iPhone 6 Plus
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Journalist sets Standard for Follow-up Gadget Reviews

Whenever I receive loaner devices, I ask to keep them for months because long-term use reveals much. Initial reviews often miss important usability benefits or problems only prolonged usage reveals. No one can get to every feature or receive all the benefits in one day or week.

Something else: As I often say, in news reporting, or reviews, bias is inevitable. Time helps extinguish the new thing glow that can bias reviews and make them more favorable than the products deserve. As the glow darkens, sounder perspective brightens. [Read more]

As Halloween approaches, I long for the autumn colors that paint the Northeast landscape. Strange how distance and time changes perception. On Oct. 30, 2005, I started shooting with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM lens attached to the 20D. I regarded these pics as disappointing then, but find them rather appealing today. For sure, the bokeh produced by the lens-camera combination is breathtaking. I shot the trees from our Kensington, Md., front yard.

Abe App

In September, my wife and I received emails offering a year’s digital subscription to the Washington Post—that’s web and mobile devices—for $29. I signed up without hesitation and am now a regular reader.

As an editor and journalist, I am fascinated watching how the Post presents stories in the iPad app and on the web. The photo of Abe, from a superb story on selfies in Washington, is attention grabbing. The one above is from the app, but the web version below has the more compelling headline, which would move me to click over the other. [Read more]

As Halloween approaches, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences takes a long look down memory lane—eh, scary forest paths—with a short documentary about “The Blair Witch Project“. Before there was Facebook and Flickr (February 2004), Reddit (June 2005), YouTube (November 2005), Twitter (July 2006), or any other countless social services spreading viral content, there was Blair Witch.

“It was basically the first viral marketing that ever happened”, actress Heather Donahue says, That’s exactly how I remember the movie, which defines the “lost footage” genre and set the blueprint for many viral campaigns that followed. Remember in 1999, viral started from a website, which in some ways makes a better campaign—or did 15 years ago.

Goethe Girl
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The Underemployment Crisis

When I worked as an analyst for Jupiter Research a decade ago, the editorial philosophy was “data-driven analysis”. But sometimes single stories—one or a few individuals—define a trend. That’s my renewed feeling today meeting Tim in the alley behind our apartment.

I measure San Diego’s economy, and in some respects that of America, by the people who dumpster dive our alley. We moved to the city seven years ago yesterday and were taken aback by the number of people who pull redeemable bottles and cans from recycle and trash bins. But the collectors’ character changed in 2009, following the financial crisis of late 2008. No longer did we see just clearly weather-worn homeless, but paler and better-dressed folks not long laid off from office jobs. Professionals. [Read more]