Weekly output: 4K UHD TV, Tech Night Owl, stolen phones

This week was a lot less productive than I’d hoped, even factoring in Monday being a holiday and most of Tuesday’s schedule getting canceled out by snow and sub-freezing temperatures. I’m going to be paying for that this week.

1/20/2014: All of the Potential Problems with 4K TV, Yahoo Tech

This was set to be last week’s column until the net-neutrality ruling upended my schedule. Considering that nobody’s rushing out to buy UHD sets before the Super Bowl, I don’t think the delay hurt this post too much.

1/25/2014: January 25, 2014 — Adam Engst and Rob Pegoraro, Tech Night Owl

I returned to Gene Steinberg’s podcast to talk about my new role at Yahoo Tech, net neutrality, the Mac’s 30th birthday and more.

USAT stolen-phones update1/26/2014: Tip: Serial number can’t recover stolen smartphone, USA Today

Barely a year has elapsed since I’d last covered find-my-phone apps in my USAT column, but two major changes have come around since that piece: Google offering its own, free phone-finder app for Android, and increased attention to the lack of a persistent kill-switch feature for smartphones beyond iOS 7’s capability and Absolute Software’s aftermarket Lojack app for some Samsung Android devices. Besides, the reader asked for help nicely.

On Sulia, I noted my old Washington Post colleague Ezra Klein’s departure from the paper, voiced some anger about a Kafkaesque overreaction by law enforcement and the MPAA to somebody wearing Google Glass to a movie, griped about bad USB-port placement and the stubborn survival of obsolete music formats in cars shown off at the Washington Auto Show (yes, you’ve read those two rants before), and reported about my experience using Absolute’s software to wipe and lock a Galaxy Note 3.

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Weekly output: Aereo, 4K TV, Tech Night Owl, public WiFi, personalized Google search

I did a lot more writing from the Consumer Electronics Association’s CE Week conference in New York than I’d expected, considering its small size and attendance. (I posted a few photos on Flickr.) The list below leaves out one other post reported from there, which should be up sometime Monday.

6/27/2013: Notes From An Enlightening Interview Of Aereo’s Chet Kanojia, Disruptive Competition Project

To my considerable surprise, an onstage interview of a tech CEO by a trade-association CEO yielded some useful insights about how we view copyright disputes and challenges to entrenched incumbents–thanks also to some unintentionally revealing questions from the audience.

DisCo 4K post6/28/2013: 4K, 3D and How Perfectionism Can Crowd Out Practicality, Disruptive Competition Project

Most of the last day at CE Week was taken up by a series of panels and presentations about “4K” television, so called for its almost four thousand pixels of horizontal resolution. I was a skeptic about 4K’s prospects before getting on the train to NYC Tuesday afternoon, and this show didn’t make me more optimistic.

6/29/2013: June 29, 2013 — Jim Dalrymple, Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus, Gabriel Weinberg, and Rob Pegoraro, Tech Night Owl Live

I returned to Gene Steinberg’s podcast to talk about 4K but also tech companies’ attempts to push back against NSA surveillance and my recent review of Republic Wireless (which, I should note, was reposted by Mashable a week ago as part of a Discovery content-sharing deal).

6/30/2013: Public Wi-Fi can alarm your browser, don’t let it alarm you, USA Today

Explaining why connecting to a public WiFi network with a Web login initially yields errors for every encrypted page open in your browser seemed like it would be a pretty straightforward job. That was not the case. The tip part of this week’s column covers a simpler topic: having Google show you search results that it hasn’t customized to suit its perception of your interests.

On Sulia, I posted a round of short reports from CE Week (for instance, relatively cheaper prices for 4K sets from Sharp and Toshiba). I also kvetched about the apparent uselessness of a new link-sharing site called Potluck, reminded readers that Big Music’s protests about Pandora shouldn’t ring true, and noted a successful resolution to a complication with repairs to an iPad 2’s cracked screen.

Weekly output: CES (x8), Java, Flash, browser crashes

CES week has usually been the single busiest workweek of the year, and this time around did not disappoint. It also featured perhaps my shortest and certainly my highest-profile TV appearance yet.

1/9/2013: Wild West Show: What’s Happening At CES?, The Motley Fool

About eight hours into what became a 14-hour workday, I chatted briefly with the Fool’s Rex Moore for a show-opening video segment about some of the trends I’d seen thus far.

1/9/2013: Live @ CES – Erik Fisher & Rob Pegoraro, Panasonic

As it did last year, Panasonic ran a series of interviews with tech-industry types, journalists,  athletes, politicians and various other guests from its CES exhibit. Here, I discussed the intersection of sports and digital media with the Sports Business Journal’s Eric Fisher and host Jordan Burchette. I trust nobody was surprised to see me rant yet again about the idiocy of regional blackouts for live game coverage.

1/10/2013: CES 2013, Part 1: Tech To Open Or Close Markets, Disruptive Competition Project

I evaluated some of the more talked-about CES appearances in terms of whether they might entrench incumbents in a market or offer an opening to their challengers.

PBS NewsHour CES recap1/10/2013: At Consumer Electronics Show, Sorting the Go-Go Gadgets from the No-Go, PBS NewsHour

This show assessment for the NewsHour’s Rundown blog got a shout-out on that night’s NewsHour broadcast, right after an interview of my old Post cubicle-mate Cecilia Kang. Which makes a certain amount of sense, since the piece’s length and tone made it the closest thing to the CES-recap columns I wrote for the Post for… wow, 14 years in a row.

Note that the first version of this posted had a stupid mistake in the description of 4K resolution; when I was trimming a paragraph on the technology, “million” wound up where “thousand” should have been, and it took a reader’s comment to bring that to my attention. (That’s only one of the reasons why I try to read every comment.)

1/11/2013: Tech Talk: 01/11, CBS News Tech Talk

Larry Magid, a longtime tech journalist I enjoy running into at events like this, saw fit to include a sound bite from me in that day’s one-minute tech update.

1/11/2013: CES 2013: Three Ups, Three Downs, Discovery News

My CES recap for Discovery–also, my first in the site’s new design–covered the same trends I tackled in the NewsHour piece but benefited from another day’s worth of soaking in the show.

1/11/2013: CES 2013, Part 2: The Gadgets That Weren’t There, Disruptive Competition Project

I did a post like this back in 2011 that critiqued the absence of non-TiVo video recorders (among other things), didn’t think to return to the theme last year, but realized it would fit in well with DisCo’s focus on the ways outside factors distort and limit what the tech business can do.

1/11/2013: Earnings Surprises, Motley Fool Money

The Fool’s Chris Hill interviewed me about the show for the Fool’s weekly podcast. He had me on as a guest pretty regularly when I was at the Post; it was good to be back.

NBC Nightly News spot1/12/2013: Feds: Your Internet browser could be at risk, NBC Nightly News

An editor at NBC noticed the column I wrote for USA Today about Java security last spring and e-mailed to ask if they could interview me for that evening’s show. They recorded something like 30 minutes’ worth of footage; they asked good questions, didn’t cut off my answers and finished by asking if there was anything else I wanted this piece to say. Maybe 10 seconds of that wound up on the air, with me identified as a “USA Today Technology Writer.”

(I was worried they wouldn’t use any of it. Between the heat from the studio lights in NBC’s Nebraska Avenue offices and my own don’t-screw-this-up anxiety, I started getting a little flustered and began fumbling some of my answers.)

Anyway, now I can cross “be interviewed as an expert on a national nightly-news show” off the bucket list. And in yet another weird coincidence, that night’s broadcast also featured my friend Daniel Greenberg, one of my best freelance contributors at the Post, talking about video-game violence.

1/13/2013: How long will Flash survive?, USA Today

This week’s column looks at the persistence of Adobe Flash on the desktop and recants some of my earlier optimism about a quick sunset for that format. (Though I have to note that Discovery’s new design finally does away with Flash for slide shows, even older ones; I no longer feel guilty about linking out to those.) It also shares a few tips about talking crash-prone browsers out of their sulk.

Update, 10:37 a.m. In the midst of looking up all those audio and video appearances, I forgot to note my too-long-for-Twitter updates on Sulia: a rant about Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs’ chaotic keynote, my experience trying “brainwave cat ears,” a note about the relative absence of 3-D TV from the show floor, a micro-essay about CES’s continued gender gap, and a report of a prototype screen that can raise and lower individual buttons, and many more.

(With 15 of these 500-to-1,000-character posts a week, I can’t see adding them all to the weekly roundup, any more than I’d inventory my tweets. But maybe calling out a few highlights will work.)

Weekly output: Outlook.com, the cloud, 8K TV, Activity Monitor, Mac App Store

It took me a while, but I finally managed to have a week in which smartphones did not figure into the lede of any review.

7/31/2012: Microsoft Outlook: Not Hotmail, Not Quite Gmail, Discovery News

I had high expectations for this service when I got an embargoed briefing of it from Microsoft about two weeks ago–finally, I thought, I might have something that would allow me to move my home e-mail from Google. But I didn’t know at the time how limited Exchange ActiveSync support could be: Contrary to my first expectations, this Hotmail successor leaves Mac users no way to sync their e-mail to a desktop client. My review devoted more words to this topic than most; I was glad to see the same issue come up multiple times in the Reddit discussion Microsoft invited, and I hope Outlook.com’s developers take the numerous hints.

8/3/2012: Questions to Clarify Cloud Computing, CEA Digital Dialogue

After reviewing Google Drive and seeing how tightly Apple and Microsoft’s new and upcoming software integrate each company’s cloud services, I realized I wasn’t sure which ones to include or rule out. So I wrote up the questions I’d want to ask of any cloud service for CEA’s blog.

If you’re curious about the photo, it consists of a Nexus 7 tablet resting on the screen of a MacBook Air. It took a few tries to get enough of the cloud cover reflected on each screen.

8/3/2012: ‘8K’ TV: More Pixels Than Can Meet Your Eye, Discovery News

After Comcast invited me to a screening of some “Ultra High Definition” Olympics video (as in, 7,680 by 4,320 pixels, adding up to 33 megapixels and change), I wrote up my impressions of the experience. Not a surprise, considering my earlier writing: I didn’t come away hoping to get something like that in my living room. Actual surprise: a reader wrote in to protest that studies by the Japanese broadcaster NHK showed that people could distinguish the higher resolution of 8K in still images seen at common viewing distances. Since this reader couldn’t get a comment to post, I quoted those e-mails in a comment I added to the post.

8/5/2012: Monitor your Mac’s behind the scenes activity, USA Today

Maybe a day after I’d posted my review of OS X Mountain Lion, I noticed that my iMac (but not the new MacBook Air next to it) was suddenly running low on memory. I checked the Activity Monitor app, saw a CalendarAgent process eating up every last bit of RAM, confirmed that others also had this problem, and force-quit that process. After several tries had apparently beaten this program into submission, wrote a reminder for USAT about the usefulness of Activity Monitor. (It also covered reasons to use or ignore the Mac App Store.) Unfortunately, CalendarAgent resumed its assault on the iMac’s memory and processor after I’d filed this piece; any ideas about what to do next, besides yell at Apple to fix its software?

Weekly output: new iPad, 4K, Web chat, DVD ripping, Facebook social apps

For some weird reason, this new tablet from Apple kept showing up in my work this week. How does that happen?

3/19/2012: The New iPad: A Super Screen and a Big Battery, Discovery News

When two different Discovery colleagues mentioned their interest in buying the new iPad, I opted for an unconventional product-review tactic: I offered to stand in line that Friday morning to make that purchase for them, on the condition that I get to spend a few days testing the hardware before turning it over. As a result, this is one of the few reviews of Apple’s latest tablet to feature photos taken of one new iPad with another.

3/20/2012: Retina displays, 4K TVs push pixel limits, CEA Digital Dialogue

My new-iPad coverage continued with a look at what its magical and revolutionary seriously impressive Retina display means for other handheld devices–and why TVs don’t need a similar beyond-high-def upgrade. This post involved way more math than usual and may have been the first time I’ve dealt with a tangent function since high school (if by “dealt with” you mean “plugged variables into a WolframAlpha equation form”).

3/23/2012: Spring Gleaning: Smartphones, Social Media and Tablets (Web chat), CEA Digital Dialogue

Unsurprisingly, the new iPad also prominently figured in this month’s Web chat. But I also got some good questions about secure browsing over public WiFi, a sluggish iPhone, problems syncing an iPad with iTunes over WiFi (I’m pretty sure that query came from one of my NASA Tweetup pals), rooting an Android phone, Windows 8’s clashing interfaces, phone screen sizes and my own uncertainty about what kind of phone to get next.

3/25/2012: Tip: How to copy a DVD to your PC, USA Today

The first item in this week’s column, recommending the open-source Handbrake for DVD ripping and revisiting my dislike of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention clause, began with a query from my neighbor across the street. The second started with an exchange on the DC Tech Facebook group complaining about the Washington Post’s Social Reader app.