Tag Archives: GeekWire

Independence from bad accessory support

Bad customer service is annoying. Stupid customer service is inexcusable.

Yet the latter appears to be the category Hewlett-Packard has put itself in with its handling of a proprietary — and required — accessory for HP Mini owners. “Required” in that if you want to connect an HP Mini 1000 series netbook to any external VGA monitor or projector, a common task, you have to own it.

And yes. I’m one of those owners, having purchased an HP Mini 1151NR through Verizon Wireless (and still under a two-year contract with Verizon as a result). Yet I can’t use my Mini for my upcoming keynote presentation at the EDVentures conference. HP apparently only sporadically made available, and now no longer sells or acknowledges at all, the needed and very proprietary adapter cable.

My experience spawned an email to HP’s CEO and turned into an open letter, as it illustrates a larger issue with computing technology industry practices. Read “A plea for independence from bad accessory support” on GeekWire.

When content is KING-FM

So what happens to old mass media when they start falling out of favor with the masses, or face a new challenger for king-of-the-media-hill status? I explore that, both currently and historically, in my latest Practical Nerd column for GeekWire.

My case in point: Classical KING-FM Seattle, a station with the dual challenge of an old medium combined with old content. Yet KING-FM is a radio station that has aggressively reinvented itself in the digital age while moving from advertiser to listener support.

As someone who spent part of his career in broadcasting, I think there are lessons to be learned by many in mass media. And by many who keep trumpeting its demise. It’s all a matter of perspective, and perception of what “old” media are: At a recent Social Media Club Seattle event, someone asked the panel if they now get all their news from Facebook and Twitter, or from old media … like blogs.

Read “When content is KING-FM” at GeekWire.

Three ‘secrets’ of the digital classroom

Call it the digital classroom nobody (or few outside the industry) knows. In my latest GeekWire column, I take my vocation — consulting largely to companies in digital learning and education tech — and identify three important trends that were woven into the annual Software and Information Industry Association Ed Tech Industry Summit in San Francisco. And make them understandable to, uh, mere geeks.

Because these three trends differ from what is happening in digital consumer and business markets. Yet they can be very important, due to the number of people K-12 education touches.

As someone who’s on the Education Division Board of the SIIA, it’s easy for me (and others in the industry) to assume a level of understanding about digital changes and drivers in schools among the general public that doesn’t necessarily exist, unless, of course, that member of the public also happens to work in an education institution or company. This essay attempts to bridge that gap.

Read “Three ‘secrets’ of the digital classroom” at Geekwire.

Update 8/5/11: The three trends have been expanded upon, with newer information from the Association of Educational Publishers’ Content in Context Conference and ISTE 2011, in the in-depth essay “Three drivers of the digital classroom” published in the Strategic News Service newsletter and archived here.

Privacy vs. stupidity

Over at GeekWire, I take on the sometimes understandable problem of people misdirecting their personal and confidential email. But where it ceases being understandable is when they purposely do it — and assume there’s no one at the “made up” receiving email address to read it.

In the past 18 months, I’ve received so much private info by misdirected email that I could easily cancel others’ travel reservations, close web-based service accounts and track down real physical addresses.

Curious? Read “Privacy vs. stupidity, a case study” at GeekWire.

New GeekWire column: Practical Nerd

GeekWire logoOver at GeekWire, I’ve started a new regular analysis and commentary column, Practical Nerd. The name is a nod to my take on technology developments: a little skeptical, a little sardonic and a lot interested.

My first essay is a look at the evolution and current generation of Alaska Airlines’ once-unique inflight entertainment device, the digEplayer. Read “Alaska Airlines’ digEplayer enjoys a long flight to obsolescence.” (Don’t miss the comments, in which Alaska responds.) I’ve also documented how the future of technology looks when seen from a well-known science-fiction convention in “A Norwescon vision of tomorrow’s tech.”

I’m pleased to join Todd Bishop and John Cook, GeekWire’s co-founders, in their new venture (earlier, I’d been a frequent guest commentator when they were at TechFlash.com). For those keeping track, this is my fourth regular tech analysis and commentary column in the past two decades, starting with Byte Me in Seattle Weekly & Eastsideweek, a revived Byte Me on KCPQ-TV Seattle’s Q13.com, and Ctrl-Alt-Frank in the Puget Sound Business Journal.