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.

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Weekly output: cordless charging, Vivek Kundra, car2go, hard-drive lifespans, camera cables

This list includes a rarity for me: a story that appeared in print–glossy print, no less–before showing up online.

5/2/2012: Cordless Charging Awaits A Jump Start, CEA Digital Dialogue

I’ve been talking to the people at CEA about revisiting some past stories from CES–we in the media often fail to follow up on show debuts to see how they’ve fared, while the association, obviously enough, would not mind more publicity for its signature event. This post looks at the fragmented market for cordless and wireless charging; the next day, Samsung announced its Galaxy S III smartphone with a wireless-charging option that, to judge from its membership in a new, vaguely defined trade group, may not work with either of the current semi-standards.

5/3/2012: Vivek Kundra: Boiling The Ocean, Washingtonian

In my first piece for the monthly magazine, I interviewed former federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra about his experiences working in IT at local, state and federal levels. (The article would have run sooner had I asked more big-picture, non-techie questions in our first conversation.) He has some harsh things to say about how the government does computing–the phrase “boiling the ocean” is Kundra’s term of art for doomed IT projects that try to solve every possible problem out of fear that the currently available funding won’t be around next year–but also remains optimistic about the difference you can make there.

5/5/2012: The Borrow-At-Will, Park-Anywhere Smart Car, Discovery News

I was introduced to Daimler’s point-to-point car-sharing service at SXSW, when one of the people I stayed with ran me around town a few times one of car2go’s Smart Fortwo vehicles. Two weeks later, the company set up shop in Washington, and I took advantage of a free-registration discount code (“CAPITAL,” expiring today) to open an account and use the service for a couple of crosstown drives. In the bargain, I got to shift gears in a car without a tach for the first time since maybe 1993.

5/6/2012: Will audio files kill my hard drive, USA Today

A reader asked if using a new iMac as a home recording studio would shorten the hard drive’s lifespan; I don’t think so, but the question gave me the opportunity to talk about how the drive usually is the first thing to go–and can be one of the most difficult components to replace. The column also has a tip for those of you still habitually reaching for your camera’s USB cable to transfer photos to a camera: Set it aside and pop its SD Card into your computer’s slot instead.

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