I'm going to cheat a little bit here.
I had already written a pretty anemic post explaining why I like Mathew Ingram but I was never happy with it because of how short it was. Then Mr. Ingram made a point I really wanted to draw attention to and that made the situation worse because it would be odd to make the blogroll post and then turn around and quote him in a separate post.
So I'm combining the two ideas into one post with the first part being why I appreciate his blog and the second part addressing what I wanted to say about his recent post.
On the first point, I think the easiest way to make it is to say that there have been many occasions where I honestly felt Mathew Ingram was the only sane person in the blogosphere. Whenever there's one of those "techmeme explosion" where everyone's jumping up and down over some imagined slight Mr. Ingram is almost always the first one to (a) realize how unreasonable everyone is being and (b) call them on it. Neither of which are small tasks as you end up drawing the enmity of everyone and often times end up alone because those who agree with you don't have the guts to draw that same enmity.
I'm really not sure the tech blogosphere could go on without a Mathew Ingram in it and I would hate to see it try. For that reason I've put him at #4 on my blogroll.
That is also what makes it hard to write a whole post about him. I don't think you could overestimate his value but stating that fact doesn't take terribly long. Which is why my initial post on him was so anemic and why I'm now resorting to this (somewhat awkward) transition.
Recently he made a post in regards to the whole "Google Shared Items" snafu in which he lays out how odd it is to get angry at Google for sharing items that you marked as "Shared" (a point that a surprising amount of people are missing).
That's a good point in itself but in his post I think he makes a bigger point that gets lost in the shuffle. That is what I wanted to draw attention to. In the post he says...
Scoble has decided to take the high road and blame Google for not implementing ‘granular privacy controls’ — and that might be a good thing for Reader, just as it would be for Facebook.
But it’s not something that’s necessary, in my opinion, nor is it something Google should be slammed for not having. The company explained that shared items would be visible to GTalk contacts — pretty simple, in my opinion. Plus, they can only be seen by contacts who also use Google Reader, and those contacts have to specifically click on the shared items from other users to see them. It’s not as if they’re being emailed to your friends, or scrolling by on the Jumbotron.
Would GPC be handy to have? Sure.
This brings up something I noticed earlier this year with Amazon's Kindle when several people commented that the Kindle was insufficient because it lacked the iPhone's touch interface. Bloggers understandably want their dream product but it is not understandable to then bash a product if it doesn't do everything exactly the way you want it to.
Sure there are some features that really do become "must have" but those are a rare occasion. Even features as great as a touch interface or Granular Privacy Control aren't enough to make the whole product insufficient and I'd bet money that virtually no one dropped Google Reader because of the sharing feature.
If you want to fairly review any product you really have to force yourself to be sensible and weigh all the good features against the bad. What makes the above cited criticism particularly maddening is the fact that none of each products competitors sport the features being demanded. So how is it fair to then demand that feature from one vendor?
I'm not saying you can't suggest things for future releases I'm just saying there's a huge difference between "I wish it had this" and "it sucks because it doesn't have this". That's a difference that more bloggers should pay attention to.