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™ — 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™. 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.