Is John Dvorak Ever Right?

I’ve been reading PC magazine since around the time of my first computer in 1984 and Dvorak’s ramblings have been a fixture I think the whole time.

Lately, though, he seems to be have become even nuttier than before and that’s saying a lot. Vista is going to take up 10 gigs on your hard drive? Every issue there’s something like this.

I was wondering whether anybody tracks his predictions the way that for a time there was a website monitoring Marilyn vos Savant for mistakes. I’d bet large sums of money that checking back on what he said five years ago (even one year ago) would be wrong in every way, but I’m way too lazy and not knowledgeable enough about the industry to do the work myself.

I’ve been following J.D. about the same length of time. His predictions may be a bit better than the track record of Pop.Sci. and/or Pop.Mech. from the 30’s till now.

I’m pretty sure that Dvorak predicted that Mac OS X would be released for x86 machines, which has come to pass (to some extent, at least – it’s still not available for generic machines). But this clearly falls under the “blind squirrel surrounded by nuts” clause…

Well Dvorak’s business isn’t predicting the future. His business is stirring the pot and getting people riled up about something. Sometimes he right, often he wrong. With regard to OS X, his claim was that Apple would drop OS X and go with Windows. Clearly that (still) seems ludicrous, but with all the virtualization stuff going on (Parallelz), it getting less ridiculous. But the amount of press he generated over that statement (most of it negative) served his purpose just fine. There’s a list of a few of his “controversial” statements on his Wikipedia page.

Again, though, I think the point is that with a lot of stuff that he says he’s intentionally trying to be contrarian (or just cranky) in order to get a reaction and some perhaps some deeper thought. I

like the guy. But you’re right, he’s wrong about a lot of stuff.

Here’s my cite:

Dvorak says Mac users are easy prey

Straight from the horse’s mouth.

Maybe he’s talking about the whole kit and kaboodle - Windows/Office?

From what I’ve seen, very rarely.

About three years ago, John Gruber, the guy who does the Daring Fireball blog, wrote this about Dvorak. He briefly commented (“Dvorak: ‘I Would Write It in Kind of a Weaselly Way’”) on the video that Jayrot linked to earlier, saying that he never expected Dvorak to flat-out admit that he deliberately stirs the shit. Occasionally, Daring Fireball will feature a Jackass of the Week, someone who is so completely full of it that it’s actually fun to watch Gruber take the article apart. Paul Thurrott has been a recent recipient of a few of these “awards” and was compared to Dvorak at least once.

If you’re interested in Mac stuff and web design, you could do a lot worse than to read Gruber’s site. I may not agree with everything he says, but his reasoning is usually a lot more sound than many, many other sources, and he doesn’t sound like an inflated gasbag. He’s admitted when he was wrong and quite often points to other sources who criticize his reasoning. I like guys who don’t try to pretend that they’re right all the time.