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.
Neglected public payphones in New York City are being turned into “GuyFi” stations: a place where one can rub one out for the sake of “stress relief.” Annalee Newitz reports on the wank booths from a company named “Hot Octopus”… The company reported that at least 100 men used the booth on its opening day […]
You’d be forgiven for thinking the videocassette format long-dead, but it turns out that Betamax is still around. Sony is finally going to withdraw tapes from sale, bringing a 40-year story to an end. The last recorders were sold in 2002. ベータビデオカセットおよびマイクロMVカセットテープ出荷終了のお知らせ [Sony; via The Verge]
A leaked Comcast memo discloses that the company’s consumer data caps have nothing to do with network congestion, contrary to its public claims. The internet service provider has often complained (such as when lobbying against net neutrality) that it must impose limits on service to prevent network congestion. The argument suggests that these measures are […]
Plastic is so 2013. You don’t want to buy something only to throw it away or lose it and barely care. You like nice things and want to hang onto them. The Plazmatic lighter here is a high quality, high tech alternative to the typical cheap, plastic lighter you get at the old gas station. […]
Real engineers build things. Super cool engineers build things with their hands and fingers, like our engineering forefathers did. No idea where to even begin to do that? This step by step Arduino course is now 92% off and is going to get you up and running, from zero to hero, in no time. So […]
How do Google and YouTube really work? It turns out, Python kind of runs things around those parts. And with this bootcamp, you’ll get whipped into shape and ready to start programming yourself. Whether you’re a Python pro and just want to sharpen your skills, or a total tech newbie with little or no coding […]