By Stomchak (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Phished! Lessons learned from my smartphone stumble

When it comes to tech scams, in the immortal words of Antonio Banderas’ Puss in Boots, I have shamed myself. It was probably only a matter of time. Hadn’t I parried “Windows tech support” phone scammers to a draw? Damn, I was good. But that feeling of secure self-assurance slowly tipped toward cockiness at the… Read More

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Google Glass has to get real before it gets sold

When I saw that Google would hold the Seattle stop of its Google Glass open house tour at Sodo Park last weekend, I was impressed. Finally, I thought, the device that’s been barraged by public controversy will go out in public. Moms might pull over with their strollers. Old men might try them on and… Read More

Look to the app

Amazon: Education’s passive lurker gets aggressive

If you want to see the future of Amazon in education, don’t look to Seattle. Look to Sao Paulo. For months, I’ve wondered what Amazon’s strategy for the Kindle in education might be. Amazon’s presence in the K-12 school market has been notable largely by its absence. No grand, sweeping announcements. No blow-out presentations at… Read More

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First, we kill all the ‘futurists’

This is a tale of two keynotes. One, by a working scientist explaining the work being done in her field. The other, by a recycling expert dropping an inexcusable f-bomb: “futurist.” Don’t get me wrong. I am interested in the future. I expect, as inventor Charles F. Kettering once noted, to be spending the rest… Read More

Lyft supporters gather at a City Hall rally in February.

House of Cars: Lessons in politics from Seattle’s ridesharing saga

In this corner: We have a young, innovative company that says it’s changing the playing field, and making life better for everyone through innovation. This company’s opponents say it isn’t playing fair. In that corner: We have the government agency responsible for overseeing the playing field. The company’s opponents are calling on this agency to do something…. Read More

Photo via Shutterstock

Generational blindness: Is sexism in tech forever?

There are many things that seem stubbornly cyclical in their refusal to be resolved in the tech industry. Password management. Bubble valuations. Sexism. I’ve addressed the first two elsewhere. I’ve been hesitant to tackle the third, because it’s the most sensitive and frequently a matter of perception. Yet when it comes to tasteless, clueless, and… Read More

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The Target Tipping Point: How e-commerce trumped traditional retail in transaction security

The first weeks of 2014 seemed to bring reports of new data breaches affecting retailers in the United States on nearly a weekly basis. Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels and White Lodging (operator of several different hotel franchises) all reported data breaches or investigations into possible data breaches. A key point in common among these reports:… Read More

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Learn to code? No: Learn a real language

The “learn to code” movement may be about to run afoul of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Few (least of all nerdy me) will argue that learning a computer language as a kid doesn’t have merit. Grasping some of the basics of computer science by picking up a programming language is a great way to… Read More

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It’s all ’bout Seattle, boss: What do we make of this Super Bowl moment?

The Super Bowl clinched it: Seattle is having a moment. “We’re not just some harmless, damp dorks up in the corner anymore,” Seattle’s Lindy West wrote in Jezebel. “We’re winners now.” The Seahawks’ dominating victory Sunday has trained a spotlight on Seattle that the city hasn’t seen in years, illuminating our current culture and character… Read More

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Silly science and our Facebook death fantasy

Why do some people like to think that Facebook might die? Would they be relieved to be free from its grip? Validated in a secret conviction that it was never as big a deal as everyone said? Does Facebook’s death seem so impossible it’s become a kind of underdog to root for? Or is it… Read More

(photo by Ralf Roletschek via Wikimedia Commons)

The weakest link in data privacy is, well, you

Happy Data Privacy Day! The first round of credit card numbers is on me! Yes, this Tuesday, Jan. 28 really is Data Privacy Day in the U.S. and Canada, commemorating the 1981 signing of Convention 108, an international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. (In Europe, where it originated, it’s known as Data Protection… Read More

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Washington state’s Obamacare site better than most — but that’s still not saying much

Three-and-a-half months after the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, Washington’s Healthplanfinder website remains one of the better-performing health care exchanges in the country. Relative to other exchanges and taking into account how poorly the legislation considered technological realities in its design, our site still — as I wrote last fall — “doesn’t suck.” But it’s hardly without… Read More

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2″ x 3.5″ evolution: Business cards reflect our tech

All hail the lowly business card. For it is the most concise chronicler of the advances in communications technology. Despite calls for its elimination as wasteful in an era of phone bumping (or, in nerd-speak, Near Field Communication wireless data exchange) and e-mail signature cutting-and-pasting, the stats remain impressive: 10 billion printed each year in… Read More

Eric Levine considers the Cru Beaujolais. (Photo: Mónica Guzmán)

Drink geek: Four wines to please the geek palate

If you’re a geek, you probably like to think. Conventions annoy you. New things intrigue you. Puzzles beg to be solved. If you’re a geek, you might reward experimentation, loathe limits and have a soft spot for the uninhibited, the unexpected and the unexplored. So when a geek wants to close her laptop and open… Read More

KodakHDFilm

Four tech terms to forget in ’14

It’s 2014, and time to ring in the new and throw out the old. Old tech terms, that is: those made meaningless in 2013 by media and marketers. I occasionally rant about words that are overused and abused in tech (a popular 2013 noun, “selfie,” may join that group at narcissistic speed). But don’t think… Read More