Matt Buchanan sums up the careers of Walt Mossberg and David Pogue, the longtime gadget reviewers at The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Both men are retiring their posts for pastures new.
The industry that that the two men cover, personal technology, has changed profoundly since they began their long tenures. A billion people are on Facebook, and more than half of all American adults own a smartphone. Even the phrase “personal technology” feels strangely old-fashioned; all relevant consumer technology is personal now, and “technology” seems three syllables too long. Tech has become so thoroughly mainstream, gadgets so completely commoditized, that over the past several years new tech products of the sort reviewed by their columns have begun to feel positively mundane ... The point, ultimately, is that there is more need than ever for regular technology criticism in two of the most important newspapers in the country—but it needs to be deeper, and different, than what Pogue and Mossberg did.
Bravo. This is a point made often, but rarely so well. So I'd go even further, and suggest that our departing critical greats have already been replaced: by a small army of dedicated, obsessive, focused experts with interesting voices.
Technology is the mortar in the masonry of everything we do, from dawn to dusk, and the 'net's full of great writing. If anything, the Times and the Journal's challenge shouldn't be seen as discussing leaders, but how to do a better job of leading discussion. Even if the "New Pogues" are very famous and very well-compensated, the next great technology critic won't be a gadget reviewer. It'll be someone more like Matt: a skilled and sensitive narrator of lives made livable by technology.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]
Loot Crate is a subscription service that delivers a box of curated pop culture goods to your doorstep. To sample their geeky wares, you can order a single mystery box exclusively from the Boing Boing Store.Each month Loot Crate sends you 6-7 unique items and apparel, including collectibles, books, and t-shirts. Pulling inspiration from all […]