Weekly output: smartphone biometric security, Google vs. the headphone jack, Voatz blockchain absentee voting

Once again, Columbus Day–or, if you prefer, Indigenous People’s Day–delivered the unwelcome combination of our kid’s school being closed while both my wife and I still had to work. I joked on Twitter about resolving the argument over what to call this fake holiday and also saving Americans billions in day-care costs by abolishing it outright. But on reflection, the widely-tweeted suggestion that we relegate Columbus Day to a trivia question and promote Election Day to actual, don’t-have-to-work holiday status makes much more sense.

10/8/2018: Unlock your phone with your face or fingerprint? Here’s how to shut that off – quickly, This Morning With Gordon Deal

I talked about the subject of my most recent USA Today column on this business-news radio show.

10/10/2018: With Google’s new devices, music fans once again don’t get jack, Yahoo Finance

I’ve had this post in mind for a while, ever since conversations at events like Mobile World Congress and IFA revealed their lack of interest in shipping USB-C headphones. I expected that Google wouldn’t retreat from last year’s idiotic move to remove the headphone jack from its flagship smartphones, but I didn’t realize they would pull the same stunt with the new Pixel Slate tablet.

10/11/2018: This startup wants to secure absentee voting with a blockchain, Yahoo Finance

Even after spending a couple of weeks talking to various experts, I still have questions about how Voatz has been securing its blockchain-based voting system and whether states have thought long enough about how to ease absentee voting for faraway citizens. That said, many of the other options for absentee voting look even worse, something upon which I hope to write further in the coming weeks.

Updated 10/21/2018 to add a link to the Gordon Deal show.

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Weekly output: dead hard drive, Mac Observer, Safari vs. Facebook Like and Share buttons, Twitter bots (x2)

My last long-haul business travel for the first half of this year starts early Monday morning, when I head to National Airport to start my journey to Shanghai for CES Asia. Like last year, I’m helping emcee the Last Gadget Standing show there; unlike last year, I imagine I’ll be hearing more pronounced reactions in China to President Trump’s increasingly angry outbursts about international trade.

6/5/2018: This Morning with Gordon Deal June 05, 2018, This Morning with Gordon Deal

I talked to this show’s host about my experience destroying a dead backup hard drive with a crowbar, as recounted in my earlier USA Today column. My spot comes up about 13:30 into the show.

6/5/2018: TMO Background Mode Interview with Freelance Tech Journalist Rob Pegoraro, The Mac Observer

I talked to TMO’s John Martellaro about my experience doing a drive transplant on an old iMac, Google’s I/O news, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and more.

6/6/2018: Apple’s Safari to Facebook’s Like and Share buttons: Dislike, The Parallax

I wrote an explainer for my newest client about how Safari will block Facebook’s Like and Share buttons–along with those of other social networks–to stop a common form of Web tracking. Along the way, Apple might wind up boosting two of its own lines of business.

6/6/2018: Twitter bots, Al Jazeera

A late-in-the-day request from an AJ producer meant I had to do this interview via Skype off my laptop in the middle of attending a panel discussion at New America. For future reference, if you need to do a TV hit via Skype at that D.C. think tank: They have a couple of phone-booth-sized rooms with backdrops that look techie enough on TV, in which you can get a laptop webcam at a respectable angle by putting that booth’s trash can on its table and then raising its chair as high as possible.

6/7/2018: Twitter bots, Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera was sufficiently interested in this post on the Washington Post’s site about the use of Twitter bots by Qatar’s Gulf rivals that they had me on for a second day, where I had the chance to speak at a greater length and wear a solid-color, TV-friendly shirt. I don’t have a link to either hit because they roll off AJ’s site within two days, and I forgot to copy those links when I could.

Weekly output: telecom bargaining (x2), net neutrality, gadget gift guidance, 4K viewing options

The list below would suggest that I spent more time talking about my job this week than actually doing it, but I filed two other stories that you should see Monday.

12/4/2017: Bargaining for lower telecom bills, KTRH

This Houston radio station wanted to interview me about last Sunday’s USA Today advice to bargain for a better rate on your TV and Internet bill. Fortunately, I had spare time during a long connection through Newark and an unusually uncrowded United Club in which to take anchor Scott Crowder’s call. I should probably list this with an asterisk, as I don’t know when or even if KTRH ran the interview; if you happened to tune in Monday and hear my spot, please let me know.

12/5/2017: Total Eclipse of the Net: The End of Net Neutrality?, New America

“I am serving a life sentence of covering net neutrality” was how I began this 90-minute panel hosted by New America’s Open Technology Institute. My conversation partners were Incompas general counsel Angie Kronenberg, economist Hal SingerNational Hispanic Media Coalition policy adviser (and former FCC commissioner) Gloria Tristani, and Free Press policy director Matt Wood.

12/5/2017: This Morning with Gordon Deal December 05, 2017, This Morning with Gordon Deal

A few minutes after my interview with KTRH, I did a second interview about last Sunday’s USAT column. My spot comes up a little after 13 minutes into this episode.

12/6/2017: Holiday gift guide: Shopping for a person who’s hard to shop for? These D.C. locals have you covered., Express

Bryanna Cappadona, entertainment editor at the Washington Post’s free tabloid, quizzed me for this gift guide. I will admit that my suggested purchase is rather nerdy, but it could also spare the recipient major heartache with their Gmail or Facebook account.

12/10/2017: 4K TV: How much Internet bandwidth do you need?, USA Today

This column also notes your primary offline option for watching 4K content–the small minority of Blu-ray discs that offer Ultra High Definition resolution–and the continued absence of 4K in cable-TV lineups and over-the-air broadcasts.