July 31, 2009

Too early for a back-to-school gadget guide? Nah...

The last time I checked, it was still July (well, for one more day, anyway). But if you ask me, it's never too early for a back-to-school gadget guide -- in fact, I've already cranked one out for TIME.com. Among my picks: Apple's latest MacBook Pro, the upcoming PSP Go from Sony, a carpet-cleaning Roomba, a truly awesome-looking smart pen, and even an electric toothbrush. You can find the guide right here; click early, and click often.

Plus, on Yahoo! Tech this week: Massive SMS security hole threatens smartphone users; analysts still hate the slumping Zune; my hands-on review of the T-Mobile myTouch 3G; Netflix lets you add and even rate movies that haven't been shot yet; and (a holdover from last Friday, actually) one inventor's plan to turn the moon into a cosmic billboard.


July 17, 2009

15-year-old stuns media execs, readers stunned that execs were stunned

Well, I thought it was a funny story, anyway: the tale of 15-year-old Morgan Stanley intern Matthew Robson, and the media report (his, actually) heard 'round the world.

See, the precocious young'un wrote up a note about how he and his little buddies consume (or don't, as the case may be) media, including such observations as "teenagers do not use Twitter," and that he and his peers "cannot be bothered" with physical newspapers. Well, Robson's supervisors liked his report so much that they sent it out to their biggest clients -- who, apparently, were floored by the teen's frank analysis.

In my post, I wrote that it was impressive the kid demonstrated both the initiative and the stones to pen such a blunt, honest report, and asked any teen readers to do likewise. The response was interesting: teenagers were happy to oblige, flooding my inbox with hundreds of e-mails. Adults, on the other hand, took me to task for essentially asking teens to survey themselves, allowing freeloading advertisers watch and learn. (Indeed, I "should be castigated," according to one angry reader.) Another recurring theme from the comments: How stupid were Morgan Stanley's clients that they were stunned by such "obvious" observations as "teens don't read newspapers"? Well, I guess they've got a point there.

Also this week: The recession finally hits the video-game industry; the editor of the Financial Times predicts that "almost all" newspapers will be charging for online content within a year; New York City will spend a million bucks over the next three years for, uh, typewriters; and "Real Racing" just might be the hottest iPhone game I've played yet.

July 10, 2009

Hollywood looks to "Asteroids," View-Master for inspiration

In what's been a relatively quiet week after the July 4th holiday (well, unless you count the whole Chrome OS thing), a head-scratchingly odd trend began to emerge out of Tinseltown.

First, Universal snapped up the rights to "Asteroids," the classic Atari video game from the late 70s/early 80s that, so far as I remember, has neither a plot nor characters. Kinda strange -- that is, until we learned that DreamWorks bought the movie rights to the View-Master, the plastic 3-D picture-disc viewer that's been around for decades. (The creative geniuses behind "Transformers" and the new "Star Trek" movie are set to produce).

Now, "Asteroids" may lack a backstory, but at least it features a little spaceship zipping around the universe blasting rocks. But as for the View-Master ... um, I loved it when I was seven, but who was the one who thought it would make for a killer movie? (Oh, and while I'm at it, turns out that the film rights for "Battleship" and "Candyland" have been acquired, as well.)

Also this week: The New York Times mulls a $5/month online subscription fee (finally); rumors of Microsoft's so-called "Pink" phone project continue to circulate; no price cuts or streaming Netflix for the PlayStation 3 (or at least, not yet); and I got a hands-on look at the T-Mobile myTouch 3G.