The Gear of ZDNet: How David Gewirtz stays mobile

My conversations with the ZDNet bloggers about their mobile gear continues as I focus on the Gear of ZDNet. Today ZDNet Government blogger David Gewirtz.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor on

There is no better way to find information about good mobile gear than word of mouth. The bloggers of ZDNet are as technically savvy a group as you will find, and in this installment of The Gear of ZDNet David Gewirtz shares what mobile gadgets he uses and why they work well in his work.

During the course of this interview David and I discovered we had interacted years ago in the Palm/ Pocket PC glory days. It is likely we even met at least once at some geekapalooza or another. It shows how small this huge mobile tech world really is.

See also: The Gear of ZDNet: How Christopher Dawson stays mobile

When David is not blogging for the ZDNet Government and DIY-IT blogs, he is likely meeting with people he can't reveal, discussing topics he is not at liberty to divulge. He sums up his background in typical Gewirtz fashion:

I am, by formal training, a computer scientist, with a specialty in operating system and computer architecture design. My thesis project, back in the days of wooden ships and iron programmers, was the design of a structurally extensible command-line architecture. I'm also the author of a CMS that's served a few billion pages over the years. These days, I'm also a cyberwarfare advisor and, as much as anything also, also a political commentator. It's been a winding, but rewarding path.

JK: David, what is your current smartphone and why? How do you use it daily, and how is it working out for you?

I just pulled the trigger on an iPhone 4S. I'll actually be writing a big piece on why sometime soon, but the bottom line is it's compatible with most of the crap we have in the house. I upgraded from an iPhone 3G, my wife has an iPhone 4, and we have a pile of little plugs floating around.

It's okay. I'm finding that Siri's speech recognition is tempering my white hot hatred for the iPhone's teensy on-screen keyboard.

JK: Is there a phone you are jonesing for?

I wanted the Galaxy Nexus real bad, but as much for 4G/LTE as anything else. Since I live in the middle of absolutely nothing interesting, Verizon hasn't seen fit to run any 4G service here and doesn't have plans to until at least Chelsea Clinton runs for president. So I went with what's compatible with the stuff in the house, rather than anything exciting.

See also: Hands-on with the Galaxy Nexus from Samsung and Google

JK: Do you have a tablet? Which one and why? How do you like it? Does it fit in your work/lifestyle well?

We have an original iPad, along with two Kindle Fires, and an old-school hand-cranked black and white Kindle. I'm starting to like the Kindle Fire, my wife has recently begun to really groove on the iPad. I use the iPad as part of my Skype Studio project, where it has a special-purpose role in the teleprompter (which I use as a way to look at the people I'm interviewing, rather than for words to speak).

In terms of its fit to my lifestyle, I find the limited tablets annoying. I can't modify their operating environments all that much, and that ticks me off. That said, these days I have a lot less time for tweaking and hacking, so it's probably okay.

I'm thinking of moving my mom and dad off laptops to the iPad, though. That'll be an interesting new approach, and it's still on the drawing board.

See also: Kindle Fire: Non-techie perspectiveTypical day in the life of the iPad 2

JK: Wow, this series is showing the ZDNet gang owns quite a few tablets. Is there another tablet you have your eyes on?

Yes, Tylenol.

JK: Been one of those days, has it? How has mobile technology impacted your work/life?

Well, let's see. The first mobile device I had was the Altair 8800, which I lugged onto an airplane in 1979 or 1980, much to the bemusement of the flight crew. Ever since I saw Danny Goodman showing off his original Sharp Wizard in the Foster City Red Robin, I realized that true smart mobile devices were going to change things forever.

I was an original Newton owner and wrote the definitive review of the MessagePad 2000 back in the day. I was the editor-in-chief of PalmPower magazine for years, and probably wrote a few hundred articles using various Palm handhelds.

Mobile technology has sort of been a defining drumbeat in my professional career since before there was mobile technology.

JK: We are both dating ourselves as I was a Newton owner and Palm aficionado myself. I still think the Palm Vx was one of the most advanced gadgets of all time. I used an OmniSky snap-on modem with mine to have one of the first mobile email setups in existence back then. I have long used the tagline "using mobile devices since they weighed 30 lbs." Nostalgia aside, how does the mobile gear you are using today play a significant role in your work?

Well, today, it allows me to leave the tether of my computer. I'm often on-call and being able to get to my email and critical systems from anywhere is a big help.

JK: What mobile accessory do you recommend to readers?


JK: David, thanks for sharing your thoughts on mobile gear with the Mobile News audience. Your gadgetry seems to work well for you, based on your great writing on the mechanism of our government.

This wraps up a great conversation with David Gewirtz in the continuing series, the Gear of ZDNet. Be sure and check out David's great work on the ZDNet Government and DIY-IT blogs.

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