Weekly output: Nokia 900, podcast, Fuji FinePix XP170, Web chat, This Week in Law, Reddit

Lest this list give too generous an idea of my recent productivity, remember that I filed the first two items earlier.

7/17/2012: Review: Nokia’s Lumia 900 already feels outdated, CNNMoney.com

In my second long-term evaluation for CNNMoney after May’s reassessment of the Kindle Fire, I took a look at Nokia’s Lumia 900 and what it’s done for Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform. The biggest difference between this piece and the review I did for Discovery News when the phone debuted in April: Microsoft’s announcement that the phone would not get an update to Windows Phone 8, which made Nokia’s “beta test” ads look dumb overnight.

7/17/2012: Rob’s “June” Podcast: Getting Silicon Valley To Talk To Washington, CEA Digital Dialogue

The quotes are required because this interview with Engine Advocacy’s Michael McGeary got held up by, in succession, travel, technical problems trying to record a Skype interview on my laptop, the derecho and the general scheduling chaos of the July 4 week. Then it got lost in the shuffle at CEA. But anyway… Mike’s one of the tech-policy types I enjoy talking shop with, and I think you can tell that from the interview.

7/18/2012: How A Shockproof Camera Knocked Itself Out, Discovery News

Surprise, surprise: yet another dismal review of a digital camera. This time around, I liked this Fuji’s rugged nature–the photo that leads off the review shows the camera immersed in my kitchen sink, with one of my daughter’s rubber duckies floating above it–but did not appreciate its clumsy WiFi Direct photo-transfer feature. I was further annoyed by the sloppiness on display in its interface and design, like having it beep by default every time you touch a button or including yet another proprietary USB cable. And this one did not take exceptional pictures, as you can see in the Flickr set of its output.

7/20/2012: Live Chat Today: Travel Talk, CEA Digital Dialogue

We opted for ScribbleLive for the chat, mostly for a reason I hadn’t thought of when I discussed our chat options on Monday: A large chunk of the potential readership would be at work and not in the best position to play video or run a webcam, which weighed against doing a Google+ Hangout On Air. The chat got off to a slow start, thanks in part to some rookie configuration errors on our end, but I did have fun and think we can work with this software.

7/20/2012: #171: Printing Friends and Influencing People, This Week in Law

I returned to TWiT.tv’s “TWiL” a month after my debut there to discuss a grab-bag of tech-policy topics: the prospects for cheap, widespread 3-D printing; a new intellectual-property bill that is not the second coming of SOPA; who much data the Feds have been collecting from wireless carriers; and the new face-blurring option on YouTube intended to protect dissidents. My conversation with hosts Denise Howell and Evan Brown and Public Knowledge attorney Michael Weinberg was briefly interrupted by a Skype dropout; I’m not sure if I should blame Skype or the increasingly erratic Actiontec router that came with my Verizon Fios connection.

7/20/2012: Redditors Bear Witness To Aurora Shooting, Discovery News

After reading an arresting firsthand account of Friday morning’s horrific shootings in Aurora, Colo., on Reddit, I quickly accepted an editor’s invitation to write about that. As i started putting together this post, I remembered my first mention of that site: a Post column that noted how it had become an interesting place for people to discuss news posted elsewhere. At that time, I had no idea that Reddit could become a new journalistic outlet in its own right.

Afterwards, I wanted to write a personal follow-up here noting the oddity of steadily loosening gun regulations while these mass shootings keep happening, but I ran out of time on Friday. Fair warning: You may yet read a post like that here.

Weekly output: WWDC, tech policy, Web chat, prepaid iPhones

Happy Father’s Day, everyone. When I became a dad almost two years ago, a friend welcomed me to that new title by calling it “the toughest job you’ll ever love.” I think he was right. And next to that, my last seven days of occupational output seem small in comparison.

6/11/2012: Apple’s WWDC News: iOS Hits The Road, Discovery News

After all of the pre-conference hype about Apple unveiling its own mapping solution for iOS 6, I found the reality presented at its Worldwide Developers Conference Monday morning in San Francisco to be a tad underwhelming and so ranked it fifth on my list of top-five WWDC announcements. Note that I had to update this post a couple of days later to reflect for the fact that this app will, contrary to Apple’s initial silence on the issue, include walking directions. But transit navigation could still be decidedly inelegant.

(Also note that I watched the keynote as almost all of you did: by viewing it online after Apple posted it a few hours later, on account of Apple not issuing me a WWDC press pass. I did, however, get a few peeks at iOS 6 from WWDC attendees Monday night.)

6/15/2012: TPS Report: The Election’s Missing Tech-Policy Issues, CEA Digital Dialogue

After mulling over two days of enlightening banter at the Tech Policy Summit, I wrote up a summary of that conference for CEA that closed by remarking on the allergy some Silicon Valley types have to engaging with Washington in any sustained manner. I may have to explore that at greater length in a future story–along with some other topics discussed at TPS, such as a proposal to hand governance of some core Internet protocols to the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union and the debate in Europe over mandating a “right to be forgotten” online.

6/15/2012: Mobile Minded (Web chat), CEA Digital Dialogue

The monthly Web chat focused almost entirely on smartphones and tablets, as it should have a week after WWDC and a week and change before Google’s I/O developer conference. The curiosity about iOS 6’s Maps and Passbook apps in particular struck me, so I know to focus on those when I review iOS 6 sometime this fall. I also got at least two questions that should work well for my USA Today Q&A, so that’s good as well.

Now, for a tech-support question of my own: CoverItLive, the DemandMedia site that provides the chat system we’ve used so far, is essentially doing away with its free option at the end of this month. CEA may elect to pay up, but there are alternatives to consider (see, for instance, Digital First Media journalist Mandy Jenkins’ list); if you have any recommendations, I’d like to know about them.

6/17/2012: Cricket or Virgin: What’s best iPhone deal?, USA Today

Not long after Cricket Wireless surprised me by announcing that it would start selling the iPhone, Sprint’s Virgin Mobile USA revealed that it, too, would sell Apple’s iPhone 4 and 4S at a higher cost but lower rates than Cricket. This post compares these two offerings–Virgin comes out ahead in coverage and pricing–and notes one difference left out of most stories on the topic: Cricket’s iPhone will be internationally unlocked for use on GSM services overseas, while Virgin’s can’t be switched to any other carrier. The column closes out with a reminder about taking better photos with a phone.

Weekly output: WiFi, Mac or PC, Web chat, QAM, HD or SD

I did not review a single product or service this week. Don’t worry; that streak won’t last long.

4/10/2012: Passpoint: A Recipe for Wider Wi-Fi, CEA Digital Dialogue

I got a little wonky with this post explaining a new standard for automatic WiFi roaming–first for smartphones, later for other devices. The idea behind WiFi Certified Passpoint (also referred to by the names of related efforts, Hotspot 2.0 or Next Generation Hotspot) is to ensure that people can stay online when the cellular airwaves get crowded. I got an example of the need for such a thing when I couldn’t upload a photo to Twitter from the Washington Nationals’ home opener.

4/12/2012: We’re All Macs And PCs (Unless We’re iPhones), Discovery News

My editors at Discovery asked if I’d be interested in writing an essay on the fading Mac-PC divide, and I said that sounded like a good topic–especially coming after a week that had seen Apple hit with an antitrust suit and the Mac get hit with a massive malware attack. I enjoyed writing this piece, although I’m a little puzzled that it didn’t draw any comments beyond a reader e-mail calling the piece “misleading, incorrect, and mischievous” (the writer has not responded to my request for specific examples of same).

I also enjoyed coming up with the no-Photoshop-involved illustration you see on the post. To take that photo, I held a Kindle Fire with its browser open to the Windows 7 logo in just the right spot to have that Microsoft graphic reflected in the Apple logo below an iMac’s screen–while holding a camera in the other hand.

4/13/2012: The Widening Wireless World (Web chat), CEA Digital Dialogue

My monthly Web chat covered a variety of mobile and wireless topics and a few related to desktop and laptop computing: LTE and WiMax 4G, WiFi roaming, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports and–of course!–the possible timing of the next iPhone.

4/15/2012: Do you need a box for digital cable? USA Today

This column started out with a Twitter inquiry from a Comcast subscriber outside of Charlottesville, Va., about tuning into just local channels without a box–a subject I’d covered at length for CEA a couple of months back. (Look, synergy!) The rest of the column outlines which cable and satellite providers offer ways to avoid watching the SD versions of channels you pay to watch in HD. (Speaking of synergy, from now on I’m going to try to have some thread connecting the Q&A part of each column with the tip.)