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.
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]
This week’s top deals from the Boing Boing Store range from lobster to wine to desk organization. 1. Get Maine Lobster (50% Off)With these discounted packages from Get Maine Lobster, you can experience the sweet, fresh flavor of world-renowned Maine lobster right at your own dinner table. There are four options to choose from, each at […]