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by Brett Thomas on May 6, 2009 in Staff Editorials

We recently introduced the newest member of our staff, Brett Thomas, who will be heading up our Senior Editor position. There, Brett will help both with site direction and also management. To help kick things off, he has a few things he’d like to share on some of the upcoming changes you can expect to see here at Techgage.

A Brief Introduction

“Hello there, ladies and gentlemen…
Are you ready to ROCK?”

Cheap Trick is probably one of my favorite bands to emerge from the 1970′s – long before several people reading this article were ever born. That’s alright, I’m willing to bet we’re all familiar with Rock Band 2 here, and many of you could probably hum the title track. It gets stuck in my head all the time.

Oh, wait. You didn’t ask who are they, you asked who are you… as in the guy writing a rambling message on the front page of Techgage that is not Rob, Greg or Bill. I suppose that’s a good question.

So let me go ahead and answer it for you: My name is Brett, and I enjoy long walks on the beach, candlelight dinn… err, I don’t think that’s what Rob meant when he said to introduce myself. We’ll try that again – I’m the new Senior Editor on the Techgage team, and Rob has made it my job to develop and expand our content based on the interests you guys have outside of just the raw hardware.

We all like Rob’s thorough and almost OCD-driven review style, and that’s not going anywhere. My goal is to expand our content on top of that to bring you more articles, how-to guides and ideas on how to use that hardware – from operating systems to networks, from home theater to hardcore games. Along the way, we’ll also be bringing you more industry insights, news, and interviews from the people that make it happen.

Before you all get too worried that Rob’s lost his mind and let a monkey loose in the cockpit of your favorite site, let me give you a little background on myself. I may be new to Techgage, but I’m far from a new kid in the industry. I’ve been working on computers since the first 80×286 IBMs were starting to be sold in public retail. Technology has always been my passion, and accounting and finance have always been my trade. The two combined allowed me the awesome experience to grow as a journalist and industry analyst for four years with the great guys at bit-tech.net over in the UK.

If you have read (or decide to read) many of my articles (especially columns) over there, you’ll find a trend. I’m a loud-mouthed, pro-consumer, anti-monopoly advocate with a love for everything but the hardware (sorry, Rob). I strip the advertising schmaltz away, look at the numbers and dig into the business behind the industry we’ve grown to love (and sometimes simultaneously hate). Technology is about use to me, and as we get rolling over the next few months, I hope you ladies and gents will see that impact as we expand. And if we miss the boat you wanted or you see a place we can add more, tell us! That’s what the forums are for – drop a note, PM, e-mail, messenger pigeon… whatever you fancy!

A Look Forward

So now that you guys have a bit of background on me, let’s talk about some of the things we’re going to be seeing in the near (and not-so-near) future.

HTPC

Many of us would love to have a computer in the living room. Many of us who have significant others know that as little more than a fantasy – the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) is a very real figure and it has historically scored lower than low thanks to Windows Media Center. Even if you can get it past the missus, you run into stumbling blocks with formats, video acceleration, high definition, output methods and choices, and front-end/library software (for those of us who hate MCE).

Fear not… I’ve got a solution, and I’ll be sharing it and staying on top of this part of the industry personally. Call it my love of functional technology, my adamant hatred for the RIAA and MPAA, or anything else you want, but this one is personal. Digital entertainment should be on the mediums that we choose, and I’ll show you how to get it there.

We’ve already worked with some major players in the industry including ASUS, Intel, OCZ and SilverStone to build a dream HTPC on a budget, running full HD video acceleration and 7.1-channel surround sound through HDMI out, all with an interface that even a mother could love.

Along the way, we’ll get into lots of conversations about formats and containers, software choices, streaming methods, web interfaces… if it deals with getting content into your living room (and doesn’t directly describe piracy), we’ll cover it.

Linux

Those of you who think Linux is nothing but a blinking command prompt and a bunch of black magic voodoo have been missing a lot. Well, you’re still right in a way, but not like you’d think – thanks to versions like Ubuntu and Mint, Linux has grown up.

This doesn’t mean it’s great for everything, and we recognize that. But this is where the industry has seemed historically to fall short – sites seem to think that either you are an anti-Linux zealot believing that the CLI is the devil, or you are an Anti-Windows radical that writes “M$” at every chance and can’t admit when Linux isn’t the answer. I swear, it’s like a discussion on religion.

Since I’m all about technology as it is used, I really don’t fit into either camp… and I’d bet that most of you don’t either. Many people are afraid to use more than one OS these days due to the portrayal of each side – it seems that if the people can’t manage to get along, how can the systems? We’ll be writing a lot of articles designed to teach Windows users about where Linux is applicable or even better than Windows, and where it’s not. We’ll talk about the technologies underneath, review some distributions for those curious enough to try, and have a lot of how-to guides to get you up and rolling with some useful projects.

That doesn’t mean we’ll skimp on some of the higher-level stuff – for those of you who are already familiar, we’ve got some ideas for articles that will cater to your skills.

We’ll also be doing a “How do I?” segment as a regular feature, taking some of the most popular questions that you guys post and giving you answers and maybe even some possible applications.

Gaming

We all want to see more coverage about gaming and the games industry. Rob’s had it on the roadmap for years, but too buried in motherboards and graphics cards to get too far into it. We’ve got some ideas to fix that problem, but we may need a few good men to do it – so stay tuned!

Industry Analysis

One of my favorite parts of the computer industry is the time, money and effort devoted to the art of industry in-fighting. From the small skirmishes between hardware brands to the deep-seated grudge matches like Sony vs. Microsoft, there’s always a lot of business that gets ignored behind the advertising and marketing charade. Some of these things are just interesting background, while others directly affect us as consumers. You can expect to hear quite a bit more about this going forward as I put my business mind to use on some of the news and developments.

… And more of what you already love.

As I mentioned before, we’re not changing the site’s core – hardware is and will remain a key focus. Rob, Greg and Bill are working as hard as ever to give you more of what you’ve come to love, and we’d like to hear about some other areas of hardware that you would like to see get the Techgage treatment.

That’s not all, but it is for now…

I hope that you find this (rather difficult to write) article a useful look at where we’ll be headed in the near- and mid-term. There’s still a lot more we’ve got planned including staff blogs, a whole front-page redesign (the old one is soooooo 2005) and lots of forum improvements. But hey, we’ve got to have some secrets!

In the meantime, we hope that you guys will pardon our dust as we shuffle some things around, put up new sections and expand on the site we love. All of us here at Techgage welcome your thoughts, suggestions and feedback during this process – after all, we’re doing this to give you the site that you want to read each day!

Until next time, thanks for reading!

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