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The 10 things you may complain about (and five you may not)

As a service to you, our official list of approved blogosphere pinatas.

In baseball, everyone loves to complain about the Yankees. Unless they're from New York. Here in San Francisco, everyone complains about the cost of living and the bad schools. These are safe complaints, and it's fun to preach to the choir.

The blogosphere also has its approved pinatas. Beef about patent trolls, Vista, or the RIAA, and the current in the Techmeme river will pull you along. Me-too posts will pop up and link to you. You'll feel good. You'll be important.

So in the spirit of sharing (and Techmeme baiting), has compiled a list of fail-proof topics that will get the punditocracy buzzing along with you:

Blogosphere pinatas

    • Patents, Patent trolls, and the Patent office: The unholy cabal of anti-innovation. They're all bad, very bad. (And very good for raising the ire of readers.)
    • Vista: For the damage it's done to Microsoft and the PC industry in general, and for being a generally lame OS. Be sure to add that the Mac OS is better.
    • ValleyWag: Mean-spirited, not safe for work, obsessive. Give them back what they give out, why don't you? They have it coming.
    • The MPAA and the RIAA: For locking down your media and hauling your dead grandma off to jail.
    • Comcast: Because it's great at blocking the BitTorrent traffic that would otherwise feed a steady stream of ripped-off content to you, and for delivering multiple installation trucks to your house all at once, each with a tech who can't fix your connection. Update: Wait, they listen? Great! Complain some more!
    • The Cellular carriers: For walling in the garden and then planting only dwarf persimmon trees in it.
    • Mainstream media: For its cluelessness. Also, with envy, for the salaries it pays real journalists, and for not working its reporters to death.
    • Facebook: Spam spam spam spam. Zuck, what were you thinking with that Beacon stuff? And all those obnoxious spammy apps?
    • Guy Kawasaki: His teeth are too white and he builds cheap Web 2.0 apps (Truemors, Alltop) and then brags about it. Plus, now he has to buy his Macs at the store like the rest of us. Let's poke him until he cries.
    • CNET: The new media company that became old media. Our investors hate us, and Michael Arrington is going to carve us up with a spoon. We clearly don't get it. Everyone join in the fun!

So there you go. Get that comment river running. And before you tackle our list of safe targets, as a public service to you, we present this even-more-useful list of topics you must avoid:

Blogosphere sacred cows

    • Apple: Ooh, so pretty. And innovative, and Steve Jobs is a god. You do not say something bad about Apple, especially not about Apple's closed ecosystem, and most especially not in front of the open-source wonks who love Apple anyway.
    • Google: Possibly the most useful resource on the Web. Also the scariest company there is. Do not criticize or the Google bot (or its PR machine) will stomp you. They know where you live.
    • Linux: Cheap, open, and everywhere. And too damn hard to use for anyone with a life. But never, ever point this out. Linux = great. Microsoft = bad. No need for details.
    • TechCrunch: The Engadget of Web 2.0. While I'm at it, might as well add that you should avoid criticizing Engadget. Both sites have rabid followings, are edited by inexplicably angry men, and will cease linking to you if look at them funny.
    • Firefox: All hail the open-source browser! Those crashes and general slowness? That's the price of progress, son.

Of course, if you really want people to read your stuff, do the exact opposite of what we're suggesting here: Poke at the sacred cows. Sing the praises of demons. Everyone will hate you. And isn't it better to be hated by everyone than loved by just a very few?