Google Chromecast

Google Chromecast: Welcome to the Post-Nerd Era

Don’t try to be smarter than a smart device. That’s the main lesson I learned from an otherwise flawless first Google Chromecast experience. Chromecast is Google’s new entry into a dizzying array of options to cut (or at least seriously fray) the cable television cord. And like many things Googley, it’s very different from most… Read More

edu

5 steps to prepare your geek child for college

As caps and gowns are returned for deposits while freshmen are readying to be deposited this fall in the college of their parents’ choice, it’s time to do some preparation. Not just for any new college student. For the geek college student. When I was preparing to send my geek son to college, I didn’t… Read More

travelapps

The Geek’s Guide to International Travel

On my recent vacation to Europe, I traveled without folded maps, paper guidebooks and journals, or physical backup copies of my passport, rail pass and other critical documents. Instead, I relied only on my smartphone – even though it was disconnected from cellular voice and data service for the full ten days. Think of it as the… Read More

Bill Gates

Bill Gates at SXSWedu: The future of education is data

If there was a single nerdy subtext that Bill Gates brought to his closing keynote at the SXSWedu conference in Austin, it was the importance of data. Useful data. Education data. Gates, as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was the headliner to a standing-room only crowd of roughly 2,500 at SXSWedu, the… Read More

Public Information Kiosk's book vending machine.

Paper trumps tech at national library conference

I went looking for the digital future of libraries at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting this week. Conveniently, the conference was held in Seattle, near a couple of very forward-looking library systems that make eBooks, mobile apps and digital downloads expected, almost routine. But if the exhibit hall represented the near future for libraries,… Read More

FurtherPeterRabbit

3 ways digital media is turning us into 2nd graders

We are all regressing. And I have proof from an authoritative source: the state of children’s books. The underlying reasons lie in the digital means by which we communicate, forcing increased — and often unreasonable — expectations of speed and brevity, no matter how complicated the concept. My evidence for declaring this probable cause and… Read More

Flickr photo via Justin D. Miller

Here comes another tech bubble — in education

I’m the kind of guy who worries when something gets too popular. I looked askance at novels (especially science fiction) that made it to mainstream bestseller lists when written by otherwise mediocre authors. I avoided buying any footwear or polo shirt that was named for, or sported images of, long-jawed fast-crawling reptiles. When anything rapidly… Read More

piggy-bank-throu-16554407

Banks behaving badly: Dealing with a divisive digital divide

When a company providing financial services emphasizes digital convenience, you’d think that also applies to its customer service. After all, nearly every major bank and credit union pushes online banking, mobile banking, text and email alerts and electronic bill payment. But there seems to be a digital divide between financial institutions promoting digital and thinking… Read More

David Brin

10 questions: ‘Existence’ author David Brin on science fiction, science and geeks

One could successfully argue that modern geek culture wouldn’t exist in its current form without 20th century science fiction and its fan culture, the true Ancient Geeks. Tech’s unconferences have their roots in PowerPoint-free, volunteer-organized, fan-driven science-fiction conventions run by organizations such as the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS), which go back nearly eight… Read More

geeksguideairtravel

The Geek’s Guide to Air Travel

You say you know what it’s like to live like a geek. But do you know how to fly like one? I do. And not like the annoyingly self-important “look at these cool-expensive-huge headphones that I just bought with the red light that make me look like a Star Wars Cloud City administrative aide” road warriors…. Read More

geekwiretumbles

Two GeekWire weeks, three entrepreneurial lessons

Twice in the span of one month I did something I hadn’t done for a decade — worked in a newsroom. Those two partial weeks that I spent enfolded, tauntaun like, in the guts of GeekWire taught me more about the current state of journalism and entrepreneurship than a year of reading armchair opinions ever… Read More

eonbook

Science fiction writers inspired as asteroid miners make fiction fact

It was the very last question at the news conference announcing Planetary Resources’ plans to find mineral-rich asteroids, pull them into near-Earth orbit, and mine them. Did science fiction play a role? The response was an accurate, but unsatisfyingly vague, “Science fiction is fiction right up to the point that it’s science fact.” The Seattle area, which hosted… Read More

kindlefire1-small

Will a $199 Google tablet hurt or help the Kindle Fire?

Next to politics, perhaps no industry loves speculation more than tech. We may couch it as “analysis” or — if we’re being especially honest with ourselves — as “commentary” or “opinion.” But at its best, even when fact-based, it’s informed guesswork. Which leads me to the latest rumor of a Google Nexus tablet. Digitimes was… Read More

Photo via Bigstock

7 steps to raise a geek child

It’s inevitable. New babies are coming into the world. I began to notice this when former colleagues were no longer available for a chat, coffee or Words with Friends. Instead, I heard them use long-forgotten phrases, terms such as “t-ball practice” or “play date.” And I suddenly realized my geek acquaintances were producing little geeklets…. Read More

prius200

How car dealers embrace, and erode, the web

We may finally be seeing how business, when faced with a technological threat, adapts. Not by changing practices. But by waiting until it can develop antibodies to overwhelm the intruder. Twelve years ago, I bought my first car online. Routine as it might sound now, it was a Big Deal back then. The web (still… Read More

playfullearningsmall

Microsoft and education: lead or cheerlead?

In the Seattle area there is a powerhouse co-founded by Bill Gates, dedicated to using advances in technology to change education. And then there is Microsoft. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has, over the past several years, poured hundreds of millions of dollars into education reform in the U.S. With grants to, and through,… Read More

kindle79

When eBooks attack, mass paperbacks die

The mass market paperback is dead. It just doesn’t know it yet. Ailing for months, its demise is now all but assured by Amazon’s recent bold announcement. Not the over-analyzed, over-iPad-compared Kindle Fire announcement. Rather, by the far less interesting news – to the gadgetphiles – that the least expensive, wonderfully readable and portable Kindle… Read More