Better Know a Blogger: Matt Baxter-Reynolds on the death of the PC

Better Know a Blogger: Matt Baxter-Reynolds on the death of the PC

Summary: ZDNet's Matt Baxter-Reynolds helms the Post-PC Developments blog and has a lot to say about whether the PC is dead or dying. Tune in for our latest Better Know a Blogger show to hear what Matt thinks about Windows 8 and the future of the PC (if it even has a future).

TOPICS: Windows 8

Normally, the Better Know a Blogger series dives into what it takes to be a blogger. But our guest today, ZDNet's Matt Baxter-Reynolds of the Post-PC Developments blog is working on a book about the death of the PC. So, you know what we talked about. Does the PC have a future? It's a fascinating discussion (and yes, the blue screen of death video background was intentional).

Successful, professional bloggers (like those of us who write for ZDNet) write to make at least part of our living, and we're incredibly fortunate because we make real money at it. To some degree, we have a tougher job than the amateur blogger, because doing this is actually a job. We have professional standards to meet, team coordination required, and self-control to practice. In return, we have a broad reach and a magnified voice.

So what does it take to be a professional blogger?

How do we each approach this very ill-defined task? How do we manage our time? What tools do we use? How do we deal with conflicts? How do we improve our chances of further success? How did we get here to begin with?

These are the questions I've set out to answer in my Better Know a Blogger series. My goal is to regularly interview ZDNet's bloggers (along with a few other folks you might find interesting) and help you get to know these people at a level you've never been able to before.

You regularly read our work output, but who are we? Where do we work? What do we care about? Why do we do it? In this series, you'll find out.

Matt's relatively new to ZDNet, but he's rapidly become one of my favorite writers in the crew, always on the spot with interesting, informative, thought-provoking pieces. This week, Matt Baxter-Reynolds, of ZDNet's Post-PC Developments is the next to sit under the hot lights of Skype for an in-depth interview. Here's what he had to say:

Previous episodes:

Topic: Windows 8


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • The condemned live longer.

    I've yet to see someone who has ditched his PC/laptop in favor of a tablet. Not even Win8 tablets will ever accomplish that feat.

    Trying to accomplish professional work on a iOS/Android tablet is like trying to build a one family house with low cost tools acquired at WalMart.
    • Ask Matt what he is writing his "death of the PC" book on

      "I've yet to see someone who has ditched his PC/laptop in favor of a tablet."

      The irony is that he is writing his book on a PC.
  • . . . and no, I'm not gonna watch an hour long video.

    . . . and no, I'm not gonna watch an hour long video.

    . . . and no, I do not consider ZDNet bloggers to be "professional" bloggers.

    . . . and yes, ZDNet abuses the word "death" far too often for it to have meaning anymore. I don't think they even know what its dictionary definition is.
  • Hi Matt and David ...

    ... like your stuff but ...
  • The Sociology of Computing - Condensed

    1. The Office PC did some useful work ... and did not require protracted interaction with the corporate IT department ... or millions of dollars in RENTAL on an IBM mainframe.

    2. The minicomputer did loads of useful work ... and required far less interaction with a specialised computing department, who were 'nicer' and faster than corporate IT.

    3. The home PC did some useful work and was lots of fun ... and you didn't have to talk to anyone at all ... until the darned thing broke down.

    4. Having done plenty of useful work ... in isolation ... we realised we would actually like to talk to each other: hence the Internet. That was a lot of fun and didn't cost too much.

    5. Realising (somewhat belatedly in MSFT's case: see Bill Gates memo) that communication was core to our existence, Telecommunications and IT companies realised they could make it big if they cornered their part of the market, if not the global market. Everyone was happy as costs dropped and profits soared ... but things still broke and were sorta hard to use.

    6. APPL realised that consumers really wanted convenient, simple, portable appliances ... social or personal applications, not computers. Hence the iPod, iPhone and iPad ... and the locked ecosystem to make sure the same thing didn't happen to APPL as happened to the music industry - gotta lock in those profits and prevent the cost reductions due to technological advances leaking out to consumers, gotta keep them in-house. Everybody delirious: customers could talk to whoever they wanted, whenever they wanted, simply, without failures ... and look cool. Corporate profits through the roof.

    7. Hardware advances continue relentlessly for 20 years. No individual needs the power of modern microprocessors: they just need more Internet bandwidth and could easily share a computing facility called 'the cloud'. MSFT and DELL wake up and realise that they are going out of business. DELL decides to sell and focus on new services rather than hardware. MSFT 'reimagine' Windows with all the things people hate about APPL and none of the things they like about Windows. Surface RT flops.

    8. The NSA scandal breaks, just after everyone has become fed up with constant advertising and privacy violations by GOOG and FB ... well everyone. Consumers and businesses are P****d and realise that the cloud with dumb devices and subscriptions (LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTIONS) are a prison for their computing and fun time: just like the mainframe used to be: you even have to click a box on Skydrive which says 'can I have my files back now please, instead of this symbolic link whatsit'.

    9. ZDNET wakes up and writes about Post-PC. Just afer MSFT, APPL, GOOG and AMZN have completed their strategy.

    Who knew?
    • One liner

      Alongside sociological change ... you now have to weigh immensely powerful global corporate cultures: unfortunately dominated by American thinking at present.
      David thinks he needs to 'manage' the situation ... I think we need to let the Internet and IT remain 'free', insofar as that is possible.
  • Words, words, words

    Wouldn't we know Mr. Baxter-Reynolds better by his blogs, rather than via a podcast.

    I think the answer is obvious, unless the podcast reveals this comment "Well, I choose my words and titles to drive traffic rather than as an expression of belief, per se. All hail Dvorak."

    I don't think that will happen. I'll pass, but thank you for the offer.