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Goodbye from Technically Incorrect

Commentary: This is the last of my columns on CNET. It's been quite an (almost) 10-year run.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


"So what's it like in jail, then?"

That was the most common question asked over the years, as Technically Incorrect meandered its way through tech's sensitive minefield.

You see, I was wearing an orange shirt in my profile picture. Naturally, readers made the assumption that I'd been incarcerated.

2015-sp-cm-39

Out of jail, I can now wear dark colors.

Stefanie Atkinson (with permission)

And, in a way, I had.

Tech's dictatorship of the last 10 years has resulted in quite a stranglehold on culture and human behavior, and there I was suddenly writing about it.

Somehow, I found tech funny, even when tech didn't. 

Former CNET editor-in-chief Dan Farber had the demented idea that I should start to put my mirth into written words. That was June 2008.

Yes, there was the hate mail and even the occasional death threat at the beginning.

But I couldn't help snorting just a little at the absurdity of the algorithm dictating the rhythm of life.

Tech companies tried to pretend they really were cuddly and only existed to make the world a better place. They deliberately gave themselves silly names in the hope that you'd love them. 

It's instructive how it's taken 10 years for many to realize that the love may have been a touch misplaced.

Apple and Microsoft fanpersons screeched at each other, daggers drawn. Soon, it became Apple and Samsung fanpersons.

But when Judge Lucy Koh gave the Apple-Samsung patent trial jury two Technically Incorrect articles to read after their work was done, honestly, I was moved beyond utterance. 

Wait, that case is still going?

When it came to tech rivalries, the names sometimes changed. The extreme feelings remained the same. 

They're just gadgets, people.

Still, technology did offer elements of progress, ways to reveal more clearly some of society's biggest ills.

Carrying cameras in our phones allowed us to document terrible things, like the horrific police shooting in the back of a black man in Charleston, South Carolina.

It also encouraged the world's brightest minds to create the selfie-stick, one of the more desperate homages to human self-obsession.

And now this is my last Technically Incorrect column on CNET. It's time.

I want to thank the CNET editors who, once in a while, would email me to say: "Hey, did you really mean to write that?" 

I also want to thank all those readers who came here in the (literally) millions, all the way till the end and occasionally wrote me personal notes. 

For the countless emails, personal revelations, article suggestions and even the invective -- occasionally written with some elegance -- I'm only too grateful.

It's been quite an experience, not one I'll ever quite replicate.

It's likely that Technically Incorrect -- or something quite like it -- will soon be reappearing elsewhere online.

But for now, well, I'm writing this from my honeymoon far, far away. (I married a scientist. What do you expect after 10 years of this?) 

I've never done the marrying thing before, so a new adventure begins.

I wish you all the very best for the adventures that you and your loved ones will encounter in the coming days, weeks and years.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for everything.

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