Why RSS doesn't catch on: Confession of a technophobic tech writer

A tech writer confesses that he only uses tech that's dunce-proof: an explanation of why RSS isn't mainstream.
Stephen Baker

You know my problem as a tech writer? If a new technology doesn't promise immediate pleasure or payoffs, I don't like to tinker with it. I put it off. I have two phones at home that I'm supposed to review, one a nifty Samsung with a powerful camera, the other a pocket pc phone made in China for T-Mobile. I've outsourced the testing, at least for now, to my 13-year-old. Last night he was struggling with the pocket pc. "How do you get the SIM card in here?" he asked.
"Go on the Web and figure it out," I said.

The two products I've gotten around to reviewing are the two I fell in love with, the video iPod and Motorola's PEBL phone. Is it a coincidence that they're both simple and beautiful? I don't think so.

The reluctance of mine to tinker extends to blog technology. I hate to admit it, but I haven't dabbled yet with del.icio.us or figured out how to create podcasts. I've done nothing imaginative with RSS. Even my aggregator page is a bare-bones embarrassment compared to Heather's.

Long story short, I'm a typical tech user. That's why I related to Debbie Weil's and Fred Wilson's posts on why RSS hasn't yet made a dent in corporate e-mail. If it's something I have to outsource to my 13-year-old, a technology isn't dunce-proof ready for primetime.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
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