October 20, 2019

How a Longtime Tech Editor Keeps His Tech Use Simple

I can reach reporters anywhere in seconds because we’re all carrying smartphones (I use an iPhone). And I can make sure those conversations are not surveilled thanks to privacy apps like Signal.

All of that would have been significantly more difficult 20 years ago.

When I started at PC Week, I was lugging around a monster Dell “laptop.” I didn’t even have a cellphone (remember pay phones?), and we used Lotus Notes for email. Watching Notes download email on a dial-up connection while sitting on a convention center floor in Las Vegas was painful.

How has tech reporting as a whole changed over the years?

At the beginning of the dot-com boom in the 1990s, the industry was so much smaller. The executives weren’t well known. People were familiar with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, but that was about it. There was more access. Now some tech execs are more famous than movie stars, and they have the armies of publicists that go with that.

The tech press was all about product scoops — new processors, new software, things that were working well and things that weren’t. I suppose that part hasn’t changed all that much.

One big change came and went: I was shocked by how many tech reporters took sides and championed the social media companies in their early days. It has been entertaining watching some of the writers who fawned over them position themselves as industry watchdogs in the last year or two.

Today, some tech companies are as influential in the lives of people around the world as governments. They should be scrutinized as closely as governments.

You refuse to ride Uber and other ride-hailing services. Why?

That’s not entirely true. I occasionally use ride-hailing services when I have no other choice, like when I’m going to the airport. It’s almost impossible to get a traditional taxi in my neighborhood in San Francisco.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/10/technology/personaltech/tech-editor-simple.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

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