There’s magic everywhere

February 5, 2015


The past couple of articles I’ve written about Apple may paint the company in a negative light. One might misinterpret those posts as saying “Apple is doomed.” I think given profitability, cash on hand and product pipeline, that is a ridiculous statement.

Apple is moving faster, with more products and its biggest changes, than ever before. There are bound to be rough edges. That’s the nature of the beast. Users like me may also see more rough edges because we’re using more angles of a product. Sum total, there’s plenty of magic at Apple. Because the ethos, the mission and the spirit of its employees hasn’t changed. The people at Apple are the magic. Without them, there’s just a really cool batch of hardware sitting in some offices.

So it is with TUAW. While our content will not be deleted, the sum total of our body of work will be folded into Engadget. Without a staff, however, there will be no new answers to issues vexing users. There will be no handy tips on how to do X with your iPhone. And there will be very little rumor debunking, PR fluff slashing… and no more Caturdays. Engadget will carry on with its stellar reviews of Apple hardware, however, and TechCrunch will no doubt continue to surface apps for users while covering the business details of startups.

Still, what made TUAW magic — its people — will move on. Steve, Dave and Kelly Hodgkins will be writing up Apple news at Apple World Today. Dave also has a fun project where he’s reviewing board games. Kelly H., as some of you may know, has also been doing a great job over at MacRumors, and likewise Kelly G. is a valued voice at The Mac Observer. Mike Wehner is moving on to the Daily Dot, where I know he’ll crush it daily. John-Michael Bond will continue writing and performing comedy, andYoni Heisler will no doubt find a great place to continue writing insightful pieces.

A number of alums of TUAW have gone on to do amazing things. Mike Rose is now working atSalesforce, a company I admire. They were lucky to get him, as Mike is one of the kindest, most talented people I know. He has saved more bacon than probably all the copies of Charlotte’s Web in print. Whether it was keeping his cool during our Macworld livestreams, or plodding through the hastily-written slop I handed him on a regular basis, Mike is a consummate pro whom I am very gratified to call my friend.

Then there’s C.K. Sample, III who was my boss for a while, and really helped me whip my writing and view into shape. Laurie Duncan, who has boundless energy and incredible knowledge of the Apple ecosystem (she also introduced us to Mike Rose!). Scott McNulty and I once took a trip to Silicon Valley and had the privilege of touring Google and Yahoo together. Scott is one of the keenest intellects I’ve ever worked with, but he used his brains to lift up, never to denigrate anyone or treat them poorly. These former stewards of TUAW set a very high standard for me to live up to. They, plus the leadership of Brian Alvey and Jason Calacanis, really set the tone of TUAW in the pre-AOL weblogs days and beyond. I’m proud to know them, and to have been a part of their world.

The list of TUAW folks who have gone on to become amazing writers, coders or designers is also humbling. Too many to mention them all, but a few people really stick out in my mind for their continuing friendship. Nik Fletcher, who started at TUAW as a teenager, now has a family of his own. He’s amazing, and I knew the “kid” would grow up to be a fine man someday — which he has. Christina Warren, who went on to Mashable and can now be seen on TV quite often. Her energy revitalized me at a time when I was worried about the future of TUAW. Some day I’ll uncover her hilarious Macworld Expo interview with David Pogue (lost to a video data migration ages ago). Erica Sadun was already an accomplished coder and author before coming to us, and her work continues to amaze me. I will miss her counsel when it comes to code.

Finally, two people who are brilliant coders but also wonderful humans. Michael Jones didn’t write for us much, but what he did behind the scenes deserves some sort of award. He built an amazing dashboard based on my directive to “build a DRADIS for Apple news.” Unfortunately it never came into its own, as our tool chain constantly evolved, but one thing we used every single day was IRC. And Michael made IRC magical. We created bots: Cambot, Crow and Tom Servo. Cambot interfaced with our CMS, and would tell us when posts were ready to publish, check style guide issues, look for tags, and more. Crow and Tom Servo gave us access to iTunes searches, TUAW searches, Wikipedia and more through IRC. Through IRC, people!

Brett Terpstra. Few people have motivated me as much as Brett over the years. He’s got a great story about how he came to TUAW on his site, but for me, Brett showed me that design and code are integral. That coding is as much art as science. And, most importantly, how challenge brings out the best in us. Brett is as much a personal inspiration as a professional one. I’m happy every time I see him.

The past couple of years I had the honor to work with Paige Bierma, an award-winning documentary filmmaker who shot and edited the Slices of Apple series. She’s one of the best people I’ve ever met, with a ton of experience and talent. I came to refer to her as our in-house videographer, considering TUAW started with nothing but handheld footage shot by bloggers.

The parade of talent here over the years is humbling. It’s been one hell of a ride. But whatever we’ve done, we did because of the people at Apple. Their hard work and dedication brought a company back from the brink, and made it more successful than ever. More importantly, the vision of Steve Jobs and the work of Apple’s employees has changed all of our lives, even the billions of people who will never know TUAW existed.

I’m proud we’ve been able to help so many users, indie developers and even Apple employees solve problems and basically make the world a better place to live in. There will always be bumps along the road, but in the final analysis we are so much the richer for continuing to strive for the best. I leave TUAW and AOL knowing that Apple, and everyone there, will continue to do so.

As for me, I’ll be over at my home since 1999, superpixel. Thank you, writers, editors, Apple employees, developers, creators, artists and the crazy ones, but most importantly: thanks to you, our readers. Without your love and dedication we’d have never made it to our 10th anniversary. Be well. And don’t forget to “just make it great.”

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