Recent writings

Here are links to a few pieces I’ve written that have appeared over the last week or so:

The Price of Free, in the New York Times Magazine, looks at how online video is beginning to reshape the TV business.

The San Francisco Chronicle ran my review of Ken Auletta’s new book, Googled.

As part of its online retrospective about the last decade, Newsweek has a brief piece I wrote about how the Google Guys have altered the way we think.

Germany’s Die Zeit ran an article I wrote about the implications of cloud computing.

Also, today’s edition of Le Figaro, in France, has a piece that draws on my ideas about cloud computing.

2 thoughts on “Recent writings

  1. Kendall Brookfeld

    I’ve only read the excerpt of “Googled” that ran in the New Yorker, but while I admire Auletta and read all his work voraciously, he seems to know next to nothing about the computer industry. In interviews on his tour for this book, he freely admits that the language spoken by Googlers is Swahili to him, but he could hand some of the fact-checking to any fifteen-year-old with glancing knowledge of this stuff.

    For example, he incorrectly describes the essence of the PageRank algorithm, even the basic outlines of it that have been known publicly for years. He doesn’t quite understand some of the business and (admittedly less important) technical details of cloud computing.

    Auletta wrote an indispensable long article on the Microsoft antitrust case years ago and even got the judge in trouble for appearance of bias in some on-the-record comments about Bill Gates. But his article contained a potted history of Microsoft and Windows that sounded like it was quoted from Microsoft PR, saying that Windows was an overnight success, which it certainly wasn’t. The irony is that the truth is actually complimentary to Microsoft: for all their faults, they stick with strategic products long after most companies would have given up. The first version of Windows shipped in 1985 and prerelease versions appeared in 1983, but it wasn’t until 1990, with Windows 3.0, that it was commercially successful. (And it wasn’t until Windows 95 that it ceased to be thoroughly terrible.)


    Having just read your article in the Atlantic : Is Google Making Us Stupid, I find it has also been a problem of mine the last few years. Then it kind of hit me, that maybe the glowing white screen, with the black words is the problem. As I put both my hands in front of my face, the glare cut down, and my eyes relaxed. I know when I write I don’t have the problem, as I touch type, so writing seems very easy now than it was with a pen.

    It could also be something related to having so much information at our fingertips that has made curling up with a book seem like were missing out on something else. I don’t watch TV hardly anymore, and even USA films seem to drag hopelessly long in time, but I can watch my Asian dramas, and films that are in hour blocks no problem. Is it because I am also reading the subtitles, as well as looking the media, and picking up the non verbal looks ? Does the amount of information come at me fast enough to sooth me, and to relax me with the story ?

    I miss reading my books. It seems as if it were another age, when time passed slow, and you could think about the information as you read it at your leisure. Oh, and yes even the length of the article caused me to start skipping along near the end.

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