Dear Industry: Time To Rethink Attitudes About Age

Last month, I officially crossed the line into geezerhood.

Entering the land of Medicare as part of the baby boom vanguard has served the heighten my irritation at the tech world’s frequently patronizing, even pitying attitude toward what it regards as …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 15th, 2012
Sage logo

The Trouble With Open Source: My Sage Saga

At a recent conference of mathematicians, I heard a lot of talk about Sage, an open-source project designed to create an alternative to powerful but pricey mathematics packages such as Wolfram’s Mathematica, Maplesoft’s Maple, and MathWorks’ MatLab. Do I decided …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 14th, 2012
Windows 8 screen shot

The Windows 8 UI: Microsoft Makes a Tough Marketing Problem Worse

Over at ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley, master of all things Microsoft, reports sources tell her that having lost the name Metro in an apparent trademark dispute, Microsoft will call the new tile-based user interface for Windows 8 the Windows 8 UI. …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 9th, 2012
iCloud illo

Making the Cloud Safe for Consumers: Time for Apple To Step Up [Updated]

This has been the Year of the Cloud.  Apple, Microsoft, and Google, the three companies that matter most to consumers, have all been rushing headlong to establish personal clouds that will link consumers’ data across multiple devices, making it available …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 8th, 2012
Boingo logo

Boingo+Cloud Nine=Free Wi-Fi+Ads

Wi-Fi service provider and aggregator Boingo announced today is was acquiring privately held Cloud Nine Media, a Wi-Fi add network. The result is likely to be growth Wi-Fi services that are free- but supported by ads.

Free Wi-Fi is understandably popular …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 8th, 2012
New York Times illustration

Algebra Matters, But Not for the Reason You Think

New York Times, illustration by Adam Hayes

People who work with numbers, a group that includes a substantial share of the tech world, were understandably outraged by political scientist Andrew Hacker’s lead piece in The New York Times Sunday Review, …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 2nd, 2012
NBC Olympics logo

NBC and the Olympics: Why Cord-cutting Will Be Slow and Hard

NBC’s exclusive U.S. coverage of the the 2012 London Olympic Games has not, to say the very least, been a hit in the tech world. Twitter has been buzzing since last Friday about NBC’s delayed showing of major events, endless …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   August 1st, 2012
ZDnet screen shot

The Swedish Surface and the Pathetic State of Online Journalism

Yesterday, an obscure–outside Sweden, at least–web retailer,, published a page that purported to give the still unannounced pricing for Microsoft’s Surface tablets. The surface was quoted at a ranged from $1,000 for a minimal ARM version to $2,100 for …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 26th, 2012

It’s Not Just the Internet: How Government Built the Computer Industry

This week, the Wall Street Journal‘s L. Gordon Crovitz wrote a strange column decrying the claim that the U.S. government created the internet as an “urban myth.” Crovitz was quickly debunked by myself and many others. The truth is even …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 25th, 2012

WSJ’s Internet History Is Way Off

The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial page seems to have dedicated itself to showing that every single thing uttered

Robert E. Kahn (Wikipedia)

by President Obama is at best a misstatement. Today, Gordon Crovitz takes on the President’s statement that the government helped …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 23rd, 2012

Confirmed: The iPad Isn’t Good At What It Isn’t Good At

What is it about the iPad that moves seemingly rational people to say perfectly ridiculous things?

The latest example of this foolishness is Matt Asay, writing in The Register, who argues that because there are some enterprise chores that the iPad …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 23rd, 2012
Office 13 logo

Will Windows RT Include Outlook? Microsoft Won’t Say

Folks who plan to use Outlook on ARM-powered tablets, such as the Windows RT version of the Surface, may be in for a disappointment. The materials Microsoft released this week along with the Consumer Preview of Office 2013 were frustratingly …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 18th, 2012
Office 13 logo

Office 2013: Can Complexity and Touch Get Along? [UPDATED]

The new version of Microsoft Office, unveiled this week in a consumer preview, has an awful lot riding on it. The strongest claim Microsoft can make for Windows 8 tablets, including the Microsoft-branded Surface, is that they will deliver the full …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 18th, 2012
Office 13 logo

Very Quick Office Reaction: Getting the Cloud Wrong

I’ve just spent about half an hour playing with the new Office 2013 preview, so obviously this is a very preliminary reaction. There will be a lot more to say in coming weeks and months. But I do think that …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 16th, 2012

Customers May Have Forced Apple’s EPEAT Retreat

Well that didn’t take take long. Just a week after Apple announced that that it was pulling its products from EPEAT environmental certification, it reversed itself and said it would continue with the program and work with EPEAT to evolve …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 13th, 2012

Does Apple Hate the Environment?

Apple has had a complicated relationship with environmentalists. The company prides itself on its greenness in many ways, having been a leader in eliminating lead, bromides, PVC, and excess packaging from its products and building renewable energy sources for its North Carolina …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 12th, 2012
Daniel_Barth-Jones Photo

Can You Be Identified from Anonymous Data? It’s Not So Simple

For the past several years, a highly technical but very important debate has raged among privacy experts: How easy is it to identify an individual from a collection of data that supposedly lacks personally identifiable information? Those who say that …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 9th, 2012
View of Santorini

Smartphones, Tablets, and PCs: A Computer for Every Purpose

I’m fresh back from a couple of lovely weeks cruising the Mediterranean. In addition to providing some needed relaxation, the trip convinced me that we are truly living in a golden age of computing. Whatever your need, there’s a device …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 6th, 2012
Image of Declaration of Independence

Celebrate the Fourth with Warring Declarations of Internet Freedom

When the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia in 1776, it was rife with divisions: north vs. south, slave vs. free, big states vs. small states. But the delegates managed to compromise on a document that remains fresh, relevant, and revolutionary. …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 2nd, 2012
Price/earnings ratio chart

Further Thoughts on Apple and Investors

In a post this morning, Ben Bajarin speculated on what it is in investors’ thinking about Apple that keeps the stock price relatively depressed. Like Ben, I am not a financial analyst, but I think the mystery is even deeper …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   July 2nd, 2012
HP's TouchPad

Microsoft Surface Reveals the Cost of HP’s webOS Folly

With Microsoft’s planned launch of the Surface tablet, the full cost of Hewlett-Packard’s grotestque mishandling of the purchase and abandonment of Palm’s webOS has become clear.  HP’s Personal Systems Group now finds itself in the worst of all possible worlds, …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 20th, 2012
Picture of blank CD

An Install CD? Really?

Hard drive powerhouse Western Digital is getting into the home networking business with a new line of high-speed wireless routers, some with built-in storage, that the company says are optimized for streaming media around the house. I’ll be taking a …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 14th, 2012
Photo of Mac Book Pro

Does Apple Love PCs More Than Microsoft?

Does Apple, the post-PC company, have more faith in the future of PCs, than Microsoft?

Mac Book Pro 15 with Retina Display

The idea may seem a stretch, seeing how Apple’s business is now dominated by iPhones and iPads, but it …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 13th, 2012

Following Up: Equal Access To Television

At a panel on wireless spectrum that I moderated yesterday at the Tech Policy Summit in Napa, I raised the idea of repurposing the 294 MHz* of spectrum devoted to over-the-air television for wireless data. Larry Irving, former Assistant Secretary …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 8th, 2012

Was Winning on SOPA Bad for Tech?

I’ve spent a very interesting day at the Tech Policy Summit in Napa, but based on what I’ve heard, I’m beginning to think that the industry’s quick victory in killing the Stop Online Piracy Act this spring may be a long-term …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   June 6th, 2012