Weekly output: T-Mobile’s IoT ambitions, holopresence, miles-and-points trip search, Xperi/TiVo earnings, Russia vs. Facebook

BARCELONA–I’m back in my favorite city in Spain for the first time since 2019 for the wireless-industry show formerly known as Mobile World Congress, having traveled here mostly on airfare I paid late that year and have since had sitting around as a pandemic-postponed travel credit.

Light Reading T-IoT post2/21/2022: T-Mobile venture aims to bring ‘uncarrier’ simplicity to enterprise IoT, Light Reading

I wrote up news of a T-Mobile venture into offering enterprise and government Internet-of-Things services.

2/23/2022: Your Holopresence Boss Will See You Now, PCMag

A rare in-person demonstration led to this report about a Toronto firm’s hologram-esque display technology.

2/23/2022: This Flight-Finding Site Simplifies the Complex Miles-and-Points Game, PCMag

I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about using frequent-traveler miles and points, but testing out Point.Me, a subscription-required site from some of the people behind the travel blog One Mile at a Time, expanded my knowledge. You may find it helpful to read assessments of this site from two other travel blogs I regularly read, View from the Wing and Live and Let’s Fly.

2/23/2022: Xperi looks to skip ahead to an IP spinoff and TVs running TiVo Stream OS, FierceVideo

I wrote up the quarterly earnings of TiVo’s parent firm Xperi.

2/25/2022: Russia ‘Partially Restricts’ Facebook Access as Punishment, PCMag

Context matters in a story. So in this post about Russia’s reaction to Facebook continuing its limited fact-checking efforts against four state-influenced media outlets, I reminded readers that Russia’s government has been fond of using Facebook as a disinformation machine–and that it’s repeatedly leaned on Facebook and other U.S. tech giants to quash speech that Vladimir Putin’s dictatorial regime doesn’t endorse.

Memo to frequent-traveler programs: Kids shouldn’t need their own e-mail addresses

Our almost-six-year-old is already in multiple marketing databases, and it’s all my fault: Once our daughter couldn’t depart with us for free, we started signing her up for frequent-travel programs. The price of miles and points are already baked into the tickets we buy for her, so we might as well take part–and besides, you’ll never hit million-miler status if you don’t start sometime.

JetBlue River Visual viewBut tending these accounts has been more work than I imagined, because some companies have a hard time grasping that children represent a special group of customers who can’t be expected to have their own e-mail addresses.

At first I thought I’d solved this problem with “sub-addressing”creating a new e-mail address on my existing Gmail account by adding a plus sign and additional text to my username. It’s an Internet standard, and I had no issues creating accounts for our daughter at United Airlines, JetBlue, American Airlines, and Amtrak with a “plus-ed” address.

But when I tried logging into our daughter’s United and JetBlue accounts a week ago and was greeted with various errors, I saw that both airlines had stopped accepting sub-addressed e-mails.

The problem was worse at JetBlue, since your TrueBlue ID is your e-mail address. I had to call and provide our kid’s account number and the no-longer-accepted e-mail address; the rep told me she needed her own e-mail address but then accepted a version of my Gmail account with a dot in the middle of my username. It’s weird to have to go through such a workaround when JetBlue’s site has a separate workflow to create a child account.

At United, I could change her e-mail to a dotted version of my Gmail handle after logging in, since MileagePlus account numbers double as usernames. United’s Twitter account then told me I could have put in my own e-mail for her account from the start. I would not have guessed that, since UA’s account-opening UX assumes you’re a grownup–and the e-mails sent to our kid suggesting she jet off to the likes of Australia, Brazil and Israel don’t exactly speak to the under-10 demographic.

Meanwhile, Amtrak and American Airlines still seem to tolerate plus-ed e-mail addresses. (I can’t speak to Delta, as that airline’s network doesn’t work for us.) But after the last week, I won’t be surprised if our little one gets unexpectedly locked out of either account; I just hope I don’t have to spend too much time on the phone to fix that problem.