In Canada, where do you go to find the latest gadget news? Or info on Net culture? Sadly, Canadian broadcasters are cutting shows about the Web, like Citytv unceremoniously sacking tech journalist Amber MacArthur, and our print publications are nowhere near their American equivalents. The U.S. has Wired and Fast Company, and we have Hub and Backbone? Well, at least we can take Canuck pride in Jay Ingram and Daily Planet.
As you might expect, the latest news on technology can be found on the Web, where the top blogs and test sites are American. Depending on what kind of technophilia is biting you, there’s breaking news on digital cams or one-stop spots for cool YouTube clips. Or you can satisfy an itch for the quirky products bubbling up from the underground.
For the avid gadget lover, there’s no better site for new products than CNET.com, run by publicly traded company CNET Networks in San Francisco. If you want to see if the latest laptop lives up to the hype, the CNET dudes probably test-drove it months ago.
A handy score out of 10 lets you know if the BlackBerry Pearl 8130 is worth $200 (8 out of 10 – not bad), and reviewers break down each gad-get by design, features and performance.
CNET Networks is also the proud father of News.com. Not only did it score one of the most coveted domain names imaginable, but the site also posts the latest tech news, complete with expert analysis. Granted, the articles may not appeal to rookies who haven’t heard about Twitter or WonderCon.
Along the same lines, Engadget.com has become a shrine for all things tech. The layout is more bloggy and less functional than CNET.com’s, but the Endgadget writers are known for scooping other blogs on breaking news.
The fan base is quite loyal. For example, within two hours, a post on Vista crashes attracted 54 comments. The Engadget brand has also extended to other blogs, such as EngadgetMobile and EngadgetHD (for all news relating to high-definition). The best part is its casual tone, which, rather than the standard news pyramid structure, eases readers into jargon-filled stories painlessly.
But let’s say you just want detailed info on the latest digital camera? Head to dpreview.com, where even the cockiest shutterbugs are humbled by the site’s extremely knowledgeable reviewers. Most online tech reviews run around one page; dpreview.com spends 20 Web pages on every aspect of a camera’s design and function. Reading a review on the site is arduous work, only recommended for the camera fanatic who knows his stuff.
Productdose.com doesn’t always showcase technology, per se, but the blog for quirky consumerism continuously unveils what even the geekiest sites miss. Know anyone else reporting on a knife-deflecting T-shirt? Or a laundry-toilet combo device? Productdose wins points for brevity, so don’t expect lengthy rants on iPhone speakers or digital golf putters. You get just the basics, which is a great place to start.
What about tech news for women? A female-friendly site from across the pond is shinyshiny.tv, known to post up to 10 articles daily. Topics range from geek chic fashion to vibrator launches to news on the latest cellphones. The British site also displays its flexibility by providing video reviews of the latest gadgets. Luckily, the gals don’t speak cockney.
On the video front, the latest and coolest clips making waves on the Web can often be found on Digg.com’s video channel (digg.com/videos). You’ll get the brainless (Busta Rhymes Owns Stupid British Woman) and the thoughtful (10 Most Controversial Ad Campaigns Ever) along with a heaping pile of weird, like a puppy head-banging to death metal.
Digg lets you sort the videos by subject, which is especially useful for sports fans who just want to check out highlights or political junkies jonesing for Hillary’s latest gaffe. Be warned: a five-minute visit to Digg’s videos section turns into an afternoon of streaming goodness.
Finally, the mainstream press wins some love for doing what it does best: sticking close to a beat and covering the crap out of it. One of the top tech journalists in the world is David Pogue of the New York Times (nytimes.com), and his respected blog and video reviews are both informative and humorous. In fact, the entire online tech section at the Times is worth bookmarking, and not just because the reporters dig past the press release. The Times’s online tech editor is smart enough to cull headlines from other news sources, such as AppleInsider.com and PC World.
Yes, sometimes the bigwigs get it right.