Why I Read News, NOT Tech “News”

I read The Economist, Financial Times (when I can find it) and maybe the local paper in the city I find myself each week.  Online, I follow about 3 blogs and Fark.  I don’t, as a rule, read any of the 1200 technology magazines or blogs.  This sounds odd, coming from a guy who lives and breathes IT.  I am asked about this frequently, particularly by curious consultants who delight in being the first to tell me about some new development or breakthrough announced in the last hour.  “For goodness’ sake, man…don’t you have a feed for this sort of thing?”


“But- why?”

Because my bullshit filter is set to “reality only, please”, while science and technology reporting tends to be some of the worst fantasy in the business.  My clients rely on me to give them real-world advice they can run a business on, not high-level perspectives on the latest vaporware.  My vision of IT Service Management is a lot more Henry Ford than Michio Kaku.  Two examples are all I need to get you to tighten up your Twitter.

First: Physicists Did NOT Break the Light Speed Barrier
Maybe.  Or maybe they did.  This is one of those stories that would have been better off not having been reported at all.  To their credit, Science Magazine does put it in perspective by book-ending the article with the right sentiment; I cannot say the same for the rest of the media frothing over this astonishing breakthrough, that isn’t.  The paper, which is still being peer reviewed at conference, is pretty clear to say “yeah, this doesn’t make sense…can someone smarter than us check our math?”  If this is true, buy stock in textbook companies.  All of them need to be rewritten.

Second: This.
PC Mag needs to ask someone check their math.  I’m sorry that the 24-hour news cycle just doesn’t keep with the pressures of running a monthly rag.  That’s got to be tough when things change so quickly, but Leo Apotheker was fired on 9/22/11, this article was posted to the web on 9/26/11 (when I read it) and has a dateline of 9/30/11.  The whole second paragraph in this article about the worst tech blunders is all about Leo’s activities as the CURRENT CEO of HPQ.  Do they not have proofreaders and editors on staff?  I cannot possibly take the remainder of the article seriously when they passed up a perfect opportunity to lambaste the HP board’s replacement choice.  Thankfully, the remainder is a slide show and is about 50% crap.  The other half is a slide show.  Which is also crap.

I don’t follow the latest breaking science and technology news because fact-checking what’s hot off the press takes a LOT of time and my clients’ IT shops don’t turn on a dime anyway.  Most of what’s hot is just noise, lots of distracting noise.  If a game changer comes along (say, the speed of light just changed by 1%) it is worth developing a thoughtful perspective before shooting off your mouth.  No matter how fast technology moves, the real impact of change still takes years to settle in and be felt.  I have no need to read up before my coffee gets cold.

Still, I’m encouraged.  Maybe I’ll get to visit Betelgeuse right after Leo announces Q3 earnings this year.

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3 Responses to Why I Read News, NOT Tech “News”

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