Weekly output: Firefox update, 6G, Google Messages updates, Mudge speaks in D.C.

This afternoon’s exciting plot twist: I successfully replaced the shattered screen of my Pixel 5a, using a Google-authorized iFixit replacement kit. Detaching the old screen was a lot more work than I expected, but everything after that was surprisingly easy.

10/18/2022: Mozilla Makes Private Browsing in Firefox Easier, Adds PDF Editing, ‘Firefox View’, PCMag

Five days into using this update, I can confirm that the new “Firefox View” start page represents a real improvement–while the other additions in Firefox 106 have essentially escaped my notice.

Screenshot of the story as seen in Chrome on a Pixel 5a.10/19/2022: 6G advocates mash up a metaverse-centric sales pitch, Light Reading

Yes, 6G. I spent Wednesday and Thursday of the previous week at a conference in downtown D.C. devoted to talking up the notional next generation of wireless broadband and, as you see, did not come away too sold on the concept.

10/20/2022: Google Messages App Finally Lets Android Users Send Tapback Emoji to iPhones, PCMag

The Q&A period during the press pre-briefing Tuesday was more informative than I expected, yielding a reasonably coherent explanation for why Google hasn’t published an API for the RCS messaging standard that such third-party messaging apps as Signal could use instead of falling back to unencrypted SMS and MMS.

10/21/2022: Twitter Whistleblower: Stop Treating Cybersecurity Like Folklore, PCMag

CyberScoop’s CyberTalks conference Thursday closed out with an onstage Q&A featuring veteran security researcher Peiter “Mudge” Zatko. He didn’t discuss his experience as Twitter’s head of security (and subsequently Twitter’s highest-profile whistleblower) but had some insightful observations about how infosec types can fail to communicate with their corporate overlords.

Weekly output: FCC chair at MWC, Rocket Lab in Virginia, Verizon’s fixed-wireless 5G ambitions, Russia bans Facebook, U.S. tech companies fire Russia

I got home from MWC Thursday afternoon and finally got a Flickr album uploaded Sunday night. I’m blaming not just jet lag and a busy schedule, but a weird bug in the Flickr Android app that strips out geotags from photos automatically backed up. My workaround for this has been to select the pictures I want to share in Google Photos, download them to my Mac, and then upload them to Flickr. I would very much like to see this bug get fixed already.

Screenshot of the story as I viewed it in my Android phone's copy of Chrome on the way to MWC3/1/2022: Rosenworcel’s MWC appearance hints at shifting spectrum policy, Light Reading

My first MWC dateline came from me covering a speech by somebody whose office sits less than five miles from my house–Federal Communications Commission chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, who came to Barcelona to suggest two changes in the FCC’s spectrum-policy priorities.

3/1/2022: Rocket Lab to Build, Launch, and Land Reusable Rockets in Virginia, PCMag

The second story I filed from Barcelona also had a back-home component–the news that Rocket Lab USA would build a factory for its partially-reusable Neutron rocket on Wallops Island, Va.

3/3/2022: Verizon’s Sowmyanarayan on how FWA supports edge computing, private wireless, Light Reading

Story number three from Barcelona involved me interviewing a Verizon executive who works 200+ miles northeast of me.

3/4/2022: Russia Blocks Facebook for Not Giving State Media Free Rein, PCMag

The day after I got back from Barcelona, I covered Russia’s latest temper tantrum over American social networks not obliging its authoritarian streak.

3/5/2022: American tech sanctions against Russia, Al Jazeera

Saturday, I joined the Arabic-language news network (overdubbed live) to talk about the trend of U.S. tech companies cutting off Russia. As I noted, the likes of Apple and Intel can afford to fire Russia as a customer–it’s not a Japan, a U.K. or even a Canada.

Weekly output: streaming-video viewers, Facebook vs. Australia, ShowStoppers TV, password managers, Vint Cerf on 6G

In addition to the stories below, my tweet about the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s board-meeting news of an American Express Centurion Lounge coming to National Airport in 2022 got picked up at Gary Leff’s View From The Wing travel blog. As a longtime reader of Gary’s, I had to smile about that.

2/16/2021: OTT providers acknowledge the challenge of holding onto viewers, FierceVideo

I wrote up this online panel about the issues involved in retaining viewers as we emerge from this pandemic. The panel itself suffered its own retention problems, in the form of the moderator dropping offline multiple times.

2/17/2021: Facebook Will Give You Less Koala Content, Among Other Problems With Its Australian News Ban, Forbes

The koala-content angle came to me early on as I wrote this post, so I had to find some file art of a koala to go with the piece.

2/18/2021: ShowStoppers TV, ShowStoppers

I emceed this round of gadget demos, introducing and quizzing the presenters:  Godonut’s smartphone/tablet mount, HoverCam’s eGlass remote-teaching system, and Wacom’s Chromebook-connected drawing tablet.

Screenshot of USA Today column as seen in the paper's iPad app2/18/2021: LastPass to limit its free password manager. Here are other options, including Apple, Google, USA Today

All the research I did about password-manager services at the end of last year for the U.S. News guide that ran in January made this an easier column to write. That work also helped me write a longer post about the relative merits of LastPass, 1Password, Bitwarden and Dashlane for Patreon readers.

2/19/2021: 6G internet? Internet pioneer Vint Cerf isn’t buying the hype, Fast Company

I wrote up an online event hosted by Mitre Corp. on Feb. 11 that featured this interview of Internet pioneer Vint Cerf (whom I previously wrote about for Fast Company when he spoke at a conference in Alexandria in late 2019). Much as Cerf had voiced some sensible skepticism about 5G broadband one winter ago, he declined to get too excited over 6G and instead pointed to the connectivity potential of low-Earth-orbit satellites and ever-cheaper undersea fiber-optic cables.