What I’m reading & why: August 6, 2013

As a technology journalist, part of my job is to keep up on the industry beyond what I’m able to cover day-to-day. Occasionally I’ll share a list of pieces I’m reading and what strikes me about them, just briefly. I’ll also expand a bit beyond just technology when the mood incites me. You’ll find that my main sources of information don’t change that much, but I hope to evolve that in time (sometimes I just come to rely on certain brands for certain insights).

–> Media will never be the same.

Recent days have seen Newsweek, post-failure number 2, go to International Business Times, the Boston Globe extricating itself from the New York Times, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos making a personal purchase of The Washington Post, a newspaper I grew up with and am still very fond of.

Coverage: An excellent New York Times piece on Tina Brown (she tried to merge The Daily Beast and Newsweek into . . . something), The Wall Street Journal on the Bezos-WaPo hookup (I also liked this PandoDaily piece from Sarah Lacy), and just for fun GigaOm’s story on one of my new favorite web publications, Quartz, and its spin on incorporating reader engagement alongside the content. For a look at how Demand Media is evolving its business model, read PandoDaily’s analysis of eHow Now, a subscription service that matches experts with audience in near real time.

–> Fun Startups

For my money, PandoDaily and VentureBeat have been covering some really interesting startups lately. Here’s a PandoDaily piece on Food52, an interesting food recipe site with a slightly different model, and VentureBeat’s post on UrbanBound, an online relocation service;

–> FreedomPop expands its network offerings to Sprint LTE.

I’m not sure why MVNO (mobile virtual network operator: it’s not operating the network, but it’s acting as if it does) news like this is getting so much play today, especially when it involves Sprint LTE, but I suppose part of the appeal is that this growing service (it has 100,000 customers and growing) keeps adding to its lore. FreedomPop offers customers 500 MB of broadband service for free, and charges above that threshhold.

Coverage: On VentureBeat and GigaOm.

–> Misfit Shine sexy wearable tech (but what the f$#% does it do?!)

Wearable tech (gadget watches, health bands, Google Glass and other sensor-based technology) is all the rage, and everyone is looking for that first big hit. AllthingsD wrote about Shine, with backing from Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Vinod Khosla’s Khosla Ventures, and co-founded by former Apple CEO John Sculley. The piece talks at length about how pretty and jewelry-like the device is, but never really quite explains what it does.

Coverage: On AllThingsD.

–> InfoSec bonanza

Information security continues to be a top concern at most companies, and new products and new approaches are always emerging, even during the summer; perhaps specifically during the summer, thanks to the annual summer gathering called Black Hat, a premier security industry conference in Las Vegas (disclosure: I led the acquisition of Black Hat by my former company, United Business Media).

Coverage: Here’s GigaOm’s piece on Defense.net, a DDOS-defender flush with $9.5 million in Series A funding. Also, here’s VentureBeat’s article on FireEye’s IPO (FireEye is one of a handful of startups in the active defense space, and its CEO is Dave DeWalt, former CEO of security giant, McAfee, which is now part of Intel). Also, my former colleague Tim Wilson, who heads up Dark Reading, wrote this post summarizing some of the Black Hat Conference themes. Finally, here is CRN’s list of 14 hot companies coming out of Black Hat.

–> That one more thing: SAP’s Sanjay Poonen to VMWare?!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in PandoDaily about all of the departures and re-shuffling that seemed to be happening in the industry, especially at VMWare, SAP, along with Microsoft, Google and Fusion-io. One of SAP’s departures was its mobile chief, Sanjay Poonen, who seems to have landed at VMWare.