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.
Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]
Amélie Lamont, a former staffer at website-hosting startup Squarespace, writes that she often found herself disregarded and disrespected by her colleagues. One comment in particular, though, set her reeling — and came to exemplify her experiences there.
In this episode of the Flash Forward podcast we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences? Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon We […]
Why buy one of those expensive and confusing universal remotes, clogged with enough buttons to launch a space shuttle, when you could accomplish the same electronic control right on your favorite mobile device? The Blumoo Universal Remote, now just $52.99 in the Boing Boing Store, harnesses the audio power of all your household equipment right […]
You may not love Microsoft Word, but you’ve definitely used it. Other than being one of the most ubiquitous programs on the planet, it’s been the go-to word processing system for more than a quarter-century because it’s as basic as it gets. But occasionally, you’ve got assignments that beg for a lot more options than simple […]
Almost everyone has their smartphone in a case of one kind or another. Beyond simple protection, finding a case that can charge your phone on its own, but doesn’t feel like it’s also adding a couple pounds to the phone’s weight is the tricky part. Billed as the world’s thinnest battery case, the ThinCharge iPhone […]