July 30th, 2010  |  Published in etc  |  5 Comments

Apropos yesterday’s “Four Things You Think When You Read Headlines Like This“:

My feelings about tech columnists gain some clarity whenever I’m away from tech commentary for a spell, like I was while I was on vacation last week. There’s a certain amount of tech writing I have to read because it’s my job, and a certain amount I do because I like to keep up with what’s happening with stuff I like to use. It’s kind of hard to disentangle the straight news/reporting from the commentary, though.

When I’m on vacation and away from the tech stuff I’d probably be fiddling with, I tend to “mark all as read” most of the tech writing then never go back to see what I missed. Once I get back and begin to read new stuff coming in, I get frustrated because so much of it isn’t very good and I have to readapt the mental filters I apply to ignore the likely chaff.

So today I’m going to experiment with eliminating all of it from my RSS reader and Google News page except the professionally mandated stuff (which is a pretty narrow field) and maybe a few security update sites. Consumer tech, though? Gone. If it’s not something I use, I don’t want to read about it. If it is something I use, I don’t need a columnist telling me what to think about it. If I need to know something, I’ll just go looking. Passively setting up trawls and then sifting through whatever gets caught up in a few keyword searches or catches the fancy of tech bloggers is for the birds.


“Isn’t very good” is pretty subjective, so here are a few of the things that set me off:

  • the aforementioned “{thing}-killer” mode of writing

  • meta-commentary (“I am using this here thing I just got to tell you about how awesome this here thing I just got is so awesome”)

  • “I have decided to …” (“return this device” is a big one, but also assorted switcher narratives)

  • almost any writing about social networking. Social networking itself is cool. Writing about social networking is boring. Crabbing about social networking is sad and boring.

  • advocate-baiting (“I wrote 600 words about why Ubuntu sucks and now all the Ubuntu fanatics are being mean to me because they suck just like Ubuntu, which sucks.”)

  • “I was wrong about {thing},” mostly because I seldom have read the person being wrong in the first place (how many tech columnists do you make it a point to follow specifically and regularly?), which tells me I didn’t know to care whether they were right or wrong to begin with.


  1. jmignault says:

    July 30th, 2010 at 11:41 am (#)

    Does this mean a (gasp) Gruberectomy?

  2. mph says:

    July 30th, 2010 at 11:47 am (#)

    Oh yeah … most definitely. I’m “jackassed” and “claim chowdered” out.

  3. Charlie says:

    July 30th, 2010 at 2:17 pm (#)

    Why are you saying Ubuntu sucks? OMG.

  4. The Things Make Us Stupid II :: dot unplanned says:

    August 3rd, 2010 at 4:03 pm (#)

    […] Re: the Great Tech Purge: […]

  5. Split Reading :: dot unplanned says:

    December 27th, 2010 at 5:56 pm (#)

    […] my July tech purge, about which I wrote: “So today I’m going to experiment with eliminating all of it […]

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