Almost forgot to mention this: it ain't Howard Stern, but I'll be a guest on Josh Dorfman's Sirius satellite radio show, The Lazy Environmentalist, this week, talking about (you guessed it) technology and the environment. The other guest is Laura Moorhead, who was my editor when I used to write for Wired mag. The first airing was this morning, but you'll be able to catch encores on Sirius Satellite Radio 114 and streaming live at Lime.com tonight at 9PM, tomorrow at 3AM, 2PM, 8PM, Friday at 2AM, and Sunday at 1PM. All times are EST.
I have a solid excuse for being offline for the past few days: I'm serving as the third alternate juror on a criminal trial this week. I actually don't mind so much -- the courthouse is a pleasant twenty minute walk from my apartment, and I'm still finding enough time to get most of my work done after I get back in the evening -- but it is a little frustrating being an alternate rather than a proper juror. I still have to sit through the trial, I just don't get to have any input regarding the verdict.
After four days in Vegas for the big CTIA wireless show I am finally on my way to Merced to spend a few days with my parents. I won't bore anyone with details about this trip -- Ryan and I'll have plenty to say on our next podcast -- but I will say that I'm glad that CTIA won't be coming back here for their spring show next year. And let's just leave it at that. On the other hand, I am looking forward to kicking it in Merced this weekend. My pops is the OG who got me hooked on gadgets in the first place, and I plan on spending a good portion of the next 48 hours parked in front of his new 56-inch 1080p Samsung DLP TV watching HBO HD.
Anyway, I won't be in town for long enough this trip, but I've been thinking about holding a small Engadget Reader Meetup in my hometown. Not sure how many readers we have there (or if we even have any), but next time I'm there for more than just a couple of days I'm going to definitely throw something together.
Speaking of magazines, I just found out yesterday that yet another publication that I used to write for -- Cargo -- is shutting down. It now joins the list alongside the original Red Herring, Sync, FEED, and George (I wrote a profile of Larry Augustin for them that never got published because they went out of business about two weeks after I submitted it). Not sure what happened specifically this time around, but apparently the higher-ups at Condé Nast decided that the ad market just wasn't there and they opted to cut their losses rather than continue to pump money into the mag. Two years ago a magazine about gadgets (and all the other stuff men buy) may have seemed like a sure thing, but the simple fact of the matter is that it's hard for a magazine to cover the world of gadgets better than a website can (note that Cargo launched about the same time as Engadget -- early 2004 -- after two years has less than 10% of our readership). Cargo's tech coverage (as well as Sync's and Vitals's) was basically just Engadget in print three months later with better photography, and that's not going to cut it for someone interested in keeping up with the latest gadgets. Product cycles are so short now that the three month lead time of a magazine is practically an eternity; anyone serious about gadgets is reading this stuff online, and anyone only casually interested is probably satisfied with what they're getting in Maxim or Stuff or FHM. Cargo had to go after a rare breed of reader: someone interested enough in gadgets to subscribe to a magazine about them, but not quite interested enough to be reading Engadget, Gizmodo, or any of the hundreds of other gadget sites out there. Yeah, Cargo wasn't just about gadgets -- fashion and grooming were a big part of the magazine as well -- but it only makes their job harder. They essentially were targeting a reader, who in addition to wanting to read about $400 jeans, also wanted coverage of the world of gadgets that was more comprehensive than the page or two found in most men's magazines but less timely and thorough than what you could find online. Is it all that surprising that they never found a substantial audience?
InformationWeek has a brief interview with me in their current issue. (The piece includes a photo of me on the roof of my building -- guess it won't be too hard for someone to figure out where I live now). I don't say anything particularly insightful (big surprise!), but I do like having it on record that I still love print. Obviously I live online, but I got my start as a writer in the magazine world (the original Red Herring, baby!), and while I don't think I'll regularly write for another print publication ever again (four years of blogging have left me incapable of dealing with lead times), I still devour magazines and subscribe to way too many of them.