Today John Siracusa announced that he won’t be making more OS X reviews.
Typically journalists or reviewers don’t announce that they stop doing something. They just stop doing it, and maybe explain it after someone asks them.
But John’s reviews were something truly special, and a lot of people on the tech world has lamented the announcement.
I think that the Mac community has always been quite vibrant and passionate, allowing detailed discussion. Crossing the line of obsession sometimes. In other tech worlds, the discussion is more cold and rational, even aseptic. Apple discussion has always been more emotional and sort of aiming for greatness. Years ago the distinction was quite pronounced, when Apple had a small and passionate group of followers.
Tech reviews tend to be on two extremes. Either too much spec and features enumeration, making them arid and boring. Or too much focused in fitting a narrative, talking about whether something is the best or the worst ever.
But these OS X reviews are the perfect combination of both aspects, and they remain the gold standard of tech literature.
John’s reviews are extremely detailed, even to the level of obsession, but yet they are easy to read and understand.
They present a clear exposure of new features. But add historical context of decisions, compromises and forecasting areas of improvement.
Siracusa has strong opinions in quite a few areas, but he’s exposing all the facts, and explaining his biases.
I can’t stress how difficult is keep you hooked and eager to read another 8,000 words, when you’re talking in length about filesystems, pixel alignment, background process handling or Finder performance.
I haven’t found anything that can be on par, though there are great writers writing about technology these days. I can read better reviews now than 5 or 10 years ago.
While I understand his reasons for stopping, and think we have been lucky to have them around for so long, I can’t help but feel a little sad.
I’ll keep following him in his blog, twitter, and of course on his weekly podcast, as well as collaborations. At least, John Siracusa keeps a healthy production that we can consume. I’m sure we’ll keep reading and listening great stuff.