Ernie Smith, Nieman Lab

Ernie Smith

Nieman Lab

Contact Ernie

Discover and connect with journalists and influencers around the world, save time on email research, monitor the news, and more.

Start free trial

Recent:
  • Unknown
Past:
  • Nieman Lab
  • Tedium
  • Medium
  • Atlas Obscura

Past articles by Ernie:

Way back in 1989, USA Today launched an online sports service. I found it at Goodwill

USA Today Sports Center is a time capsule from a period in which a newspaper could convince people to pay five bucks an hour to log onto their service during the big game. → Read More

10 Executable File Formats That Didn’t Make It

A list of executable file formats that we don’t really use anymore. That said, if you want to load up an Adobe AIR application, we can’t stop you. → Read More

Why the Atari 2600’s Joystick Port Became a De Facto Standard

The Atari 2600’s joystick port survived for nearly two decades on numerous systems, from the Sega Genesis to the 3DO. Not that cross-compatibility is perfect. → Read More

Before Batgirl: 10 Near-Complete Movies That Never Saw Release

In the wake of the cancellation of Batgirl, here’s a list of films that are generally thought to have been complete but never saw release for some reason. → Read More

Corporate History: Companies That Made a Hard Pivot Into Success

Considering companies that ended up in a far different place from where they started. You know, like Samsung, Shell, Hasbro, and American Express. → Read More

Imagineering History: A Word With Roots Far Beyond Disney

Despite what you’ve heard, the word “imagineering” is not unique to Disney. In fact, it’s a phrase that was first used in World War II corporate propaganda. → Read More

10 iPod Competitors That Didn’t Make It

The iPod is leaving the market, which means that now’s as good a time as any to consider the many audio players it vanquished along the way. → Read More

Cathode Ray Tubes: Unusual Ways They Were Used Beyond TV Sets

A few ways cathode ray tubes were used that you might not have been aware of by simply watching the boob tube. → Read More

KarTrak: How Railroads Got Barcodes First

KarTrak, an innovation originally built for the rail system, was quickly discarded by train operators. But without it, we wouldn’t have modern barcodes. → Read More

CNN’s Record on Innovation Before CNN+

Everyone is ripping on CNN right now for shutting down CNN+ after like three weeks. Let’s remember the network’s long legacy of innovation for a second here. → Read More

How Quotations Took Over the Internet (In a Bad Way)

“We use a lot of quotes at Tedium, but we’ve never done an issue of Tedium ABOUT quotations,” Ernie said when writing this piece. “Let’s fix that.” → Read More

Lessons in Self-Hosting Your Own Personal Cloud

What I learned about trying to run my own cloud from a few weeks of trying to run the whole dang thing myself. (Hint: I found myself trying multiple solutions.) → Read More

10 Audio File Formats That Didn’t Make It

After pissing off half the internet with our list on faded graphics formats, we’re doing the same thing with outdated audio formats. We’re fearing the worst. → Read More

One Day University: How a Learning Company Adapted With the Pandemic

The story of an online education platform that learned something about its own ability to survive during the pandemic. → Read More

Contrarian Argument: Let the Kids Have Their Screen Time

Pondering the uncomfortable relationship kids and parents have with technology—and making a case that kids deserve the chance to fall in love with gadgets. → Read More

JingPad Review: A Linux Tablet With Potential, But Rough Edges

The JingPad A1, a flashy new tablet from Linux-land, shows a ton of potential, though you might want to wait for a few rounds of software updates first. → Read More

Become a Better Digital Researcher: Tips From

If you’re a longtime reader of Tedium, you might wonder how I manage to uncover so many strange stories. Well, let me tell you. Hopefully it’s inspiring. → Read More

Memorex History: How a Tech Pioneer Turned Into a Basic Brand

Why Memorex, Silicon Valley’s first true startup, evolved into something of a ghost kitchen of computing. → Read More

Plastic Blister Packs: The History Behind the Wrap Rage

Why plastic blister packs and clamshell packs, despite the near-universal frustration they create among consumers, have become a truism of consumer goods. → Read More

The death of the industry fad » Nieman Journalism Lab

"I’m afraid that as the people with the money keep scraping away at the edges, we’re going to see a lot less experimentation from mid-sized media outlets." → Read More