Weekly output: NSA pushback, Twitter and Facebook abuse

I had meant to write an essay for the Disruptive Competition Project on this week’s Techonomy conference–but the post that seemed easy when I pitched it to my editors turned out to be anything but once I started trying to string words together. After spending about all of Friday bashing the piece into shape over multiple rewrites, I filed it so late that the post would have gone up at news-dump time. Fortunately, management elected to save it for Monday.

(So now I’ll probably take another whack at this post later tonight.)

11/12/2013: Responses To NSA Snooping: Security, Litigiousness And A Little Profanity, Disruptive Competition Project

I’d meant to write something earlier about the “it’s only self-serving, manufactured outrage” critique of tech companies publicizing their disapproval of the NSA’s snooping, and the latest round of creepy revelations (combined with the f-bombs being tossed around in Google+ rants by infuriated Google engineers) gave me an excuse to address this issue.

USAT Twitter and Facebook abuse11/17/2013: How to report an abusive user on Twitter, USA Today

A question from a reader about a Twitter abuser trying to hide the evidence of her misdeeds and a friend’s account of somebody impersonating his dad on Facebook while apparently blocking him from reporting the violation led to this post. Both of these companies need to fix some bugs, or at a minimum revise misleading directions, in their abuse-reporting systems. Since nobody seems to have called out these problems before, I’m a little happier than usual with this post.

On Sulia, I shared details from a couple of interesting talks at Techonomy (one on voting, another on Microsoft security), provided 30 turns of phrase you can use instead of the “disrupt,” shared what it takes to put somebody in my contacts list and explained how a promising feature in OS X Mavericks’ Calendar app turned out to be near-useless to me.

 

Weekly output: Slashdot, online journalism, Ron Wyden, This Week In Law, Washington Apple Pi, prepaid data, mobile sites

It’s been a busy week, and I still have to pack for a flight tomorrow morning. (I’m off to San Francisco to speak on a panel about “Blogger Language 4.0” at PR Summit.) I’ll have to be a little more concise than usual in these descriptions…

7/22/2013: Former WaPo Staffer Rob Pegoraro Talks About Newspapers’ Decline (Video), Slashdot

Robin Miller, aka “roblimo,” asked me a few questions about the state of the newspaper business and the future of journalism.

7/24/2013: Online Journalism Not All Doomed (Even If You Count Past 538), Disruptive Competition Project

And speaking of the future of journalism, here I argued that the ability of a local-news site called ARLNow.com to hire its first full-time reporter is probably a better sign of the health of my profession than Nate Silver’s headline-making move from the New York Times to ESPN.

Ars Technica Wyden post7/24/2013: Senator: Weak oversight of NSA may lead to massive location tracking, Ars Technica

I wrote up the speech Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) gave at the Center for American Progress about government surveillance and the secret body of law that barely constrains it.

7/26/2013: #221: We’re #9! We’re #9!, This Week In Law

The number in the title of this week’s episode refers to the U.S.’s ranking in a recent survey of broadband access; tune in to see host Denise Howell, Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn and me talk about the state of our broadband market and a grab-bag of other issues.

7/27/2013: Rob Pegoraro talks about things that beep and blink, Washington Apple Pi

The last time I spoke at a monthly meeting of the D.C. area’s Apple user group was in February 2011. A few things have changed since then (my ability to get lost on the roads of George Mason University’s Fairfax campus is not among them), so I enjoyed catching up with my friends at WAP.

7/28/2013: To get online during vacation, consider prepaid data, USA Today

A reader wanted to know a cheap way to get a laptop online during a long cross-country trip, so I suggested some prepaid data services–most reselling Sprint’s old WiMax network. I also shared a tip about using mobile sites when you’re starved for bandwidth, one of the things I’ve resorted to in the face of uncooperative WiFi at conferences and elsewhere.

Sulia highlights: Excoriating the worse-than-Apple performance of Nokia’s Windows Phone mapping app, noting the impending arrival of a $999, 50-inch 4K TV, celebrating a pathetically overdue tech-patent ruling and wondering if faster WiFi on Amtrak will induce demand that leads to the same slow wireless as before.

Weekly output: NSA surveillance, PR and the press, digital journalism, Android-iPad photo sync, deleting photos, Republic Wireless

On my first week back from vacation, I attempted to catch up with the NSA-surveillance story and took part in a couple of great panel discussions. I’d hoped to get a little more writing done, since I’ll be in New York from Tuesday through Thursday for the Consumer Electronics Association’s CE Week conference.

6/18/2013: More Tech Firms Now Question Government Snooping. What About Congress?, Disruptive Competition Project

My timing on this piece–in which I expressed my appreciation and alarm that large tech companies, in which I have no vote, seem to be doing a better job of advocating for our civil liberties online than the elected representatives we hired to do that–was pretty good. Maybe two hours after it went up, Google filed suit to challenge the gag orders that prohibit it from discussing the decisions handed down to it by the secretive, compliant and largely unaccountable Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

6/19/2013: Behind the Story: Breakfast Series With the Media, Cision

I talked about the intersections of journalism, PR and social media with the Washington Business Journal’s Jennifer Nycz-Conner, USA Today’s Melanie Eversley and moderator Shonali Burke. There should be video posted soon, and I’ll add a link when that happens.

Vocus panel photo6/20/2013: The Evolving State of Digital Journalism, Demand Success

I talked about some of the same topics, plus such bigger-picture issues as how much the chase for Web traffic should influence story assignments, at the marketing firm Vocus’s conference with WJLA journalist Jummy Olabanji. Tech Cocktail co-founder Jen Consalvo and moderator Paul Sherman of Potomac Tech Wire. Again, I’ll link to video whenever it’s posted. (There’s more at my Flickr set from the event, which took place at the the Gaylord National hotel in National Harbor, Md.)

6/23/2013: Tip: Google+ transfers photos between Android and iPad, USA Today

This question came straight from my father-in-law, who had just picked up a new iPad and upgraded from one Android phone to a newer model. The tip part of the column advises making a habit of deleting lesser photos to develop your photographic skills; I remember writing something like that for the Post but I can’t find it anywhere now.

6/23/2013: A $19 Unlimited Smartphone Plan: Just Add Wi-Fi, Discovery News

I tried out Republic Wireless’s WiFi-centric smartphone service and liked it, aside from the embarrassingly obsolete Android phone this company hopes to replace with a newer model soon. (Update, 7/1: I didn’t realize this at the time, but Mashable reposted the story, as part of a content-sharing deal it has with Discovery. And now I have a bunch of comments to read…)

On Sulia, I noted the demise of ESPN’s 3D channel, reported on my experience with the “Auto Enhance” photo editing at Google+, discussed NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen’s thoughtful presentation at Demand Success, described my experience getting a cracked iPad screen repaired and suggested a few tools to help you spot the International Space Station overhead.