This is My Next… unsubscription from a YouTube channel

My next piece was going to be about conflict minerals but I saw a video that I just had to rail on.

The Verge has been around for a few years now. I can say that rarely it publishes some great pieces, but the vast majority of its pieces/videos are not so much on the verge of something (provocative? insightful?) as they are pretentious (at best) and vapid (at worst). Let’s take a look at the latest This is my next piece, about tablets.

I am an admitted Android fan, but I’m not hating on the video for picking the iPad as the best tablet. Honestly, I have a strong respect for Apple’s contributions to technology and continued devotion to realize their vision. At times I even love Apple. Yes, the two (loving Google and Android) are not mutually exclusive. I have switched to OS X as my primary desktop OS (with some Windows 8.1), though for phones/tablets I still prefer Android. I have extensive use of a 3rd gen iPad. It’s a great tablet. More regularly though I use my Nexus 7 (or Nexus 10), and those are great too. The point is, I’m a fan of all tablets.

That video? It’s awful. I just don’t get how The Verge is going to stay credible like this. Marquees Brownlee, one guy, does far better work, and he doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of time/money/resources that The Verge appears to have. Granted Marquees does videos exclusively, and The Verge is sprawled over everything trying to be a better Engadget/Gizmodo/TechCrunch, but video pieces are pretty important.

So what’s my problem with this video? I’ll bullet point it.

  • For the iPad, when he says I shouldn’t feel compelled to buy an accessory (time: 1:26) “if that’s not how you want to use your tablet.” I mean, isn’t that obvious? That’s like recommending a TV and telling me that I shouldn’t feel compelled to use a Bluray player with it, if that’s not how I want to use my TV. Okay, thanks? That was a vapid assessment. Everything else (describing the tablet, explaining what tablets are good for) I can understand, but telling someone you don’t need to buy accessories, is worse than redundant, it’s condescending (if you can imagine him saying that to someone new to technology).
  • Telling us that Samsung tablets all suffer from the same software issues that make them confusing and frustrating to use, and then not mention specifics (just some, please!) is frustrating and also confusing when you consider how helpful the iPad assessment was. I mean it’s obvious from the prior minute that he knows how to list features important to him, what he likes about the iPad. Then why can’t he be more helpful than “software issues?” Okay, so ‘software issues’ and ‘plastic feel’ don’t make up for great screen and sometimes-included pens on the Samsung tablet. But, how’s the battery life on the Samsung? What’s the app ecosystem like? (Should I assume software issues just means battery life and ecosystem?) What advantages does the Samsung tablet have over the iPad, and vice-versa?
  • And then the Nexus 7, which has “more software issues than the iPad Mini,” again, not very helpful. Especially when the seasoned Android users can see you’re running Android L which makes one question whether you were using a stable build.
  • Microsoft has Surface 3 but it also has its Windows Phone tablets that Nokia is putting out. You mentioned that it’s a better desktop, but you failed to explain why that is (could’ve added, “because it’s running Windows 8.1, not a tablet OS”). I hope it’s not because he thinks his audience should know this, because just 1-2 min earlier the video seemed to be targeted to non-tech consumers (‘this is what a tablet is for’).
  • The time discrepancy of video time devoted to each device: iPad=40 seconds; iPad Mini=20s, Samsung=17s, Microsoft=18s, Nexus 7=16s

Finally, as the point of this piece is to make a final recommendation as to what tablet you should buy, I was very surprised by the recommendation. Oh not that they recommended an iPad, I’m fine with that. It’s what he (or they) think is best, sure, fine, no problem.

But they should have qualified it. For the Nexus 7 he qualifies that it’s more than one year old (2:44 in the video), and it is clearly mentioned as a disadvantage. It’s funny, then, that the video series called “This Is My Next..” fails to mention that the iPads are due for an update a mere 1-2 months from the date of publish of this video (Aug 8 2014). Sure if someone needs a tablet RIGHT NOW, they recommend an iPad. But it’s irresponsible of them to not at least qualify it with an, “but hey, if you don’t need one right away, why not wait a couple of months when it’s widely expected that a new iPads with Touch ID sensors are going to hit the market.” That’s not a minor update, it’s a genuinely useful update to an already great device.

I really have to wonder at what’s going on at The Verge. Is their goal to make make pretty videos or do they want to make useful videos? By the way, useful does not mean selecting a studio (or maybe your home?) with wonderfully hipster-ish and pretentious old appearing copies of famous novels or protractors, etc. All of that may be pleasant to look at, but focus more on substance.

By the way, I know unsubscription isn’t a word, it’s just to be as dramatic as “This is my next..”


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