Weekly output: ISP guidance, Florida social-media law meets court setback, digital-platform antitrust bill updated, WiFi hotspots guide, Mark Vena podcast

I returned Monday from one work trip and have (ulp) four more coming up before the end of June. But at least they’re all separated by at least two days!

5/23/2022: Internet Service Providers, U.S. News & World Report

My contribution to this update of U.S. News’ guide consisted of three comparisons (Fios vs. XfinitySpectrum vs. AT&T, Xfinity vs. AT&T), advice about cheaper ISPs, and a DSL explainer that I hope you don’t need.

Screenshot of PCMag story, illustrated with a photo of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking in front of an "Awake Not Woke" banner5/24/2022: US Appeals Court Tosses Most Provisions of Florida Social-Media Law, PCMag

The ruling from a three-judge panel at the 11th Circuit overturning a Florida law essentially banning content moderation of posts from or about officially-filed political candidates is uncommonly clear in explaining why those judges found this statute to be unconstitutional garbage.

5/26/2022: Senators Update Antitrust Bill to Focus More Narrowly on Big Tech Firms, PCMag

PCMag had somehow not previously covered this bill from Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), so I used an incremental update to the bill’s text to get readers up to speed.

5/26/2022: The Best Wi-Fi Hotspot, Wirecutter

This is an incremental update to the hotspot guide I’ve been maintaining since early 2015–because while speeds and rates have changed, I haven’t yet had a chance to try a new set of 5G hotspots now available from AT&T and Verizon.

5/27/2022: S02 E22 – SmartTechCheck Podcast, Mark Vena

I joined the usual podcast crew to talk about electric cars, the dumb Texas social-media law that somehow survived a different federal circuit court’s scrutiny, and a few other topics; as usual, the podcast is also available on YouTube.

Weekly output: Spotify privacy, Halo’s 5G-powered car service, Internet providers

Our kid was out this week at camp, but in a few days it will be my turn to be out of the house: I’m doing some of the drive testing for this year’s edition of PCMag.com’s Fastest Mobile Networks guide. Yes, on the road for actual business travel.

7/7/2021: At Spotify, private listening is not a simple proposition, USA Today

I’ve had the idea for a while of a column unpacking the inconsistent and often unhelpful privacy settings in Spotify, but the chance to interview a Spotify executive for the virtual edition of Dublin Tech Summit last month gave me quotes to anchor the piece.

Screenshot of the Fast Company story on Halo as seen on an iPad mini.7/8/2021: This driverless car-sharing service uses remote human ‘pilots,’ not AI, Fast Company

I was supposed to write this story last month about the Halo car service and its use of T-Mobile 5G to have remotely-driven vehicles show up before car-share customers. But then T-Mobile said they wanted to push the embargo back; that gave me time to get an industry analyst’s perspective and write an explainer for Patreon supporters about PR embargoes.

7/8/2021: Internet Providers, U.S. News & World Report

My latest round of work at U.S. News–consisting of profiles of AT&T, Comcast, Spectrum, and Verizon; comparisons of Spectrum and AT&TComcast and AT&T, and Verizon and Spectrum; and guides to fiber broadband, cheaper Internet access, and ways to speed up your connection–was much more work than my previous efforts. That is mostly the fault of the many large Internet providers that show no interest in clearly displaying their prices, speeds and terms of service. Las Vegas hotels and their resort fees are models of transparency compared to this lot–although maybe I can’t be too cranky about their willful opacity, since it gave me the material for a USA Today column.