rants

  • The BlackBerry Diaspora

    The BlackBerry Diaspora

    I’ve tried to avoid chiming in on Blackberry 10 but the past few days have brought us an excellent set of reviews and assessments of the platform and, now that I’ve had the chance to play with the device first-hand, I’m ready to say it: Blackberry did a great job, but it won’t be enough. Read More

  • Thursday Wrapup at CES

    Why CES Matters (For Now)

    It’s easy to hate CES. It’s a vapid, broken wunderkammer filled with booze, waste, and gadgets no one will buy for months if not years if ever at all. The show floor is a crass place where marketers try out ways to get into our wallets and manufacturers, caught in a spiral of “design-build-trash” have to pump out new hardware just because they have to pump out new… Read More

  • In Praise Of Dangerous Toys

    In Praise Of Dangerous Toys

    When I was growing up, my dad taught me that potassium nitrate, sulphur, and charcoal made gunpowder. He told me that you could add iron to the mix to get a red flame and that acids wouldn’t eat through your test tube. Then he sent me into the basement to make whatever I wanted while he read the paper. Read More

  • Video Game Journalist Out Of A Job For Calling Out Dead-Eyed, Dorito-Hoarding Journalists

    Video Game Journalist Out Of A Job For Calling Out Dead-Eyed, Dorito-Hoarding Journalists

    In the great, wide world of journalism, games journalism is a weird animal. Those who “practice” – and practice it well – face a barrage of PR perks, free trips, and angry houses. Access is given and taken away by marketing folks on a whim. There are a few great news sources (Polygon is one as is Rock, Paper, Shotgun), a few silly ones, and a few horrible ones. But on… Read More

  • Mr. Penumbra’s Out-Of-Touch Publishing Industry

    Mr. Penumbra’s Out-Of-Touch Publishing Industry

    Writer and “Media Inventor” Robin Sloan wrote an interesting book called Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore about an out-of-work web designer in San Francisco who goes to work at a bookstore. The only things fantastical about his novel, I suspect, are that the web designer, named Clay, is out of work and that he can find a book store in which to work. Read More

  • The Problem With Early Reviews

    The Problem With Early Reviews

    I’m going to let you in on a little secret: most of the reviews you read online are performed in a manner that you, as an intelligent consumer, would find abhorrent. I’m not naming names nor am I pointing fingers, but aside from a few very specific cases, your vision of a highly-experienced tech journalist sitting down at a workbench next to a Faraday cage and a drop test station… Read More

  • Hey, Guys, Remember When You Used To Care About Flash?

    Hey, Guys, Remember When You Used To Care About Flash?

    I wanted to take a moment to pour out a little Club Mate in honor of Flash on mobile and to point out that it wasn’t two years ago that the Flash/iPhone wars were top of mind for most people. Heck, even Steve Jobs chimed in when it looked bleakest. But, as we learned last year, mobile Flash was dead. Kaput. Deceased. No longer. Ex. Read More

  • Tablets Join The Long Race To The Bottom

    Tablets Join The Long Race To The Bottom

    Remember netbooks? Exactly. Two years ago netbooks could do no wrong. They were the future, a way to get work done on the go on a laptop the size of a paperback book. In the end, manufacturers saw them as a great way to squeeze profit out of a moribund product line. Sadly, I fear that’s where we’re headed in the tablet market. Read More

  • WTF
    Can Someone Send TechCrunch’s Fax Number To Vanity Fair?

    Can Someone Send TechCrunch’s Fax Number To Vanity Fair?

    Vanity Fair is one of my all-time favorite magazines — it publishes loads of incredibly well-written stories about fascinating topics and people. Its regular features, like My Stuff and the Proust Questionnaire, are always entertaining. So, I was pretty excited to get an email from one of Vanity Fair‘s publicists this morning, offering an advance copy of a story that will run in… Read More

  • The Meh-Too Crowd

    The Meh-Too Crowd

    It’s been a while since I came to Google’s defense but I think it’s time to talk about what an absolute downer it is to dig through a lot of tech commentary these days. The most recent example came after the launch of Google’s Glass project, a HUD for future travelers that will let us connect to our world in a fairly non-obtrusive way. Arguably, the product is… Read More

  • TL;DR: The Problem With Long-Form Publishing Plays

    TL;DR: The Problem With Long-Form Publishing Plays

    Last week, our writer Devin Coldewey wrote a 3,000-word essay on Google+. It got 114 comments. Comment numbers are a wildly inaccurate metric for popularity in general – some posts get 100 comments because they’re poorly written, sensationalistic, and/or just strike a nerve – but in this case 114 is a good number for a long piece on a relatively boring subject. On the same day… Read More

  • Check-In Needs To Work, But How Can We Fix It?

    Check-In Needs To Work, But How Can We Fix It?

    Remember Highlight? That app that everyone thought was hot stuff back at SXSW? I used it for a few days and then deleted it, discovering quite quickly that the app, despite some utility, was an absolute battery hog. But what Highlight did was prove that, given the proper scenario, check-in works and is important. What frustrates me most, however, is that we keep doing it wrong. Take this new… Read More

  • Pro Tip: Don’t Pivot Your Way Into Irrelevancy

    Pro Tip: Don’t Pivot Your Way Into Irrelevancy

    They say news is what happens to the editor on his way to work, so here’s some news: podcast distributor Mevio has apparently pivoted right out of the game. The company hosted a number of well-known webcasts including, for a long time, the late GeekBrief.tv. I used the service for about two years to host my own podcast and was quite happy with the service, as were a number of other users… Read More

  • Nobody Wins At CES

    Nobody Wins At CES

    Rather than do a CES pre-round-up of exciting products I’d like to address this interesting slant on the whole “massive electronics trade show in the middle of the desert” concept that has kept the Gadgets crew here up for the past few weeks. MG said Apple won CES. He was being snide, but, in a way, honest because, in the end, nobody wins CES. The Consumer Electronics Show is… Read More

  • SOPA, Freedom, And The Invisible War

    SOPA, Freedom, And The Invisible War

    While laughable in scope and reach (not to mention ridiculous in terms of potential enforcement) the Stop Online Piracy Act is seen as a very real threat to our freedom to, in short, surf the Internet. Although its ramifications are far more draconian than I’m letting on here, I posit that the government is the least of our concern when it comes to online freedom. Let’s catch up… Read More

  • Do You Hear What I Hear? Yes, It’s Paypal Stealing Money From Kids

    Do You Hear What I Hear? Yes, It’s Paypal Stealing Money From Kids

    It’s the holiday season, when a webmaster’s mind turns to thoughts of love and charity. Take Regretsy, for example. The site collected a bit of money and began buying and sending gifts to the kids in the Regretsy community whose parents were having financial problems. In this economy, that could be just about anybody and, the Internet being the Internet, there was an outpouring… Read More

  • Gadget Sites: Ease Up On The Watermarks Already

    Gadget Sites: Ease Up On The Watermarks Already

    Here’s a little inside baseball for you all but I wanted to get a pet peeve off my chest: all these darned watermarks on gadget imagery. It got pretty egregious this morning over at BGR where they posted some pictures of some purported iPhone 4S parts that (surprise) look very much like iPhone 4 parts. I was struck, however, by the plethora of watermarks boldly slapped onto the face of… Read More

  • Your ISP Is Screwing You: As Your Service Costs Go Up, Their Backbone Costs Go Down

    Your ISP Is Screwing You: As Your Service Costs Go Up, Their Backbone Costs Go Down

    In Japan, a multiple-megabit Internet connection costs pennies. I pay $99 for 50-mbps (and that’s really about 1 mbps (when it’s not raining) in Brooklyn. But why, you ask? Well, to hear cable companies (and carriers) tell it, it costs a pretty penny to get all that data to your door. Providers have to lease connectivity from the backbone and, as such, they’re forced to add… Read More

  • Welcome To The Post-Carrier Future

    For most of the last decade, the carriers have called the shots. Likened to “Soviet ministries” by Walt Mossberg, carriers had full control of their environment, from billing to customer service to device availability. There were four carriers and each competed on different platforms but generally handset manufacturers went to them, hat in hand, and showed off a crop of new devices. Read More

  • Dear Movie-Goers: Shut The Hell Up.

    Hello, fellow movie-theater patrons! I’ve got something to say to you. Not all of you, of course — but it seems the number of you that need to hear this is increasing at a ridiculous rate. You ready? Shut the hell up. Read More