End of an Era in Mobile Tech Blogging as JK Isn’t Running Anymore

This is a bit of a personal post mixed in with some news. Some of that news is old news, some of it is new. So, let’s cover the news part first.

Earlier this year James Kendrick, founder of the blog jkOnTheRun, left that site. Earlier it had been acquired by the GigaOm network. Unless you have been hiding under a rock you probably know that JK has found a new home at ZDNet and continues covering mobile tech from there. That’s the old news. The new news is that you’ll no longer see the famous jkOnTheRun logo and slug line on the blog that used to bear its name. You haven’t seen James blogging there since December.  Kevin Tofel posts that the blog is undergoing a facelift and GigaOm is working to tie it more closely to its Mobilize conference and will continue covering mobile tech with that new focus. So, the blog now bears the title Mobilize. When jkOnTheRun became acquired by GigaOm in 2008 we all cheered and congratulated James and Kevin. Of course that was change then and this is change now.

All well and good, and as Kevin says the only thing constant on the web is change. If you live long enough and pay attention while doing so you realize that change is indeed constant.

The good news is that JK continues to have an outlet for his passion of covering mobile technology. But in many ways the retiring of that jkOnTheRun logo marks the end of an era. At least it does for me. Yeah, now I’m getting to the personal part.

jkOnTheRun was one of the first mobile tech blogs I followed and JK was one of the guys who I always turned to hear or read his opinion. I still do. Whether it was reading posts on the blog or listening to the podcasts with James and the late, and still dearly missed Marc Orchant, it was always a blast. I always looked forward to those podcasts as I did the Mobile Tech Roundup podcasts with JK, Kevin Tofel, and later Matt Miller. I learned a lot from all of that reading and listening and the beauty of it is I was always entertained while doing so. MOTR still is in my podcast queue though James isn’t a part of that anymore.

But it wasn’t just enjoying the talents that were shared on jkOnTheRun and the podcasts.  James and Marc actually helped me out when I started blogging. They offered great advice, corrected me when I made some bonehead moves, and even invited me on a podcast or two back in the day. Those were crazy days. Not only did we all cover Tablet PCs, mobile tech, and other news, but we kind of covered each other as well.  We often delighted in ribbing each other in a blog post or podcast or two. I ribbed JK continually after somebody (it may have been me) christened him the All Father of Tablet PCs, and I was merciless when Kevin joined up with JK saying that the two of them were actually the same person because no one had ever seen them together at the same time. It was all in good fun and we all shared some good laughs.

We all still cover the same beats we did back then, but we all cover them differently these days. And of course some of the folks who were blogging about Tablet PCs aren’t blogging anymore and there are a slew of new folks covering what has become that scene. That’s where that change thing comes in. Differently isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a different thing. If anything the difference is that we’ve lost a little of the personal and personality fun and games. But I’ll tell you what. If you follow JK at his new home, (and you should be doing that) you’ll notice that JK’s personality is still ever present in his coverage, and that’s what makes him unique and worthy of your attention.

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So, while this change has actually been taking place since December or so, I think this final change marks the end of an era in mobile tech blogging. But the beauty of it is, it also marks the beginning of something new.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  

Comments

  1. Steve S says

    …And that brings us to GBM. I can only speak for myself when I say that under the new ownership, GBM has changed. A visitor of today would come away with the impression that GBM is all about smartphones, with an occasional… very occasional… comment about other technology (mostly iPads). I’m not sure where the site is going, or why; I only know that there’s not much reason to visit, anymore…

    • Anonymous says

      Yeah, we are changing, evolving, morphing, what have you. Maybe I’m biased, but I think we’re doing so as the sectors we cover change, evolve, and morph. It’s tough to pin down what mobile tech means these days as the pace of all that change seems to be increasing continually. If there is a constant in that change is that we cover what interests the writers here and don’t feel like we need to cover it all. At least that’s my perspective.

    • Sumocat says

      Steve, no arguments here about there being changes at GBM, but I credit that to the changing mobile tech landscape more than anything else. I went from reader to writer, so I have a unique perspective from outside and inside on where the site’s been and where it’s going.

      At GBM’s beginning, the Tablet PC was at its prime. We had ink add-ons to Microsoft Office, such as TEO and InkGestures. Microsoft was pushing their Origami interface for UMPCs. Dell promised to change the industry with their XT featuring pen + multi-touch. It was a very exciting time. Fast forward to today, all of that is gone.

      We still have some great software, such as ritePen and PDF Annotator, but it’s a fraction of what it was. Microsoft no longer owns up to the Tablet PC and is happy to let everyone else think they’re not in the tablet market yet. And I think we all know which tablet changed the industry. The Tablet PC industry, which was never strong, has greatly declined.

      Meanwhile, the smartphone market has exploded, and there’s a new tablet market emerging that has grabbed people’s interest in a way we never made happen for Tablet PCs and UMPCs. My own wife, after years of living with me and my Tablet PCs, gave me marching orders to get her an iPad 2. Not exaggerating. Literally happened this morning before work. Yes, GBM has changed, but the world changed first. For me personally, I don’t like all the changes in the mobile tech world, as I’m sure is evident in my grouchy posts, but the only choices in life are evolution or extinction.

      The greatest losses have not been in the industry but within the community. Rob being sidelined created a big void in our guiding perspectives. I miss Loren Heiny’s vision and enthusiasm. And I made a mistake in naming Warner the “Center of the Tabletscape”. Looking back at the shift in the community after his passing, I think Marc Orchant was our true center. There is absolutely nothing to like about these changes.

      What I do like are the people who have been brought in to GBM to keep up with the world. Chuong knows his stuff. Adam has great enthusiasm. Josh and Kevin bring terrific work ethic, pulling double duty here and at Notebooks.com. Matt Faulkner continues to work behind the scenes to keep the site up even as traffic booms. Xavier has a new baby and still devotes an amazing amount of time to the site. And Warner, he’s okay too. GBM has changed, but for better or worse, so has the world.

    • ChrisRS says

      I would say that teh TabletPC world has changed. MS and thier partners have pretty much capitulated to the iPad and Android. Other than the HP Slate 500 (in hiding somewhere) and the ASUS EP 121 everything else (HP, Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo) are refreshes of 12 inch convertables. The only new TabletPC are atom/netbook based and pretty generic. There is’nt much news to report.

      I MISS THE FORUMNS GREATLY!!!!

      By the way, with regard to TabletPCs, WIN 8 IS TOO LATE!

  2. Sumocat says

    “I ribbed JK continually after somebody (it may have been me) christened him the All Father of Tablet PCs…” — Really? You forgot about my nicknaming phase, ‘O Center of the Tabletscape. ;)

  3. Alain Chappaz says

    I paid close attention to jkontherun.com for years, and have made *personal* purchasing decisions based on some of the information James posted. His reporting has been truthful, unbiased and very very accurate all along. I’m glad he has a new “ehome,” all right, but I too will miss the old site. Furthermore, as an old Tablet PC hand, I have to say I’m a little bummed about the so-called tablet gold rush. I don’t care about smartphones, and I certainly don’t care about a tablet I can’t use to do work on. For all the howling and moaning about how touch-centric Windows *isn’t* the fact remains that it has one of the sturdiest pen interfaces I’ve ever seen, and you can use that platform to create useful work in record time. No joy, IOS, Android or any of the others. (I use Froyo myself, but as entertaining a platform as it is, it’s Windows for me if I need to actually *do* anything).

  4. James Kendrick says

    Wow, thank you so much for your friendship over the years Warner. The mobile tech world has changed tremendously over that time, but the passion hasn’t. Thanks for this, and thanks for being there.

  5. Clchu85 says

    ………I don’t get the point of purchasing a blog just to give it a complete overhaul….. I can understand purchasing a chain of grocery stores then putting your logo over those stores, saves money on building new stores and competing with the other chain for the customers all that goes with it.

    But the internet is a different animal…. If James Kendrick is the reason why people were reading his blog, then James Kendrick leaves his blog, and, to top it off, the blog is completely renamed……, what’s the point? The old readers will drop like flies and search for James’s new hunting grounds.

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