John C. Abell

The real Twitter tragedy about Weiner

June 14, 2011

Reaching out,
To touch a stranger
Electric eyes are everywhere

– ‘Human Nature,’ recorded by Michael Jackson

Tech envy: It’s a jungle out there

June 6, 2011
When the iPad 2 came out, thousands of original iPad owners sold their barely-year-old devices on the secondary market to finance their upgrade. We replace computers every couple of years or so, but seldom because they stop working. You’re probably locked in a two-year phone contract — and itching to upgrade before your exposure to an early termination fee expires.

This isn’t the sort of planned obsolescence perfected by Detroit so that your brand new sedan, perfectly fine under the hood, looks a tad tired in a couple of years.

The digital wallet soon to be in every pocket

June 1, 2011

Will the smartphone do for retailing what it did for photography?

Like a recession, we never quite see a tipping point when it happens. Tech seems to alter behavior in unpredictable ways. But, in fact, tech makes it possible to form the habits we unknowingly crave. We love TV, but we’re walking away from the TV set. We still make calls at home, but have abandoned land lines. You used to carry a point-and-shoot camera, and you still do — but now it’s in your smartphone.

A cloudy forecast for digital music

May 25, 2011

Just in time for data caps, your music is going into the cloud.

It’s been a long, strange trip for the mp3 player. Born into relative obscurity, it only became a first class digital citizen when Apple got into the game with the iPod — the first portable music player with an unforgettable name.

Rent-a-Google

May 17, 2011

Google, in a new bid to diversify its way out of an overwhelming dependence on search ad revenue, has once again taken aim at a giant in another industry. Having disrupted the disruptor that is Apple in the smartphone arena, Google is now challenging Microsoft’s 800-pound-gorilla status in the enterprise market.

RenRen and the new tech IPO mania

May 9, 2011

Last week another social network went looking to raise money. These days, that’s barely news. But the company in question was Renren, China’s “answer” to Facebook, and the investors who threw money at the company weren’t raw-meat-eating venture capitalists; they were your neighbors.

In the Playstation debacle, Sony plays a serious game

May 2, 2011

There is a truism in business, and politics: it’s never the offense that gets you into trouble, it’s how you handle the aftermath. “Watergate” would not have become shorthand for corruption if the massive criminal cover up of political dirty tricks hadn’t unraveled. “Tylenol” might just have been a trivia answer had Johnson & Johnson not rebounded from the seven tragic deaths of people who took their tainted pain killers into a case study of pitch-perfect crisis management.

Shellacking Apple

April 25, 2011

Apple was outed last week for doing something either sinister or stupid (or both): Researchers revealed that the iPhone remembers where you’ve been pretty much all the time and saves that information in a way that almost anyone can access.

The water’s fine, but maybe don’t come in

April 18, 2011

southshore

Is the Internet turning us into hopeless narcissists, spurring us on to produce a constant flow of image-burnishing tidbits but all the while sapping our ability to create anything meaningful?