Weekly output: wiping flash drives, Apple Maps to-do list, geospatial privacy issues

Having July 4 bisect this workweek ensured that I would spend much of it checked out of work. I hope that was the case for you as well, even if you didn’t have the additional factor of visiting relatives you’ve missed.

USAT flash-drive wiping column7/5/2018: Ready to ditch your old flash drive? Don’t just erase and recycle, USA Today

The number-one reader question I got after my earlier column on how to destroy a dead hard drive was “what if the drive still works–how do you be sure no data’s left on it in that case?” This column should be your answer, although I’m not sure how many Windows users will go to the trouble of installing VeraCrypt and using that free, but complex open-source app to scramble drives before disposal, resale or recycling.

7/5/2018: 5 ways Apple maps can improve to compete with Google, Yahoo Finance

A report by TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino about Apple’s ongoing effort to rebuild its mapping app on an in-house foundation gave me an excuse to vent about some longstanding problems with Apple Maps. Writing this also led me to consider other ways in which both that app and Google Maps fail to grasp such transportation alternatives as high-occupancy/toll lanes and using bikeshare or ride-hailing services to augment transit.

7/6/2018: GEOINT Law & Policy: A Poorly Mapped Frontier, Trajectory Magazine

I wrote a feature for the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation’s quarterly magazine about how many of the laws and norms governing geospatial privacy have failed to keep up with advances in the tools that can track us.

Updated 7/10/2018 to add a link to the Trajectory article (it didn’t show up in a Google News search, and I forgot to check the magazine’s site on my own.)

 

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Weekly output: gadget breakthroughs, disruptive gifts, patent talk, Facebook and Twitter annual reports, defining “disruptive,” LPFM, Google Maps, smart TVs, TV inputs

I wish I’d had more good news to report over the last few days. But don’t we all?

12/10/2012: 5 Breakthroughs For Gadgets In 2012, Discovery News

My editors asked me to come up with a list of steps forward for gadgets over this year. Some of my nominees don’t feature any individual device; one doesn’t involve any shipping code or hardware at all.

12/11/2012: Inside the DisCo Studio: Dan O’Connor’s Top Disruptive Gifts for 2012, Disruptive Competition Project

Two Fridays ago, I did a round of video interviews with two other contributors to the DisCo blog. In this one, I talk to Dan O’Connor about a few items on his Christmas list.

12/12/2012: Inside the DisCo Studio: Matt Schruers on Intellectual Property, Disruptive Competition Project

And here, I talk to Matt Schruers about some of the more frustrating aspects of the current patent system–as well as the conversation around them.

D News post on Twitter Facebook personal annual reports12/13/2012: Facebook, Twitter Hold Mirrors Up To Your 2012, Discovery News

Over two days, Twitter and Facebook invited their users to request software-generated annual reports about their activity on those networks. I thought that was a fascinating idea–you may recall how intrigued I was by WordPress’s summary of my 2011 stats–and would like to see more where this came from. And right after I tweeted out a link to this post, Talking Points Memo’s Carl Franzen replied with a suggestion that I check out Wolfram|Alpha’s insanely detailed Facebook “personal analytics” report.

(I haven’t yet. I need to free up the three hours I will waste digesting that much data.)

12/14/2012: Inside the DisCo Studio: Dan O’Connor on “Disruptive” Technology, Disruptive Competition Project

In this third DisCo video, I ask my fellow blogger for a definition of “disruptive” that goes beyond the usual Bay Area buzzwords.

12/14/2012: “LPFM”: How To Hold Up The Opening Of A Market For 12 Years, Disruptive Competition Project

It’s been a long time since I last wrote about low-power FM radio (do any readers remember Marc Fisher and Frank Ahrens’ stories on the topic from around the turn of the century?). And for years, the story hadn’t changed: It was yet another case of incumbents treating their early arrival to a publicly-owned resource as something close to an inalienable right. (See also, most debates about patents and copyright.) But this time, Washington seems to have stopped being part of the problem.

12/15/2012: Google Maps, Apple Maps, What Each Can’t Find, Discovery News

Wednesday night, I took Metro most of the way to a friend’s happy hour, covered the last stretch on Capital Bikeshare, and came home via an Uber sedan. That experience–and an earlier, shorter post I wrote for the Atlantic Cities about Google Now’s directions–led to this breakdown of how Google’s new navigation app for iOS still misses a few details about how you might get around town. It’s since drawn an unusual number of comments… not all of which appear to have been informed by an attentive reading of the post.

12/16/2012: Make your home TV setup ‘smart’, USA Today

A reader wanted to find the simplest possible way to watch a minimal set of cable channels, connect to Netflix and play DVDs; I had to break it to this individual that it’s not easy and is getting more difficult. The piece also shares a tip about two simpler ways to play back digital media files on an HDTV.