Four solid tech-news sites I use regularly

Back in the early days of blogging, before podcasting and Twitter and all this new fangled stuff, there was a trend amongst bloggers to occasionally do posts about the sites that have all the cool tech listings and news, as well as the cool people behind the sites.

These days, on Twitter, that kind of a shout out is formalized as #followfriday, or #ff for short.

I think it’s a shame that this trend has fallen by the wayside on blogs, so I’m going to do my small part to give it a kickstart by sharing a few of the blogs, bloggers and sites that keep me doing my thing.

Techmeme – likely one of the biggest names in tech news:

Techmeme arranges all of these links into a single, easy-to-scan page. Story selection is accomplished via computer algorithm extended with direct human editorial input.

Our goal is for Techmeme to become your tech news site of record.

For me, Techmeme is the pulse of Tech as it happens. Good to check in to, every couple of hours or so 🙂

Lifehacker – cool tricks and hacks to make your daily life a bit easier:

an award-winning daily blog that features tips, shortcuts, and downloads that help you get things done smarter and more efficiently.

Mashable – a great resource for tech news that matters. Usually first to have news and relevant commentary.

Mashable is the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Media news. With more than 15 million monthly pageviews, Mashable is the most prolific blog reviewing new Web sites and services, publishing breaking news on what’s new on the web and offering social media resources and guides.

Ars Technica – a little slow with the breaking news, but awesome when it comes to detailed analysis of news and issues.

At Ars Technica—the name is Latin-derived for the “art of technology”—we specialize in original news and reviews, analysis of technology trends, and expert advice on topics ranging from the most fundamental aspects of technology to the many ways technology is helping us enjoy our world. We work for the reader who not only needs to keep up on technology, but is passionate about it.

So these are a few of my prime resources, what’re yours? Which sites are your must-go-to sites when you need to find out more about a tech topic?

Brad’s first blog contest – backup horror stories

And we’re done. I’ve received some excellent entries in the Backup Horror Story contest. Give ’em a read below, and feel free to add your comments too. And of course, feel free to share your horror story too, but sadly, this contest is closed.

Welcome to the first (of hopefully) many contest I’d like to run on my blog. I’ve been doing this tech-writing thing for a while now, but I’ve always been looking for ways to more closely engage with you. I think I may have found it with this style of contest — I get you to write for me. It’s ok, I have prizes 🙂

I’ll get to the details in a moment, but first let me frame the scenario: Backup Horror Stories.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all, at one time or another, lost some important piece data; your digital photo collection or music collection. Perhaps you’re a writer and all your ‘in progress’ manuscripts are now toast. You’ve lost data. No external copy or backup available. Poof! Done!!

That’s the scenario, now the details:

The Prizes and Sponsor
Clickfree – a cool Canadian company that specializes in no-brainer backup solutions is sponsoring this contest and has given me a few Clickfree Transformer SEs for this contest. Since Clickfree is all about simple backups, the theme of the contest kinda suggested itself 🙂

In the past, I’d reviewed Clickfree’s C2 Portable Backup drive – a solid unit. The TransformerSE we’re giving away in this contest uses similar technology, only you provide the USB drive. Here’s the official company line on the TransfomerSE:

The Clickfree Transformer SE (Special Edition) turns any USB hard drive, iPod, or iPhone into a simple automatic backup solution for your computer. Just connect the Transformer SE to your computer, then connect the USB hard drive, or iPod/iPhone via USB into the Transformer SE. Backup will start automatically onto the available free space of the connected product, whether it is a 3rd party hard drive, or an iPod/iPhone.

I will be doing a full review of the Clickfree TransformerSE very soon, but don’t let that stop you from entering the contest.

To enter:
Take your worst / best backup horror story and write-up a comment to this page that describes a data loss horror story that was averted or would have been prevented if you had a trusty recent backup. That simple.

Important: If you’ve not commented here before, your comment may be held in moderation until I can authorize it. No worries, I do this daily.

The Rules:
I’m keeping this fun, so the rules are simple.

1) It’s a blog comment contest – tell me your story in a comment to this page using the form below. Anyone can enter. Only comments entered into the comment form below on this page will be eligible.
2) After that you post a comment, let me know through a private email notification to me (via this in-blog contact form). It’ll let me know you’ve entered and be sure to provide a valid email address for follow-up should your entry be selected. No, I won’t sell or spam you..the email address is to be used ONLY for this contest. After the contest, all email entries will be deleted.
3) Top 3 comments will be selected for a prizes. I’m not sure what criteria I’ll use to judge yet. Maybe the funniest, most dramatic, most potential for loss-of-life, I don’t know. Maybe the most support from other commentors (get your friends to help out!). But there will be three, and I’ll write about them in a follow-up post.
4) Random draw for a few more prizes. It’ll be random.
5) Winners notified within a week, delivery within a month via Canada Post.
6) The contest starts now (March 1, 2010) and runs until Midnight, March 31, 2010. Timestamp of the blog and corresponding email to me will determine entry date and time.

Bonus Prize: Everyone Wins
Ok, now this is also very cool. For the month of March, the fine folk at Clickfree have also authorized a discount code for orders on their site. Place any order, use this code ( Grier10 ) and they knock 15% off the price of your order.

The Tablet Cometh: Some thoughts on Apple’s announcement

Next Wednesday, Apple will host one of the most anticipated technology announcements of the year, perhaps of this still-fresh decade.

The reason for this level of attention is that everyone anticipates that Apple will re-launch a device that the industry has been trying to make work for 20 years — the Tablet computer.

As some pundits predict, this could be the thin-edge-of-the-wedge that will change the publishing industry. Think eBooks, newspapers and magazines:

If the tablet does emphasize ebooks the way analysts expect it to, we can only hope that Apple helps show publishers The Way in a future version of the iPhone SDK, similar to Amazon’s active content Kindle development kit (KDK) announced yesterday. If the tablet succeeds in its arena, the way the iPhone has before, authors and publishers will be able to Publish Different.

The currently leading name for the device is the iSlate – based on some clever detective work that uncovered Apple ownership of the domain name:

… was registered to Apple in 2007, through an intermediary (to disguise its true owner). At the moment, that domain doesn’t seem to lead anywhere—and there are a couple explanations.

And, earlier this month,  coincidentally coinciding with CES and the plethora of Tablet, Slate, Pad announcements from other hardware vendors, Apple announced Wednesday’s event, apparently leaked business and product production information, and generally kicked the hype level up a notch.

And frankly, I hope Apple does release a Tablet. This kind of technology has the ability to change (again) how we work and think about distributed computing tech. making it more mobile and  creating new modes for consuming and interacting with content.

And yes, I’ll be paying attention to the event and posting my thoughts shortly afterward.

A collection of my desktop images

Recently I’ve been reorganizing my image libraries, and came across a few that I’ve used as desktop images.

I don’t claim to have shot all these, just modified them from their original size to fit my desktop.

Rather than having them all over the blog, I’ve built a page to host them

So if you’re interested in seeing some images I’ve been using to décorate my desktop, then click on through.

I get a new label

The following post is a QuickHit(tm) — an article or post I found online and thought was important enough to share directly with you. Of course, you’ll see my thoughts or opinions prepended or appended to this post, otherwise I’m just scraping content, and that’s not the intent.

According to this article on MarketingDaily, I’m a Techfluential…though I could be a bit ‘old’ 🙂

Technology and electronics marketers may want to begin 2010 targeting a small but influential group of consumers who have some undue weight when it comes to influencing the purchases of others.

According to David Krajicek, managing director of technology with GfK Custom Research North America, this group of “techfluentials” is made up of highly connected individuals (indexing mostly under 30) who like to share their opinions about products that make their lives easier.

Or am I just an opinionated guy that likes to talk tech?



You’ve just read a QuickHit(tm). Thanks! And don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Blogging at 31312 ft.

As I write wrote this I‘m was cruising along at 485 mph, just over 30,000 ft. Over the Rockies.

This vista was shot with my digital camera, and wirelessly uploaded to my flickr account.

Sure beat's inflight movies!

The tech that let’s me post this (delayed, as my airline doesn’t have in-flight wi-fi yet) is pretty commonplace these days — but would have been science fiction just 5 years ago:

  • iPod touch
  • WordPress iPhone app
  • digital camera
  • eye-fi network camera card

The mélange of this hardware and software ( note, no laptop in the mix ) let’s me create something, gather the elements and produce the content while still in the environment — I’m not tied to a computer in a workplace or residence.

In this case, this post will be completed and posted once I find a wi-fi hotspot.

If I had used an iPhone, I could have simply posted it using my cellular data plan, but i’m in Canada where these are kinda pricy, so I make due.

But this type of live journalism is now a reality for many. I’m cool with my near-live ability, your local TV, Radio and print newsrooms will all be adopting some varient of this in the near future. They have to, or they won’t be around very much longer.

Think of it as Darwinism for the news media. I’m curious what kind of mutation will survive 🙂

A great tool if you’re writing on a deadline

All righty then. Just finished up a cool conversation with a dude that I have to meet with later to figure out some stuff.

Now, I guess I’ll keep plugging away at writing, nay, testing Write or Die, a timing and wordcount interface that helps focus your writing by imposing limitations and consequences on your writing.

I’ve not bumped into the consequences yet, but I have bumped into the limitations.

– it’s hard to spellcheck.
– no other formatting commands, it’s all about getting the words out of your head and on the screen
– Oh, hey, the screen turned red when I paused for thought. Cool.. Just to let me know that I shouldn’t do that, I guess.

Now then, this test is only a 200 wordcount test, and I set a time limit of 10 minutes to write it.

At this point, including the 3 minutes of conversation that occured after I launched the app, but before I started actual writing, I’m at 159 words and about 4 minutes remaining. I should be able to make the deadline…maybe.

Wow, one thing I do notice; all this concentrated writing is causing me to notice my wrists. Usually my writing style is more thoughtful and casual, but right now I’m just spewing…oh, hey, I just made 200 words, with about 3 minutes to spare.

Well, I won’t edit this too much; I’ll just paste it in as is, and let it be an example of work created with Write or Die.

After writing using this tool, here’re some thoughts:
– Yes, I’d use it again
– My wrist is kinda sore right now
– It could use some additional editing / layout features
– Anything written using Write or Die *must* be edited…typing spew is not good reading

26 seconds left – copy to clipboard just in case 🙂 Saving now.