Weekly output: Google’s RCS messaging, PBS comes to YouTube TV (x2), 5G and IoT, Telaria + Rubicon, pay-TV fee transparency, Dish boxes + Nest Hello video doorbells, car2go gone, best DNA tests

My last full work week of the year and the decade had me busy, which is another way of saying this was a real bag of stress. I am looking forward to enjoying a few more tranquil days, and I hope you all also get some downtime in the rest of the December.

12/16/2019: Google’s new RCS text messaging: Will it work with my wireless carrier?, USA Today

I explained this upgrade to SMS that Google has taken to calling “chat features,” and which continues to see apathetic support from carriers.

12/17/2019: Cord cutters, you can finally stream your PBS stations online – on YouTube TV, USA Today

The reporting I did in January for a FierceVideo piece about PBS’s digital strategy paid off when I got a heads-up from public television’s Boston station WGBH about their impending arrival on YouTube TV. That allowed me to get this post on USAT’s site right after the news that cord cutters could finally watch many local PBS affiliates without needing either reliable over-the-air reception or a cable or satellite TV subscription.

12/18/2019: 5G deployment stands ready to supercharge the Internet of Things, Ars Technica

My last feature-length explainer covered the potential of 5G’s network-slicing and edge-computing capabilities in IoT markets. Like the earlier two, this was sponsored by a company that I assume was Verizon, going by the presence of their ads atop each one in the series. But Ars has yet to confirm that, and they certainly didn’t tell me in advance–which is exactly how this sort of arrangement should work.

12/19/2019: PBS lands on YouTube TV, FierceVideo

I spent the last two days of the week filling in at this trade-pub client to cover breaking news. My first post provided some more context about PBS’s debut on a streaming-TV service, including more details about participating stations than I had for the USA Today piece.

12/19/2019: Adtech firms Telaria and Rubicon to merge, FierceVideo

Thursday’s other post was a writeup of this merger of two adtech companies that I must admit I didn’t know much about prior to Thursday.

12/20/2019: New law mandates pay-TV fee transparency, FierceVideo

Friday morning, I wrote up the Television Viewer Protection Act, a just-passed measure mandating a little more disclosure of such tacked-on pay-TV expenses as the surcharge for local broadcasts and equipment-rental fees.

12/20/2019: Dish Network says hello to Google’s video doorbell, FierceVideo

Some Dish DVRs and receivers can now show a Nest Hello video doorbell’s view of who’s at your front door.

12/21/2019: An elegy for Car2Go, the smarter Zipcar rival that lost its way, Fast Company

The demise of D.C.’s leading point-to-point car-sharing service made me and many other transportation geeks sad.

12/21/2019: The best DNA test kit of 2019, Tom’s Guide

The fourth big story I wrote about DNA tests for this reviews site offers a ranking of the two I tested myself, 23andMe and AncestryDNA, plus an assessment of three others that have ranked high in other reviews: MyHeritage, FamilyTreeDNA and Living DNA.

Weekly output: cordless charging, Vivek Kundra, car2go, hard-drive lifespans, camera cables

This list includes a rarity for me: a story that appeared in print–glossy print, no less–before showing up online.

5/2/2012: Cordless Charging Awaits A Jump Start, CEA Digital Dialogue

I’ve been talking to the people at CEA about revisiting some past stories from CES–we in the media often fail to follow up on show debuts to see how they’ve fared, while the association, obviously enough, would not mind more publicity for its signature event. This post looks at the fragmented market for cordless and wireless charging; the next day, Samsung announced its Galaxy S III smartphone with a wireless-charging option that, to judge from its membership in a new, vaguely defined trade group, may not work with either of the current semi-standards.

5/3/2012: Vivek Kundra: Boiling The Ocean, Washingtonian

In my first piece for the monthly magazine, I interviewed former federal chief information officer Vivek Kundra about his experiences working in IT at local, state and federal levels. (The article would have run sooner had I asked more big-picture, non-techie questions in our first conversation.) He has some harsh things to say about how the government does computing–the phrase “boiling the ocean” is Kundra’s term of art for doomed IT projects that try to solve every possible problem out of fear that the currently available funding won’t be around next year–but also remains optimistic about the difference you can make there.

5/5/2012: The Borrow-At-Will, Park-Anywhere Smart Car, Discovery News

I was introduced to Daimler’s point-to-point car-sharing service at SXSW, when one of the people I stayed with ran me around town a few times one of car2go’s Smart Fortwo vehicles. Two weeks later, the company set up shop in Washington, and I took advantage of a free-registration discount code (“CAPITAL,” expiring today) to open an account and use the service for a couple of crosstown drives. In the bargain, I got to shift gears in a car without a tach for the first time since maybe 1993.

5/6/2012: Will audio files kill my hard drive, USA Today

A reader asked if using a new iMac as a home recording studio would shorten the hard drive’s lifespan; I don’t think so, but the question gave me the opportunity to talk about how the drive usually is the first thing to go–and can be one of the most difficult components to replace. The column also has a tip for those of you still habitually reaching for your camera’s USB cable to transfer photos to a camera: Set it aside and pop its SD Card into your computer’s slot instead.

3/23/2013: Updated the car2go link after the post somehow vanished in a site redesign and, for CMS-driven reasons that escape me, could not be re-posted at the same address.