Fanboy!

The Strange True Story of the Tech World's Favorite Put-Down.

By  |  Monday, May 17, 2010 at 2:45 am

Technology, in case you hadn’t noticed, is a topic that inspires passion. When people like stuff, they tend to really like it. And many tech enthusiasts have trouble dealing with people whose tastes differ from theirs. Praise a product or company online, and you run the risk of being accused of being a sycophant who suffers from obsessive interest and inappropriate emotional attachment.

Except nobody will use those words. What they’ll call you is a fanboy.

The odds of  the word coming up are highest if the conversation involves Apple and its products, but it’s a handy, all-purpose insult. Consider these snippets of recent conversation on the Web:

“You Apple fanboys keep drinking the Kool-Aid…”

“Wow, listen to all the Android fanboys!”

“I am not some loser fanboy…”

“Sucks to be a Windoze fanboi…”

“Surely with all the fanboy talk of how important the iDiotPhone is, it should be on the list…”

“Big ego, small brain. Typical fanboy!”

“You’re nothing but an Adobe fanboi…”

“Stop being a lousy fanboy who knows nothing but what Stevie tells you.”

“You Apple haters are worse than any Apple fanboy I’ve ever met, and just as stupid.”

These examples all come from messages posted at PCWorld.com’s forums over the past few weeks, but they could have originated almost anywhere that technology gets discussed. “Fanboy” is everywhere–the New York Times uses it (albeit politely), and so does the Christian Science Monitor. And while it’s often meant to mock, it’s also worn as a badge of honor: There’s a Fanboy.com, a Macfanboy.com, a Sonyfanboy.com, a Nintendofanboy.com, and a Googlefanboy.com. We even have a president who has both been called a fanboy and accused of inspiring fanboyism.

For a simple compound of two one-syllable English words, “fanboy” has surprisingly rich, colorful connotations. I asked my Twitter pals for their definitions and got some cogent answers:

@scadbury

fanboy- someone who is absolutely, fanatically subjective to a brand and emphatically disregards any opposing views.

 

@baznet

Fanboys are two steps above aficionado, and one step below crazed jagweed

 

@stanitarium

A product evangelist exaggerating benefits of said product at the cost of admitting benefits of a competitor.

 

@darth

definition of fanboy: that guy who disagrees with me

 

@danfrakes

A term a tech writer uses to preemptively discredit anyone who disagrees.

 

All slightly different–and all correct.

Origin of the Species

For decades, most references to "fan boys" (like this LIFE photo) involved kids compliantly attending to rich and powerful types. No official etymological connection to "fanboy," but an interesting parallel  nonethless.

I’m fascinated by “fanboy”–but it’s not a word I use much. Somewhere along the line, I developed a live-and-let-live attitude towards technology enthusiasm. Go ahead and like whatever you like–it’s just fine with me.

I wasn’t always so blasé, though. Thirty years or so ago, I was a high-school student and user of Radio Shack’s TRS-80 computers who found Apple II owners snobby, cliquish, and possibly slightly dimwitted. I would have accused them of being fanboys in a millisecond. if the phrase “Apple fanboy” had been coined yet. But it hadn’t.

Oddly enough, I was one of a smallish group of people who had already been exposed to the word “fanboy.” Long before the word entered the tech lexicon, comic-book collectors like me were flinging it around. People with a normal interest in comics–say, one similar to your own–were fans. Those who went overboard were fanboys.

That much I knew before I began research for this article. I didn’t know, however, just how “fanboy” entered the language in the first place. It’s an interesting story, but you won’t find it in the dictionary. The word is there–in fact, when Merriam-Webster added it in 2008, numerous celebratory news stories marked the fact.

But everybody was so tickled that they failed to notice that Merriam-Webster’s definition stunk. A fanboy, that dictionary says, is “a boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies).” As anyone who’s either been called a fanboy or called someone else one knows, the boy part isn’t a reference to youth. More often, it’s a taunt, suggesting that the person in question is goofy and childish. Fanboys come in all ages, and fanboyism isn’t the exclusive preserve of males.

Merriam-Webster’s entry says that “fanboy” dates to 1919–the same year specified by the Oxford English Dictionary, which quotes a newspaper’s reference to baseball “fan boys.” The second reference to fanboys identified by the OED occurred in 1985.

Sorry, professional etymologists, you blew it. The 1919 reference has little to do with the current, less-than-complimentary word, since it did, in fact, simply mean “youthful male fan.” And fanboys didn’t inexplicably go into hibernation for sixty-six years.

To understand the origins of “fanboy,” you don’t need to go back to 1919…but you do need to start earlier than 1985. Try 1973–when a handful of copies of a fanzine were distributed at a Chicago comics convention. The zine was credited to two fans who took Marvel Comics, the work of Frank Frazetta, and other matters a wee bit too seriously, Alfred Judson and Bill Beasley. And its name was Fanboy.

On the cover to Fanboy (1973), "Alfred Judson" pays, um, tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs. Courtesy of Bhob Stewart.

Judson and Beasley were quite literally the prototypical fanboys. They also happened to be fictional characters, the creations of Jay Lynch and Glenn Bray. Lynch was the one who gave the publication its name.

Even if Lynch hadn’t had anything to do with identifying and naming fanboys, his significance as a shaper of American culture is sizable: he’s been a prominent underground cartoonist and publisher, one of the uncredited subversive masterminds responsible for Topps’ Wacky Packages and Garbage Pail Kids, and (most recently) a children’s book author.

Lynch got “fanboy” from an earlier put-down. “Funboy” was a relic of his Florida youth which popped up often in Bill Killeen’s Charlatan, a 1960s humor magazine with early work by Lynch and other soon-to-be leading lights of underground comics: Fan+funboy=fanboy. Lynch coined the word and drew the cover in 1972, although the fanzine wasn’t photocopied and distributed until 1973.

In the tech world, fanboy is a word that’s often meant to sting. Lynch says it wasn’t that way originally: “It was meant to be disparaging only in the way that Ray Nelson’s propeller beanie as the official hat of fandom was meant to be disparaging,” he explains. “Disparaging….but in a loving way.”

“Fanboy” sprung from comics culture, but Lynch intended it to apply to a mindset rather than a specific hobby from the start. In fact, the magazine’s cover poked fun at disciples of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs–a class of overserious fan distinct from comics collectors.  “In the early days we used it not exclusively with comics….We also called sci-fi folks fanboys,” Lynch remembers. ” What it had to do with was that it was applied to people who were caught up in fantasy (as in superhero comics) rather than in reality (as in satire comics).”

The first printing of Fanboy just barely got distributed: Lynch says the press run was eleven copies. Two revised printings later in the 1970s also had minuscule circulations. Which is why Fanboy, in any of its editions, is a rare and prized collectible. (I have a good excuse for knowing nothing about Fanboy or Jay Lynch at the time:  I was eight years old. But boy, was I ever already a fan of his Wacky Packages.)

In 2009, Lynch was moved to tell the tale of Fanboy and “fanboy” in a limited-edition trading card; here are its front and back (copyright (c) 2009 Jay Lynch).

Mr. Natural brushes off a fanboy in 1976.

Fanboy the magazine may have had a readership in the low dozens, but Lynch says that “from the time it was published it became part of the language of most of the cartoonists I knew. ” One of the people who latched onto the term was Lynch’s friend Robert Crumb–the most legendary underground cartoonist of them all.

After visiting Lynch in Chicago in 1976, Crumb traveled to New York and signed a contract to do a strip starring his character Mr. Natural for The Village Voice, the nation’s best-known alternative weekly. A few panels into the first Voice sequence, the bearded guru called an obsequious admirer a fanboy. As comics historian Bhob Stewart has said, the term “spread from there into various tributaries of the mainstream.”

Two uses I know I saw came in 1982, by which time I was a comic-book store habitué and quietly contemptuous of Apple II devotees. Bill Griffith, creator of Zippy the Pinhead, drew a cover for Jay Kennedy’s Official Underground and Newave Comix Guide: It showed Zippy peering in on a group of scarily obsessed comics collectors wearing “Fan Boys of America” shirts. In the same year, cartoonist/fans Jim Engel and Chuck Fiala produced Fandom Confidential, a satirical collection of fumetti (comic strips using photos instead of illustrations) starring themselves. In one panel, superstar X-Men artist John Byrne–sort of the Steve Jobs of early 1980s comic books–calls the fawning pair “fanboys in bondage” (both an early fanboy reference and a Monty Python allusion).

In these and other comics-related usages, “fanboy” remained gently satirical, not surly and accusatory. “‘Fanboy’ wasn’t a mocking term applied to comic fans by non-comic fans, it was a distinction between one type of fan and another,” remembers Engel. “Actual ‘fanboys’ then sort of adopted the term in that self-mocking ‘I’ll make fun of myself before you make fun of me’ way. Fandom Confidential was certainly me making fun of fandom, but at the same time, being an actual fan of the type I was making fun of.”

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I hung out in the animation and comics forum of pioneering online community BIX, an offshoot of BYTE magazine. I have thousands of BIX posts salted away on my hard drive, so I can confirm that we used the word “fanboy” often–but usually in a genteel fashion. (In one 1991 post, I brought it up–using it in quotes, as if I wasn’t quite sure it was a real word–and wondered who’d invented it.)

By then, I owned an Amiga computer, and was prone to prickliness when users of Atari’s ST line fatheadedly contended that their machines were superior to mine. But it still didn’t occur to me to call them fanboys.

Fanboyism, Meet Tech

Geeks have been pop-culture fans–maybe even fanboys–for as long as there have been computers. Literally: Konrad Zuse, who has as good a claim on having invented the computer as anyone, was a member of a King Kong fan club in 1930s Berlin. So you might assume that the word “fanboy” would have quickly become part of the tech lexicon.

It didn’t. As I researched this article, I scoured the Net for evidence that any irate person called any aficionado of any computing platform a fanboy prior to the 1990s. So far, I’ve failed. Search the Classic Computer Magazine Archive, home to thousands of articles from 1980s tech magazines, and you get zero results for “fanboy.” Google Groups’ archive of the popular 1980s USENET newsgroup net.micro also comes up empty.

Judging from Google Groups, “fanboy” didn’t start to crop up as a tech-related put-down until the mid-1990s. (Here’s a pioneering 1996 reference to “Bill Gates fanboys,” in an exemplary USENET flame that also compares Microsoft’s co-founder to Stalin and Mao.) Even then, though, it wasn’t the pervasive, reflexive jibe it would become. As my friend Steven Gray, senior copy editor at PCWorld, pointed out to me, 1996′s New Hacker Dictionary Third Edition discusses the ties between fandom and hackerdom and defines several fan-related terms–but doesn’t mention “fanboy.”

“Fanboy” had been around for close to a quarter century by that point, but it remained a comics/sci-fi inside joke. It was, however, in the process of infiltrating the mass media. The 1995 Warner Bros. TV cartoon Freakazoid!, for instance, featured Fanboy, Freakazoid’s self-appointed sidekick–and a walking, talking definition of “fanboy.”

In 1999, Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragonés created a six-issue miniseries for DC about a Fanboy named Finster–and while Evanier says it sold a whole lot better overseas than it did in the U.S., it reached a vastly larger audience than Jay Lynch and Glenn Bray’s Fanboy.

Since then, Fanboys have continued to multiply like, well, Tribbles. Two film comedies have been titled Fanboys: A 2003 New Zealand short and a 2009 U.S. feature. Both involve Star Wars maniacs attempting to steal pre-release prints of 1999′s Episode I: The Phantom Menace.  Barry Lyga’s young-people’s novel The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl was published in 2007; Nickelodeon currently airs a CGI series called Fanboy and Chum Chum.

Such references both reflected growing interest in the concept of fanboyism and introduced more people to it. Here’s visible proof of its rise to prominence–a Google Insights graph showing the volume of searches for the word “fanboy” from 2004 (when it amounted to a trickle) to the end of 2009 (when it reached new heights).

As “fanboy” has become a household term–at least among fans–its use in tech-related debate has exploded over the past half-decade or so. You’re most at risk of being dubbed a fanboy if you’re say anything nice about Apple; for all of the company’s success, there are still scads of people who instinctively dismiss its customers as irrational cultists. Chatter about gaming consoles is also rife with references, and no platform is immune–apparently, advocates of the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii are all nothing more than fanboys.

Judging from my Google searches, though, a surprisingly wide array of major brands spawn a meaningful number of fanboy references, good or bad.

My takeaway here? “Fanboy” is a compliment–even when it’s slung as invective. It’s not evidence that your customers are delusional worshipers of crud. Most often, it’s a sign that you’ve managed to make products that are good enough to make a critical mass of folks really happy–so much so that it drives unbelievers bonkers.

The time to worry, then, is when nobody thinks your users are fanboys. Heads up, RadioShack: the fact that the phrase “RadioShack fanboy” is virtually unknown is not a good sign.

Another conclusion: After having read a few hundred instances of “fanboy” references during research for this article, it’s clear to me that the word has lost whatever potency it might once have had as an insult. It’s too much of a cliché, too inappropriately dismissive, too likely to be tossed in as an ad hominem attack by someone who shows signs of extreme fanboyism himself.

“I hate the term ‘fanboy’ now,” laments early adopter Jim Engel. “Not because I feel made fun of, but because it’s used most by the worst examples of fanboys.”

On the other hand, the sillier, more satirical use of the word, as established in Jay Lynch and Glenn Bray’s 1973 fanzine, remains appealing. Long may it wave–and may dictionaries get the story of “fanboy” straight.

All of which left me wondering: Is the guy who coined the word “fanboy” a tech fanboy of any sort?

“Of course I am a Mac person,” Lynch told me.  “But over the years Mac gets more and more like Windows.  Its main saving grace is that there are no Mac viruses. The minute one shows up, though….I will get me a Dell notebook and not hackintosh it.” Spoken like a true non-fanboy.

(Thanks to Jay Lynch, Jim Engel, Steven Gray, Bhob Stewart, and Steven Rowe for their help with this article.)

 
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65 Comments For This Post

  1. Stilgar Says:

    I'm a Sega console fanboy. I did not make the chart :(

  2. joe c Says:

    I'm enough of a fanboy to not only own all the comics mentioned above (shut up) but to also defend Apple as compared to Microsoft by saying HOW you reached the top matters a lot more than being there. (See: the whole MS vs. US / monopoly thing for details.)

    Also, sometimes some of the old argumetns never change. I remember when Macs were called "toys" because you had to click on icons to use programs (imagine!) and now some people say the same thing about iPads. SIGH. "Think different" indeed.

  3. Dave Barnes Says:

    As an Apple fanboy, I resemble this remark.

  4. Tom B Says:

    Sigh! We Mac enthusiasts are often called “fanboys”, cultists, or “Kool-aid drinkers”, but we are not the ones sticking to a platform out of Redmond that is hopelessly obsolete, not even UNIX-based, and really unfit for this age of heavy-duty media consumption.

    Surely you Windows guys don’t REALLY still need that VB excel Macro from 1995 that your retired IT guy wrote?

  5. AJ Says:

    @Tom B: You’re just the typical, Kool-aid-drinking fanboy that always sees Windows obsolete. What’s next, a BSOD joke?
    Hehehehehe ;)

  6. Harry McCracken Says:

    I’m certainly not arguing that there are no such things as fanboys. But on the Web, usage of the word has been totally debased: It’s so often used as shorthand for “your tastes are different than mine, and are therefore not based on rational thought.”

    I don’t presume to be so smart as to be positive that other people use tech products out of stupidity, vanity, or reasons other than that they work for those people. Others, of course, may be smarter than I am…

    And if I made tech products, I’d certainly prefer strong opinions to apathy. (The only way for a company to ensure that its customers won’t ever accused of being fanboys is to be so boring that nobody really cares…)

    –Harry

  7. Jeff Darcy Says:

    I don’t know if it’s an etymological connection so much as a thematic one, but most uses of “fanboy” that I see seem to hint at the same thing as “houseboy” – somewhere between the meaning of a domestic/personal assistant who does all sorts of dirty work and that of one who is kept by a sugar daddy. While the term “fanboy” might have its origins elsewhere, I doubt that it would have gained currency without those demeaning and often sexual connotations.

  8. Jack Says:

    A fascinating, highly entertaining read.

    I would make a few additional points. First, while the word “fanboy” itself doesn’t imply youth, the word “boy” does. If it attempts to be more general by appearance, it fails. It is a word that demands misinterpretation, and, as you know, words frequently change due to misuse by journalists and the world at large.

    One of the quotations in the OED comes from the Village Voice, in reference to director Wes Anderson’s “spiky-haired, bespectacled fanboys,” which leads me to believe that this word has multiple senses of meaning. The differences may be subtle, as with those of many other words, but there is simply no question that not everyone makes the same inferences and associations.

    The quotation from 1919 describes fanatics who also happen to be boys, and your point is well taken. However, it was not written “male fans.” Obviously, as a portmanteau word, “fanboy” probably didn’t come into existence until much later. It is nevertheless crucial to include the earlier use, as both “fan boy” and “fanboy” are derived of “fanatic.”

    Moreover, it is doubtful that the title of this zine served as the word’s incipient use. I agree that the Webster’s definition is out-of-touch, but it’s important to remember that no dictionary, institution, or person is the sole authority on what a word means, or even any kind of authority at all. Words are ever-changing, and were the editors of the OED to omit the 1919 use, they’d simply be pretending that the quotation never existed.

    Lynch may have been the first person to write the word, but the claim that he coined it is dubious. All language is spoken. The written word is the extremely temporary capturing of language. Again, I am not disputing that he may well have been the first to use the word “fanboy” in print. That seems possible enough, but, even if true, it’s beside the point. The earliest know use of the simple word pairing dates back to 1919. All portmanteau words began as smaller words, and most every word changes meaning significantly over time. Take a look at the words “nice,” “blurb,” “pupil.”

    The word “fanboy” has an extremely simple anatomy, a trait that it shares with a lot of other slang expressions. Dictionaries should be sure to include a reference to the zine, but fair is fair. Let’s say I used a phrase in print, “car guy,” to describe my friend, an auto mechanic. A century later, someone publishes a underground comic called “Carguy: Hell on Wheels.” You see what I’m getting at?

    No one dictates where words come from, except those who first use them.

  9. Gabriel Says:

    Joe C: Jobs would LOVE to have monopoly in any market, you bet it. So don’t idiolatize Jobs because he would KILL to have 90% market share of ANYTHING (look how he is trying to defend the iPhone dominance in the US, by forbidding anything that makes programming once, deploy everywhere doable).

  10. Benj Edwards Says:

    Excellent article, Harry. One of your most enjoyable so far!

  11. Tom B Says:

    “@Tom B: You’re just the typical, Kool-aid-drinking fanboy that always sees Windows obsolete. What’s next, a BSOD joke?
    Hehehehehe ;)”

    If the shoe fits, wear it. MSFT has tons of bucks and lots of smart employees. The fact that after several decades of trying they have failed to release even a single “must-have” product really speaks poorly to their corporate culture/management.

  12. Torsten Adair Says:

    Not to be a fanboy, but… the laced drink at Jonestown was Flavor Aid.

    Now… how about comparisons to “otaku” and “Marvel zombie”?

    Also, you should trace the etymology of the word “fan”, which is “fanatic”.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fanatic
    “a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics.”
    This fits the current derogatory use of the word “fanboy”.

    Look at the origin of the word: “fānāticus pertaining to a temple, inspired by orgiastic rites, frantic…”

    Compare to: devotee, militant, zealot, (Click over to thesaurus.com and check out the synonyms!)

  13. paul Says:

    What this tells us is that PCWorld’s audience is mostly teenage bays and the advertisers who are being told Business Decision Makers read this publication are being robbed

  14. Harry McCracken Says:

    @paul: Hmmm? I didn’t say those messages were typical of PCWorld. Its forums get lots and lots of traffic, and such stuff by no means dominates…

    –Harry

  15. Harry McCracken Says:

    Jack,

    Thanks for the kind words and thoughtful comments. I didn’t mean to suggest that the OED should suppress the 1919 use of “fan boy.” As for whether Jay Lynch coined “fanboy” in its modern sense…well, his account has him coming up with the word based on “funboy,” and it seems clear to me that the widespread usage of the term in reference to comics, science fiction, and tech can be traced back to his fanzine. No Fanboy zine, no “fanboy.”

    One factoid I didn’t mention: Jim Engel, who used the word in Fandom Confidential, was a friend of Lynch’s and owned a copy of Fanboy. And on whether “fanboy” suggests youth–well, Lynch’s fictional fanboy Alfred Judson was supposedly an artist at Marvel Comics, so the notion that the “boy” meant immaturity rather than a particular age group was there from the start.

    Lynch wasn’t the first person to use “fan” and “boy” in proximity to each other. But if there’s any evidence that he didn’t come up with the word in its current sense, I’d love to hear it.

    Best,

    –Harry

  16. Mark Schryver Says:

    Your article raised one interesting question that it didn't address: What does "funboy" mean?

    Thanks,

    Mark

  17. Mark Schryver Says:

    Your article raised one interesting question that it didn’t answer: What does “funboy” mean?

    Thanks,
    Mark

  18. J. Harper Says:

    I guess 92% market share isn’t a must have product? What about one of the highest attach rates in the industry for xbox 360? How about Office? What they don’t have are people scrambling to buy consumption-only based devices. Only some people in the U.S. are willing to shell out the bucks for the ability to shell out more bucks. Apple owns that market, and they have the margins to prove it.

    “If the shoe fits, wear it. MSFT has tons of bucks and lots of smart employees. The fact that after several decades of trying they have failed to release even a single “must-have” product really speaks poorly to their corporate culture/management.”

  19. Watts Says:

    You mentioned being a TRS-80 user in high school, and this brings up an idle question I’ve wondered in the past: I was *also* a TRS-80 user in high school and college, and I recall there being a few text adventures marketed — I think by Instant Computing, but I could definitely be wrong — written by Harry McCracken. Was that you?

  20. Christy Says:

    I’m probably the only weirdo that would initially interpret “fanboy” this way, but…one of the hats I wear is “English teacher”…and the word “fanboy” jumped out to me because I’ve always had students memorize the acronym “boyfans” to remember the names of coordinating conjunctions for writing instruction. I am so changing “boyfans” to “fanboys” — gotta make it plural to fit the word “so” in there — and, therefore, do my part to ensure that this generation of youth can aptly sling the term around. :)

    I wonder if being a girl (such as I am) would protect a fanboy from actually being called out as frequently, even if she were guilty of being one, simply because it didn’t roll of the tongue as easily. Hmmm….”Fangirl?”…”Fanlady?”…”Fanshe?” :)

  21. Rich Says:

    Hey, don’t confuse Merriam-Webster with professional etymology! They’re just American English fanboys!

    (You do realize, don’t you, that Webster preferred certain spellings of words simply to be different from the prevailing British English spellings? And that teachers of British English fell for it, and ousted the Webster spellings? “Colorize” was, before Webster, a perfectly acceptable British English form of the word. A lexicon formed on such shaky ground — and the origin of the non-word “dord” — simply cannot be trusted.)

  22. Silvermoon Says:

    @Christy: The word "fangirl" is widely used in quite a few online communities (Live Journal is a perfect example).

  23. New Technology Says:

    Enjoy your photography hobby and remember keep experimenting with different angles and new lighting. Dont be afraid to get creative!

  24. Barnabas Says:

    Anyone notice that those guys in Fandom Confidential went out of style and now they look like a trio of hipsters on that strip.

  25. dholyer Says:

    Does anyone remember the 1980's and early 90's label for this type of person. I was at first into Atari's starting with the Atari 2600 Video Game in 1977 the Atari computers in 1980. Then traided all that in for a NEC PC comparable laptop. The term used by some was 'Techno-slut', but more common called just a Nerd thanks to the Revenge of the Nerds four movies in the 1980's.

    And before the 80's it was Spock something (mostly 4 letter names used for the something)

  26. IT Rush Says:

    I'm a big fanboy of justin, ya admit it. Hope he likes technology gadgets though besides his singing career..

  27. rxantos Says:

    My definition of "fanboy"

    Someone that has faith on a company.

    When you have faith, you cannot be reason with. You will also tend to defend your faith as something personal. And, as a religious faith, you will believe that you are the one that have the truth and you will also believe that everyone else that do not agree is misguided. Thereof you will defend your point of view against any reason. After all, you believe you have the truth.

  28. instig8r Says:

    "Apple Fanboy" Definition: Someone who bought a Mac before you did.

  29. Justin Says:

    It's not that there aren't great products from Apple, it's that everything they make is not awesome, unbelievable, cutting edge and a must own…unless you are a…

  30. Ty77 Says:

    I just want UNIX with a nice gui. Coming from Amiga it seemed like the best choice and I have never looked back. I've owned and used MS Windows based systems. If you want to see people who are stuffy about their computer choices, to a fault, work in an Australian Government IT office… they don't talk about why, don't argue or call names: "You get what you are given, and what you are given is MicroSoft" (period, end of discussion)

  31. lothinator Says:

    And Unix-based = more modern? You *do* realize Unix is like, the granddaddy of operating systems, right? It has momentum and the open source movement behind it, but definitely nothing inherently better. A lot of skeletoned closets. Also, Windows is basically BSD based, if you look at the license information and most of the development headers, BSD copyrights are all over the place. Microsoft just didn't *advertise* their use of BSD tech – which isn't required.

  32. J. Barrett Says:

    Three Apple engineers and three Microsoft engineers are about to board a train to a computer conference. The Microsoft engineers notice that the Apple engineers bought only one ticket between them. The Microsoft engineers ask the Apple engineers how they plan on getting to the conference. "Watch and learn," one of the Apple engineers tells them.

    As soon as the train leaves the station, the three Apple engineers rush from their seats and all squeeze into one restroom. When the conductor comes through the car he knocks on the restroom door and says "ticket please!" The door opens a crack and the one ticket is handed to the conductor. The Microsoft engineers are impressed, and decide that's what they will do on the trip back.

    Then on the return trip, the Microsoft engineers notice that the Apple engineers haven't bought any tickets. "How do you plan on getting home without any tickets?" they ask. "Watch and learn," one of the Apple engineers tells them.

    As soon as the train leaves the station, the three Microsoft engineers hurry for the restroom. A few moments later, one of the Apple engineers gets up from his seat, knocks on the restroom door and says, "ticket please!"

  33. Habib Alamin Says:

    You don't get it do you? Steve cares about the experience of the user. That's why he doesn't want that SHIT on his phones. Anything done once and deployed everywhere has to cater to the lowest common denominator.

    Usually, I'd get something like, "oh, sure Steve cares about you, he's just a multibillionaire laughing all the way to the bank."
    Keep on believing that. That's why Apple tech support is rated #1 in the world, that's why the WHOLE experience is awesome, from the buying online, offline, to the unpacking, to the using, even to the selling price. That's why Steve answers his emails extremely often, while other companies threaten their fans with lawsuits.

  34. open source fanboy Says:

    …"That's why the WHOLE experience is awesome, from the buying online, offline, to the unpacking, to the using, even to the selling price. ", LOL!

    someone drank a little too much kool-aide this morning! this comment is the ultimate example of a "fan-boy" argument. If you really believe that intentionally limiting functionality is in the user's best interest, fine. I disagree and we can leave it at that. But the fact is that Apple is trying intentionally through anti-competitive business practices to gain monopolistic control. Despite there being some good competition, the way they are trying to control media and encryption, and how artists and content producers get paid effects the whole industry. Quite frankly, content is more important than hardware and Apple is building walls and holding on but it's only a matter of time before they come down. Content is King, always. In an open society content must be controlled by the creators and not by the distributors. Am I a little Zealous in this belief, possibly I'll admit. But we get why you like Apple. We really do. Don't try to make us out to be "Trolls" or jealous. We understand that Apple popular with non-tech people because it's easy to use and you don't have to worry about incompatibility. We get that the user experience is simplified so that as long as you're ok with the funtionality that is pre-prescribed, that it's a good product. I personally have owned apple products sine the early 90's (when unlike today Apple fanboy = anti-establishment). I like them, but I like my Xoom better than my Ipad, and I would never in 1,000,000 years call the whole experience of owning an Apple product "awesome." Sorry, but it's just a product, nothing more. It's not that we don't understand where you're coming from, we do. it's just that you don't understand our argument. The assumption that if Apple didn't authorize it than it's "shit" is proof of that.

  35. Triso Says:

    I see you're also a Three Stooges fan, boy.

  36. anonymist Says:

    Asus must be so proud to squeak onto that list.

  37. habbari Says:

    I am really becoming fond of this blog, techwise, these are stories you don't get to hear in social media. Everyone's so into the latest fad, and history is fast becoming a distant memory.
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  38. James Says:

    So guys, is it a good or bad thing to be labeled as a fanboy of a brand?

  39. Dale Larson Says:

    Not sure how you derived your chart, but "Amiga fanboy" comes still up with "about 17,500 results" on Google… even though Commodore was bankrupt years before Google was incorporated.

  40. vegetable oil press Says:

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  41. Wood Pellet Mill Says:

    shovelling coal and greasing the points and signals on a preserved railway was a reasonable indication that the candidate was interested in railways.

  42. Panzrwagn Says:

    Way before any of the references noted there were 'fanboys' in India – they were the ones who waved fans for their colonial overlords in an attempt to keep them cool. The Indian term for them is "punkahwallah". I urge you not to try it out on the Indian engineer in the next cube over when referring to his preference for a particular technology. He/She will NOT be impressed with your Hindi in-joke.

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  44. ionut Says:

    nice!

  45. TomPeris Says:

    I'm enough of a fanboy to not only own all the comics mentioned above (shut up) but to also defend Apple as compared to Microsoft by saying HOW you reached the top matters a lot more than being there. (See: the whole MS vs. US / monopoly thing for details.)

    Also, sometimes some of the old argumetns never change. I remember when Macs were called "toys" because you had to click on icons to use programs (imagine!) and now some people say the same thing about iPads. SIGH. "Think different" indeed.
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  46. SUN Says:

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  47. TomPeris Says:

    Lynch may have been the first person to write the word, but the claim that he coined it is dubious. All language is spoken. The written word is the extremely temporary capturing of language. Again, I am not disputing that he may well have been the first to use the word "fanboy" in print. That seems possible enough, but, even if true, it's beside the point. The earliest know use of the simple word pairing dates back to 1919. All portmanteau words began as smaller words, and most every word changes meaning significantly over time. Take a look at the words "nice," "blurb," "pupil."

    The word "fanboy" has an extremely simple anatomy, a trait that it shares with a lot of other slang expressions. Dictionaries should be sure to include a reference to the zine, but fair is fair. Let's say I used a phrase in print, "car guy," to describe my friend, an auto mechanic. A century later, someone publishes a underground comic called "Carguy: Hell on Wheels." You see what I'm getting at?
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  48. EamesJ2011 Says:

    Being a fanboy is really great. It shows how dedicated you are towards the subject.
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  49. Copper Repiping Says:

    I'm a fanboy sometimes, I think we all are. It's easy to get carried away with supporting your favorites.

  50. Fill Out PDF Forms Says:

    What I really love about this post is how similar fanboys are to anti-fanboys or even those who just like to laugh at fanboys. We all seem to take our opinions to extremes when given the chance.

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  52. Pimples Says:

    It is nice article about fan boy.It is exactly.thanking for sharing such a good article

  53. Pete Says:

    Who is "fanboy" supporting for President? I bet Ron Paul! Or he may be a Wall Street protester. Hope we get an endorsement!

  54. Marty Says:

    Fanboy! I've been a fan for so long and you really deliver great Technological World and class. I hope fanboy is still doing what his doing until today! Go Fanboy! digital slr camera reviews

  55. PeteStrom Says:

    Your article raised an interesting point that I have never thought about. Thank you for telling me about fanboys.

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  56. Pete Strom Says:

    Technology does inspire passion. Look at Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates for that matter.

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  57. Office design Says:

    A fanboy is a fan (male or female, but usually male) lacking in social skills and expressing their fandom in obsessive and maladaptive ways. A fanboy may not recognize that other people do not share his enthusiasm, or may not value people who fail to share his enthusiasm, or be otherwise unable to express himself in a way that would be considered socially functional.

  58. john Says:

    Joe, got to agree with you. Ethics matters.

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  61. jones123peter Says:

    Technology, in case you hadn’t noticed, is a topic that inspires passion. When people like stuff, they tend to really like it.K.amagra

  62. jones123peter Says:

    At the end of Fanboys, when the boys and token girl finally settle in to watch The Phantom Menace, one turns to the group and asks "Guys, what if the movie sucks?"Bali information

  63. kellybrown872 Says:

    By then, I owned an Amiga computer, and was prone to prickliness when users of Atari’s ST line fatheadedly contended that their machines were superior to mine. But it still didn’t occur to me to call them fanboys.
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  64. jones123peter Says:

    A lot of fans are basically fans of fandom itself. It's all about them.corporate entertainment

  65. saad Says:

    Your article raised one interesting question that it didn't address: What does "funboy" mean?

    Thanks,

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