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Cool Geek Of The Week – Judie Hughes

Andrea Divirgilio / September 5, 2006

judie crown Thanks for your overwhelming response to our invitation to ask Judie Hughes questions. We have received good number of questions from our readers here. Unfortunately, we can’t ask Judie that many questions. So, we have picked up the most popular questions. Though you might think that you too asked same or similar question, so why wasn’t your name featured here, we have just given you the answer.

So, here we are finally, with the smart and brainy Judie Hughes from The Gadgeteer who is also a fine blogger, and smart enough to do what it takes to make a blog work.

Now that you have asked your questions to Judie Hughes and it is her turn now to answer.

1. Elle: Certainly, there should be a balance between style/looks and the technological aspect of a gadget. Are today’s manufacturers able to hit the right cord with this respect?

Judie: Some of them certainly are! I think this is most noticeable in the mobile phone market. When a manufacturer hits the sweet spot between a great looking gadget and features people want, the result can be a mini-phenomenon. The first few examples that come to mind are the Motorola RAZR, the Sidekick, and the TREO. Then there’s the iPod, which is probably one of the most successful recent examples of good technology and good looks together in the same device.

2. Elle: Have you ever purchased a gadget just because of its looks?

Judie: Off the top of my head I can’t think of one that I purchased based solely upon its looks – but I can think of a few that I didn’t purchase because I thought they were too ugly. The gadgets that we tote around on a daily basis become an extension of us and of our personalities. That’s why I think it is so important that manufacturers try to create good looking and functional items – products we would want to be seen carrying & using.

3. Lynda: Judie, what are three most important gadgets you own, or cannot live without?

Judie: I couldn’t get by without my mobile phone (currently a Samsung A900), DualCor cPC (which functions as both a WM5/Pocket PC device and a Windows XP ultra portable computer), and my Exilim EX-Z1000 digital camera.

Of course, a great looking bag for toting these gadgets is also a must!

4. L.Smith: How do you think blogging stories/articles are different from those in a newspaper or a magazine?

Judie: The beauty of blogging is that whatever is on my mind gets published immediately; magazines and even newspapers have publication schedules that don’t always allow for spur of the moment additions or updates.

Of course, there is also greater responsibility and accountability for my own writing – I can’t rely upon a higher-ranking editor catching my mistakes, and I can’t write anything that I wouldn’t be willing to say directly to the manufacturer of any given item – because that is exactly what Julie and I are doing anytime we post a review.

So the difference would be that it’s more immediately gratifying and that there is greater personal responsibility.

5. Poonam: Hi Judie, as you have reviewed many hardware gadgets, can you tell me about one of the gadgets you liked the most and why?

Judie: Only ONE, are you kidding me?! Okay, since I am looking right at it I’ll say the Angus Noble’s Indium LED Torch. This is an aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, BRIGHT LED flashlight that I can’t say enough good things about – even a year after I first reviewed it.

I wish you would have asked me for my top ten, instead! ;0)

6. Kanchan: Have you ever thought of focusing on being a green consumer?

Judie: I feel the term “green consumer” is a little vague, so I am not sure exactly what you are asking me. Do I recycle? Yes, when it is practical. Do I throw away perfectly good items that could benefit another person? Never. Do I seek out companies that try to use recycled goods and that have ecologically friendly track records? Sure.

Do I post about companies that find original uses for discarded items (gadget or otherwise)? Yes, when it is relevant to our site.

Do I promote the use of renewable resources such as rechargeable batteries? Always! I don’t condone waste and I don’t promote laziness, so I don’t know if that makes me a “green consumer” or just a “careful consumer”.

7. Vikas: Judie, it’s been almost six years, with your ‘Gear Diary’ festooned with over 400 hardware reviews and I’d say almost hacking all of them, in this field, tell me how far you’ve been able to do justice with your reviews, keeping in mind that you’re a real consumer product reviewer?

Judie: Well just to clarify, I have over 400 full-fledged reviews on the Gadgeteer site (www.the-gadgeteer.com), but in my Gear Diary there are an additional 380 entries about everything from where I went on vacation to a new gadget that seemed to fit better in that particular section. I don’t think I always give justice to the items in my Gear Diary because they are not always items I actually have in my possession – they might just be gadgets that I lust over. As far as my reviews are concerned – YES, I believe that those items do get full justice because those gadgets are truly used during the review process. Additionally, I can go back at a later date – even years later if need be – and add further impressions if anything about the review changes.

judie hughes

8. Vikas: Do you really think your efforts have helped in taking personal technology to a new level with blogging as a medium?

Judie: I would like to think so. There are a lot of people that tell us they will not purchase a product until we have reviewed it. While this is very flattering, it is also a tremendous burden that requires us to really be thorough as we write about the product’s traits – both good and bad. We try to make sure that we have discovered the best and worst points for every item reviewed so that others won’t get any nasty surprises after having spent their hard earned money.

9. Jonty: Hello Judie, I am delighted to see that you are going to answer a few questions here. I am a technophile myself and sometimes my enthusiasm for portable technology crosses all limits of sanity, and I am not alone. What do you have to say about technophiles?

Judie: I think that we are special people that need constant stimulation, and the manufacturers should cater to us. ;0)

10. Jonty: Do you think it is a serious mental condition? :-) How important are technophiles like me for the gadget industry as a whole?

Judie: YES, not that there’s anything wrong with that! I think technophiles are very important. They are the ones that are the early adopters. They’ll buy new and untested products, and their feedback and excitement can inspire less intrepid consumers to follow suit. Technophiles can make or break new technology.

11. Veronica: We are sure that you keep tabs on certain blogs. Please tell us what blogs do you read and why do you like those blogs?

Judie: I spend a lot of time looking at various blogs throughout the day – not all of them gadget related, believe me. A current list is always on the sidebar of my Gear Diary; since it doesn’t list what I like about these sites I’ll touch on them here:

Engadget – Up to the moment speculation and commentary on the latest electronic gadgets and possible future devices

Pop Gadget
– More of a feminine spin on the types of items that Engadget covers

The Green Head – I have to find upcoming items to review somewhere, and this is one of the many places.

Born Rich – I like to look while wiping the drool from my chin.

Pocket PC Thoughts – Latest software and news for Pocket PC / Windows Mobile 5

Damn Interesting – Because it is!

Perez Hilton – One of my guilty pleasures, totally unrelated to gadgets

Shiny Shiny – Another site with a female spin on the latest gadgets

She Finds – A shoppers dream

The Red Ferret – Another good site that lists upcoming gadgets

12. Nandini: What are the strategies that helped The Gadgeteer to achieve all the success?

Judie: I think the biggest thing is that Julie and I just keep plugging away. We consistently post three to five full reviews every week, as well as diary entries on other things that are happening. We try to write reviews on things that actually interest us, and we try to stay out of the mental ruts that occur when we cover too many of the same type items. For instance, even though we will still do them occasionally, I think we both agree that we are tired of doing case reviews. We would much rather cover interesting doo-dads that amuse us or serve a useful function.

13. Nandini: What’s next for The Gadgeteer?

Judie: World domination! Ha, just kidding. Julie and I have both started doing periodic video reviews; I just posted my first one last week (http://www.the-gadgeteer.com/review/hitchsafe_key_vault). People often ask if we are going to start doing Podcasts, and my answer would be that I have no idea. I don’t know if I like the sound of my voice enough to drone on for 30 minutes or so about the latest gadgets…although I would never say never.

14. Ankit: Words of advice for new bloggers. What would be your 3 tips for gadget bloggers to make it big?

“Making it big” is relative. If you mean being well known, then it is simply a numbers game, I suppose. Keep blogging and they will come…

#1 – You have to keep plugging away, even on days when you don’t “feel like it”, consistently producing fresh content for your readers – including those you don’t yet have.

#2 Be honest. Whether you are a reviewer or blogging about what happens in your day, the minute you start guarding your comments because you are afraid of a particular manufacturer’s wrath or a reader’s reaction, then you might as well hang it up. That does not mean you should be rude or unnecessarily blunt about what you are writing, but if a product is no good, people need to know. If you are writing about your life, tell the truth. People recognize truth, and they generally reward it by returning.

#3 Don’t do this to become rich. Just because one site got bought for millions of dollars, or another site compiled their blog into a best-selling novel, or another site’s ad-revenue is so large that they can blog from their own desert island doesn’t mean yours ever will be. Blog because you have something to say – even if there are only a couple people listening. If what you are saying is worth listening to, then more readers will eventually discover you.

If you make it “big” doing something that you love, then you will truly be one of the lucky ones.

15. Nandini: Finally, we would like to have your thoughts on BornRich and Instablogs.

Judie: Well, obviously I love Born Rich, it is in my list of daily sites. I like looking at the outrageous items that I may never be able to afford, some of them are so outlandish that if I had the money I wouldn’t buy them anyway. But there are some, like the Underwater Sea Resort that I would love to splurge on. I would also like to get the 50″ Radius 320 Seamless LCD Display one day. Shall I make a wish list? Christmas is coming…

I think the whole Instablogs concept is great. I noticed that on top of the blogs already going, you are launching even more covering nearly every conceivable subject. It sounds like you all are the ones heading for world domination…I wish I had enough extra hours in the day to read all of your blogs! :0)

We finally Thank Judie for completing this interview in the best possible way! We look forward to the great reviews and articles by in The Gadgeteer in the future too . And, wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

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