I’m a best-selling author and Neal Award recipient, known primarily in recent years for writing about Macs, iOS devices, and other high-tech topics. Since 2007, I’ve been honored to be among the MacTech 25 (the 25 people voted most influential in the Mac community). Regardless of the subject matter or the medium, I enjoy taking complicated topics, researching them thoroughly, and explaining them in simple terms nearly anyone can understand. (You can see a list of pretty much everything I’ve written, plus reviews, interviews, and audio & video podcasts, on my publications page.)
Among the other hats I wear are dad, husband, editor, computer geek, cook, punster, amateur scientist, storyteller, dreamer, and Curator of Interesting Things. I like to think of myself as a generalist rather than a specialist. I lived in Paris from 2007 to 2012, but now reside in San Diego with my wife, Morgen Jahnke, our two-year-old son, Soren (who was born in Paris), and our cat, Zora. My 20-year-old son, Ben, lives in Ohio.
I make my living primarily writing books, ebooks, and articles about Apple products and the internet (with the occasional foray into unusual topics such as cooking Thanksgiving dinner). I’m a Senior Editor of TidBITS, the world’s longest-running internet publication, and a Senior Contributor to Macworld. I occasionally write and perform technical editing for other publishers too. I’m also the instigator of Interesting Thing of the Day, which I still hope to bring back to life in some form one of these days…as well a few other sites (all published under the auspices of “alt concepts”) that are now, for all practical purposes, defunct: SenseList, The Geeky Gourmet, and Truffles for Breakfast.
On my blog (“I Am Joe’s Blog”), I theoretically write about anything of interest to me that doesn’t fit better on either Interesting Thing of the Day or TidBITS—although I’m typically busy all the time, so weeks or months often pass between posts. Sorry.
The blog’s name is a pun on I Am Joe’s Body, a book based on a series of articles in Reader’s Digest that described “Joe’s” (and “Jane’s”) anatomy from the viewpoint of anthropomorphic body parts (I am Joe’s heart, etc.). Shortly after my first book was published, Tonya Engst reviewed it in TidBITS and titled her review I Am Joe’s Book.
I was born in McKeesport, a small city in western Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, and at various times have lived in California, New York, Texas, Vancouver (British Columbia), and Paris. I have a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.A. in Linguistics, though during grad school my career took a surprising turn into the field of computers. I previously worked as software development manager at Kensington Technology Group and product manager at Nisus Software.
It would be fair to say I’m interested in just about everything, but the non-work activities to which I devote the most time include: talking and laughing with Morgen, playing with my son, watching movies and (good) TV, walking, drinking appalling amounts of really good coffee, cooking, traveling, and reading. I’m also (in theory, or historically) a practitioner of t’ai chi, though that’s become less of a priority in recent years.
I prefer Macs to PCs. I usually write in purple ink. When I grow up, I want to be a mad scientist. (I’m already halfway there, although which half is open to interpretation.)
As an outspoken introvert with a perpetually full plate, I spend very little time on social networking sites, so in general they’re not the best places to keep up with me. But, for what it’s worth, I do have pages at:
Of these, I pay the most attention to Twitter (@joekissell), and I try to check in on Facebook once a week or so. But please note that I use Facebook primarily for actual friends and family, so if you don’t know me in real life and send me a friend request, I hope you won’t take it personally if I ignore it.