Phil Nickinson

Exciting things are afoot, folks. I'm mostly going off the grid this week, insofar as the usual work week is concerned, but that's not to say there's nothing going on.

So here's to a fun, fast and fruitful week in New York City, with some of the smartest people I know.

And now, a few thoughts on the week that was:

Can'​t HTC catch a break?

From the "It's not as bad as it seems" department, HTC -- which very much has the makings of a smartphone hit on its hands with the HTC One -- sent out e-mails to those of us who preordered the 32-gigabyte SIM-unlocked and 64-gigabyte "developer edition" directly from HTC (OK, via Let's Talk), saying they were delayed and would ship before the end of the month.

That's not the biggest of delays -- potentially a week and a half -- but that's just not headline the company needed, after the HTC One was delayed in a number of countries from March to April. Not that it was really HTC's fault -- increased security and Midwest flooding were to blame -- but still.

The good news: Some phones did manage to ship out on Friday, just hours after the "delay" was announced. And HTC followed up with me, saying more shipped on Saturday, and more will ship early this week.

So it could have been worse, I suppose.

'Tech blogs' covering 'news'

A lot has been said since the horror of last Monday in Boston about publications traditionally considered to be tech sites writing about the marathon bombing. Instead of worrying about whether it was the "right" thing to do, I've been thinking more about how well it was done.

When news is truly breaking -- and not any of that blogging "developing …" bullshit that's all the rage these days -- I'm OK with tuning out for a little while and waiting for a clearer picture. I think that goes back to what I did at the newspaper. I mostly worked with the content once it was coherently written and edited. That allows for more big-picture thinking, and for a more accurate look at what's going on.

It's also perfectly natural to want to know every detail of every second. I was pretty appalled Friday night as the final manhunt unfolded live over the police scanner -- and folks just couldn't stop tweeting everything that was happening. Now police scanners are relatively lo-fidelity. But if that suspect had taken a bullet in the eye, that voyeuristic game quickly becomes a snuff film. I can live without that.

Me? I went with news sources from the Boston area, as well as the usual national players, and the raw AP feed. There's "covering" news by rewriting and aggregating someone else's work, and then there's real "coverage" by having reporters on the ground. When national news breaks, networks send their own talking heads, and newspapers send reporters or (hopefully, if they still have them) put their bureaus to work. But it's the local level that does some of the best work.

Something else I was reminded of: The tech news/traditional news argument has been going on within traditional news organizations forever. Sports desks love to watch the newsies running around all over the place on Election Day. For a hometown newspaper, that's called Friday night football. And College football Saturdays. There's blowback whenever a "sports" story becomes a "news" story. I spent my first four years at the newspaper in sports. The next eight in news. And I've been doing the "tech blog" thing for three years now. Different publications cover things differently And different sections within publications approach things differently. That's the way it should work. So maybe that's why I was disappointed to, at least initially, see such unimaginative coverage from any number of "tech blogs."

Syndication is one thing. It's a better use of resources, and more honest to your readers, I think. Rewriting and aggregating "news" -- especially during tragic events -- just seems self-serving.

I'd also argue that it's what you do between breaking events that defines how well you cover "news." While major events are never "easy," they're also laid out in front of everyone. That makes it easy for them to be covered poorly by anyone with a platform on which to publish. I'm glad there has been blowback through all this. It'll be interesting to see how daily coverage shifts. (And it might well have been shifting anyway and we just didn't notice.)

If anything, what we saw over the past week was just a bumpy stretch on a wildly shifting thoroughfare.

Lest we forget what's really important …

Maybe I've been out of the news game for too long. Or maybe having two young daughters has made me soft. But I found myself tearing up all week. At the horror. At the bravery. At the humanity of it all.

Thank those who put themselves in harms way. Who comfort the afflicted. And who help keep horrible events like this from happening in the future.

Our HTC One dev edition contest

It was pretty sad to see some folks try to cheat their way to a win in our HTC One developer edition contest. I was naive in thinking it wouldn't happen.

We're going to have someone not on our usual editorial staff pick a winner. We're still throwing in a couple Nexus 4s to two lucky runners-up. Look for the winners to be announced soon.

Best of the rest …

That was heavy. A few happier closing thoughts this week:

  • My 6-year-old daughter is obsessed with the Reading Rainbow app on iOS. (And I'm insanely jealous that LeVar Burton retweeted my wife.) Gotta get more great kids content for Android -- and Google Play needs some better discoverability for it.
  • Seeing so much love for the HTC One, actually. But we've yet to see the full force of the Samsung marketing machine for the Galaxy S4. HTC's begun its campaign, but it's more subtle. Samsung's going to carpet bomb the hell out things again, for sure.
  • AT&T got LTE in my town right as the Nexus 4 came out. Which means I haven't really used AT&T LTE in my town yet. I'd forgotten how fast LTE can be. It'll be interesting to see how the battery holds  up.
  • Ingress tip of the week: Keep as far from the portal as you can when placing resonators. The opposing faction will curse you for it, especially if one's in a hard-to-reach spot.