Readers Complain: The Absence of Technogeekery

WC received a complain recently from a reader, lamenting the absence of pure technogeekery posts over the last few months. WC checked and the complaint is fair; in fact, there haven’t been any geek goodies in some months. But there’s a reason for the absence of nerdiness: there haven’t been any really interesting geeky stories recently. It seemed like all of the stories that were in the news were variations on a limited number of themes.

WC’s supposition was confirmed recently by Robert X. Cringely, who in the course of a plea for interesting technology scandals observed the tech sector has devolved to basically ten themes:

Millions at risk from [nerd-scary code name] bug.

Hackers use [nerd-scary code name] bug to steal 20 billion credit card numbers from all businesses on Earth and Tatooine (because the Imperial Bank apparently doesn’t pay for data security either).

[Big tech industry segment] pays politicians to protect monopolistic business legislation while writing heartfelt Open Letters to the Country telling customers it’s in their best interests and to stop asking what “service charge” means.

[OS or software name] releases version 10, places version 11 into beta, puts version 12 into early alpha, and announces the development kickoff of version 13 with new features based on customer feedback from version 9. Then reveals 10-year-old root-access vulnerability in versions 5 through 12, though it’ll be removed in version 13. Probably. OK, maybe. OK, probably not, but it’s only because the NSA told us not to.

[Company (but mostly Apple)] announces consumer smart [whatever] device that looks the same as its analog incarnation only gaudier and costs three times as much, but can display your calendar via your [single mobile OS platform only, never a cross-platform standard], count how far you’ve walked today, and charge you some kind of monthly fee via [online service (but mostly iTunes)].

[Company (but mostly Microsoft)] announces the same thing as [company (but mostly Apple)] only less functional, less pretty, less fun, and somehow targeting enterprises, thus hoping for massive business-based licensing revenue and a monthly subscription fee via [other online service that almost no one uses or has even heard of].

[Tech billionaire] buys [something to validate his/her self-imagined non-nerd, celebrity persona] for $[mind-boggling, ridiculous number]. Spouse questions life choices.

[Tech billionaire or startup frat boy] says [something amazingly crass, stunningly arrogant, or downright sociopathic]. Avoids apologizing via Twitter. Spouse weeps while questioning life choices.

[Nonsensical startup name].com announces [social network/chat app/mobile game where cute things die]; breaks Kickstarter valuation in 20 minutes, reaches purchase agreement with Mark Zuckerberg for $20 billion based solely on revenue projections made while hammered.

[Government body] admits to [massively pervasive un-Constitutional privacy invasion] activity since Vint Cerf was an embryo. [Government body] doesn’t apologize, cites increasing foreign bad people threat. EFF analyzes long-term damage on tear-stained bar napkins. Fox News condemns EFF for its analysis and lack of gratefully blind patriotism. Everyone else, including bad people, plays [mobile game where cute things die].

[Mega tech company] forced to pay $[unjustifiably huge number] to patent troll who claims to hold rights over [technology], [other even more broadly used technology][other practically ubiquitous technology], and soap. U.S. Patent Office raided for long-term illegal drug use.

Now Cringely would be the first to admit that he uses exaggeration hyperbole for literary effect – it’s one of many reasons he’s never going to win that Pulitzer – but in this case, he’s right. A quick review of the last few months of technology news will show essentially all of the stories have been in one or more of these categories.

All of which is why WC has written much about technogeekery lately.


One thought on “Readers Complain: The Absence of Technogeekery

  1. A little bit of geo-geekery here. I’ve been doing some research on the large ripple features in the Meadow Lakes area West of Wasilla and while trying to find info on ancestral Lake Ahtna in the Copper Basin I found that you were one of the few people that actually wrote about that feature and the catastrophic draining of the lake into Cook Inlet during late Pleistocene. Just wanted to thank you for posting the info that you did in 2010 and share another link that you may or may not have seen. It’s a paper written by geologists and hydrologists studying the ripple formations in the western Mat-Su.

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