Keep a Pulse on Technology

This week The Download reviews the best sources for the latest new technology.

To celebrate the end of midterm season, we begin this week’s technology column with a multiple-choice question.

Are you:
(a) Interested in working in the technology industry but out of touch with the space?
(b) Envious of sectionmates who know the difference between a PSP and a PMP?
(c) Unable to name at least one competitor to the iPod?
(d) All of the above

If you have answered yes to any of the options above, then pay attention to our review of six great technology news resources. With an investment of just 20 minutes a week, any one of these resources will arm you with enough information to talk the language of technology comfortably to recruiters or sectionmates.

MAGAZINE RESOURCES:
We begin our review with two top technology magazines, Wired and Red Herring.

Wired (www.wired.com)
This mainstream monthly magazine started back in 1993 and provides an easy to read view of consumer technology. The content varies from short gadget reviews to in-depth articles on technology affecting politics, culture and the world economy. The articles do not assume prior subject knowledge, so anyone should be able to pick up the magazine and quickly get a pulse on what the latest news is in technology. Though the magazine has a fair amount of advertising, most readers will find the ads entertaining since many are for cool gadgets, cell phones and high-end cars. A yearly subscription to Wired is just $10. HBS TechMedia members get a free subscription!

Red Herring (www.redherring.com)
If you enjoy Wired, but want to go a bit deeper-get a subscription to Red Herring magazine. Red Herring is the only weekly print magazine that focuses exclusively on the business of technology. This magazine quickly brings you up to speed on the newest technology startups, recent technology M&A activity and venture capital news. The articles tend to be short, yet very relevant. A yearly subscription of 48 issues is available for under $40.

Both Wired and Red Herring are fantastic print resources, and also invest significantly on their online presence. Both have solid websites with new content added daily. If you are not compelled to immediately buy a subscription, at least visit their websites.

NEWSPAPER COLUMNS:
Walt Mossberg
Wall Street Journal

(http://online.wsj.com/public/page/technology.html)
Considered by many to be the most influential technology writer in North America, Walt Mossberg has been writing a weekly column in the Wall Street Journal for over 15 years. He writes the Thursday Personal Technology column, which reviews newly released personal technology devices like cell phones, high-definition televisions and computer accessories.

Mossberg is skilled at simplifying complicated technology concepts into understandable language. HBS students may find his articles too generic since the column is targeted for a very broad audience. Mossberg also writes a column, Mossberg’s Mailbox, on Wednesdays where he answers a few questions sent in by his readers.

To check out Mossberg’s columns, make sure to pick up your free copy of the Wall Street Journal in Aldrich or purchase a subscription.

David Pogue
New York Times

(http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com)
David Pogue is another influential technology writer. Though he is not revered like Mossberg, his articles tend to be more personable, detailed and accessible. All of Pogue’s articles (current and archived) are available online for free on the NY Times website.

Pogue also produces a weekly short online video that is hosted on the NY Times website. These three-minute streaming video segments tend to be a bit zany, but nonetheless offer unique insight into new technology products like the latest DVR from Tivo or the latest laptops from Apple.

ONLINE RESOURCES:
The final two resources in our review are only available online.

CNET (www.cnet.com)
CNET is the leading web destination for technology. The site offers extensive news coverage, price comparison tools and multimedia product reviews. Want to know what happened in technology this week? The main page features the top technology stories. Thinking about buying a new digital camera? Click the reviews tab and read in-depth reviews, watch video of the product in action, even read testimonials from current consumers.

Want another reason to visit? Just this month, HBS Alum, Neil Ashe (MBA ’96/H) was promoted to run CNET’s parent company, CNET Networks.

Engadget (www.engadget.com)
This web blog is dedicated to keeping true tech buffs updated with literally minute-to-minute updates on the world of technology. Most stories covered on Engadget are either straight off the newswire, or submitted by a member of their loyal fan base. Virtually all technology news is covered and discussed including reviews of products that are still in testing, product rumors and even an occasional interview with a Fortune 500 technology executive. Engadget is a great way to prepare yourself for what products you can expect to see on store shelves in three to six months.

Naturally, the premier source for technology news specifically catered to the HBS student is found right here in The Download! So, stayed tuned for next time!

If you have a recommendation for a future column topic, please drop me a note at aarora@mba2008.hbs.edu