I've been called a self-loathing technology journalist. After fuming, I realized my critic was right: I hate promoting technology that doesn't improve our lives.
Writing about technology, especially consumer electronics, is one of the cushiest jobs in the world. I'm afforded the liberty to spout off about technologies about which I often have only a cursory understanding, am sent the latest gadgets to play with for free, and am able to do it all from the sanctuary of my apartment, the Fortress of Lassitude. It's an opportunity for which I am often not thankful enough.
It's easy to be lulled into complacency, losing sight of the impact my beloved electronics have on my time, the peacefulness of my mind, and the environment of the planet on which I rely. It often feels like I am perpetuating an endless cycle of gluttony, encouraging others to ignore the consequence of their purchases.
Failings are few, but fundamental: Lying corporate propagandists; lazy designers; irresponsible manufacturers; our addiction to novelty. We'll never completely rid ourselves of these things, but we can address them as we can. We can point them out and suggest alternatives, at least.
There are parts of our electronics industry that have metastasized, as will any when powered by unchecked capitalism executed by people with no concern for others. Electronics are a small thing when held up against other endeavors our species has undertaken, but it's our thing, nerds, and we should do what we can to make them better and better.
Before I sound too insufferable, I want to make one thing clear: I rarely write because I want to change your opinion; I blog because I want you to change mine. I'll try my best to be fair and rational. I hope you'll call me out when I've made a mistake. If my way of thinking remains unchanged over the next months and years, something is probably wrong.
Ideally, we can create an electronics industry that wastes less to create better things. It's not such a daunting goal. If our industry weren't capable of progress, we wouldn't have the good things we have today, even if we're a long way from perfection. Perhaps my optimism is irrational, but I hope it's the last vice I give up. If the electronics industry only exists to trade our time, peace, and money for quickly-cooling baubles, I'm not the only only one who should be filled with self-loathing.
About Me and Boing Boing
I've bounced around a lot over the least few years, because I'm both a recovering idealist and an occasional asshole. During that time, the folks known as Boing Boing have always made time to offer me advice, a dissenting opinion, or encouragement, while doing consistently admirable work both here and in their individual careers. When they offered to make a place in their nest for me, I was honored and touched and all sorts of other gooshy things, but I am not too proud to publicly say that I'm thankful for the opportunity. We may not always agree, but I can't think of a finer group of people to argue with.