Weekly output: post-derecho communications tips, Galaxy S III, Flash failures, smartphone screenshots

I don’t have much to show for myself on a workweek bogged down by the aftermath of a storm and bisected by a national holiday. (The following inventory leaves out Discovery reposting my explainer about DNSChanger malware that I wrote back in April.) I am okay with that.

7/3/2012: Staying Online After a Storm, CEA Digital Dialogue

After seeing how many neighbors were struggling after last weekend’s derecho, I decided to scrap my plan to write about what your next desktop operating system should and should not borrow from your current mobile operating system. (That should happen next week.) Instead, I shared a few tips about how to get back online, informed by lessons from friends and my own experience battling unreliable bandwidth and dwindling batteries at tech events like CES and SXSW.

7/6/2012: Galaxy S III: Good Phone, Troubled Android, Discovery News

Apparently, I’m one of the only tech reviewers not to rave about this Android smartphone. Ars Technica’s Casey Johnston liked it; the Verge’s Vlad Savov really liked it; Eric Zeman at PhoneScoop loved it. It’s quite possible that I’m placing too much stress on the differences between this phone’s tweaked Android interface and Google’s standard front-end… but, damn, the pushy keyboard Samsung felt compelled to load on this thing in place of Google’s is outright infuriating. (Its auto-correct dictionary alone seems to beg for a HUAC hearing; on my loaner phone, it knew “Xinhua” but not “iOS,” “BBC” but not “BBQ.”)

7/8/2012: How Flash failed JetBlue, and you, USA Today

I could have written this years ago, but I didn’t get my introduction to JetBlue’s broken boarding-pass system until May. The column discusses how a foolish use of Adobe Flash kept Mac users from being able to print their passes and notes another example of Flash misuse wrecking a site’s login page. (If you read that as a general critique of Flash, you read it right; one of the things I aim to do in this column is look beyond each week’s bug to explain the conditions that fostered that issue.) The piece also offers a refresher course about taking screenshots in iOS and Android.

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Weekly output: Google Drive, CISPA, DNSChanger, app data usage, podcast, TV antennas, HDMI CEC

Television played a larger role than usual in my work this week, both as a subject and as a stage.

4/24/2012: Google Drive: Late to the Game and It Shows, Discovery News

You’ll note that this review didn’t get into Google Drive’s search features. I don’t think they matter much in the context of selling this service; if you have so many documents stored on Drive that Google’s search talents become necessary to manage them, the company’s already closed the deal.

4/26/2012: CISPA: What’s the worst that could happen?, CEA Digital Dialogue

This story became a moving target–I had to revise it twice after filing it, once to incorporate the White House’s threat to veto this cybersecurity bill, again to reflect CDT’s withdrawal of its own support. The House passed the bill anyway on Thursday, so I guess I need to work on my blog’s influence in Congress.

4/26/2012: The Virus That Really Will Kill Your PC July 9, Discovery News

First an editor suggested I cover the DNSChanger malware and how it could result in hundreds of thousands of computers being unable to navigate online after July 9. Then maybe 48 hours later, as I had begun writing the post, I got this e-mail from a reader: “Are the stories I’ve been reading about FBI shutting down a safety net that will cause many users to loose internet access true?”

4/26/2012: Where’s all my data going?, CNN Newsource

I did a short interview with CNN Newsource, a subsidiary of the news network that provides content for local stations, about which smartphone apps and services can use the most data. It’s since shown up on the sites of several broadcasters (for instance, WCCT in Hartford, Conn.; WALA in Pensacola, Fla.; KOLR in Springfield, Mo.; and KYTX in Beaumont, Texas), but the CBS affiliate in Birmingham, Ala., seems to have been first, so it gets the link.

In other news, I apologize for the slovenly state of my home office.

4/29/2012: Yes, you can put up that antenna, USA Today

This began with a reader’s query in response to my item two weeks ago about tuning into digital cable without a box–her homeowners association apparently had no idea that the FCC overruled its ban on rooftop antennas 18 years ago. The column then shares a tip about using a feature called HDMI CEC to cut down on the number of taps of a remote control it takes to start watching TV. (But after the post was edited, an executive with one of the major electronics firms confessed that he’d turned CEC off on his own set because it kept forgetting which device it was supposed to control.)