Weekly output: financial and tax insecurity, Solo drone, future of radio, lost location apps

My trip to the NAB Show ended with a red-eye flight home to the East Coast, something I don’t think I’ve done for business travel since 1996. Let’s just say I can’t rally from the experience as well as I did back then.

Yahoo Tech tax-return fraud post4/14/2015: The Other Reason Tax Prep Should Make You Nervous, Yahoo Tech

I had meant to file this piece about financial-account security and tax-refund fraud before heading out to National Airport for the first of two flights to Vegas but instead pretty much wrote the whole thing on the ORD-LAS segment.

After reading it, please look over last year’s tax-time column: a recount of how Intuit, the company whose weak security helped grease the skids for a fair amount of identity-theft refund fraud, has worked to ensure it won’t face competition from federal or state governments when it comes to online tax prep.

4/15/2015: 3D Robotics’ Solo Drone Can Fly Circles Around You, Yahoo Tech

I’m still not sure what possessed 3D Robotics to debut this drone at a convention for the broadcast media, but I thought the product fascinating enough that it was worth writing up the experience. My one disappointment: Nobody besides my editor seems to have picked up on my “a Solo can shoot first” line.

4/15/2015: The Journalists Panel, NAB Show

My primary reason for going to the NAB Show was to participate on this panel, in which longtime radio exec Jeff Simpson quizzed Radio World editor Paul McLane and I about the competition AM and FM stations face from online alternatives. I emphasized locality: Stations should try to sound like where they are, something a worldwide app like Pandora can’t do. If only more commercial FM stations would follow my advice when it comes to music programming.

4/19/2015: How location-aware app can get lost on WiFi, USA Today

I’ve touched on this topic before, but this time I had the benefit of talking to some smart mobile-app developers who clued me into some important differences in how location-based apps work in iOS and Android.

Advertisements

Weekly output: location tracking, lost iOS passcode

I hope this week and next involve a minimum of actual work for you all. But if your jobs have any connection to CES, I know that’s not going to happen.

Location-tracking Yahoo Tech story12/23/2014: Smartphone Location Tracking: How to Turn (Some of) It Off, Yahoo Tech

This was a pretty wonky topic, and I don’t know that I addressed it to my own satisfaction. But if it got even a small fraction of my readers to log into Google or Facebook to see their own location-history records–and then think of the equivalent data AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon keep but won’t display–then it was worth the trouble.

12/28/2014: Lost iOS passcode plus no backups equals lost data, USA Today

I was worried that a column on a holiday weekend about a problem most users don’t experience would get zero readership. Instead, there’s a lively if not always coherent debate in the comments. It includes one complaint (rudely phrased but not off-base) that I didn’t note that you can tell your iPhone or iPad to trust a given computer–which should let you run a final backup cycle to iTunes without unlocking your device before doing a complete restore that will remove that screen lock.

SXSW 2013 by the numbers

Modern science provides an extraordinary number of ways to quantify one’s participation in the South By Southwest Interactive festival that wrapped up Tuesday (its sleep debt is still with me, to judge from the hour-long nap I just woke up from). Here are a few:

  • SXSW 2013 badgeSteps taken, as recorded by a Jawbone Up: 98,610 steps, adding up to 51.64 miles. This includes mileage at home Friday morning but leaves out my walk to the bus that took me to the airport Wednesday morning.
  • Tweets sent while in Austin: 178, excluding retweets of other people’s thoughts but including tweets about non-SXSW news.
  • Data usage on my phone from March 8 through March 13: 739 MB, 192 MB of which came from tethering my laptop to my phone.
  • Food truck check-ins on Foursquare: seven
  • Bar check-ins on Foursquare: 14. (Some of those stops were mainly for food. Don’t judge me!)
  • SXSW sessions attended, or in one case watched from an overflow room: 11. Sadly enough, this is considered a pretty good showing in some circles. There are least as many that I seriously regret missing.
  • Business cards collected: 33. Yup, still waiting to see some app make this printed product obsolete.
  • Business cards handed out: not enough to exhaust my supply, fortunately.

After the jump, a Flickr slideshow from the festivities…

Continue reading

Weekly output: podcast, DVD recording, TPS panel, Social Machines, Twitter and Topsy, searching within sites

The amount of writing inventoried below is a tiny fraction of all the tweeting I did from the Tech Policy Summit last week. I’m surprised my follower total didn’t plunge after all of that verbiage.

6/5/2012: Rob’s May Podcast: Big-Screen Banter With Dave Zatz, CEA Digital Dialogue

For the latest episode of the CEA podcast, I had a long chat with longtime D.C.-area tech blogger Dave Zatz. He’s been doing great work covering the video end of the electronics industry, I’ve cited his posts many times (most recently, in my Discovery News post about Vudu’s disc-to-digital service), and he has the unusual perspective of having seen gadget marketing from the inside out in two jobs with electronics vendors.

6/6/2012: How DVD Recording Got Paused, CEA Digital Dialogue

My past enthusiasm for DVD recording doesn’t look as ill-founded as my cheerleading for municipal WiFi, but it’s not far behind. In this post, I explain four angles that I missed–and make the shocking confession that I bought a 3D-compatible Blu-ray player in December. Worse yet, this thing can also play SACDs.

6/6/2012: Looking Ahead: Intellectual Property and Innovation, Tech Policy Summit

Video of the contentious discussion I moderated at this conference in Napa, Calif., featuring Techdirt’s Mike Masnick and USC Annenberg Innovation Lab director Jonathan Taplin.

6/7/2012: ‘Social Machines’: Check In For Free Beer, Discovery News

An overdue dose of DC-area tech news in my coverage, featuring clever hacks put together by the Dupont Circle social-media marketing firm iStrategyLabs that carry on a tradition of connecting ordinary devices to the Internet that I first wrote about in the Post’s long-forgotten “CyberSurfing” column. (Anybody remember the Cygnus Support Christmas tree?) Speaking of hacking, note how this post includes gratuitous and yet relevant, justifiable references to free beer and Lady Gaga.

6/10/2012: Topsy knows what you did on Twitter last year, USA Today

A friend’s Facebook query about looking up tweets from NASA’s STS-135 launch Tweetup last July led to this–which was once set to run as the shorter tip item in the column until I realized I could address other recent developments in the Twitterverse. It also offers a tip about working around a site’s defective internal search that I hope isn’t too mind-numbingly obvious.

In other news, a story I covered two weeks ago–the arrival of the iPhone on Cricket Wireless’s prepaid service–got a little more interesting this week as Sprint’s Virgin Mobile subsidiary also announced that it would sell Apple’s smartphone at a higher price but lower monthly rates than Cricket. From this tech-support note, it appears that Virgin Mobile will also unlock the iPhone; I’ve asked PR there for clarification but haven’t heard back yet. Update, 6/11/2012: Virgin Mobile publicist Jayne Wallace replied, “Yes the SIM slot is locked, and no it can’t be unlocked.” It will not work on any other carrier, in the U.S. or overseas; that tech-support link came from Virgin Mobile Canada, a separately-owned company.

Update, 6/25/2012: Added a link to video of the TPS panel.