Weekly output: OS X Photos export, Karma unlimited LTE, low-power FM, Facebook privacy, tech fails of 2015

I completely spaced about doing this post yesterday. You’d think that remembering to write my weekly recap would be a given after four years of practice, but I guess not…

12/21/2015: How to get a photo out of Apple’s Photos, USA Today

All the hilarity of the runup to Christmas kept me from remembering to note this column, posted a day later than usual, in the first version of this post.

12/23/2015: Review: Karma Sells Unlimited Mobile Broadband — But Is That a Viable Business?, Yahoo Tech

My own research about the usefulness of an unlimited-data LTE service with a 5-megabits per second speed limit (basically, a lot of binge-watching on Amazon and Netflix) suggested it’s an iffy proposition. The comments, however, feature more positive testimony from several Karma users, including one who said it ended a need to rely on slow, expensive, data-capped satellite Internet.

Yahoo Tech LPFM post12/24/2015: Low-Power FM: When Your Local Radio Station Is Really, Really Local, Yahoo Tech

This was a story I’d been looking forward to doing since about 2000–and for much of the intervening years, I thought I’d have to drive out of town to visit a low-power FM station. Instead, I could walk to WERA’s studios in Arlington (the address is 2701-C Wilson Boulevard, but the front door is actually on North Danville Street) and listen to it anytime I run an errand in our car.

12/25/2015: Tip: Use Facebook Lists to Keep Friends Close, Acquaintances Less Close, Yahoo Tech

I indulged in some post-publication editing to explain that while you might not need to go through the workaround specified, one of my editors did. As is my usual practice, I called out the change in a comment.

12/27/2015: Tech Fails: The year in consumer gadget calamities, USA Today

I did something a little different with this column: Instead of investigating a particular gadget or software malfunction, I tried to inventory the year’s biggest sources of these annoyances. Would you add anything to my list?

Update, 1/3/2016: Added a link to a story I spaced about including the first time around.

Weekly output: revisiting the NTSB phone ban, wrapping virtual gifts, Android and Facebook tech support

I filed one of this week’s three stories a few weeks ago, but it finally began making its way to the screens of readers yesterday. Starting a new column can be like that sometimes.

12/19/2011: The NTSB’s Proposed Phone Ban: Tech Policy Goes Off The Road, CEA Digital Dialogue

I’d started writing this post in my head even as I was composing the prior week’s post for Discovery News on the same topic. This time around, I took a broader look at the regulatory and cultural background of the National Transportation Safety Board’s proposal to ban all non-emergency phone use by drivers (including an admission of my own past offenses). I hope it’s clear from the closing paragraphs that I’m not trying to beat up the NTSB here and agree that it has a point in wanting to discourage in-car phone use; I just don’t think that this is a problem that can effectively be solved with a new law.

12/20/2011: How Do You Gift-Wrap An MP3 File?, Discovery News

I’ve thought of writing an essay about this question for a while. I’m fascinated by the ways our analog culture adapts to digital advances, and in this case we haven’t come to any conclusion on how, exactly, we’re supposed to put a ribbon on a string of ones and zeroes–assuming we want to retain some of the traditional ritual of gift giving. Now that I’ve written that essay, though… meh. I feel like I didn’t quite pin down this topic. Writing a thumbsucker of an essay can be like that sometimes.

12/23/2011: Today’s tip: Sort your Facebook friends, USA Today

My first tech-help column for USA Today’s site–what you could think of as the freelance rebirth of the Help File column and PostPoints Tip e-mails I wrote for my former employer–covers two perennial topics in any tech-support feature, Facebook and Android. This week’s tip involves using the “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances” categories Facebook added a few months back to get a better grip on your privacy on the social network; the Q&A section revisits a longstanding weak point of Google’s mobile operating system, its lack of an easy, obvious music-sync option to iTunes.