Mobility

TechRepublic's Teena Maddox will tell you what your device choices say about you

TechRepublic is ramping up its coverage of hardware devices and the Internet of Things (plus the big data that powers it) as Senior Writer Teena Maddox takes on a new role.

Teena Maddox
Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic.

Change is exciting, change is fun, and change is energizing. At least, to a Myers-Briggs ENFP personality type like myself. And here at TechRepublic, my job is changing as I leave behind my editing duties at Tech Pro Research and take on the role of Senior Writer so that I can specialize in important tech topics that we're going to spend more time covering.

The Internet of Things is one of the areas where you'll be seeing more of my bylines. I've written plenty about it in the past and it's fascinating to see all of the connected devices that make our lives and jobs both a little easier and more complicated all at the same time. Of course, IoT plays a role in smart offices with beacons streamlining connectivity for employees, and in the retail world as customer behaviors are monitored and analyzed. Each of those areas will be the subject of future articles that I look forward to sharing with our readers.

Along the same lines, I'll be writing regularly about one important aspect of IoT: smart cities. And not just smart cities, but also smart buildings and connected communities. I've already written one TechRepublic long form piece on the future of smart cities:

The world's smartest cities: What IoT and smart governments will mean for you (TechRepublic Cover Story)

Hardware is the other area I will specialize in for TechRepublic. I'll do product spotlights to talk about the latest laptops, tablets, smartphones, and wearable devices for the enterprise. And all of the accessories for such items. I'm also going to do photo galleries so that you can see what the hardware looks like in the real world, as opposed to just glossy marketing photos.

This means, for example, that you'll get to see my kitchen table when I'm taking photos while working from home. Or, you'll get to see my office desk with the occasional glimpse of my co-worker Conner Forrest in the background doing a rendition of the latest Taylor Swift song, complete with dance moves. But I promise to try to keep my dog and kids—and Conner—out of as many photos as much as possible.

In addition to writing about the pros and cons of each product, I'm also going to assess its style quotient. What will your co-workers think of you if you put on a particular pair of earphones, or bring out that tablet at the conference room table? If you're on a job interview, will your potential new boss think you're a tech noob if you pull out a poorly rated smartphone? When you're out of town at a conference, which laptop will give clients confidence that you know your tech?

teena-jfkjr.jpg
John F. Kennedy, Jr. with Teena Maddox during her days as a fashion reporter.
I know. Style assessments aren't part of what you normally read about on a tech website. But then, most tech journalists don't have a background in fashion journalism. I started out as a business reporter, but quickly segued into fashion news and features as an editor for Women's Wear Daily and W Magazine in their Los Angeles bureau. In that job, I regularly sat down with lauded designers such as Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Carolina Herrera and Narciso Rodriguez to talk fashion and style. The day that the gracious Oscar de la Renta admired my black boots during an interview was certainly a highlight.

I moved over to People magazine to interview celebrities, writing the iconic StyleWatch page that covered what you should be wearing. I interviewed celebrities to find out what they were wearing and why, and, more importantly, what they wouldn't be caught dead wearing. (For the record, Dustin Hoffman, Ron Howard and Matthew McConaughey are three of the most charming and kind celebrities on the planet, while Tommy Lee Jones, Helen Hunt and Russell Crowe are best left on the big screen and avoided in person.)

And while many techies prefer function over style, the truth is that appearance—whether it's how you dress or what technology you use—sends an immediate message, whether it's "there's a dude that doesn't care what anyone thinks," "smart millennial," "hipster wannabe" or "middle-aged dad who hates his job."

So I'm going to tie my fashion sensibilities into my tech writing to provide some perspective on what carrying certain devices might say about you. In my future stories, I'll share insights on which smartphone cases and computer bags really have style, and what that style is, and then you can decide if it matters to you.

I want to hear from each of you, as well, about what products you like, and hate. And what you find most interesting in tech today. And remember, change is good. Without change, we stagnate. And there's definitely nothing stylish about that.

Also see

About Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including Peo...

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