2012 in review: business and baby development

This year hasn’t been nearly as dramatic as last, and I think I’m okay with that (aside from not going to any rocket launches).

2012 calendarI started this year with three regular clients constituting almost all of my income and have spent a lot of my time since showing up at other places. I’ve had the pleasure of writing at some of my favorite sites and of getting reacquainted with long-form journalism in print and online.

That experimentation was the right idea, since I stopped blogging for CEA in September (not that I’d mind doing the occasional guest post there) and will be writing less for Discovery next year.

I have other income coming along; in particular, I’m enjoying opining about tech-policy matters at the Computer & Communications Industry Association’s Disruptive Competition Project. But these shifts have been a useful reminder of how as a freelancer, you can’t get too fixated on any current client–a principle that I may have let fade in my mind during those 17 years at the Post.

I’ve also traveled a hell of a lot this year. Conferences, trade shows and speaking invitations took me to Austin, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Napa, San Francisco (four times!) and Santa Clara–plus a transatlantic jaunt to Berlin.

I’ve enjoyed coming home to my family every single time. The miniature human being who had started calling me “Dada” by this time last year now seems to learn a word a week and has developed distinct interests–including, to my delight, trains, airplanes and spaceships. She has gone from toddling around the house to fearlessly exploring playgrounds on both coasts. What will our daughter think of next? I look forward to finding out over next year.

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Weekly output: 2013 tech policy, 2013 predictions, Facebook contacts, Facebook privacy, headphones

The last workweek of the year ends with one new freelance client.

PBS NewsHour post12/26/2012: Commentary: A Tech To-Do List for Washington in 2013, PBS NewsHour

I wrote a guest post for the NewsHour’s Rundown blog about the tech-policy issues I’d like to see Washington tackle next year–and how much of those tasks might actually get accomplished.

Surprise, surprise: Congress has already disappointed me. First it rejected measures that would impose a minimal level of transparency on the use of warrantless wiretapping of communications involving individuals overseas. Then it dropped an amendment that would force prosecutors to obtain a warrant to request e-mail stored online for longer than 180 days.

12/28/2012: Reverse Predictions For 2013, Discovery News

Are you as bored of thinly-sourced evidence for the impending arrival of an Apple HDTV as I am? Then please read this post, in which I cast a skeptical gaze on that and six other tech forecasts for the coming year.

12/31/2012: Tip: Sync Facebook friends with Mac contacts, USA Today

This week’s column–marking the start of my second year doing it–began when I was trying to update my address book. A friend’s Facebook data revealed that she had moved to Oakland; her Christmas card had her street address, but when I typed that into the Facebook-sourced home-address field in my Mac’s Contacts app, my edits vanished once I closed out of the record. I have since turned off Facebook contacts synchronization, as I suggested I might in the column.

RD headphones pieceNo timestamp or link on this last one, as it’s print-only: I wrote a listicle for Reader’s Digest covering a few reasons why one pair of headphones might cost 18 times as much as another, and it should have begun appearing on newsstands a week or two ago. I finally remembered to look for it this Sunday and grabbed a quick shot of the piece; it’s on page 56, if you’d like to read it for yourself.