Walt Mossberg is the author and creator of the weekly Personal Technology column in The Wall Street Journal, which has appeared every Thursday since 1991. With Kara Swisher, he currently co-produces and co-hosts D: All Things Digital, a major high-tech conference with interviewees such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and many other leading players in the tech and media industries. The gathering is considered one of the leading conferences focused on the convergence of tech and media industries. In addition to Personal Technology, Mr. Mossberg also writes the Mossberg's Mailbox column in the Journal and edits the Mossberg Solution column, which is authored by his colleague Katherine Boehret. On television, Mr. Mossberg is a regular technology commentator for the CNBC network, where he appears every Thursday on the mid-day Power Lunch program. He is also a regular contributor to Dow Jones Video on the Web.
In a major 2004 profile of Mr. Mossberg, entitled "The Kingmaker," Wired Magazine declared: "Few reviewers have held so much power to shape an industry's successes and failures." Mr. Mossberg was awarded the 1999 Loeb award for Commentary, the only technology writer to be so honored. In May of 2001, he received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Rhode Island. In May of 2002, he was inducted into the ranks of the Business News Luminaries, the hall of fame for business journalists. That same year, he won the World Technology Award for Media and Journalism.
Walt Mossberg; I knew nothing about engineering, but I just was fascinated by it. And I bought a little . . . I think it cost me . . . a $100 computer called the Timex Sinclair around 1981. And I began tinkering with it. Learned a little bit of basic programming, and I just did it at home on the weekends and at night as a hobby. And I began to . . . Then I bought a much more expensive computer in around, I wanna say 1983 or so, something like that. I bought an Apple IIe, and that cost me like thousands of dollars for the computer and the disk drives and all that kind of stuff. It didn’t have a hard disk, of course. Eventually I bought a hard disk for it which also was unbelievably expensive. And I think what fascinated me about it was the communications aspects of it, which were very crude in those days; but you could . . . I was very early on what used to be called bulletin boards. You know, like forums that you would . . . you see today on the Web. But they were all text, and they were just local. And then I got on CompuServe. And then I got on AOL. And almost as soon as the Internet became publically available I was on that. So it was my hobby, and that’s how I got into it. And you know eventually I came up with the idea to stop writing about serious, global, national security kind of things which I was doing, and to start a new and different kind of technology column.
Recorded on: 9/13/07