Useful Sites on Contemporary Computing

One of my colleagues suggested that a good use of this blog would be to inform those of our members who might not be aware of some the good places to find up-to-date information the latest goings-on in computing.

Here are a few annotated suggestions (as with most of my posts, with a strong American bias. I welcome proposed additions from other parts of the world):

  • Slashdot: Slashdot is a crazy smorgasbord of technology news, a sort of communal blog created by user submissions which are approved or rejected by the editors. It's over a decade old and widely known and used in the computing and IT world. Most submissions are simply a short paragraph summarizing articles found on other sites. Some are about technology policy, others about 'geek culture,' others are highly technical (discussing, for example the problems of IP address allocation). The archive (especially the comments section under each article) can be a great primary source, one can see different factions battling over the politics of technology on a daily basis.
  • Ars Technica: About as old as Slashdot, Ars is a sort of combination blog and magazine, with some short posts about recent news items and other longer feature stories (though with no pretense of journalistic neutrality). Recently purchased by Conde Nast. More coherent and rich in content than Slashdot, it has (for better or worse) fewer highly technical articles. As with the Slashdot comments sections, the Ars forums are a great site for seeing battles over technology play out.
  • Wired. The best known magazine on "digital culture" started in 1993. Unlike Ars (and very much unlike Slashdot) it includes hipness and snazziness among its core values, but it still manages to turn out some good articles. Its once staunchly libertarian editorial stance has mellowed in recent years. For historians, Steve Levy's recent retrospective on Hackers might be of particular interest.
  • MIT Technology Review. A venerable MIT magazine (vintage 1899, according to Wikipedia) that carries stories on developments in all areas of technology (and often science). Not as specifically
  • Alexis Madrigal's blog at the Atlantic. Madrigal blogs frequently about the the latest goings-on in the tech world (closely following, for example, the Wikileaks saga and the new Google Ngrams tool). He also, however, has occasional historical asides, such as a recent post on submarine telegraphy, which includes a link to a wondrous interactive map of existing underwater cables.

A couple of more specific recommendations:

  • This Day in Tech, a Wired blog that is exactly what it sounds like. Each entry describes an event related to the history of technology that happened on the current date, some years in the past.
  • The Atlantic Tech Canon, a list of canonical books, films, and other media relating to technology. Many of these will be familiar to historians of computing and other technologies, but you might find some that are new to you (I did!)

I hope some of you find this info useful!

Comments

Great post, Chris. I just wanted to add that quite a few veterans of the /. and Ars communities hang around Reddit these days, especially in the more technical subforums.

ceruzzip's picture

I have been trying sporadically to add material to the IT History Society blog . Just did something on Donald Knuth. IT History Society is looking for contributors.

Paul Ceruzzi