Weekly output: tech policy (x2), Kojo Nnamdi Show, baby monitors (x5), hotel WiFi

Five of the stories that figured in earlier allusions here to upcoming work posted this week. It felt great to send the invoice for them.

5/27/2014: Why Congress Keeps Screwing Up Tech Policy, Yahoo Tech

My first draft of this piece got sent back to the kitchen; not for the first time, an editor was correct in saying I was trying to cover too much ground in one story. Before you read the comments: I apologize for the ageist nonsense on display there, which I did my best to smack down in moderation and replies.

5/27/2014: Five Tech Policy Bugs Congress Needs to Fix, Yahoo Tech

News flash: Bad laws have a long half-life, especially when they won’t get fixed unless the tech industry unites to ask Congress to do its job.

5/27/2014: Tech Gifts for Grads and Dads, The Kojo Nnamdi Show

I doled out advice with CNET’s Maggie Reardon on various gadget-guidance topics. Big surprise: how many Microsoft Surface fans called in.

5/27/2014: Infant Optics DXR-8, PCMag

I reviewed five baby monitors for PCMag, and this one got posted a day before the other four. If you don’t want any form of Internet connectivity in a monitor, this is the one I’d recommend out of this batch.

5/28/2014: Summer Infant Baby Touch, PCMag

This system’s display unit and Android and iOS apps had some singularly weird interface quirks that set me off.

PCMag Withings baby-monitor review5/28/2014: Withings Smart Baby Monitor, PCMag

My editors judged this Internet-connected model worthy of an “Editors’ Choice” nod. The weak quality of Withings’ Android app bothers me, but this was one device I didn’t like to send back–my daughter had grown attached to its lullaby feature.

5/28/2014: Philips Avent SCD603, PCMag

This thing combined thoughtful hardware design with woeful interference with my home WiFi network as well as my phone’s tethering option. And yet Amazon shoppers have made almost no mention of that problem. I’m still not sure that I didn’t run into some freak interaction.

5/28/2014: Motorola MBP36, PCMag

This model didn’t do much for me–certainly not at the current price. I might as well note here that for a couple of years, my wife and I relied on a hand-me-down monitor we got for free.

6/1/2014: Grrr. What’s up with hotel WiFi login pages?, USA Today

A tweet about an awkward hotel WiFi setup led to a question from a reader, which in turn led to this explainer about why establishments can’t just use standard password authentication. See the comments for one from me that relays two tips that readers shared over e-mail: one about coaxing a hotel with a Web WiFi-login scheme into offering connectivity to a Chromecast or Apple TV, another about running an older version of Apple’s AirPort Utility on a current Mac.

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