Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tech as Tech does

If you read the Tech press, it's an Apple world. So far behind has Microsoft fallen it's a miracle they can even keep the doors open, much less continue to roll out products and pretty much dominate the computer market.

How can this be?

A large part of this disconnect falls in the laps of tech writers themselves, mostly likable writers with inability to cure themselves of Apple fever. A second issue is the ingrained techie need to be 'different', to pull away from what the "untech" public is doing and forge their own path. Most (not all) of Apple's social cache is there due to the fact that 93% of the computing world isn't typing away on a Mac. As a matter of fact, MOST computer users haven't even considered purchasing an Apple computer since the old Apple IIe Oregon Trail days of their youth. The personal computer battles are all but over, and Microsoft has won.

In mobile phones and music players however there's a different result currently playing out. Apple has come to dominate those markets due to the success of two products. The iPhone and the iPod w/iTunes. Compare that to Microsoft's Zune (the original, NOT the Zune HD which is stellar) and Windows Phone and you'll find the interface gap to be quite large.

The good news, for users of Windows devices, is that the gap is narrowing. Like any big company Microsoft is less nimble than Apple, they might not be as cutting edge but, eventually, they'll get it. And they'll get it at a scope that makes financial sense to companies and users of their products.

Which is why yesterday's Windows Phone (formerly Windows Mobile 6.5) roll-out was such a big deal....

At least it should have been. But you wouldn't have known it from looking at Dwight Silverman's ChronBlog TechBlog. Because, outside of a link in his link post, he didn't cover it at all. Compare this to his coverage before and after Apple's recent (non)news-making iPod update event. The difference is night and day.

Now, granted, Dwight is on vacation currently, and will be back to the office today, but wouldn't you think a large, relatively major product upgrade by the number one software company in the world would at least merit more than a link in a link post?

I understand that Dwight is an "iPhone guy" and that there hasn't been a phone come close to it in appearance and functionality in his view since the roll out, but for many of us (especially in the business world) an update to Windows Mobile is a fairly big announcement. This is news, and we turn to the tech writer at Houston's newspaper of record to look for it. (A Tech writer who's columns are typically informative and entertaining FWIW)

Or, at least, we used to. However, if the information contained on ChronBlog isn't information we need? Then we'll turn to other sources. For instance, Gizmodo and ars technica, both of whom provided good overviews of the system and its capabilities. While neither was excited about the upgrade, I still am, because it shows me that Microsoft is going to (hopefully) take mobile computing seriously. What this means for the future of productivity is limitless.

Lest it seem that I'm cracking on Mr. Silverman here let me finish up by making some final points....

- It's the job of the names on the masthead to decide that covering items such as tech news is worthy of significant resources. Given the tech nature of our current lifestyles, I would argue it is. One person is hardly enough to provide coverage of a wide range of products, announcements, expos etc. More is needed.

- When you cede an entire beat to one individual, you are limiting the perspectives that are allowed to filter through. This blog is a running dialogue between me and the reader, but everything is posted from my perspective. That's fine for a single-user blog, but not ideal for a major news daily. No one should begrudge Dwight his preference for Apple products, we should however begrudge the leadership of ChronBlog for only allowing one perspective to get past the firewall.

- I wrote before about the difference between non-partisan and non-ideological organizations and the importance of understanding where ideologies come from. The same holds true for single-person news information. (including this blog FWIW) Again, it's fine that Mr. Silverman is pro-Apple, It's not fine for ChronBlog to not have, or at the least link to, a pro Microsoft writer as a rebuttal.

- It's true that we're talking about tech, and that the horse may already be out of the barn as far as readers go. The important lesson though is applicable to a variety of sections over at ChronBlog. It's a lesson they don't seem to be taking to heart.

1 comment:

  1. ** At least it should have been. But you wouldn't have known it from looking at Dwight Silverman's ChronBlog TechBlog. Because, outside of a link in his link post, he didn't cover it at all. Compare this to his coverage before and after Apple's recent (non)news-making iPod update event. The difference is night and day. **

    Silverman went to the electronics show where the Palm Pre was being unveiled, and skipped the event despite pleas from several of us here in Houston to go check it out.

    Silverman knew best, as usual, and wound up missing the only big story at the show (which his newspaper presumably paid his expenses to attend).

    It's illustrative of the bigger problems at that newspaper, frankly. One answer might be to broaden/diversify one's information streams. The shrinking Chron's answer, of course, is to ban and ignore.

    ReplyDelete

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