Weekly output: Google directions and social isolation, 2011 in review, telling the tech future

Another holiday-shortened week, another holiday-shortened list of stories. That’s okay: Spending next week at CES should more than make up for my recent idle time.

1/1/2012: Today’s tip: Get the most out of Google Maps, USA Today

Full disclosure: When I leave my house, I carry a Metro SmarTrip card and keys to my house and my bike–plus, as of two weeks ago, one for Capital Bikeshare–but not my car. (Why would I do otherwise? If my car is anywhere but my driveway or our block when I step off the porch, something’s gone wrong.) So I’ve appreciated Google’s moves to provide directions to people traveling by rail, bus or bike. The Q&A part of this week’s column digs into some sociological research and my own experience to offer a non-cynical answer to the question “is technology just isolating us from each other?”

1/4/2012: 7 Tech Stories for 2011 and 2012, CEA Digital Dialogue

The year-in-review column may be a crutch for tech journalists to lean on during the slow week or two between Christmas and CES, but that doesn’t mean it can’t provide a useful opportunity to pull some sense out of the last 12 months’ worth of headlines–and see where those stories might go in the new year. At the risk of ruining whatever suspense this post might contain: Sorry, I think Congress will continue to demonstrate a certain… lack of finesse when it comes to tech policy.

1/5/2012: 5 Tech Advances That Might Arrive In 2012, Discovery News

Speaking of new-year columns, this one outlines five long-hyped technological breakthroughs that people might be able to buy this year: glasses-free 3-D TVs, portable fuel cells, color e-ink displays, battery-friendly LTE smartphones and big-screen OLED TVs. (Whether they’ll want to buy these things is another matter.) To judge from reader reactions and chatter on other sites, fuel cells top many people’s wish lists–but I’ll believe that when I’ve got a review unit ready to take on a weekend out of town.

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