Age, occupation, where are you from, where do you live now? And since we're a website about New York and you once lived here, how long ago was that and where did you live back then?
I'm 42, grew up in Cleveland, now live in Connecticut. I lived on the Upper West Side in NYC from right after college (1985) until 1995.
What do you think of initiatives to create free Wi-Fi networks in big cities, like New York?
I think it's the greatest. It's an absolute win-win for the community and its government, and should be encouraged and praised like it's the next Great Wall going up.
In the Video Circuits clip for the NY Times a few weeks ago, you discussed podcasting. Were you tuning into podcasts before Apple added the service to their newest version of iTunes?
Actually, no. My time is unbelievably scarce, and I never had the time to forage for software, podcast sources, etc. iTunes made it idiotproof--and fast.
Are there any podcasts that you regularly tune into?
Not really. Again, I'm so freakishly overswamped, things like family and sleep usually take whatever free time I've got. So don't ask me about "Desperate Housewives," podcasts, blogs, or even the final "Star Wars" movie.
I do listen to This Week in Tech sometimes, and the iTunes New Music podcast sometimes.
Also, can you explain the wig and the voice in your mock "Open-Source Sex" podcast?
Um, no. Although I'm sure I'll be explaining it to my children's therapist someday.
What's the most handy piece of technology that you've come across in the past year?
SanDisk's folding SD card for digital cameras. Fills up with photos--how will you get it into your computer? Wait while it transfers over a cable and drains the camera's battery?
Nope--take the memory card out, fold it in half, and shove it into the laptop's USB jack. Ingenious. Essential for travelers.
Is there anything technology wise you think will be a breakout hit in the next year?
Things don't really break out in a single year. Cellphones, DVDs, even the Internet... they take years to make an impact.
This will, however, be the year for music player/cellphones, I have a feeling. [Ed. note: This interview was completed before the announcement of the iTunes phone - Pogue's take on it here] And of course Windows Vista at the end of 2006 will be a big hairy deal for a lot of people.
Can people be too dependent on technology? Are we already too dependent?
Nah. Our problem is just the opposite: too many people afraid of what's available even now, that could be saving them time, effort and money.
Not that I blame them: most of it's horribly designed, and things change way too fast. Companies rush things to market without sweating the details first, and they just never learn.
On a typical day, what kind of computers, accessories, etc are you using? Are you a portable music guy, the guy that takes pictures of everything around him, or just the guy that watches tons of stuff on TV?
I'm mainly a Mac guy, although I do all of my longer-form writing (books, email) on a PC using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8, an outstanding dictation program. Because I live at my desk, I don't use my cellphone much and don't have a PalmPilot.
But I have three amazing young children, and we travel a lot together. So I'd heavily, heavily into digital photography and video, as Times readers probably know already.
And when there's time, I consider the TiVo the world's greatest time-saving invention. My wife and I are reality-show fans; after you skip over the ads and the recaps and the upcoming-show previews, you can watch a one-hour reality show in about 20 minutes.
Do you have any say as to what images of you they select for NYTimes.com?
For example, you eating cameras.
No, I don't. The Web producer seems to prefer the most humiliating possible image, which suits me fine. I'm going for entertainment value here.
In your bio, you mention that you originally moved to New York to pursue a musical career on Broadway. What do you think of the shows on Broadway today?
I've been frustrated by all the boring revivals and reliance on the Old Guard of composers--in fact, that's what drove me out of the business. Nobody was producing anything from new writers. (At $2 million for even the most bare-bones production, it's just too great a risk.)
But according to an interesting story in the Times last week, a bunch of those revivals have bombed recently, and a bunch of original shows--"Spamalot," "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," "Avenue Q," etc.--have all done well. That's an exciting trend, if it can continue.
Do you miss theater and have you worked on anything musically recently?
Yes, I miss it. Going to see a show on Broadway, where a bunch of my old buddies are onstage or in the pit, is always a "road not taken" moment for me. My wife always has to pump me up psychologically for the whole train ride home.
But in the end, you can't do everything. What I do now has an infinitely larger audience, pays much better, and allowed me to raise my kids in a fantastic green, leafy suburb instead of the concrete canyons. (No offense is intended to all the parents who are making that work, by the way; it's just our preference, since my wife and I also grew up in leafy suburbs.)
Do you think that orchestras for broadway musicals should be live or if they should just do them as recordings like they were proposing a couple of years ago?
They should always be live. The prerecorded, MIDI-driven trend depresses me mightily.
With all this great technology out there these days, what is the point of live theatre/going to out to movies?
Live theater: It's live. Anything can happen. They're living, breathing people in front of you, who can hear you and respond to you. (This last comment is directed at the lady who sat behind me at "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" last week, who chitty-chitty-chatted away to her children during the show as though it were a TV show, while I was trying to introduce my own kids to the etiquette and excitement of a Broadway musical for the first time.)
Going out to movies: There's actually less reason these days. To me, a big plus used to be the screen dimensions (rectangular); when you watch a movie on a traditional TV, you're losing 1/3 of the picture because the screen is square.
But HDTV sets solve all that. Now you're seeing the whole movie again.
Still, we always go see visually spectacular movies in the theater (Star Wars, Day After Tomorrow, etc.). It's not only more of an experience than seeing it at home, but the community aspect--sensing how everyone around you is responding--is a fascinating part of the memory you're making.
Finally, which is a better way to meet girls: theatre or computers?
Theater, hands down. Just about every girlfriend I ever had, I met working on a show. Including the one I married. :)
You can visit David Pogue on his website and read his columns weekly in The New York Times Circuits section.