About David Pierce

David Pierce, the founder of Digitizd, is now Reviews Editor at The Verge.

Signing Off

As of this past Monday, I’m a Reviews Editor for The Verge. It’s a new (well, not-yet-born so far) site, where we’ll be covering news, writing reviews and features, and doing much more. It’s a fantastic team and a fantastic publication that I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of.

There’s only one downside: I don’t have time to write Digitizd anymore. (I don’t have time for anything anymore, actually, but that’s a different story.) This site has been my baby, the thing I’m most proud of over the last few years, and has introduced me to people and opportunities I never dreamed of being able to get. As sad as I am to see this phase end, it’s time.

I’ve written this post a million times, and it’s different each time, but the one running theme has been how grateful I am to all of you, the readers and friends of Digitizd. You’ve all made this site fun, useful, and hopefully worthwhile. You’ve corrected me the billion times I’ve been wrong, shown me cool things, inspired me to keep working, and much more. I’m grateful to each one of you.

The Verge is going to be amazing, and I can’t wait to show you what we’re working on when the site launches. I’ll be writing ’til my eyes bleed over there, so if you miss me make sure you come say hi!


Google Wallet: Fixing What's Sort of Broken

Google Wallet is supposed to be the Earth-shattering thing that completely changes forever how we deal with money. And to be fair, it might, but as Matt Buchanan reports, it’s not. Not because the product doesn’t work well, but because the thing that sucks about money isn’t the swiping of your credit card:

But then I still had to tell the dumb credit console whether I was paying debit or credit. And then I had to wait for my receipt to print out, all ten miles of it. Which made my attempt at being a mysterious stranger with mysterious magical technology quickly disappearing into the night fail miserably since it wouldve been mad awkward to stare directly into each others eyes for 45 seconds without saying a word.

Google Wallet is clearly a close-up glimpse at what the seamless, slippery future of money looks like—MasterCard is an appropriate enough vector for a technological Mark of the Beast, I suppose—but its still very much in 2011. Friction abounds.

Texting with UPS

Starting in October, gone are your days of missing packages:

If you miss package deliveries enough to want to punch something, this will make you happy. The day your package is scheduled to be delivered, UPS will text or email or call you with a four-hour delivery window. This service, called UPS My Choice, is free and launches October 3rd. For a $5 fee you can reschedule delivery or ask them to deliver to another address. $5 is a little steep for that if you ask me, but there have definitely been occasions where getting the package that day would have been worth it to me.

Yay. Just, yay. Also, why did no one think of this before?

Read it Later Gets a Facelift

I bought a new phone yesterday (long story about why, and which, coming soon), and part of my self-agreement was that I would use it more. I currently use an iPod touch altogether too much, and I want to get rid of it, and just use my phone for everything.

Getting rid of my iPod touch involves finding two things that work on Android as well as they did on iOS: music, and Instapaper. Music’s going to be tough, but it’s coming along. My Instapaper problem, on the other hand, was solved this morning by a competitor called Read it Later.

I’ve used Read it Later a little bit in the past, but always turned away from the app because it just wasn’t as smooth as Instapaper, particularly the Web version. But this morning, Read it Later got a total facelift on the Web, to the point where it’s not only as good as Instapaper but is actually far better.

The new Web app, in addition to being incredibly good-looking, packs a lot of features I’ve always wanted from Instapaper: search, tagging and sorting, and a more visual look. Your articles are, by default, individual tiles with photos and headlines, instead of the list-of-headlines look Instapaper uses. You can also skim through and prune your queue more easily (critical for me, man of a million unread articles), and more.

Most importantly, it’s really good looking. Here’s the list view:


The article view:


A really good Web version, plus Read it Later’s already-excellent stable of mobile apps, makes switching from Instapaper finally possible (RiL even has a handy import tool). Half-goodbye, my iPod touch!

ShopAdvisor and Evernote are a Killer Shopping Team

I’m currently in the market for, among other things, a coffee table. I’ve been looking at places that sell coffee tables, at places like Craigslist and eBay, and all manner of other sources to try to find a half-decent coffee table at a half-decent price.

Fortunately, there’s a neat service called ShopAdvisor that makes that process a whole lot easier. ShopAdvisor lets you enter a product name (or even take a picture of it), and it then does things like find it online and at stores, or show you advice and reviews on the particular product. It’ll even alert you if and when the price drops, which is awesome, because the coffee table I really want is currently too expensive but there’s bound to be a sale sometime.

The app’s integration with Evernote is one of its coolest features, too. You can capture a product into Evernote, and then ShopAdvisor digs into your notes and does its thing. Once the two services are set up, you just add a “watch” tag to the Evernote note, and then ShopAdvisor automatically shows you deals, previews, places to buy, and much more.

It’s an awesome system for gift-buying in particular: Make a list of things you might want to give certain people as gifts, and then you’ll be notified when they’re on sale, or if you need a last-minute gift you can figure out what’s available nearby.

I don’t have a coffee table yet, but I will soon. And I’ll owe all the savings to ShopAdvisor.

If This Then That

Shawn Blanc, on how he uses super-nifty tool If This Then That:

An example action ifttt calls them recipes would be: “If it’s going to rain tomorrow then text message me.”

I set up a recipe so that I get an email with the link to any item I star in Google Reader. It used to be that when I was reading feeds on my iPad and I came across an item I wanted to link to here on the site, I would email myself that article. Now I simply star it and it’ll still show up in my email inbox.

I just set up the same thing, except for Evernote. Whenever I star something in Google Reader now, it shows up in Evernote like ten seconds later. Ditto for Twitter favorites, too. It’s really easy to set up recipes, and I love that you see what other people have done.

In my endless quest to consolidate things into as few inboxes and places to check as possible, this is a huge secret weapon.

The Amazon Tablet is Real

And MG Siegler (speaking of MG) has seen it:

The interface is all Amazon and Kindle. It’s black, dark blue, and a bunch of orange. The main screen is a carousel that looks like Cover Flow in iTunes which displays all the content you have on the device. This includes books, apps, movies, etc. Below the main carousel is a dock to pin your favorite items in one easy-to-access place. When you turn the device horizontally, the dock disappears below the fold.

But the key for Amazon is just how deeply integrated all of their services are. Amazon’s content store is always just one click away. The book reader is a Kindle app (which looks similar to how it does on Android and iOS now). The music player is Amazon’s Cloud Player. The movie player is Amazon’s Instant Video player. The app store is Amazon’s Android Appstore.

I can’t wait. I don’t see why this tablet can’t be the second-biggest tablet on the market, essentially from day one. I think, by marketing the Nook Color as an ebook reader at the beginning, missed its chance to grab a huge chunk of the tablet market, and Amazon won’t make the same mistake. Android, apps, $250, and easy access to content is a magic combination, and coupled with the brand power of Amazon? This is going to be big, folks.

Who is the iPad For?

The iPad’s biggest downside may be that the people who cover it for a living are the one and only group of people for whom its biggest flaw really matters. So says MG Siegler:

Here’s the thing: at first, I wasn’t completely sold on the iPad as a PC replacement. And for my current line of work, I’m still not. It’s simply too hard to type more than a hundred words on the thing. You hear this refrain over and over again in the press. But it’s paradoxical. The press has to write about and review the iPad because that’s what they do. But they’re also the worst possible candidates for iPad usage.

I’ve slowly come to realize this over time. When I went on vacation a few months ago, I brought both my laptop and my iPad. I promised myself I wouldn’t do any work during the trip — as a result, the laptop never came out. Not once. The iPad? I used it every single day, for hours.

That’s important. The key is that I love computing and the web. Even during my off time, I love it. Yes, disconnect — blah, blah, blah. I’ll do what I want. But I’ve been trained over time to think that the traditional PC is the way to do these things whether it’s for work or play. That’s simply not true. The tablet form factor is so. much. better. when you don’t have to do an excessive amount of typing. And during downtime, when I use a computer like a more regular human being, I’ve found that’s often.

I completely agree. When I’m working, my iPad never comes out of my bag, and I’m working most of the time. But when typing lots and lots of words isn’t my first goal, the iPad does the things I need better than any other gadget I’ve used.

MG’s dead on, as usual.

The Kitchen Table of the Future

Not so many years from now, the New York Times is betting, your morning ritual might look similar to the way it does now: sit at the table, drink a cup of coffee and read the newspaper. The “read” the newspaper part, though, might work a little differently, as the Nieman Lab found out:

And news itself, in the same way, collapses into the broader universe of information. We’re used to thinking of “the news” as its own category, as something to be consumed primarily during commutes or during post-work relaxation in the evening. But news is becoming more pervasive (there’s evidencethat many people, at the moment, consume the bulk of their news during the day, integrated into their work), and the R&D platforms reflect its ubiquity. The prototypes on display at the R&D Lab consider how news can be used, in particular, in the home, woven into the intimate contexts of the morning coffee, the family dinner, the daily getting-ready routine. They explore what it means to brush your teeth with the Times.

After watching the video, I can’t wait for this to be part of my mornings. And it doesn’t seem that far off, really.