Do you feel overwhelmed trying to stay up to date with the latest tech news?

Published on 2022-08-24.

I got my first computer when I was about 9 years old, back then there where no Internet and few Danish book shops with any computer related books. In my teens the book shops started to have computer related books and magazines, but they where extremely expensive, so I mostly went to the library in order to read the magazines. I did this about once every 2-3 months. I remember how exiting it where. Seeing and reading about all the new stuff. It was very easy to stay updated. Today, that's not how it feels like any longer, following the technology news media feels overwhelming, almost like a "burn out". But guess what, this is not because that technology is developing so much faster than it did back then, rather the online technology news media is designed to make you feel overwhelmed - it's on purpose!

Even though the technology related news media isn't about inhibiting thinking or controlling the masses, like the regular news media, the technology media is mostly using the same tactics by creating sensational and story-formattet junk. You can spot a bad technology media (or any news media) by the low level of investigative journalism and the high level of sensationalism it contains.

If you try to follow all the latest news within technology, whether hardware related or software related or security related, etc., you can easily spend 3-5 hours a day reading through all the information, even if you only skim. Add social media to the mix, with people sharing links to this and that, and you will spend your entire day shoveling through it all.

Let me share something with you. Most of the technology news media is not about the technology, it's all about getting you to feel overwhelmed and out of control. By doing so they make sure that you keep coming back for more in a desperate attempt to keep up with it all.

I have done coding and database administration in a couple of projects in news media and I can tell you this, all they care about is how to keep you hooked. They need to provide a steady stream of information in order for you to come back on a daily basis and they do this by writing superficially about a lot of completely irrelevant stuff. The result is that you feel that you desperately need their services in order to stay informed in your field of work or interest.

While it is true that in the field of technology, everything is going really fast, but that is not the reason why you feel overwhelmed. You feel overwhelmed because of the amount of information you are served.

But ask yourself this: When is the last time you read something really important in the technology media that affected your field of work or life in any way?

It happens, but if you are anyting like me, it happens very rarely.

This is because the majority of news in the technology media is completely irrelevant. Even people working directly in the field of a specific event rarely needs the technology media to tell them anything.

Intel has just done this. Google now did that. Microsoft has just done this. Oracle didn't do anything. New iPhone 45 has arrived. Android version 600 has been released. Hackers cracked foo website. This and that company has been hit by ransomware. X has increased by 33% while Y has decreased by 78%. Bla bla bla bla bla.

The majority of it is utter useless information.

In the past, the magazine reporters who worked in technology news, did thorough work when they planned the next release of the magazine. For the most part, articles where researched, interviews planned, and some articles contained tutorials or examples, etc. It was about bringing relevant information to the people working in the industry, or people who simply had an interest in technology.

However, some really good computer and technology magazines still do that, and that is really all you ever need to read to stay informed!

The magazines have limited printing space (this goes for PDF, EPUB, etc. as well), as such they are more careful when they decide what to write about. This means that they have done all the news sorting for you, bringing you only the most relevant news for you. Then they fill the rest of the magazine with (mostly) well written information, guides, previews, etc. Even the ads in the magazine are (mostly) out of the way, yet still relevant to people reading that specific magazine (just like ads in Google search used to be before Google became greedy).

The best magazines are those that are released on a monthly basis. Some magazines released on a 14 days schedule is also still good. But no more often than that.

I will not recommend any specific magazines, but I will advice you to go magazine hunting. If you live in a place where there is a library that has a lot of them, this is the easiest place to shift through them in order to figure out, which ones suit your interests and which ones that provide quality content.

Good articles are written by people with a true interest in the topic, hence they have done their research and are not just parroting what they themselves have read elsewhere.

If you are hooked on media like Reddit TechNews, Ars Technica, or even Hacker News try - as an experiment - to boycott these for a couple of months. Find one or two magazines and read those instead. See how that makes you feel and how it affects you life.

I can almost guarantee you that you will notice an increase in your productivity, a much better and more positive mood, and you may even have learned something new and truly useful!