2009 may have been a sucky year, but it was a great one for Tech Broiler.
Ah. 2009. It was the best of times... it was the... well, maybe it really wasn't that great. I'd have to rate 2009 fairly high on the annis horriblis scale, for most of everyone I know as well as the rest of the world. But for Year Two of Tech Broiler, I'd have to say it was a pretty good one.
Tech Broiler is a unique blog in that unlike the rest of the technology Breakfast Club here on ZDNet, I do not have a set "beat" of things to write about. I'm not the Windows expert, the Mac guy(s), or the Hardware Jock. I'm not the Open Source maxi-zoom dweebies, the Software Developer, the Gadget guru, or the Virtualization Analyst. I'm not even the Social Media babe, the Educator, or even the smart-ass Millennial.Incredibly, I get to write about all of these cool things that these people are experts on. So to all these folks, and to our Editor In Chief, Larry Dignan, I appreciate you letting me encroach on your turf from time to time, and giving me interesting things to "riff" on. Without your expertise to back me up, I would be just another New Media Jackass with a pulpit.
From a freshness perspective, I'm not usually the guy with the first word on something, as my day job really doesn't permit me to digest material in real time. I am not a professional journalist, nor will I even pretend to play one on TV. I write this as a side gig, writing early in the morning before work, late at night, or on weekends.
This "digest the industry" and everyone else's opinions and then write approach often gives me a "last word" or highly analytical perspective in terms of the material that you see written in this space. Sometimes, when there isn't any news, I make up my own, which is a strategy that produces some very interesting results, and frankly some of my best material.
The flexibility in terms of what subject matter I can pursue as blog fodder also allows me to please (or piss off) just about everyone. And when it came to pleasing and pissing people off, entertaining, or just plain making people think -- which is always my primary goal, Tech Broiler absolutely excelled at that this year, and for that I am extremely grateful.
Here are the posts on the blog that got the most of amount of attention from readers this year, by traffic and by rating. If you missed any of these, I promise they are still just as fresh the second time around.
Apple and MacI've often been accused of being highly biased against Apple. Well, you'd be right. I have a long history of issues with the company, going back 20 years. So when I was asked by a bunch of readers to explain this bias, and I why I feel the way I do, I did. The result was by far THE most popular article on Tech Broiler in terms of raw pageviews, Talkbacks and link traffic this year.
In second place in terms of Mac-related traffic was a piece that I wrote about Apple's Snow Leopard release, which outlined what I felt was a glaring omission in the product that all of its competitors have, which is its lack of onboard virtualization capabilities.
It should be noted though, that I do not always take such a harsh stance on Apple. I did actually buy two Apple products this year, an iPod for my wife and also the Apple Airport Express, which I happen to think is one of the best portable wireless access points money can buy.
While I disagree with many of the things Apple does -- I would like to commend them on leading the industry by refusing to repair equipment that has shown evidence of being exposed to cigarette smoke. Bravo, Apple, Bravo.
Windows, Microsoft, PCsApple may have taken my top article spot for the year, but Microsoft and the PC ecosystem was no chopped liver, either. In total, posts related to the Windows 7 ramp-up and concerns regarding systems migration and user adaptation were by far the most popular articles which I wrote this year.
I was somewhat surprised by the amount of attention that a simple poll asking about whether or not people used the "Windows Key" or not. What I wasn't surprised by was the results -- a large component of the respondents said they only "Sometimes" used it (19%) whereas a large quantity said "Infrequently" (13%) or "No" (19%). I'm curious if I ask this in another year or two after the Windows 7 migration is well under way, if the results will be similar or not.
And while I'm not usually someone that gloats, I'm going to have to say it: Windows 7's XP Mode was MY Idea.
Not specifically Windows-related, but one that clearly resonated with a lot of readers was about my thoughts related to the health of the PC homebrew/custom system builder industry. While I still feel that system building and homebrewing is an endangered species, many of you clearly still care, so it's not dead yet. For what it's worth, I also custom-built my own system this year, so perhaps there's still hope for the homebrew market.
Open Source and LinuxAfter 9 years of serving as Sr. Technology Editor of Linux Magazine, it should be no surprise that Linux and Open Source subjects are very near and dear to me. Not surprisingly, they are very near and dear to Tech Broiler's readers as well.
The politics of Open Source and Open Standards:
Mobile ComputingMobile Computing was a subject in which I concentrated a lot of my time this year, as clearly it is an area in which the technology is maturing very quickly, but the future of the market and the technology standards being used are not yet well-defined. In particular, interest in Google's Android OS took off like a rocket towards the end of the year, with the release of the Motorola DROID and the Android 2.0 OS.
Stuff I Wished You Paid More Attention ToNot everything I wrote this year resonated with everyone. Summer was absolute deadsville for traffic, as many people went on vacation and hit the beach, but that doesn't mean my posting standed still. There are a bunch of articles that I put a lot of work into that didn't get a lot of hits, be it due to the regular summer doldrums or for general lack of interest.
If there was one series of posts I wish you read or commented on more, it would be my four article "To the Moon" series which I wrote during the period which led up to the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landings. The series was the culmination of many hours of research and also included podcast interviews with people who were actively involved in the program, one of who recently passed away, Floyd Long, who supervised the construction of the Saturn V first stage during the 1960s. If you missed the series over the summer and you are a space technology enthusiast, I highly recommend you read it.
What was your favorite (or most hated) Tech Broiler article this year? Talk Back and Let Me Know.