Stories by Fredric Paul

  • In defense of Uber

    Two new reports highlight the positive impact Uber has had: one on drunk driving, and the other on women who are prohibited from driving in Saudi Arabia.

  • Why I won't write a requiem for Google+

    Over the last couple years, this TechWatch blog has been home to requiems for a number of products and services that have either died or pretty much died, collapsing to the point where they no longer resemble their once-great former selves.

  • Facebook's icky psychology experiment is actually business as usual

    Unless you've been living under a rock for the last couple weeks, you've no doubt heard about Facebook's creepy, secret, psychological experiment designed to see if negative newsfeed posts inspire more negativity -- and vice versa. I don't want to excuse Facebook's behavior, which has prompted a (sort-of) apology from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, as well as an ongoing stream of condemnation and outrage from legitimate psychologists and Internet commentators. I too was weirded out by the revelations, feeling manipulated and that somehow my privacy had been unfairly invaded without my permission.

  • Has Microsoft finally realised PCs are different than tablets?

    If recently published reports are to be believed, Microsoft is finally realizing something I've been saying ever since Windows 8 first reared its ugly head: the so-called Modern (formerly Metro) tile interface may work fine on smartphones and tablets, but it basically throws traditional computers under the bus. The Windows 8 start screen is just plain silly on traditional computers.

  • Amazon's Fire smartphone: Why it doesn't matter how cool it is

    After literally years of speculation, Amazon finally announced its own smartphone, the Amazon Fire, at an event in Seattle yesterday. The device boasts several innovative new features that go beyond what's currently available on other platforms, but for now at least, the Fire's awkward positioning and high price make it unlikely to lure masses of users away from their iPhones or traditional Androids.

  • Mac and Windows compatibility through the decades

    I've always been an agnostic in the religious wars between Mac and PC. Reaching across the aisle separating Steve Jobs from Bill Gates hasn't always been easy. But unlike trying to be bi-partisan in Congress, mixing Macs and PCs has actually gotten less complicated and less annoying over the decades.