Weekly output: inflight WiFi (x2), cheaper broadband, Google I/O, Texas social-media law, DEA data-portal hack, Twitter mourns Shireen Abu Akleh, SpaceX recap

BOISE–For the second year in a row, I’m on the road for PCMag’s Fastest Mobile Networks project. And this time the work has taken me much farther from home: After completing the network drive testing I started here after arriving Sunday afternoon, I’m heading to Seattle, Portland and then the Bay Area before flying home.

5/9/2022: Wi-Fi on the plane: Here’s how in-flight connectivity is changing (and costing), USA Today

I know everybody loves to complain about the unreliable state of inflight WiFi, but I see two positive trends worth a little applause: flat-rate pricing and free use of messaging apps.

5/9/2022: White House Lines Up 20 ISPs to Offer Free 100Mbps Broadband to Qualifying Households, PCMag

I wrote up the Biden administration’s announcement of a partnership with 20 Internet providers that will lower service costs to zero for households eligible for the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program–and noted how this deal’s ban on data caps make some of these companies’ existing broadband plans look even worse.

5/10/2022: Wi-Fi on the plane: Here’s how in-flight connectivity is changing (and costing), This Morning with Gordon Deal

The business-news radio show had me on talk about recent developments in using the Internet from a chair in the sky.

Screenshot of story as seen in Safari on an iPad mini 55/12/2022: Here are the 4 most surprising takeaways from the first day of Google’s I/O conference, Fast Company

Part of the keynote that opened Google’s I/O conference reminded me of today’s Apple, while another part evoked a previous decade’s Microsoft.

5/12/2022: US Appeals Court Rules Social Media Content Moderation Should Be Restricted, PCMag

I wrote about an unexplained and inexplicable ruling by a panel of federal judges that allowed a blatantly unconstitutional Texas law to take effect. My post had its own inexplicable error: I linked to the wrong one-page ruling and therefore named the wrong judges. No readers yelled at me about the mistake before I realized it on my own, but I feel stupid about it anyway.

5/12/2022: Hackers Reportedly Gain Access to Drug Enforcement Administration Data Portal, PCMag

My old Washington Post pal Brian Krebs had a scoop about what seems to be a massive data breach made possible by poor security practices, which I wrote up while adding some context about the White House’s recent moves to improve federal infosec.

5/12/2022: Twitter reactions to Shireen Abu Akleh’s death, Al Jazeera

The Arabic-language news channel had me on Thursday night to discuss how Twitter reacted to the horrible news of their correspondent being shot and killed, apparently by Israeli soldiers, while reporting in the West Bank.

5/13/2022: Here’s How Close We Came to Relying on the Russians for ISS Trips, PCMag

I spent Thursday afternoon in D.C. at Ars Technica’s Ars Frontiers conference, and an insightful interview of former NASA deputy administrator by that estimable news site’s space reporter Eric Berger yielded this recap.

Weekly output: Hackable “IoT” devices (x2), AMP, Tech Night Owl

I’m taking a week off from my USA Today column, this being a month that would have had me writing five Sunday pieces instead of the usual four. That ends a streak that had started in late 2011–but was probably never going to get close to the 566-week run of weekly Washington Post column-ization that lasted from September of 1999 through July of 2010.

yahoo-finance-hackable-iot-post10/20/2016: Hackers could use your smart home devices to launch web attacks, Yahoo Finance

This column benefited from some extraordinarily fortuitous timing: The day after it ran, unknown attackers used hacked “Internet of Things” gadgets to launch a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against the domain-name-service firm Dyn that left large chunks of the Internet inaccessible through much of Friday.

10/22/2016: How Google is remaking the mobile web, Yahoo Finance

A co-worker suggested I write about Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) initiative, and that turned out to be a good idea. I don’t think Google realizes the level of annoyance some readers feel over seeing news stories served from a google.com cache, but I doubt this post alone will lead to any sudden enlightenment in Mountain View.

10/22/2016: October 22, 2016 — Rob Pegoraro and Jeff Gamet, Tech Night Owl

I talked about the long wait for Apple to ship some new Macs, my experience so far with macOS Sierra, WikiLeaks, Google’s Pixel phones, and a few other things.

10/22/2016: Consumer News with Michael Finney, KGO

I spent about 10 minutes talking to Finney about the risks posed by easily-hacked IoT devices. In a fit of blatant pandering to distant listeners, I compared DDoS attacks to traffic jams on the Bay Bridge’s toll plaza.

Weekly output: data breaches, triple-play bills

I hear there’s some sort of football game scheduled for this evening that many Americans will watch to the exclusion of other things, so I’d better post this while it still has a potential audience.

Yahoo Tech data-breach politics1/27/2014: Weak Data-Breach Laws Leave Us All In A Compromised Position, Yahoo Tech

This critique of Congressional inaction and ill-thought action on data-breach issues wound up running on Data Privacy Day, basically due to dumb luck. In another bit of unintentional timing, three days later Yahoo reported a breach of some Yahoo Mail credentials from “a third-party database compromise.”

2/2/2014: Q&A: How can I lower my cable, Internet, phone bills?, USA Today

To judge from the number of times this post has been shared on Facebook and Twitter–not to mention the 43 comments it’s racked up as of this writing–I should cover telecom costs every week.

On Sulia, I decried a ridiculous argument against cities launching their own municipally-owned broadband networks, shared a recipe for looking up service costs at telecom sites that insist you cough up a street address before they’ll display a price, shared my first impressions of Cove’s low-cost co-working space in Logan Circle, denounced the way Patch sacked most of its underpaid and overworked local-news journalists while leaving its sites up as if nothing had happened, and wondered when enough phone thieves will realize that iOS 7’s Activation Lock reduces the resale value of stolen iPhones to zero.

 

Weekly output: Slashdot, online journalism, Ron Wyden, This Week In Law, Washington Apple Pi, prepaid data, mobile sites

It’s been a busy week, and I still have to pack for a flight tomorrow morning. (I’m off to San Francisco to speak on a panel about “Blogger Language 4.0” at PR Summit.) I’ll have to be a little more concise than usual in these descriptions…

7/22/2013: Former WaPo Staffer Rob Pegoraro Talks About Newspapers’ Decline (Video), Slashdot

Robin Miller, aka “roblimo,” asked me a few questions about the state of the newspaper business and the future of journalism.

7/24/2013: Online Journalism Not All Doomed (Even If You Count Past 538), Disruptive Competition Project

And speaking of the future of journalism, here I argued that the ability of a local-news site called ARLNow.com to hire its first full-time reporter is probably a better sign of the health of my profession than Nate Silver’s headline-making move from the New York Times to ESPN.

Ars Technica Wyden post7/24/2013: Senator: Weak oversight of NSA may lead to massive location tracking, Ars Technica

I wrote up the speech Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) gave at the Center for American Progress about government surveillance and the secret body of law that barely constrains it.

7/26/2013: #221: We’re #9! We’re #9!, This Week In Law

The number in the title of this week’s episode refers to the U.S.’s ranking in a recent survey of broadband access; tune in to see host Denise Howell, Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn and me talk about the state of our broadband market and a grab-bag of other issues.

7/27/2013: Rob Pegoraro talks about things that beep and blink, Washington Apple Pi

The last time I spoke at a monthly meeting of the D.C. area’s Apple user group was in February 2011. A few things have changed since then (my ability to get lost on the roads of George Mason University’s Fairfax campus is not among them), so I enjoyed catching up with my friends at WAP.

7/28/2013: To get online during vacation, consider prepaid data, USA Today

A reader wanted to know a cheap way to get a laptop online during a long cross-country trip, so I suggested some prepaid data services–most reselling Sprint’s old WiMax network. I also shared a tip about using mobile sites when you’re starved for bandwidth, one of the things I’ve resorted to in the face of uncooperative WiFi at conferences and elsewhere.

Sulia highlights: Excoriating the worse-than-Apple performance of Nokia’s Windows Phone mapping app, noting the impending arrival of a $999, 50-inch 4K TV, celebrating a pathetically overdue tech-patent ruling and wondering if faster WiFi on Amtrak will induce demand that leads to the same slow wireless as before.