Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

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Tagged Published Works

Blast from the past: Remember when “mixtapes” were cool?

Courtesy Disney

Music is easy now. Except when I’m forced to download songs ahead of time before venturing Off The Grid, I can instantly play any track, genre, album or compilation of recorded music with a spoken command.

“Alexa, play the new Taylor Swift!” I bark. (Spoiler, it’s better than her last single.) “Alexa, play ‘All Night’ by Big Boi.” (It’s bumping.) “Alexa, play ‘Feel it Still’ by Portugal The Man.” (It’s choice.) “Alexa, play Waiting On A SongGone Now… or The Click”—all front-runners for album of the year.

Whatever I ask—even amorphous requests for “dinner music” or “relaxing classical”—this inanimate robot gets things right 90% of the time. And when I don’t feel like talking, I can play what I want with a few taps of my finger on the portable jukebox I carry in my pocket. We’ve come a long way.

But while I’m grateful for the limitless amount of audible convenience we now enjoy, I often wonder about the price we paid to get here.  Continue reading…

Published works: The greatest Utah wilderness you’ve never heard of

Courtesy Clay Wood

I just published my first story for Frommers, the storied travel guide magazine that changed the way Americans traveled in 1957 after Arthur Frommer published his seminal Europe on 5 Dollars a Day.

My story isn’t that big nor will it make nearly as many waves, but I’m still proud of it and the friends that made it possible by joining me recently on a weekend backpacking trip into the High Uinta Wilderness, which I deem “the best western wilderness you’ve never heard of.”

Hope you enjoy it.

Published works: If the Internet never happened, how might we live today?

courtesy reddit

courtesy reddit

An edited version of this story first appeared on April 5, 2016 in The Atlantic

Not long ago, I stumbled on a list of the best sci-fi novels according to the Internet (i.e. the highly entertaining computer geeks on Reddit). As someone who reads for pleasure as much as job security, I decided to finish as many of these and others that I could handle.

After completing over a dozen—not to mention many more in film adaptations—the following occurred to me: every single one of these acclaimed, futuristic stories—at least the many I was exposed to—completely missed the existence and impact of the Internet. Everything from published media and daily communication, to realizing sight unseen romance and access to global markets.

Why?

“A lot of science fiction was primarily focused on moving people and things around in exciting ways,” says technology commentator Clive Thompson. “These forward-thinkers were using flashy visuals to hook their readers, while understandably overlooking non-sexy things such as inaudible conversations.”

Which is largely what the Internet facilitates. Like electricity, it’s really just an everyday utility now. And utility talk is not plot. It’s boring.  Continue reading…

Published works: Starting anew with my very best travel columns

Courtesy Lindsey Snow

Last month, Paste Magazine unexpectedly and suddenly shuttered their travel section and (along with it) my weekly column. After 126 consecutive and wonderful stories, the news was devastating.

More than just money (which admittedly wasn’t much), the perk-filled gig served as a weekly source of education, inspiration, and a renewed understanding of writing for mainstream audiences again. Furthermore, it took me and sometimes even my friends and family to five different continents, dozens of countries, countless destinations, and introduced me to hundreds of interesting people.

Although I’ve yet to find a replacement, I have some promising leads for the unpublished and upcoming articles in the pipe. And I’m determined and confident that I’ll be able to find a new suitor for my column, which was read by over 900,000 monthly individuals, according to a November 2016 estimate by the nation’s fourth largest tourism board (i.e. Visit Orlando).

Until then, here are the stories I am most proud of—the best of my travel column so far:  Continue reading…

Published works: Electric car camping in The Rockies, Alaskan cruises, the future of work

Courtesy Chevrolet/Barry Staver

Excluding non-bylined commercial work, here’s what I published last month:

Published works: Forces of nature, why do we travel, where to avoid this summer

Excluding non-bylined commercial work, here’s where my travel column went last month:

See also: My best work to date. Thanks for reading!

Published works: New tech, great outdoors, why we overlook Puerto Rico

Courtesy Puerto Rico tourism

Excluding non-bylined stories written for commercial clients (i.e. the bulk of my work these days), here’s what I published last month:

Published works: The future of TV, film tourism, first time in Hawaii, Trump’s #1 hotel

Excluding non-bylined stories for my commercial clients, this is what I published last month:

Thanks for reading.

Published works: Hiking Patagonia, biking Buenos Aires, and apps killing websites

Courtesy Argentina Tourism

Excluding non-bylined writings for commercial clients, here’s what I published last month:

Best of 2016 travel: Never do as the locals do, extreme theme parking, Antarctica

Here’s where my travel column went this month:

5 things I haven’t shared until now

echo-dot-black-back-on

I’m always writing down blog ideas. At the time of writing, I have 535 unpublished saved drafts. Most of these will never see the light of day. But some of them are worth sharing. In an effort to whittle that number down as fast as humanly possible, here are five things that have crossed my mind recently: Continue reading…

Published works: Skydiving, Australia, computers killing writers, and battery tech

front

Here’s where my byline published last month:

The Network (aka Cisco magazine)

Paste Magazine

Travel column: Off the grid in North America, San Diego, New Zealand, and Seattle

Courtesy Andy Feige

Courtesy Andy Feige

Here’s what I wrote about last month:

Published works: Predicting the office of the future, women in tech

2016 cisco logo

I started freelance writing for Cisco.com last month. Here are my first few stories:

Published columns: Kid travels, universal sensations, foreign foods, paddle boarding

Credit Lindsey Snow

Credit Lindsey Snow

Here’s where my travel column went last month:

New name, same thing: Work-life blending is all about balance

Photo: Lindsey Snow

Photo: Lindsey Snow

I tried work-life blending for six years. It sucks. Nothing more than a new term coined by self-absorbed workaholics to justify their personal regrets, negligence, and imbalances in life. Now let me tell you how I really feel.

The phrase “work-life balance” entered our lexicon when faxes reigned supreme, the 1980s. Knowledge workers, globalization, and computer networking went mainstream that decade, and with it, the temptation to work ‘round the clock on the Hedonic Treadmill (i.e. the misguided belief that the more money one makes, the happier they’ll be).

In response, first-world countries had a real first-world problem on their hands. The more connected their workers felt to the office, the more pressure they felt to “get ahead” by staying on the clock for extended periods of time. With only 24 hours in a day, something had to give.  Continue reading…

Published columns: Traveling guidebooks, nature worship, industrial views, music city

credit Lindsey Snow

credit Lindsey Snow

For those who care, here’s where my travel column went last month:

Published works: Latest version—the problem with online user reviews

TA_550x370My latest, reporting for Paste Magazine:

“Obviously, user review repositories such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google are a net gain for people in need of lodging, a delicious meal, or a new tool, gadget, or surprise to solve their current problem. But as we increasingly turn to big, crowd-funded data to help us stay informed and avoid buyer’s remorse, we need to be thinking of better ways to get the most up-to-date and accurate information available while also rewarding the efforts of those who aim to please us.”

Continue reading…

Published columns: Americans abroad, epic inlands, Monument Valley, underrated states

Courtesy 20th Century Fox

Courtesy 20th Century Fox

Here’s where my travel column went last month:

Off The Grid: India tips, wander wisely, Irish highlights, holy places, best mainland beach

credit wikimedia

credit wikimedia

You know the drill. Here’s where my travel column went last month:

Travel roundup: Most visited countries, foreign education, China tips, nearby snorkeling

courtesy wikimedia

Here’s where my travel column went last month. Better late than never:

Read this if you like money-saving adventures, inspiring islands, popular consensus, or myth-busting

credit: wikimedia commons

credit wikimedia commons

I really enjoy writing these because the subjects have nothing to do with my day job, which keeps me on my toes. Hope you have as much fun reading them as I did writing them:

Comments Off on Read this if you like money-saving adventures, inspiring islands, popular consensus, or myth-busting (0)

In case you missed it: offline vacations, converting cruise-haters, overlooked wonders, and dream believers

MGM

MGM

Here’s where my travel column went last month:

My latest columns: Dancing Matt, big impact countries, unrecognized beauty, mind travel

I hope the below will help you travel somewhere fun.

Published works: The best things I’ve written as a part-time sportswriter

YouTube Preview Image

Over the last decade, I’ve mostly written about technology. Among the hundreds of magazine articles and thousands of blog posts published, some cover entertainment. Some science. Some travel. And rarer still, some sports. (All topics that personally appeal to me.)

Of the latter category, these are the stories I’m most proud of, along with the backstories that created them.  Continue reading…

Comments Off on Published works: The best things I’ve written as a part-time sportswriter (0)

Thanks, Paste Magazine, for letting me write these adventurous stories last month

Paramount Pictures

Off the grid: Rethinking air travel, European detours, travel blunders, and Newfoundland

Here’s where my travel column went last month:

Oh, the places you’ll go! Here’s where my travel column went last month

credit: blake snow

credit: blake snow

Perhaps one of the below might inspire your next offline adventure:

Introducing “Off the Grid,” my new travel column for Paste Magazine

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

I just started a new travel column for Paste Magazine. It’s called “Off the Grid.” You should read it.

First one up: 5 overlooked National Parks. To help you along the way, I’ll follow it up every week with all things awesome.

Thanks for reading (and for sharing if you like what you read).

My latest for USA Today: Fantastic fjords of North America

Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism

Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism

An edited version of this story first appeared on USA Today

North American is known for a lot of things. Transcendent, soaring, and gaping fjords isn’t one of them. For that, most travelers understandably head to Norway, New Zealand, or Chile first—all renowned for their glacier-carved “canyons” that outlet into swallowing seas.

But the northern half of the continent has its fair share of majestic cliffs cut by frozen (instead of liquid) water, especially in parts of southern Alaska and Canada. As a bonus, they’re more proximitous than Europe’s beloved Grainger Fjord, less travelled, and still rate at least 4.5 out of 5 stars, according to average visitor reviews on Google and Tripadvisor.

Behold, the most fantastic fjords of North America: Continue reading…

Google Fiber: With speeds this fast, who cares about privacy!!??

Courtesy Google

Courtesy Google

I’ve seen the future. It’s called gigabit Internet by Google Fiber, and it just launched in my hometown of Provo, the second of three scheduled cities to get speeds that are 100 times faster than the rest of America.

“What good is really fast Internet if the content stays the same?” you may ask yourself. I certainly did, before testing the service. Besides, my “high speed” Internet from Comcast seemed fast enough, enabling my household to stream HD videos, load web pages quickly, and connect multiple devices as needed, largely without hiccup.

I was wrong.

Using gigabit Internet, even in its infancy, opened my eyes to speed and reminded me of why I love the Internet.

Continue reading on Fox News

Published works: 10 ways to save on tech this year

(CNN) — From Airbnb to GasBuddy to shopkick, lots of apps and websites help consumers save money.

But how do we spend less on technology itself — that digital drug we can’t seem to get enough of? How can we save money on electronic gadgets and services … so that we can buy more gadgets?

Here are 10 ways to stretch your tech budget this year: Continue reading…

Published works: How to fix Microsoft, suspect dental technology

image

I fell behind in updating my published works section this year (there’s always Google right?). In any case, here are a couple of recent stories I’m proud to have written:

The web made us smarter. Is Facebook making us dumber?

NBC/KSL—Like AOL before it, Facebook is the latest in a long line of mainstream technologies to introduce a lot of new users to the power, utility, and network effect of the Internet.

At the same time, the popular hangout has negatively impacted the number of public comments taking place online. Case in point: The number of people making online remarks has dwindled from a record 15% five years ago to an estimated 7% last year, according to market research by Nielson.

The reason: “Conversations around stories are moving off the news page and onto social networks,” says Steve Rubel, a longtime observer of social media since 2004. “With time spent on social networks like Facebook skyrocketing, it leaves little left to engage at the source of the news.”

Is that a problem? Continue reading…

Published works: Home field advantage, fantasy sports, free college, gamer abandonment

Notable feature stories I’ve written recently:

My latest report quickly draws hate-mail (surprise!)

I’m a climate change agnostic. Nevertheless, my latest piece quickly drew fire from at least one insecure proponent of anthropogenic global warming.

“Try becoming a real journalist and offering up a balanced article,” the fanman wrote. I guess he didn’t like that I quoted both critics and skeptics in a single article. “Balanced,” would have completely ignored one side or the other, apparently.

Or maybe he’s just mad that Fox News exists.

See also: The best report on climate change ever written!

Recent published works: Dell Games / Alienware

In addition to contributing stories to all corners of the web (except the dirty ones), I recently began penning a thrice weekly column for Dell Games / Alienware. If you like PC games, or ever thought of using a PC to play them (including HD ones), the column chronicles the high points of the platform without the overkill found elsewhere. Behold. (RSS here)

Recent published works

Excluding blog posts and short-news articles:

Published Works: Fox News, GamePro, Venture Beat, Kotaku

Excluding blog posts and short news articles:

Published works: April 2009

Excluding short articles and blog posts not on Smooth Harold:

Published works: March 2009

Excluding short news articles and blog posts:

Published works: February 2009

A trio of new stories for MSNBC and Venture Beat

For video game pessimists and number crunchers, my latest:

Beta is dead

I’ll let you in on a little secret: Beta, that silly subhead you see on so many websites, has been dead for quite some time. It just took a while before someone came out and said it. Here’s my latest from GigaOM, also syndicated on CNN/Fortune, entitled “Beta is dead”:

“Beta, as it pertains to web sites, has seen better days. Not long ago, saying the word as part of your web development cycle could help land venture capital even faster than claiming “community,” “paradigm shift” or “disruptive technology.” Now, the term is dissipated and confusing.

“While the specific origin of its use is unknown, beta as a tagline was popularized by a Google with the release of Google News in 2002, and later, Gmail in 2004. From there, startups quickly followed suit. By 2006, it seemed like every new web site was “in beta.” Continue reading…

See also:

MSNBC: Top 5 games to bailout 2009

For the nerds out there, my latest: “Your 401k is gone. The price of your home has crashed. Your paycheck is in doubt. Yeah, 2009 is shaping up to be a great year, thanks to the recession. But chin up, readers. With hard work, a little bit of luck, and a healthy dose of escapism, we’ll get through this. So when the going gets tough, look to these standout games to forget it all: the most anticipated video games of 2009.”

Continue reading at MSNBC…

Gamasutra: Sony’s Home – The Launch Aftermath

My latest: “PlayStation Home for the PlayStation 3 launched on Dec. 11, more than a year after the virtual world was first promised. The general online reaction to the free PS3 service? To put it lightly, boring, as shown by a scathing Penny Arcade cartoon on the service.

“So why would gamers, the overwhelming group of people buying the console, want to use it? “For the average gamer, it’s hard to meet other players,” says Jack Buser, who joined Sony eight months ago to become director of the new social community. “Home is a place where you can meet new friends, share interests, and play games. There are so many super cool people who own a PS3.”

Continue reading at Gamasutra…

MSNBC: Best Xbox 360 games of ’08

My latest: “First, the bad news. The dreaded “Red Ring of Death” continues to plague Xbox 360 owners. Some reports have put the failure rate of the console at one-third. It’s a bummer, because there are so many great games.

“The good news — provided you’re in the lucky majority with a valid warranty — was that 2008 was another great year for Xbox fans. Not as jam-packed as last year, mind you. But with improved reliability and a new low price of $199, there’s no reason to miss the top 10 Xbox 360 games of 2008.”

Continue reading at MSNBC…

Sore Thumbs: The trouble with game of the year awards

Here’s my latest nerd minutia article, on the subject of video game of the year awards: Since becoming a full-time critic three years ago, I’ve been involved in selecting several game of the year awards, the summa cum laude of video game honors.

As a newbie, I was surprised to learn that voters are rarely, if ever, required to play all nominees before casting final ballots. Rather, a group of judges throws their favorites into a hat and lobbies against one another, whether or not they are qualified to do so. The process is very political. In most cases, the loudest voice always wins.

And therein lies the rub, underscoring how unorganized, unscientific, and naive some game of the year awards have become.

Continue reading at Sore Thumbs…

MSNBC: Best PSP games of 2008

My latest: “Three years after its release, and the PSP is still lacking games — most people use it to watch movies on the go. But a nice mix of sports, arcade, shoot-‘em-ups, creative and traditional titles have made their way to the handheld this year. Though all but one were released in the first half of 2008, these are the best PlayStation Portable games of the year.”

Continue reading at MSNBC…

GamePro news articles written by me

Whoever said video games are recession proof is a turd. I know because my GamePro invoicing and contributions were drastically cut two weeks ago as the outlet readies for the great advertising scare and depression apocalypse of 2009. It was the right thing for the company to do in an effort to stay lean, even if freelancers like myself and lowly employees suffer as a result.

In any case, I will no longer serve as news editor for the publication, something I’ve greatly enjoyed since taking the helm in July 2007. Instead, I will remain an editor at large, helping to expand the coverage of GamePro’s subsidiary sites. I will continue responding to “letters to the editor” along with the occasional game review and preview, but for the time being, I will no longer be writing news.

During my tenure as news editor, I wrote more than 1,000 news articles (a partial list which can be found here) and oversaw 2,000 published works. I also scooped some original stories, got cited in CNN, planned coverage for a team of three reporters, and edited lots of copy. For any interested, click to your hearts content, and let me know if any media outlets are looking for wordsmiths (wink, wink).

MSNBC: Top 5 best sleeper games of 2008

The big games this year are hard to miss: “Gears of War 2,” “Fallout 3,” “LittleBigPlanet,” “Guitar Hero.” But what about the low-profile ones that are just as good, if not better? The games that come out of nowhere to delight, inspire and surprise us?These are the best Cinderella games of 2008. If it’s the new and innovative you seek, don’t overlook these hidden gems.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Top 5 most cinematic video games

Unplayable cut scenes, cinemas, or in-game movies have been a part of video games for more than 20 years. They help advance the plot, serve as a rest area for players and produce shock and awe like any good movie.

While the technique is evolving (some developers like Valve shun them altogether in favor of total interaction), cut scenes often make games feel bigger than they really are. And nobody does it better than the following games when it comes to memorable cinematics.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Top 5 video game ghosts

Ghosts may be the first thing you think of when you hear the word “spooky,” but they make for lousy Halloween costumes. They have a rich history with video games, and for that, I respect them. So in the spirit of disembodied souls and our favorite pagan holiday, I give to you the best video game ghosts of all time.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: New Xbox interface is more about movies

Microsoft says its “New Xbox Experience,” which rolls out Nov. 19, will “change the face of home entertainment for every Xbox 360 owner.” It doesn’t.

In reality, the New Xbox Experience is more appropriately described as a new menu system. It won’t revolutionize your console, but it will improve your experience. Ironically, the most interesting feature about this revamp to a game console’s user interface has nothing to do with games. It’s about movies.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: World Tour is the new Rock Band

Lindsey and I have been playing World Tour all weekend with friends. The game is Guitar Hero’s response to the popular Rock Band. The early verdict: World Tour improves upon Rock Band in almost every way, save for scoring, star power, and when someone fails. Plus, anything that has Van Halen gets bonus points from me. My full review at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Top 5 best Atari games

It’s almost impossible to hear the word “Atari” and not reminisce on joysticks, paddle controllers, stick-men animation, beeps and blips and countless gaming classics. If it weren’t for Atari, there probably wouldn’t be Nintendo, PlayStation, or Xbox – at least as we know them.

While arcade hits make up the lion’s share of popular games found on Atari systems, original favorites also call the platform home. Wooden-panel consoles, we salute you with the best Atari games.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

MSNBC: Top 5 PlayStation 2 games

Developers have made more than 2,400 games for PlayStation 2, Sony says. That’s easily the most of any console, which makes sense, considering that a whopping 140 million of the units have been sold since its debut eight years ago.

With a library and audience that big, there truly is something for everyone on the system, and new games are still being released. The following five are the creme de la creme – and found only on the PS2 system.

Continue reading at MSNBC…

GamePro: Take This Job (and love it!)

In the early 80s, video game programmers did all the work: sprite design, writing, music — you name it. Often times, one or two people was all it took to develop a hit.

But these days, hundreds of programmers, artists, and designers work together to create our favorite games. Here’s a handy explanation of some of the most common jobs held inside a game studio.

Continue reading at GamePro…