Last spring, Ravenna Third Place Books: I see a book I like, I grab my phone, I take a picture of the book to remind myself to buy it cheaper on Amazon.com. Why? It makes sense to save money. Last week, Ravenna Third Place Books: I want a book, I don’t know which book, my husband…More
I was reading a book last week when I came to an obvious conclusion that changed everything. I am not a machine. So why am I trying to work like one? A paperback copy of “Technopoly” by late critic Neil Postman was in my hand, and my smartphone — screen blank and ready — was on…More
I just finished Book 6 in my summer-long one-book-a-week tech book binge, danah boyd’s “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.” It’s a collection of answers to society’s most anxious questions about teens and social media based on boyd’s refreshingly nuanced research. The week before, I took a science fiction break with…More
Do you know who made the Internet? Of all the things humans have created that changed the world, the Internet has to have the most convoluted origin story. I’m a tech writer, and reading “Where Wizards Stay Up Late,” the fourth book of my summer-long #techbookbinge, was proof positive that even I had no idea…More
Well that’s about as geeky as history gets. This weekend I finished “Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution,” Steven Levy’s philosophical chronicle of the origins of computing culture. It traces the evolution of computing values from the brilliant young tinkerers at MIT in the 1950s and ’60s to the tight-knit computer builders of Silicon…More
Now that I’ve finished “Smarter Than You Think,” I’m realizing that the thing I like most about author Clive Thompson’s approach is captured nicely in what follows each chapter title. A cursor style underscore_ Works that crunch technology’s goodness or badness like closure. “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr was last week’s read in my…More
I just finished “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains” by Nicholas Carr. It’s book 1 in my summerlong #techbookbinge, and it was — appropriately — a brainy start. Well, most of the time. Some chapters infuriated me. If an alien race read this book and knew nothing else about us, they…More
At a Starbucks near my house this month, I saw a man reading a newspaper, a woman reading a book and another woman, near them, reading a magazine. I peered at them over my laptop, at which I’d blinked and stared for at least an hour, and felt something crazy. I felt jealous. Paper is the has-been…More
Well this is a first. Elliott Bay Book Company has put up small signs around its store to remind people not to showroom — as many local stores are doing to stave off the threat of online retail — and it’s linked to my column on the controversial consumer habit to do it. Seattle…More
Tech never stops. As we near the end of 2013, I thought I’d give you an update on some of the stories and habits we talked about this year.
Are you “showrooming”?
“It makes you feel kind of used,” Patti Harriman of Ravenna Third Place Books told me in May about showrooming. That’s the term for a behavior that’s putting local businesses at risk — finding something you want at a store but ordering it from someone else online, usually for less money, and sometimes right there, right from your smartphone.
It presents a conundrum: Do you buy a product at the best price, hurting the store, or do you buy from the store, hurting your wallet?More