Tag: technology

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Why I Don’t Attend CES

Consumer Electronics Show officially starts on January 6, but, as is customary, evening-the-night-before keynote kicks off the trade show, on what I call Day 0. Not that many vendors wait, and for good reasons. CES is such a cacophony of product announcements early is the only way to assure news coverage. Hehe, if any.

I haven’t flown to Las Vegas since 2008 and, yes, celebrate my seventh year kicking CES to the curb. It’s not worth my time or money. The news value is null. (Although I might feel differently if writing for a high-traffic tech blog where geek readers can’t get enough information fast enough about the next, new thing.  Audience matters. Write for it.) The press meetings rarely yield meaningful relationships, because you’re just one of many reporters that vendors grope for attention (CES 2014 official number of news media attendees: 6,575). Deals are made at the show, and for the companies or venture capitalists making them there is huge value rarely seen behind the mayhem. But I’m no rainmaker, just a lowly journalist. 

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I Started Tech Reporting 20 Years Ago

Sometimes I joke about working my way down from editor to reporter. In autumn 1993, I was employed by a now defunct general interest magazine, commissioning, editing, and processing stories—the whole gamut right through design and pagination. For five years a note hung over the light switch to my workspace: “What’s the point?” It’s the question I asked when reading every story, many of them from academics who never seemed capable of making a point or just getting to one.

My career path changed after reading “The Future is Now” by Kate McKenna in what was then called Washington Journalism Review. The lede cajoled: “The last time newspapers were this interested in new technology, they were looking for ways to keep the ink from rubbing off on their readers’ hands. Now they’re exploring how a newspaper can survive, even thrive, without ink—and maybe without paper”. She convinced me the Internet would irrevocably change publishing. 

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The Five-Year Plan

Lots of people are probably digging under rocks trying to uncover what will be the next, big, earthshaking technology trend. I won’t say, but I will offer an observation about reading the signs.

The first CD players started selling in the United States in 1983. By 1988, CDs surpassed vinyl records’ popularity (See Wikipedia, Gramaphone Record). Another two or three years would pass before music CDs reached mass-market dominance.