Sunday Morning Reading: Mossberg Transitions, Big Data, and More
Today’s Sunday morning reading includes some interesting posts and columns that hopefully add context to our continual journey through life using mobile tech. I try in these posts to point up some interesting facts, opinions, and occasionally history that we don’t typically blog about in the day to day. As quickly as our devices, operating systems, and Apps evolve, so too, do the trends and topics around us. It’s often hard to keep up and just when you feel like you’ve got a handle on it all, the next new thing begins to have an impact. But the one constant in all of this, is thanks to the Internet we can take the time to read and discover what has been and what is going to be. If we choose to. Here are this week’s links.
Walt Mossberg has been known as the dean of tech journalism for quite some time. He’s leaving his post at the Wall St. Journal and AllThingsD to strike out with his partner Kara Swisher on a new, as yet unnamed endeavor that we’ll be hearing more about in the future. Like it or not, Mossberg has been an major influencer for quite some time now. I don’t think that’s going to end with his shift in venue. Here is a link to his final column at the Wall St. Journal in which he talks about what he views as The Top Products in Two Decades of Tech Reviews. And here is a link to a final interview he did. Both worth a read.
Big Data is becoming the big buzzword as we move further into the Internet of Things with sensors popping up everywhere measuring and tracking everything we do everywhere we go. But before Big Data was a buzzword, big data has always been collected. This week the US Senate released a report from hearings it held with data collection companies that yields nothing really surprising. Unless you consider the fact that the companies that take your data, package it and sell it, are extremely secretive about what they do. So much so that they won’t tell a Senate panel how they go about their business in some areas. Ars Technica has a nice article on this and also a link to the Senate report in PDF.
Technology yields advances that should benefit us right? Well, sometimes those benefits don’t look so beneficial depending on your point of view. This article, Almost Human, the Surreal, Cyborg Future of Telemarketing from The Atlantic, adds a new voice to the chorus of disapproval many sing about telemarketing. Responding to complaints that often targets hang up on telemarketers when they hear a foreign accent, technology is allowing telemarketers to use recorded bits of conversations to talk, question, and lead customers through a marketing call by punching numbers on a sound board. I’m guessing it works sometimes in the same way that I’m still mystified that telemarketing works at all. But when it goes wrong and the programmed voice clips can’t respond to a question the results can be quite funny as some of the clips in the article demonstrate.