Cringely’s Rules for Home Schooling in the Age of COVID-19

My first job out of college was teaching biology, chemistry, physics, and vocational agriculture at Triway High School in rural Wooster, Ohio. I lasted for six weeks. The school environment was such a downer, from the smoke-filled teachers’ lounge to my young co-workers who were teaching mainly, it seemed to me, to avoid service in Vietnam. So when a reporting job became available, I jumped on it, leaving Ohio forever. Years later I returned to teaching, this time at Stanford University, where I worked for six years. Now, 37 years after Stanford, I’m teaching my kids at home thanks to COVID-19. You may be teaching your kids, too. This […]

How I (and you?) am hurting the PC industry

IMG_0262 (1)

Starting in 1977 I bought a new personal computer every three years. This changed after 2010 when I was 33 years and eleven computers into the trend. That’s when I bought my current machine, a mid-2010 13-inch MacBook Pro. Five years later I have no immediate plans to replace the MacBook Pro and I think that goes a long way to explain why the PC industry is having sales problems.

My rationale for changing computers over the years came down to Moore’s Law. I theorized that if computer performance was going to double every 18 months, I couldn’t afford to be more than one generation behind the state-of-the-art if I […]

Facebook drones won’t work for aerial Internet

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 12.50.56 PMFacebook, trying to be ever more like Google, announced last week that it was thinking of building a global ISP in the sky. Now this is something I’ve written about several times in the past and even predicted to some extent, so I’d like to look at what Facebook has said so far and predict what will and won’t work.

Longtime readers will know I’ve written twice before (here and here) about satellite Internet and twice about aerial Internet, too (here and here), so I’ve been thinking about this for over a decade and even ran some experiments back when I lived in […]

Why elite marathoners don’t (yet) wear wristwatch mobile phones

GPSwatchesThirty years and 50 pounds of blubber ago, between various teaching jobs and being fired from computer companies, I wrote for a New York-based magazine called The Runner, which was long ago absorbed by Runners World. I took the gig to force myself to get in shape and it worked, which is why one year I ran the Boston Marathon. Understand that my editor at the time, a guy named Amby Burfoot, had won the Boston Marathon, so my finish well back in the pack was professionally meaningless, but that memory gives me some sense of the scene yesterday in Boston when those bombs went off. I know what the air was like, what the […]

Accidental Empires, Chapter 12 — On the Beach

tropicthunderGiven The Startup Channel this chapter on startups is very important. We also cover shareware and I want to point out that Buttonware founder Jim Knopf asked me to respect his pseudonym “Jim Button.” Who was I to argue with that? 

ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER TWELVE

ON THE BEACH

America’s advantage in the PC business doesn’t come from our education system, from our fluoridated water, or, Lord knows, from our tax structure. And it doesn’t come from some innate ability we have to run big companies with thousands of employees and billions in sales. The main thing America has had going for it is the high-tech start-up, and, […]