I don't accept any money, free products, or anything else of value from the companies whose products I cover or from their public relations or advertising agencies.
My first computers were a Timex Sinclair and an Apple II.
I wrote a lot about the need for an information appliance. I think we've pretty much arrived at one: the iPad. A child could figure out how to use it quickly. Compare it to a DOS computer or even an Apple II; it's no longer nearly as much of a hassle or a mystery.
Though many people mistakenly credit IBM with the first PC in 1981, the Apple II came out four years earlier, in 1977.
In 2007, everything changed with the iPhone. As crippled as that first model now seems, with its lack of apps and glacial cellular connectivity, the iPhone was a practical, useful, self-contained computer a child could understand. It was an information appliance.
Compared to running apps on a smartphone or, more aptly, an iPad, the app experience on the Samsung Chromebook Plus is distinctly subpar.
There's a blizzard of metrics that social sites and messaging sites put out there.
Classic cable TV may have hit its peak, but it's still a huge force, and the streaming apps of many cable networks still require you to authenticate that you're a paying cable customer every time you want to use a new such TV app.
For those still outside the cult of Slack, it's a service - available as a desktop or mobile app, or a website - which is essentially a series of public chat rooms (called channels) on topics relevant to a company or to teams within a company.
The next time you're driving from New York to Boston on I-95, you should make a little detour in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to visit the Old Slater Mill national historic landmark. It's the site of what is considered to be the first successful water-powered textile spinning mill in America.
What's the third smartphone platform? Is it Windows phone? Is Windows Phone going to finally get off the mat in the developed world? Amazon believes their platform has a chance to become the third.
By the 2010s, almost everybody in the developed world, it seemed, had a powerful digital device that took little or no special skills or training to use.
With Caavo, you don't have to know the device name, the network name, the service name. Just which show you want to watch, regardless of whether it's live, recorded, downloaded or streaming.
I've been a regular customer at CVS Pharmacy, the country's second-largest drugstore chain, for 20 years. I've spent a small fortune there over that span, visiting several times a week to pick up everything from milk to toothpaste to prescriptions.
Practically every smartphone, tablet, and laptop is fabricated in a Chinese factory, even if they are designed here.
Streaming TV shows, movies, and other types of video over the Internet to all manner of devices, once a fringe habit, is now a squarely mainstream practice. Even people still paying for cable or satellite service often also have Netflix or Hulu accounts.
Every few years, the feds and the courts change direction or fail to answer important questions. And every day, the Internet becomes more of a platform for lousy ads, for increasing the power of a few rich companies, and for intrusive tracking. It's too important to leave unprotected.
In the tech world, you can reel off great products in several ways. You can have the once-in-a-lifetime gut instincts of a Steve Jobs. You can have the brainiac coding skills of a Bill Gates, Larry Page, or Sergey Brin. Or, I learned, you can have the deep intellectual curiosity and stubbornness of a Jeff Bezos.
Microsoft's Windows 3.1, released in 1992, was the first truly successful edition of Windows and juiced the Redmond juggernaut. Apple's Macintosh System 7.5, released in 1994, was another in a string of versions that lacked key architectural features that the Mac didn't have until Steve Jobs returned and brought with him the code that became OS X.
Over my career, I've reinvented myself numerous times. I covered the Pentagon, the State Department, and the CIA. I wrote about labor wars, trade wars and real wars. I chronicled a nuclear plant meltdown and the defeat of Communism. I co-founded a couple of media businesses.