Tech & Work

Tom Merritt's Top 5 hits a big milestone

From IT management tips to the most underrated sci-fi novels, Tom Merritt looks back on 100 episodes of his top 5 list.

We're celebrating a milestone with TechRepublic contributor Tom Merritt; he just produced his 100th, Top Five list! I talked with Tom about the ground he's covered and what he hopes to dive deeper into in 2019. The following is an edited transcript of our interview.

SEE: Tom Merritt's Top 5 content in TechRepublic's Flipboard magazine

Karen: Hi Tom, pretty impressive!

Tom: Thank you very much Karen.

Karen: In looking back Tom at all the lists, you've covered so many different things. How did this all evolve and how did your love of tech come to be?

Tom: Yeah, my love of technology goes back to the first computer I got, back when I was 12 years old. So I've been working on computers ever since then. I started doing a Top Five list at CNET back in like 2006. And I've just really enjoyed that format of being able to break things down into a list. I did it there. I did it at Revision3 and I'm really happy to still be doing it for TechRepublic.

Yeah, there is one thing I like to do in these is sort of find the common perception and try to turn it on its head to say like, "Okay, we all know the ways that AI might undermine us, but what about how it could help us." So we looked at ways that artificial intelligence can actually make your job easier and might actually even train you up to give you the skills you need to find another job if the more tedious job that the AI can do goes away.

I don't know if it's exactly my favorite, but it's one that I'd like to revisit and I hope more people pay attention to was the top five things to know about FIDO. Not a dog, but the Standards Organization for Authentication. Because I think the problems we have with managing our passwords is one of the major reasons that we have problems managing the security of our data. And if this organization which includes several different tech companies, it's not dominated by the just one, can actually crack that and make it easy for people to stay secure. That's going to keep data more secure. And these constant data breaches we're hearing about hopefully will become a thing of the past, fingers crossed.

Karen: Yeah, fingers crossed for sure. And I think that's one of the things people love about your list Tom. I know I do, is that they're short and concise and a good bit of information that's easy to digest too, for people to take on. So heading into 2019, what are some things that you hope to cover, some topics that you really want to, or some ground that you'd like to cover?

Tom: Yeah, I like to keep my ear to the ground and just kind of figure out what are people talking about, and then look for a way to turn that into a list that would be helpful about it. So data privacy is going to continue to be something ... I'll be looking at regulations, how to deal with regulations, headaches around regulations, compliance issues, things like that will certainly be on the radar. And hopefully some more fun stuff. But they've let me waiting to doing some top five Sci-Fi lists in the past couple months. So hopefully, I'll be able to do a few more of those.

Karen: Yes, I remember, the most underrated sci-fi novels I believe you did.

Tom: Yeah, and that was a fun one to do for sure.

Karen: All right Tom, we always appreciate your time and appreciate you being part of TechRepublic. And once again, congratulations on 100 lists.

Tom: Thank you so much Karen.

Karen: Thank you Tom. For more on Tom's Top Five list, stick with TechRepublic.

Also see

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About Karen Roby

Karen Roby is a reporter for TechRepublic. Prior to joining CBS Interactive, Karen worked as an anchor and reporter for several CBS affiliate stations owned by Hearst Communications and Gray Television.

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