Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Geek Wednesday: Recommended Reading About Tech

Geek Wednesday: Recommended Reading

Today we offer a few recommendations on where to get your geek on. Whether you write code for a living or use your computer for email and web browsing, the following resources are invaluable for keeping up on what's really happening in technology.

Slashdot: If you go noplace else for geek news and tarball fights, go to Slashdot every day. I read their newsfeed often, just to check out some of the "departments" that Zonk, Cmdr Taco, and the rest of the gang find for their stories. For example, Zonk files the story of the NSA brownouts under the "war-on-terror-doesn't-include-juice dept."

But make no mistake about what's there: this is real journalism, and these guys are true wordsmiths. The proof is in the geeking: you can learn more about what's really going on in tech from ten minutes at Slashdot than you can in an hour of searching and surfing. They have sections on politics, IT, book reviews, science, hardware, and more. But the best thing about the Slashdot editors and writers is that they rarely if ever take themselves seriously. Think of them as the Jon Stewart of geekdom (there is no higher compliment I can make).

Ars Technica: I read this online geek journal regularly because it features excellent hardware reviews and also contains one of the best Apple-related blogs I've seen (Infinite Loop).

C-Net: For tech news and some excellent political analysis of tech-related issues, this site is a must-bookmark. I usually spend a few minutes a day on it, though you could explore it longer than that for its extensive reviews, downloads, interviews, and video clips. My favorite among their writers is Declan McCullagh, who consistently offers quality journalism and insight, straight from Washington. And how many other reporters working in that town do you know of who even deserve to be called journalists?

Those 3 are the essential sites for geek news and insight; and you'll find plenty more if you get into it. I keep a tab on my iGoogle page marked "Geek", and have many tech sites bookmarked there. Here are a few notable ones:

  • Wired: if you like a broad reach for your techno-news, this is a great choice. Science-related stories of all types (many of which are also covered at Slashdot), and a bright, creative, glitzy interface.

  • Download Squad: fresh news about the latest software, all the time; and sometimes they break a story or provide a perspective that you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

  • Tech Republic: if you do a lot with Windows and MS Office, this is a good site to check out occasionally for articles, tips, and guidance.

  • PC World: I tend to get lost amid the thick forest of zdnet (PC Magazine), so to keep up on activities in Pee-Cee Land, I rely on PC World.

  • Times Tech: The New York Times has a very robust tech section that's often worth checking out. This week, of course, Mr. Pogue has been busy with his new iPhone. Like Mossberg and the rest of the reviewers so far, he says it's generally up to its pre-release hype. Maybe it's a sign of the fact that I'm shutting down shop here that I care so little about it all. Or maybe...well, never mind.

  • Engadget is where you get your updates on all the new gear, with detail that you're not likely to find in most other places.

  • The UnOfficial Apple Weblog: This is the best Apple-related site I know of, because they don't care who they offend, and don't mind tweaking Uncle Steve's nose once in a while.

  • MacWorld But for the Mac fanboys, there's MacWorld. Take their rah-rah Steve act with a grain of salt, and you'll find some valuable reviews and tips in there. Mac Addict is also good, too; I think they changed their name to Mac Life--whatever.

  • Linux Insider: if you're into Linux and aren't satiated by the Linux page at Slashdot, check out the Insider regularly. And remember what I've been telling you for about a year now: this is the next big wave in tech. Linux, not Intel-Apple, will re-create and transform tech in both the enterprise and consumer realms like no other merely corporate force out there--as long as it remains true to its open source roots and identity; for that is where the future awakening now stirs from its long sleep. So even if you don't use Linux or other open source software, it wouldn't hurt to stay informed about the development model that could well transform government, business, education, and society as a whole.
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