Weekly output: gadget breakthroughs, disruptive gifts, patent talk, Facebook and Twitter annual reports, defining “disruptive,” LPFM, Google Maps, smart TVs, TV inputs

I wish I’d had more good news to report over the last few days. But don’t we all?

12/10/2012: 5 Breakthroughs For Gadgets In 2012, Discovery News

My editors asked me to come up with a list of steps forward for gadgets over this year. Some of my nominees don’t feature any individual device; one doesn’t involve any shipping code or hardware at all.

12/11/2012: Inside the DisCo Studio: Dan O’Connor’s Top Disruptive Gifts for 2012, Disruptive Competition Project

Two Fridays ago, I did a round of video interviews with two other contributors to the DisCo blog. In this one, I talk to Dan O’Connor about a few items on his Christmas list.

12/12/2012: Inside the DisCo Studio: Matt Schruers on Intellectual Property, Disruptive Competition Project

And here, I talk to Matt Schruers about some of the more frustrating aspects of the current patent system–as well as the conversation around them.

D News post on Twitter Facebook personal annual reports12/13/2012: Facebook, Twitter Hold Mirrors Up To Your 2012, Discovery News

Over two days, Twitter and Facebook invited their users to request software-generated annual reports about their activity on those networks. I thought that was a fascinating idea–you may recall how intrigued I was by WordPress’s summary of my 2011 stats–and would like to see more where this came from. And right after I tweeted out a link to this post, Talking Points Memo’s Carl Franzen replied with a suggestion that I check out Wolfram|Alpha’s insanely detailed Facebook “personal analytics” report.

(I haven’t yet. I need to free up the three hours I will waste digesting that much data.)

12/14/2012: Inside the DisCo Studio: Dan O’Connor on “Disruptive” Technology, Disruptive Competition Project

In this third DisCo video, I ask my fellow blogger for a definition of “disruptive” that goes beyond the usual Bay Area buzzwords.

12/14/2012: “LPFM”: How To Hold Up The Opening Of A Market For 12 Years, Disruptive Competition Project

It’s been a long time since I last wrote about low-power FM radio (do any readers remember Marc Fisher and Frank Ahrens’ stories on the topic from around the turn of the century?). And for years, the story hadn’t changed: It was yet another case of incumbents treating their early arrival to a publicly-owned resource as something close to an inalienable right. (See also, most debates about patents and copyright.) But this time, Washington seems to have stopped being part of the problem.

12/15/2012: Google Maps, Apple Maps, What Each Can’t Find, Discovery News

Wednesday night, I took Metro most of the way to a friend’s happy hour, covered the last stretch on Capital Bikeshare, and came home via an Uber sedan. That experience–and an earlier, shorter post I wrote for the Atlantic Cities about Google Now’s directions–led to this breakdown of how Google’s new navigation app for iOS still misses a few details about how you might get around town. It’s since drawn an unusual number of comments… not all of which appear to have been informed by an attentive reading of the post.

12/16/2012: Make your home TV setup ‘smart’, USA Today

A reader wanted to find the simplest possible way to watch a minimal set of cable channels, connect to Netflix and play DVDs; I had to break it to this individual that it’s not easy and is getting more difficult. The piece also shares a tip about two simpler ways to play back digital media files on an HDTV.

About these ads

Weekly output: Timeline, connected TVs, podcast, passworth myths

Today’s realization: It’s a mistake to wait to write this post until after getting back from a bike ride, when I’d rather take a nap than string together any sentences. Can somebody remind me about that next week?

1/29/2012: Timeline your chance for a Facebook do-over, USA Today

This was an update of the advice about Timeline grooming that I gave in a December post for Discovery News–written with the benefit of a month of seeing how friends have adopted Facebook’s new profile interface. The Q&A part of the piece offered some context on why Adobe Reader will sometimes ask you to restart after installing an update–and, it seems, confused readers unfamiliar with the column’s two-part structure.

1/31/2012: What belongs on your next TV’s app menu?, CEA Digital Dialogue

A critique of the  selection of Internet apps on “connected TVs” was one of the first topics I suggested to the people at CEA; it just took me a few months to get around to writing it. As you can see from the comments thread on Google+, the piece may need to be corrected if it turns out that Vizio–contrary to the info on its site–does include a YouTube app on its connected sets. (I’m waiting to hear back from the company’s PR rep.)

2/1/2012: Rob’s January Podcast: The Successful SOPA Fight and Post-CES Recap, CEA Digital Dialogue

I chatted for a good half an hour with veteran telecom analyst Gary Arlen about the past, present and future of CES and a few trends afoot in the electronics business. Gary’s been going to the show for some 30 years (conveniently enough, his birthday often overlaps it) and has quite a few stories to tell; until we talked, I had forgotten that Apple introduced the Newton at CES. Maybe that’s why the company wants nothing to do with it these days.

2/2/2012: You Didn’t Need To Change Your Password Yesterday, Discovery News

I hope you enjoy the gruesome collage of log-in interfaces I put together to illustrate this post, which critiques three common and incorrect suggestions about creating and maintaining passwords. As you might guess, I’m not a fan of password-expiration policies, especially when coupled with irritating “minimum complexity” rules. But I’m embarrassed to admit how many of my passwords feature the number and symbol substitutions for letters that password-cracking tools already factor in.