Weekly output: streaming-media survey, U.S. wireless-industry history, Cue Health vulnerability, United app’s flight simulator, Earth Day optimism, federal broadband-buildout plans

In 48 hours from now, I will once again be on a plane over the Atlantic. My excuse this time is leading a panel discussion at the TechChill conference in Riga, Latvia–a new-to-me conference at which a few friends of mine have spoken before. (One of these guys may have put in a good word for me with the organizers, in which case I guess I’ll be buying him dinner some time this week.)

4/18/2022: Why Do People Stream? Must-Watch Shows, Not Cord-Cutting Cost Savings, PCMag

I wrote up a MoffettNathanson survey about people’s streaming-media habits.

Screenshot of the MEF page as seen in Safari on my Pixel 5a, with a still from the video in which I'm holding up a Nextel-logoed hourglass.4/20/2022: A historical perspective of the USA Wireless market, Mobile Ecosystem Forum

I met Dario Betti, the CEO of this industry group, at MWC Barcelona in February, and afterwards he asked if he could interview me about my experience watching the U.S. wireless industry evolve over the past 30 years. I was delighted to geek out about that and brought a couple of props to our video discussion–for instance, a Nextel-logoed hourglass and a 1990s-vintage Nokia analog cell phone.

4/21/2022: Flaw in COVID-19 Testing Gadget Could’ve Been Exploited to Change Results, PCMag

This report about a found-and-fixed flaw in the Bluetooth component of Cue Health’s COVID-19 test reader initially called the security company that found the flaw WeSecure, not WithSecure. That error crept into the post during the editing process for reasons that nobody could untangle after the fact.

4/22/2022: United Airlines Adds a Boeing 787 Flight Simulator to Its App, PCMag

The first video-game review that I’ve written in maybe 20 years involved a flight simulator added to the airline app I use all the time. How could I not write that up?

4/22/2022: 5 technologies that should give us some hope for the planet’s future, Fast Company

One of my editors at FC asked if I could write an Earth Day post outlining some reasons to feel less doomed about the environment’s future. The resulting post started off close to home–the giant Dominion Energy wind farm planned off Virginia Beach, along with the turbine-blade manufacturing facility set to be built near there at the Portsmouth Marine Terminal.

4/22/2022: Feds: Before We Spend Billions on Broadband Rollout, We Need Better Maps, PCMag

The infrastructure bill passed last year includes $65 billion to extend broadband to Americans with slow or no Internet access, but the feds can’t spend that money effectively without accurate connectivity cartography.

Weekly output: wireless plans, cities meet 5G, GM + Honda, Twitter business models, Hack the Capitol, smartphone biometric locks, Tech Night Owl

This week saw a couple of long-running projects finally go online. It also saw a tweet I sent during a combative onstage appearance by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.-S.C.) at the Atlantic Festival go slightly viral, as in 1,651 retweets and 2,843 likes. That one tweet doesn’t fairly capture Graham’s discussion–that’s why I posted it as part of a thread that wound up spanning 11 updates–but I fear most of the 185,556 impressions for the tweet in question did not result in my new readers sticking around to read the rest of that thread. Once again, Twitter is where context goes to die; in other news, water is wet.

10/1/2018: The Best Cell Phone Plans, Wirecutter

We posted yet another update to the guide to reflect the addition of tiered “unlimited”-data plans at all four carriers and tried to streamline the text a bit. And by the end of this work, we realized we would need to update the guide yet again in a few months, should changes we’re seeing in usage levels continue showing up in third-party studies.

10/2/2018: Why 5G Internet Is a Policy Minefield for Cities, CityLab

When I started interviewing people for this story, 5G wireless deployment was months away, but now it’s a commercial reality in four U.S. cities. Appropriately enough, I wrapped up work on this piece for this subsidiary of The Atlantic’s parent firm while attending that magazine’s conference in Washington.

10/3/2018: GM’s self-driving-car project will have Honda riding shotgun, Yahoo Finance

This writeup of GM’s Cruise Automation’s deal with Honda to co-develop its second self-driving electric car benefited from a quick interview with Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt I did right after their press call Wednesday morning.

10/3/2018: Twitter business models, Al Jazeera

The Arabic news channel had me to discuss this subject, inspired by the “We can’t believe this website is free” joke tweeted by Twitter’s own Twitter account. Right before I went on the air, I though to ask the interpreter if there was an Arabic term for “freemium”; he told me there was not, so we agreed that I would take a minute to describe that concept so he could translate it correctly.

10/4/2018: Hack the Capitol event reminds lawmakers that IoT security needs help, The Parallax

I wrote about this brief conference in D.C. about the security of industrial control systems from the week before in the light of… wait for it… Congress not acting on a vital tech-policy issue.

10/5/2018: Unlock your phone with your face or fingerprint? Here’s how to shut that off – quickly, USA Today

This how-to walks readers through quickly disabling the facial- or fingerprint-recognition unlock features in iOS and Android. A reader wrote to me afterwards to ask why I didn’t mention just restarting the phone, which will also disable those biometric unlocks; that would not be as quick to do, but I should have included that anyway.

10/6/2018: October 6, 2018 — Rob Pegoraro and Bryan Chaffin, Tech Night Owl

I talked with host Gene Steinberg about the puzzling mismatch between Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s story alleging a long-running Chinese campaign to hide spy chips on server circuit boards with increasingly direct denials by Apple, Amazon and others. There’s also some banter about transit in our roughly hour-long discussion.