Robert X. Cringely

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Robert X. Cringely
Robert X Cringely keynote 2006-10-05.jpg
Cringely delivers the keynote speech at the 2006 CODI Conference in Salt Lake City
Born Mark Stephens
January 1953 (age 61)
Apple Creek, Ohio, U.S.
Status married
Education BA, College of Wooster, 1975
MA, Stanford University
Occupation Journalist, Technology writer
Notable credit(s) InfoWorld column
Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition and Still Can't Get a Date
Spouse(s) Mary Alyce
Website
http://www.cringely.com/

Robert X. Cringely is the pen name of both technology journalist Mark Stephens and a string of writers for a column in InfoWorld, the one-time weekly computer trade newspaper published by IDG.

Biography[edit]

Mark Stephens was born in 1953, in Apple Creek, Ohio.[1][2] He earned a bachelor's degree from the College of Wooster in Ohio[1] in 1975. Stephens received a Master's degree in Communication in 1979 from Stanford University and also pursued work toward a doctorate there. He has stated that he was an early employee of Apple Inc.,[3] but this has not been proven by records available.[4]

Stephens was the third author to contribute to Infoworld under the Cringely pseudonym, the first two being Rory J. O'Connor and then Laurie Flynn. The original column, the first computer "gossip" column, was started by Mark Garetz and called According to Garetz and was later taken over by John Dvorak. During Stephens's lengthy tenure (1987–1995), the character of Cringely changed dramatically (morphing from a private eye type to a slick, womanizing tech insider), and became an increasingly popular tech pundit after writing the book Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition and Still Can't Get a Date (1992, ISBN 0-88730-855-4).

After a financial disagreement in 1995, Stephens was dismissed from Infoworld, and was promptly sued by IDG to prevent him from continuing to use the Cringely trademark. A settlement was reached out of court that allowed him to use the name, so long as he did not contribute to competing technology magazines. As a result, Stephens' writing as Robert X. Cringely regularly appears in publications such as The New York Times, Newsweek, Forbes, Upside, Success, and Worth. Stephens has also appeared as Cringely in two documentaries based on his writings: Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires (1996) and Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet (1998). He also appeared in a three-part documentary on PBS called Plane Crazy, in which he attempted to build an aircraft in thirty days, and fly it when completed.

As Cringely, Stephens produced and hosted an Internet television show called NerdTV (2005–06) for PBS and, until late 2008, wrote an online column for the PBS website called I, Cringely: The Pulpit. On November 14, 2008, Stephens announced that he would stop contributing columns to PBS as of that December 15. He indicated that the move was his own decision "and not that of PBS, which has been nothing but good to me these many years."[5]

He also blogged for the Technology Evangelist site during 2007.

Today, his writings can be found at his own I, Cringely site and on Adam Smith's Money World.

InfoWorld.com continues to publish the "Robert X. Cringely" "Notes From the Field" column as a blog, written by technology journalist Daniel Tynan.

Personal life[edit]

Cringely moved from Charleston, South Carolina to Santa Rosa, California around the end of July, 2011.[6] He is married to Mary Alyce.[7] As of Christmas, 2009, they have three sons, Channing, Cole, and Fallon.

Controversy[edit]

In 1998, it was revealed[8][9][10] that Stephens had falsely claimed to have received a Ph.D. from Stanford University and to have been employed as a professor there. Stanford's administration stated that while Stephens had been a teaching assistant and had pursued course work toward a doctoral degree, he had never held a professorship nor had he been awarded the degree. Stephens then stated that while he had received a master's degree from the department of communications and completed the classes and tests required for the Ph.D., he acknowledged that he failed to complete his dissertation. Asked about the resulting controversy, Stephens told a reporter: "[A] new fact has now become painfully clear to me: you don't say you have the Ph.D unless you really have the Ph.D."[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Double Life of Robert X. Cringely" by Liesl Schillinger, Wired Magazine, December 1998
  2. ^ Robert X. Cringely at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ "The Double Life of Robert X. Cringely". wired.com. Retrieved 2013-03-30. 
  4. ^ http://9to5mac.com/2014/02/25/gallery-each-apple-30-poster-composed-of-every-employee-name-digitally/30_years_poster_lg_01/
  5. ^ "Now For Something Completely Different". PBS. November 14, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Have you heard the one about Apple's data center?". I, Cringely. Cringely.com. June 28, 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-21. 
  7. ^ Cringely, Robert (2008-10-13). "Cool Threads". I, Cringely (PBS). Retrieved 2011-02-12. "My wife (the young and lovely Mary Alyce) and I" 
  8. ^ "Stanford Says Cringely Never Completed Doctorate" by Laura Evenson, San Francisco Chronicle, November 11, 1998
  9. ^ "Compressed Data; Stanford Gave Writer A Start, but Not a Ph.D.", by Lisa Napoli, The New York Times, November 16, 1998, Late Edition – Final, Section C, Page 5, Column 3.
  10. ^ Resume of the nerd" by Rob Morse, San Francisco Examiner, November 13, 1998.
  11. ^ Leff, Marni (2001-04-06). "PBS analyst falsely claims Stanford Ph.D". Stanford Daily. Retrieved 2011-02-12. 

External links[edit]