While I am probably not at the utter cutting edge of every bit of news out there, I do tend to stay slightly ahead of the curve when it comes to news in technology. I’ve noticeed recently that quite a few of my friends and peers ask me how I keep up. As I tell them, I don’t really spend that much time reading, it’s more that I’ve found a great combination of sources to use and reuse multiple times per day. Here are my 4 sources, and a bit on when/how/why I use them.
My.Yahoo. If they had a membership card, mine’d probably say “Member Since 1999.” I’ve configured my page to show me sports scores & news, entertainment headlines, and more importantly, a variety of “traditional journalist” tech sources, specifically including the AP and Reuters tech feeds and some industry-specific topics such as “peripherals.” I end up on my My Yahoo! page (that sounds odd) no fewer than a dozen times a day, and I also use it as my primary source for non-tech news. I know there are more “powerful” options like Pageflakes and Netvibes, but My Yahoo works, it’s reliable, it’s fast to load, and it’s convenient. It has the added bonus of being integrated into a variety of services I use already.
Techmeme (pronounced “tek-meem”) is my second-most used site of the day, and I use it to keep abreast of active/current technology topics. Odds are quite good that if something is going on in the high-tech world, it hits the front page of Techmeme within an hour. I’m there multiple times per day, and it’s probably the single best way to keep my virtual finger on the pseudo-pulse of the artifical heart in the technology world. If I had but a single complaint with the site is my inability to filter out topics that I don’t personally care about (e.g. “Second Life”), but my eyes seem to do a good job of that on their own. I also applaud Gabe Rivera (the creator of Techmeme, with whom I spent some time chatting at the
IBD Network DealMaker Media event last week), as he built the site himself!
Next up is Bloglines, the first of two different blog/RSS readers I use regularly. I use Bloglines specifically because there are certain authors whom I want to read above all else, regardless of topic, and I find this is the best way to follow them. I know there are other methods of following feeds, but this is my favorite way to consume individual writer’s content on a regular basis. By the way, my absolute top blog reads are (in no order): Michael Gartenberg, Dave Zatz, Jason Calacanis, Mathew Ingram, Thomas Hawk, and Fred Wilson. I read quite a few others as well, and subscribe to almost a hundred blogs total, but something about the quality of content and the quantity of content makes them the easiest to follow (I like 0-2 posts per day per blogger). I hit Bloglines about three times a day.
Last, but not least, is Google Reader, which I use once every day or two to look for interesting topics by other bloggers I like, but who may be either too prolific or focus on other domains from my most-needed content. This lets me scan through sites I really enjoy (like Engadget, GigaOm, Scoble, etc) where I may look for specific topics, but just can’t read all the content they put out. The Google Reader interface is really well-suited for scanning through headlines, and I’ve even added Techmeme as a source to it, just in case I find something through that means instead.
So there you have it, 4 great sites to keep up with the latest news in technology. Use them right, and you’re basically assured to be on top of what’s going on.
As a bit of an aside, the most important “advice” I’ll impart is this: make sure you combine your blogosphere intake with traditional journalists. I just read this great piece by Dan Farber looking back on a decade of blogging, and I couldn’t agree more with the comments regarding citizen journalism. Like everything in life, I try to avoid the utter extremes: the bloggers have a lot to say, but aren’t always right, and same thing goes for professional journalists.