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Times reveals Forbes editor as 'Fake Steve Jobs'

Satirical blog's faithful take it hard, swear lives have been ruined

August 6, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - A reporter at The New York Times yesterday unmasked the man who had posed as Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs for more than a year on a popular satirical blog.

Brad Stone, who covers such beats as security threats and e-commerce for the newspaper from San Francisco, revealed the writer of "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs" as Daniel Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes magazine.

Lyons is remembered with something other than fondness in some parts of the blogosphere for a November 2005 Forbes article called "Attack of the Blogs," in which he accused anonymous and pseudonymous bloggers of "spewing lies, libel and invective."

"I'm stunned that it's taken this long," Lyons told Stone Sunday when the reporter called him out as the blogger who had taken on the persona of "Fake Steve Jobs", a.k.a. FSJ. "I have not been that good at keeping it a secret. I've been sort of waiting for this call for months," Lyons was quoted as saying in today's issue of the Times (free registration required).

Previous attempts to pin a real name to FSJ have nominated Jobs himself, Chicago Sun-Times technology columnist Andy Ihnatko and several other bloggers, including Owen Thomas, who now writes for the industry gossip blog Valleywag.

FSJ himself posted an entry Sunday titled "Damn, I am so busted, yo" that acknowledged his true identity had been revealed. Even in that post, however, Lyons kept in character, and omitted his name. "My cover has been blown," said FSJ.

Many of FSJ's loyal readers were not amused by Stone's sleuthing, and considered the revelation as somewhat akin to spilling the end of the latest Harry Potter book to someone who hadn't read it yet.

"Thanks for ruining something good. Hope you're happy," wrote someone identified as Todd in a comment to a posting by Stone on the Times' "Bits" blog.

"You just ruined my life. Thanks," added James.

John, meanwhile, said: "I'm now looking forward, come this December, to your front-page exposé on the real identity of Santa wherein you attempt to ruin Christmas for millions of children everywhere."

FSJ directed similar sentiments at Stone on Sunday. "Now you've ruined the mystery of Fake Steve, robbing thousands of people around the world of their sense of childlike wonder. Hope you feel good about yourself," FSJ wrote on his own blog.

"The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs" will reportedly move to the Forbes.com Web site at some point in the near future -- although so far, only FSJ has confirmed that.

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