Belated updates to this year’s stories

You don’t have to run a correction when a story changes after you’ve written about it–but it is polite to follow up. Here’s a not-so-short list of updates to stories I’ve done this year.

Old stories sepia toneWhen I wrote that Google’s new, unified privacy policy would almost certainly be recast to let users opt out of having the company assemble a detailed portrait of them based on their use of separate Google services, I was wrong; that has yet to happen.

Sonic.net’s groundbreaking fiber-to-the-home service–a steal at $69.95 a month for 1 billion bits per second–seems to be off to a fine start in Sonoma County, but the planned expansion to San Francisco’s Sunset District is still on the way. It hasn’t shown up as an advertised offering on this Santa Rosa, Calif., Internet provider’s home-services page either.

Remember when adjacent-friend-discovery apps were going to blow up after their moment in the sun at SXSW in March? Didn’t happen. Facebook bought Glancee (and has yet to do much publicly with its technology), while Highlight seems to have fallen off the map (maybe I’m not hanging out with the right crowd?).

The ethics of outsourced manufacturing, fortunately, have stayed in the headlines since I wrote about them in March for CEA. And we may even be seeing legitimate progress, to judge from the New York Times’ story earlier this week recounting upgrades in pay and working conditions at contract manufacturers Foxconn and Quanta’s Chinese factories.

I’m still waiting to see comparable progress in liberating e-books from “digital rights management.” The sci-fi publisher Tor/Forge–a subsidiary of Macmillan–went DRM-free in July, but other branches of the major publishing houses have clung to this self-defeating measure. 

After saying so many good things about the car2go car-sharing service–and seeing that story get picked up in a few other places–I have to confess that I, ahem, haven’t used the service since. Capital Bikeshare is even more convenient and cheaper for trips under two miles, plus I need to make my way into the District to jump into one of car2go’s Smart fortwo vehicles.

I tempered my praise for Sprint’s Evo 4G LTE by wondering how long its users would wait to get Google’s software updates. Answer: almost six months, the time it took HTC and Sprint to deliver the Android 4.1 release Google shipped in June.

I was pretty sure I’d buy a Nexus 7 tablet after liking it as much as I did in July. But now that I own an iPad mini, that purchase seems like it would be redundant. Am I making a mistake there?

After teeing off on Apple Maps in the first chapter of my iPhone 5 review for CNNMoney.com, I have to give Apple credit for fixing the two worst flaws I called out. It now lists the correct address for the Kennedy Center as its first search result and provides a route to Dulles Airport that don’t cross any runways. But it still doesn’t know about Yards Park or the new 11th Street Bridges across the Anacostia–and the latter omission means its directions will now send you on a closed stretch of freeway.

My upbeat review of Samsung’s $249 Google Chromebook noted some build-quality concerns, in the form of a loose corner of the screen bezel. I found out the hard way that it’s more delicate than that; its LCD is now broken, and I don’t even know how. (We do have a two-year-old at home, but it’s also possible that I dropped something on it.)

My advice about enabling multiple-calendar Google Calendar sync on an iOS device by setting up your Google account as a Microsoft Exchange account will soon be obsolete. Effective January 30, Google will no longer support Exchange syncing on new setups (although existing ones will still work). Fortunately, it’s also posted instructions to enable multiple-calendar sync without the Exchange workaround.

3/23/2013: Updated the link for the car2go review after the post vanished in a site redesign and, for CMS-driven reasons that escape me, could not be re-posted at the same address. 

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Weekly output: Bluetooth and cheap smartphone data, Galaxy Nexus and Nitro HD, recycling, Google privacy

I did more work this week than the list below suggests–oh, to think of the days when an article a day counted as a healthy, if not heavy, journalistic workload–but you’ll have to wait a bit to see those two longer features.

1/22/2012: Tip: Bluetooth not just for headsets, USA Today

I don’t know why more people don’t use Bluetooth to beam files between devices; it’s quicker than using a USB cable or a flash drive. So I used this tip to remind people of that–and to nag Apple for its continued failure to enable this feature in iOS. The rest of the column revisits a question I addressed in the Post two years ago: Can I get a smartphone without the expensive data plan?

1/23/2012: Galaxy Nexus and Nitro HD Get Torture Tested, Discovery News

I first intended to review Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus in December but then decided to try it alongside another LTE Android phone, LG’s Nitro HD. Then CES got in the way, and finally I had to figure out a glitch that kept the Nitro from using LTE. But the delays did contribute to a better-grounded review than usual. I also may have found an answer to the awful standby battery life I and others have seen on the Nexus: Turning off WiFi seems to allow the operating system to sleep properly.

1/26/2012: Eyeing Your Electronics Recycling Options, CEA Digital Dialogue

Speaking of revisiting old Post stories, this one returns to the familiar topic of “how do I get rid of this old TV nobody wants”? The piece notes some progress on this front–my county now does curbside pickup of electronics and Best Buy stopped charging to recycle TVs up to 32 inches–but criticizes computer vendors for failing to provide fact0ry-reset options on a par with those available on most smartphones.

1/27/2012: Your Privacy On Google: Don’t Panic, Do Think, Discovery News

Google neatly solved the problem of “what do I write about?” by announcing a change to its privacy policy (first written up by my old Post colleague Cecilia Kang) that apparently freaked out a large proportion of the Internet–even though it’s not that big of a change. I tried to point that out in this post, written with the benefit of a day or two to reflect on the news and gather some context. Google still doesn’t seem thrilled with the piece but declined my invitation to leave a comment on it, so I added one summarizing their objection and then cross-posted it to Google+. The discussion that followed on the latter site is worth a read.