s graces.

Huh. Well, how about that?

Ou also pointed his tin-foil hat in the Macalope’s direction in those halcyon days of late summer but, for the record, the Macalope has never been contacted by Apple PR, Lynn Fox, Steve Jobs, Joseph Gerbils [sic] or anyone qualified to speak in any official capacity about Apple.

Ou appears to be hinting — as only Ou can appear to hint — that Fox confirmed that she contacted both Dalrymple and Chartier with the express purpose of goin’ all Leni Riefenstahl on their asses.

When I finally got Fox back on the phone, I asked her some questions about how MacWorld [sic] and the unofficial Apple blog [sic] got the information on the so-called confession. I got all my questions answered, but I can’t disclose what she said since Fox refused to speak on the record. But the bottom line is that Lynn Fox played Jim Dalrymple, David Chartier, and the rest of the Mac press/blogosphere like a violin, though it was clear they were all willing participants.

Ou says “yes”. Chartier says “no”.

You can guess who the Macalope believes.

But why would Chartier think all on his lonesome that Secureworks was admitting to have falsified the presentation if Frauline Fox wasn’t pulling the strings?

Well, maybe it has something to do with Brian Krebs (tip o’ the antlers to Brian Krebs Watch).

Indeed, as I reported earlier, in his hotel room on the eve of that presentation, Maynor showed me a live demo of him exploiting the built-in Macbook drivers to break into the machine from another laptop — without a third party card plugged in.

Ou doesn’t mention it, but it had already been reported that Maynor and Ellch had hacked native Airport drivers. Secureworks didn’t want to talk about the free lap dance they gave Krebs in the hotel room because they botched their delivery. They only wanted to talk about the formal Black Hat presentation. Now how could those silly Mac users get so confused when it was all so clear?!

But, shhh. George is on a roll.

Once she got SecureWorks to publish the clarification that merely reiterated the fact that third party hardware was used in the original video (which was clearly disclosed in the first 20 seconds of the video that it was third party hardware), she used that as “incriminating” evidence that the researchers admitted to falsifying the video and shared her “findings” with Apple friendly press.

Well, George, Chartier says he wasn’t contacted by Fox. And it’s at tad (read: extremely) absurd to ascribe some conspiracy theory to the fact that Dalrymple — a journalist (despite Ou’s quotes) for Macworld magazine — was in contact with Apple PR on the most significant story of last August and September.

When I pointed out the flaws in their stories, Chartier and Dalrymple simply ignored me and stuck to their guns.

This is false. Yes, Chartier’s piece is still in its original form, but you can read through Dalrymple’s piece and see if you see the word “misrepresent” (the word Ou complains about) anywhere in there. It’s not, because the piece has been corrected, which is what journalists do. But here it is six months later and Ou is still bitching about it.

The Macalope knows a lot of readers wish he’d just stop covering Ou. Isn’t the real question why ZDNet continues to let his cartoonish rantings go on?

UPDATE: David Chartier posts some thoughts and amends his original post.

Fans of the Simpsons may recognize the title of this post.

Trackbacks Comments
  • Richard Faulder:

    What a strange, strange man.

  • Alan Jacobs:

    I for one welcome our new Cupertino overlords.

    I think we all must regret the day when George discovered scare quotes. There are just too many “people” in his “posts” whose “thoughts” or “words” George wants to show his “skepticism” towards. . ..

  • Gary Patterson:

    Next stop for Ou: Apple CEO implicated in Kennedy assassination, Apple faked Moon landing, Apple Nazi supermen behind Sept-11 atrocity, Apple causing Iraq quagmire, Apple responsible for inexplicably popular boy bands…

    It seems the whole wireless thing has pushed Ou through insanity and into that quiet place on the other side. Somehow he manages to post from there, disconnected from reality, drifting in his own personal universe.

  • WH:

    Hello! o! o! o! I am calling Geroge Ou! Ou! Ou! Ou! Anybody home? ome? ome? ome?

    Hm. Obviously not. Rather empty in here. Spooky, actually. Deserted. Has he been kidnapped by aliens, I wonder?

  • Never has one man made it so clear that he’s simply trying to optimize his spot on a Google search by writing something that is only meant to spread anger throughout a vocal online community and not to actually disseminate useful information.

    Ou is this guy again? Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  • LKM:

    The word is “krieg”, not “kreig”. Blitzkrieg. It’s not quite a Joseph Gerbils, but still :-P

  • What’s funny about that is the Macalope checked the spelling, he just spelled it differently when he typed it into Dictionary.app and assumed he had spelled it that way. He who lives by mocking spelling mistakes…

  • Blain:

    Isn’t the real question why ZDNet continues to let his cartoonish rantings go on?

    That’s because Dvorak writes for PC Mag now, instead of the back of MacUser, so ZDnet has to have their own third-rate copy. Really, Macalope, if you must link, don’t reward him with page hits. Googlebomb his link to something more appropriate. Maybe one of the Crazy Apple Rumors links, or one of Gruber’s articles.

  • Iain:

    Okay, not this is just silly. Ou’s column is entitled “Real World IT”. It has nothing to do with IT or, for that matter, the real world. It’s just his half-baked anti-Apple ravings. Has anyone got a good email address for a senior editor at ZDNet. I really want to send them a polite, but strongly worded email suggesting that they fire this guy for lack of journalistic integrity. (I know the concept of journalistic integrity is dead, but it will make me feel better.)

  • PhoeniX42:

    “Dalyrimple…Dalrymple” you spelled Jim’s name wrong

  • Sigh. So the Macalope did. He took it from Ou’s first spelling. The Macalope should have checked it because it’s an odd one.

    That boy needs to buy another vowel.

  • Patrick:

    What did this man have for breakfast? I want some.

    Boy, at least John Dvorak has skill at doing this…

  • Gilles:

    Mr Ou’s behavior is a good illustration of “male hysteria” : impotence plus excess.

  • Arnold Ziffel:

    The man’s name is George ZeroU.

  • I want to report for the record that Rip Ragged was never (NOT EVER) contacted by Lynn Fox. This despite the fact that I can stand in for Artie McStrawman on a moment’s notice. I am TEH fanboy.

    I confess to the almighty Church of Mac that I did click through to George Ou’s blather. I did think “assclown.”

    Forgive me.

    What a dork.

  • Ken Court:

    Can you pls use “fascist” instead of Nazi.
    As someone directly affected by the holocaust I believe I understand what you’re trying to convey but IMHO “Nazi” is used too lightly.
    How would you feel if you knew your grandmother was dissected while still alive by someone and then that person’s name was used so lightly.
    I love Mel Brooks because he understands the horror and yet has the courage to joke about it.

    but in this case could Fascist have served… or maybe I am making it a sacred cow?

    k

  • In reference to the use of the word “Nazi”, please see the Macalope’s update at the beginning of this post.

  • brian krebs is evil, brian krebs is evil, oh hi, artie.

    looks at george’s other blogs…

    http://georgeou.blogspot.com/

  • brian krebs is evil, brian krebs is evil…

    oh, this one to:

    http://www.matasano.com/log/730/george-ou-goes-all-in-on-dave-maynors-wifi-findings/

    Security researchers calling Georgie “Gerbils” Poo out….

  • Gored Again By A Misplaced Antler:

    “Well, George, Chartier says he wasn’t contacted by Fox. And it’s at tad (read: extremely) absurd to ascribe some conspiracy theory to the fact that Dalrymple — a journalist (despite Ou’s quotes) for Macworld magazine was in contact with Apple PR on the most significant story of last August and September.”

    What the devil are you talking about? Serious journalists are in contact with PR people ALL THE TIME. Why do you think they are called PR people? They don’t come to my house to talk to me. They talk to JOURNALISTS. Where do you think they get all the ‘A representative for X refused to comment’ quotations? By osmosis?

    Helloooooo!!! Antler man!!!! Is anybody hooooome?!?!?!

    If Dalrymple was not in contact with Lynn Fox in August and September, then he wasn’t doing his job. Period. Of course, that doesn’t make George Ou right…

  • The moment Ou invoked nazis is the moment attention should stop being paid.

  • @Ken Court:

    The Macalope’s use of “Nazi” as opposed to fascist in this instance is a purely tongue-in-cheek response to George Ou’s use of Joseph Goebbel’s similarities to the Apple Marketing team in a TalkBack [comments] post on his article yesterday “Should Apple be making fun of Vista UAC”

    I was offended by George Ou’s post, which was not in humour. I was offended enough to write to the ZDNet [and CNet, their parent company] Public Relations office, who forwarded my email to ZDNet Editor-in-chief, Dan Farber. My initial email called for a public apology, and I reiterated that request in a second email after Mr. Farber replied.

    Ou’s TalkBack post has since been removed, but I have copied the text of it below.

    The Macalope, like the venerable Mel Brooks, was using humour in his post. George Ou, however, was not.

    TalkBack 9 of 140:
    And you get your IT security information from commercials now?
    And you get your IT security information from commercials now? Yes they conveyed the idea pretty well, but then again so did Joseph Gerbils [sic]. If you tell a lie often enough, people begin to believe it.
    Posted by: george_ou@… Posted on: 03/19/07

  • Gored –

    The Macalope thinks you misread that bit. He’s saying exactly the same thing you are.

    The sentence is possibly a little poorly constructed but it says “It’s absurd to ascribe a conspiracy theory to Dalrymple’s contact with Apple PR.”

  • EelBait:

    It’s too bad that diagraming sentences is not taught in public schools much any more. It would have saved Gored a bit of embarrassment for not being able to follow the English. Gored ought to try reading some Tolkien or maybe some Douglas Adams to bone up on how English is structured.

  • Superman, et al.:

    Dear The Macalope,

    On the advice of legal counsel, I, on behalf of myself and others of my ilk, am insisting on a public apology regarding the use of one of the terms in the title of your article of 20 March, 2007.

    Don’t make me come down there.

  • Nick:

    Ou is so amusing. His prose is just so ill-judged, Twice in that first short quotation–and in adjacent sentences–he tells us that this “assault” was both “vicious” and “orchestrated”. There’s nothing like trying to carry one’s point by repetition of what one takes to be damning vocabulary. It’s good to know that the “assault” wasn’t just “vicious” but “orchestrated” and not just “orchestrated” but “vicious”, but really he’s trying too hard.

    In truth not only does it appear that David Chartier’s piece was not “orchestrated”, but it’s stretching things to choose the metaphor of an “assault” to describe it–let alone a “vicious” one. What language are we left with to describe a mugging or a stabbing?

    Ou’s prose, and in particular his metaphors, are out of his control. Another interesting example is his description of Lynn Fox as a “puppetmaster from start to finish”. Here he’s just thrown in “from start to finish” as a cheap means of emphasis, but it makes nonsense of the metaphor: who’s ever seen a puppetshow where the person working the puppets walks off part-way through the show?

    Look at this, too:

    “But the bottom line is that Lynn Fox played Jim Dalrymple, David Chartier, and the rest of the Mac press/blogosphere like a violin, though it was clear they were all willing participants”

    One would think that the violin would be enough to be going on with. But, no, Ou has to throw in a “bottom line”, too–and tack on another jibe in the final clause. And, again, the metaphor is weak, surely all these people can’t be “a” violin. But maybe Lynn Fox has a large chin and is playing several violins at once–as well as conducting and orchestrating.

    Ou needs to take more care with his writing. If I knew him, I’d point him to George Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language”:

    http://orwell.ru/library/essays/politics/english/e_polit

    Ou writes badly. And this isn’t a minor, purely aesthetic, point I’m making. The cliches and the over-emphasis are a result of his writing with a lack of care and precision and of trying to carry the reader with him when he’s really got nothing much of substance to offer.

    I think there’s a lot we still don’t know about the Wi-fi case, but Ou is not likely to be of help in understanding the affair

  • Nick:

    Here’s another out-of-control metaphor:

    “It didn’t matter that they weren’t the ones pulling the trigger because they were pulling all the strings.”

    I suppose we have some puppets armed with revolvers here.

    I’m not sure why he thinks this is a telling point:

    “The result was that Apple was forced to patch 62 vulnerabilities in just the first three months of 2007, including last week’s megapatch of 45 vulnerabilities.”

    As an OS X user that sounds like a big gain to me.

  • MEP:

    I hear the question, “Why does ZDNet still employ George Ou as a writer?” a lot these days. It’s clear that he has never heard the phrase journalistic integrity. It’s clear that his knowledge of IT is basically the output of a random number generator (read his non-Mac posts, if he were in charge of my IT department, he’d be fired on the first day). It’s pretty clear that he has no business whatsoever writing a tech column. So why is he still employed?

    Because the Macalope, John Gruber and every other Mac blogger keeps funneling traffic to his mindless ramblings, driving the ad revenue on ZDNet ever upward.

    Let’s just ignore this guy please. Yes, some people who read ZDNet regularly will continue to be mislead by his stories, but if you’ve read the content on ZDNet lately, you know that’s an audience we can’t possibly help so why don’t we at least stop wasting our time and energy worrying about these people.

  • john:

    This whole situation has irked me for some time, and I’ve come to the following conclusions…especially in light of Ou’s recent postings.

    1. Ou is taking this personally and has seriosly damaged his credibility by making the recent claims of some kind of conspiracy.

    2. Chartier has improved, but he remains reckless with a number of his posts. Last summer he had posted a ‘review’ of software without using it. The software turned out to be a practical joke, but he cost a number of (foolish in my mind) users hours to repair iCal.

    He had a lack of understanding with the issues of the wireless issue which eclipsed almost all other comentators, yet he chose to use extremely provocative headlines in his posts on this topic which was uncalled for.

    He didn’t do much, if any, reading into the background behind the wireless driver talk itself which became clear a few weeks after Defcon when he ‘discovered’ that the software firewall within OS X is not turned on by default. This, and other issues regarding the firewall, were explicitly the focus of Jay Beale’s talk.

    While the Mac wireless vulnerability became the media focus of Maynor’s talk, the bottom line was that while a good deal of security research goes to OS vulnerabilities…there are equally dangerous vulnerabilities within third party drivers. Mac or PC, I think everyone can agre that it is an issue that deserves more attention.

    3. It’s probably best if parties on both sides tone down the rhetoric. As a security conscious OS X user, I understand that it is a much more secure operating system. However the idea that Mac users are invulnerable and anyone researching and finding issues should be tar and feathered is counterproductive for all.

  • John, meet Artie. Artie, meet John.

  • Andre Friedmann:

    Please, have a little sympathy for wet-behind-the-ears George Ou. He doesn’t know that any internet-based argument carried on long enough will devolve, at some point, with a debater invoking either Hitler or Nazism. He doesn’t know that his invocation means the argument is over. By tradition, the invoker has witlessly announced that he’s lost the debate.

    Who? Ou!

  • Se7en:

    “I actually called the number to confirm that it was real, and Lynn Fox was quite upset and demanded to know where I got the number. I declined to answer since the e-mail at the time was given to me by David Maynor off the record.”

    Wait..wait…Maynor gave Lynn Fox’s private phone number to George Ou “off the record”, and Ou not only calls her, gallantly protects Maynor by refusing to tell her where he got the number…THEN PUTS IT IN HIS BLOG????

    You can’t make this shit up, seriously. And ..ANYONE thinking about “sharing confidential information off the record” with George Ou after this fiasco has got to be fucking insane.

  • Jim Ellison:

    Re: “cheapens what the Nazis did”

    ‘Cheapens’ would normally mean devaluing something good.

    ‘Trivializes’ would be a better word.

  • Good point. Thank you, Jim.

  • Don:

    George must hallucinating, along with being delusional. Exactly WHAT flaws is he saying that he “pointed out” to Chartier and Dalrymple? I’ve read both their stories, and I don’t see any flaws. At least none that would be a smoking gun for a conspiracy theory.

    But George has been exhibiting clinical symptoms of mental illness for a while. Delusions of grandeur, paranoid tendencies, conspiracies involving large organizations out to “get” a small group of select insiders. The list goes on.

  • Oddly, in the comments of that post I saw several accusations by the anti-Mac crowd of Mac zealotry. The counter arguments were, for the most part, merely asking for tangible facts or fact-based explanations. Practically none of the “Mac zealots” said anything positive about Apple or negative about Microsoft.

    They just thought Ou’s comments were idiotic. A reasonable conclusion, that. When a guy uses his previous lame assertions as evidence to support his current lame assertions, you have to wonder if he’s lacking some iodine in his thyroid.

  • Troy:

    Maynor and Ellch probably did find something actually critical, but then their quest to stub cigarettes out in Mac user eyes led them astray. So they chose a MacBook and then demoed the setup to a journalist who probably saw a career-making news item (how else would you explain THAT headline?).

    Both mistakes which Maynor has (belatedly) acknowledged and regretted. But mistakes they willingly chose to make, because they wanted to make a point. So, I’m sorry to say this but, Maynor brought all this upon himself.

    Imagine: if he and Ellch had simply stuck to their original premise, none of this angst would have happened. If you recall, their original premise was that this could be done on ANY platform, not just Apple. It’s not about the operating system per se, it’s really about wireless networking technology.

    But, you know… they just didn’t have an ashtray lying around their hotel room so they thought ah what the heck, those dewy eyes will do just as well.

    And let’s face it: Maynor (I suspect) is a adept at PR. He went after the juiciest target to get the maximum coverage. I’ve read about him and he sounds like a nice guy, but heck, he deserves what he wrought.

  • This Godwin stuff is getting out of control. Macalope, you should not need to explain or apologize for the use of the word “Nazi” in your post. The fact that you had to do this shows just how much power that these Nazi Nazis have over the internet.

    The sad thing is that most people invoking Godwin’s Law don’t even understand Godwin’s Law. Andre Friedman wrote:

    “He doesn’t know that his invocation means the argument is over. By tradition, the invoker has witlessly announced that he’s lost the debate.”

    No. Godwin’s law ONLY states that as a thread grows longer, the likelihood of someone invoking Hitler approaches 1 to 1. It DOES NOT state that the argument is over. It does not mean the person invoking Hitler has lost the debate.

    Look at the reality – invoking Hitler or Nazis certainly does not end an argument. All the evidence points to the contrary. Invoking Hitler usually prolongs the argument, and makes new arguments blossom and prosper.

    Another sad aspect of Godwin’s mis-application is that quite often people are shunned or are told they have “lost the argument” when they make references to Hitler that are apt.

    APT!

    Please, help end the abuse of Godwin’s Law. Reclaim nazi-related words in your vocabulary. Don’t be silenced by the Nazi Nazis.

  • Ron,

    That’s not a bad argument, but it would be more convincing if your use of the word “Nazi” to describe those who ask people not to use the word “Nazi” because it’s a personally painful for them weren’t so inappropriate.

    A better word for your usage is “pedant.”

  • FWIW, I have no trouble with Macalope’s use of “Nazi” tropes here, since they’re deliberately and obviously parodic.

    –Mike

  • “A better word for your usage is “pedant.””

    No soup for you! – signed, the Soup Pedant.

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