Weekly output: Auto Hop ad skipping, video walls, laptop batteries, travel power strips

This week ends with three pieces I’ve written sitting in three different editors’ queues. That will teach me to file close to on time. (Note to editors, readers, fellow writers and the deadline gods: just kidding!)

5/22/2012: Ad Hoc Reactions to ‘Auto Hop’ Ad Skipping, CEA Digital Dialogue

A day or two after Dish Network announced its Auto Hop automatic commercial-skipping feature, a thought popped into my head: Would fans of this clever use of computer-driven automation of a common human practice also approve of using software to send them a speeding ticket? With two other examples of technology making a generally accepted activity somehow ethically troublesome, I had this week’s CEA post.

Two days later, the debate over this ad-skipping option reached the inevitable Send In The Lawyers phase when Fox Broadcasting sued Dish and Dish sued Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC.

5/24/2012: Tile Your Wall With Video Screens, Discovery News

I usually don’t write about rigged demos, but the wall-sized video display I saw at the Cable Show in Boston raised enough interesting possibilities–both in terms of screen technology and how to use it–that I thought it worth a writeup. (Especially after I realized a parallel between this demo and giant telescopes.) I wasn’t the only one impressed; see, for example, this writeup by Zatz Not Funny’s Mari Silbey.

5/27/2012: The sad lifespan of a laptop battery, USA Today

A reader’s query about his aging Dell laptop gave me a chance to revisit a topic I covered two years ago in my old Help File column for the Post–but back then, I didn’t think to note how the battery-lifespan issue is so much worse on smartphones. The column closes with a tip about avoiding Lord of the Flies-esque unpleasantness when only one outlet is left open at an airport gate that you read here first.

Update, 6/9/2012: I remembered to finish writing the headline.