Weekly output: post-TWC Comcast, airport lounges, Windows 7 PCs

I’m off to Chicago Tuesday morning for the cable-industry conference formerly known as just the Cable Show and now branded as the Internet & Television Expo, “INTX” for short. It’ll be my first visit to this gathering since the 2012 edition in Boston, and recent news developments in the pay-TV business should make it an interesting event.

4/28/2015: What Comcast Giving Up on Time Warner Cable Could Mean for You, Yahoo Tech

Comcast giving up on its ambitions of buying Time Warner Cable gave me an excuse to suggest a few things it might want to do now that it won’t spend the next year in a post-merger food coma.

redesign Amex lounge post4/29/2015: redesign | travel: Amex tries to reinvent the airport lounge, redesign | mobile

My pal Rocky Agrawal launched this site this week as a marketplace to connect professionals with potential clients (see VentureBeat’s writeup). A few months back, he’d asked if I’d like to write about American Express’s attempt to get into the airport-lounge business; as a fan of making travel more comfortable, I had no problem taking on that gig and cashing that check. And if, in keeping with redesign’s ambitions, this post connects me to more travel writing, that would be okay.

I had meant to do my usual social-media marketing for this post when it appeared, but Wednesday ran away from me as the days sometimes do, and Thursday and Friday were just as bad.

5/3/2015: Windows 7 still a safe alternative to Windows 8, USA Today

It had been two years and change since I’d answered about the same question in my USAT column. But since then, Windows 7 has exited “mainstream support,” which gave me a chance to explain Microsoft’s support-lifecycle policy. Big surprise: How many commenters have testified that they’d rather use Windows 8 than Win 7.

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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: Apple coverage, Xbox One, CTIA, MVNOs and the lack of broadband wholesaling

A long weekend is a good way to end a second workweek spent mostly out of D.C. (I did get home from CTIA in time to sleep in my own bed Thursday night, except it was Friday morning by the time our weather-delayed flight pulled up to the gate at National.)

5/20/2013: Looking for love, or a business icon to shower with adulation, BusinessJournalism.org

My old Post colleague Phil Blanchard writes a column for the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism, and in this week’s post he quoted my thoughts what makes so much Apple coverage vapid and vaporous.

5/21/2013: Xbox One: So That’s Why ‘Xbox’ Sounds So Vague, Discovery News

Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One don’t-call-it-a-game-console has the ambitious goal of becoming the new interface for TV, but how will it do better than the last big-name attempt to get the cable or satellite box out of the picture–Google TV?

USAT CTIA report

5/23/2013: At CTIA, smaller phone vendors take center stage, USA Today

This is my first–and, if there’s any justice in the world, my last–piece to be illustrated with a photo of Jennifer Lopez. (Credit for that goes to Verizon Wireless, which announced a marketing deal with her Viva Móvil phone-retail chain at CTIA.)

As you can see in the comments, one of the vendors I mentioned either gave me the wrong info about its water-resistant treatment for phones or I misunderstood them–it’s not quite clear which. I invited their PR guy to leave a comment about those while I forwarded his request for a correction, and he surprised me a bit by accepting the invitation.

5/24/2013: Wireless Says “MVNO” To Resellers, Residential Broadband Just Says No, Disruptive Competition Project

I was struck by how many interesting resellers of the major carriers’ networks showed up at CTIA, and then it hit me: Why is this kind of wholesaling so common in wireless and so rare in residential broadband? I asked around and came up with a few theories that may explain it.

I’d usually have my USAT Q&A listed here, but they’re holding that for Monday. I trust you all can hold out that long.

On Sulia, I posted a bunch of items from CTIA: for instance, Lopez’s appearance, a Bluetooth-controlled deadbolt lock, and the absence of most big-name vendors. I also noted how Flickr’s otherwise-welcome changes can leave Flickr Pro users feeling a little unloved and–D.C. commuters take note–reported that non-Verizon phones now work in a lot more of Metro’s underground stations, maybe all of them.

Weekly output: WiFi refrigerator, social media and government agencies, cord-cutting, QAM encryption, CableWiFi

My workweek had better scenery than usual, courtesy of the drive to and from Shepherdstown, West Virginia for my Thursday appointment.

USAT fridge photo4/8/2013: A refrigerator that thinks?, USA Today

I didn’t write this piece, but a photo I took at CES of Samsung’s WiFi-linked, Evernote-enabled T9000 refrigerator ran with it in print. This is the first time an image I’ve uploaded to Flickr has attracted the notice of a paying customer–which reminds me, I should upload more of the gadget-porn pictures I have cluttering iPhoto.

4/10/2013: Using Social Media to Communicate with the News Media, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

I made that trip to speak on a panel with NBC 4 editor Natasha Copeland and Washington Association of Black Journalists president Donna Walker at the Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center–a beautiful campus a few miles uphill from town–about how government agencies can tell their story to the press in social media. My key point: Be prepared for the conversation with the general public, even if that means your Twitter presence becomes a tech-support channel. I don’t think they’ve posted video of our chat yet, but I’ll update this if they do. Update, 4/17: The organizers have posted an Adobe Connect recording of our panel.

4/11/2013: Who’s Going To Crack The Cord-Cutting Conundrum?, Disruptive Competition Project

Last weekend’s panel about cord cutting at Free Press’s conference in Denver yielded some useful insights about potential disruptions to the multichannel-TV business that I thought would be worth sharing with a wider audience.

4/14/2013: Tip: Why you need a box for basic cable, USA Today

RCN’s decision to encrypt its entire cable feed–then not offer any cheap way for owners of HDTVs to watch just local channels in high-def–gave me an excuse to revisit a topic I’d last covered for USAT a year earlier. The piece also includes something more positive about the cable industry, a tip about five major services’ initiative to provide free WiFi to all their subscribers.

Sulia highlights for the week: a negative review of WordPress.com’s implementation of two-step verification, a rant about two long-broken features on Intuit’s Mint.com, a note about inexplicable bugginess with Bluetooth file transfer from my Android phone, and an item about how a review phone’s number had come to be included in a long, intensive group-texting thread. (Since I sent my “can you take me off this list?” reply, I haven’t gotten any more messages from that chat.)