There’s no way that two popular social networks would dare commit news the week before Christmas, right?
12/18/2012: Insta-Hate For Instagram’s New Rules, Discovery News
No consumer-focused service should be surprised when its users read an intimidatingly long terms-of-service document in the unfriendliest way possible, but Instagram apparently was. The schadenfreude factor here was higher than usual, between my amazement at Instagram’s failure to learn from new corporate parent Facebook’s past missteps and my “you dang kids, get off my f-stop!” distaste for the idea of expressing one’s photographic creativity by applying somebody else’s canned filter to a picture.
(No, I don’t see this episode as any sort of a win for Instagram. While its old, now-reinstated terms of service give it more latitude in some ways, the PR hit here is lasting. And if Instagram actually engages in the sort of sketchy advertising reuse of its users’ photos that people feared this time, it will get crushed all over again.)
12/19/2012: Twitter Gives Your History Back, Discovery News
I’d been hoping I’d be able to write this post since hearing Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tell Online News Association conference attendees that he hoped to see the option to download your entire Twitter archive happen this year. Details I probably should have added to this post: The first few years of the archive don’t include clickable links, and photo previews don’t start showing up until late 2011.
12/20/2012: Google Maps Shows How Locked-Down Defaults Deter Competition, Disruptive Competition Project
This post, in which I compared your inability to change the default Web, e-mail and mapping apps in iOS to the locked search defaults in Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system and in earlier versions of Google’s Android, reminds me of some of the wonkier stuff I did at the Post. I was flattered to see it get as much attention as it did.
12/23/2012: A ‘to-do list’ for helping family with tech support, USA Today
Several years ago, Gina Trapani wrote a great post for Lifehacker about how to fix Mom and Dad’s computer over Thanksgiving. I thought that was an idea worth imitating, so I started writing my own holiday-computer-troubleshooting tips for the Post–first in the newsletter I used to do, then on my blog there. Note how much of my advice this time around focuses on uninstalling software instead of adding or updating it.