Weekly output: slumping social-media satisfaction, Russia threatens to leave ISS, CHIPS Act, IRS direct e-filing, net-neutrality bill

My workweek ended with a streak of only-in-Washington posts.

7/26/2022: Customer Satisfaction With Social Media Platforms Is Slumping, PCMag

I got an advance look at the latest results from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, an ongoing survey project that’s been a source of story ideas since I worked at the Post.

Article as seen in the iPadOS Flipboard app7/27/2022: A Russian ISS exit could give NASA a hangover—then leave cosmonauts grounded, Fast Company

I could have written this explainer at twice its length and detail, but I’m also the guy who has a Lego model of the ISS rounding out my home-office decor. I’m glad that I ended this piece with some skepticism about Russia’s ability to walk away from the station after 2024, because by the end of the week Russia had clarified that it would not leave the ISS until launching its own space station in 2028–a goal that no serious observer seems to think within that country’s grasp.

7/29/2022: House OKs CHIPS Act to Boost US Semiconductor Manufacturing, PCMag

It’s easier to sell a bill in Congress with a clever acronym; this one’s title stands for “Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors.”

7/29/2022: IRS Asked to Consider Free, Direct E-File Tax Returns, PCMag

The “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” doesn’t have much in common with the “Build Back Better” bill, but it does retain that larger measure’s provision calling for the IRS to report back to Congress on the feasibility of providing its own direct e-filing site. As in, what Virginia had 12 years ago before a gullible General Assembly and governor fell for Intuit’s “Free File” bait and switch.

7/29/2022: Dems Look to Restore Net-Neutrality Regulations on Internet Providers, PCMag

I don’t get this bill. If Senate Dems can’t even muster 50 votes for Biden’s stalled pro-net-neutrality Federal Communications Commission nominee Gigi Sohn, what makes them think they can get 60 votes for this sweeping expansion of the FCC’s regulatory authority?

Weekly output: old phone plans, sports and VR, Vint Cerf, prepaid and MVNO wireless, Collision pitches, crowd wisdom, Apple earnings, “A Beautiful Planet,” VR visions, Charter and data caps

This week took me to New Orleans for the first time since 2012, courtesy of the Collision conference that ran from Monday through Thursday there. As I was signing up for a press pass to cover this production of the team behind the Web Summit conference I covered in Dublin last year, some of the organizers suggested I could moderate a panel or conduct an onstage interview; I followed up on that, they offered me a panel, and then a week before the show they asked if I could handle another.

The results: a great trip, a great conference, and a reason to go to New Orleans around this time in 2017.

4/25/2016: Oldies aren’t goodies when it comes to phone plans, USA Today

I used this column to answer a round of reader questions about an earlier column, and in the process subjected myself to dangerous levels of math.

Collision wristbands4/26/2016: Putting VR first, Collision

This conversation about using virtual reality to depict sports–featuring Derek Belch, founder of the VR-training firm STRIVR and PGA Tour senior content director Sloane Kelley–was the late addition to my schedule. I had about a second of complete panic as I began speaking and heard people saying “we can’t hear you,” but then I realized I probably hadn’t broken the head-mounted microphone and should instead try positioning it closer to my mouth. After that anxiety-inducing start, seeing this appreciate tweet from one of the organizers kind of made my morning.

4/26/2016: Internet pioneer Vint Cerf: We need to make room on the Net for all the machines, Yahoo Tech

The idea for that photo popped into my head about halfway through Cerf’s talk Saturday at Smithsonian magazine’s “The Future Is Here” festival, and then I had to write a post to go with it. I’m pretty sure this represented my first coverage of IPv6 since 2011.

4/26/2016: Best Prepaid and Alternative Phone Plans, The Wirecutter

The first update to this guide since November heralds an end to Republic Wireless’s ban on tethering and T-Mobile’s speed limits. It should have also noted Boost’s addition of family plans, but I left a stray phrase in that we had to fix two days later.

4/26/2016: Pitch judging, Collision

I helped judge one round of Collision’s startup competition. We heard from execs at a semiconductor supplier, a place-finding app, a video-production-management service, a chat app, an air-quality-monitoring service, and a restaurant-management app.

Collision schedule listing4/27/2016: Crowd wisdom and peer-based markets, Collision

This panel not only featured Declara CEO Ramona Pierson, Moovit CMO Alex Mackenzie Torres, and Getaround founder Jessica Scorpio, it also included a cute little dog, thanks to Scorpio bringing hers onstage. About a third of the way through, I realized I was in whatever zone panel moderators can get into–I was thinking a few questions ahead, I had no worries about having too little or too much time left, I was avoiding “uhs” and “ums,” and I had no anxiety at all. That’s a great feeling to have.

4/27/2016: iPhone Sales Fall, Ending Apple’s Record Growth, Voice of America

I did a quick interview from the Collision media lounge about Apple’s first “bad” quarterly earnings in 13 years. Speaking of that location: Collision’s press-room chow wasn’t quite as awesome as at Web Summit, but it was still vastly better than at almost every other conference I’ve attended.

4/28/2016: ‘A Beautiful Planet’: friendly space station, muddled message, Yahoo Tech

I attended a screening of this IMAX documentary at the National Air & Space Museum the Friday before, then wrote the review on the flight to New Orleans. Watching the movie’s depiction of life on the International Space Station represented a flashback to attending NASA Tweetups five years ago in more ways than one: I ran into NASA’s Stephanie Schierholz, the space agency’s social-media manager back then, at the screening.

4/29/2016: Virtual reality: Feeling our way into an uncertain future, Yahoo Tech

I enjoyed coming up with the lede for this, and playing around with Leap Motion’s hands-included VR was a treat too.

5/1/2016: Charter to drop data caps, but other companies, but other companies still use them, USA Today

We updated this post a few hours after it went up with a couple of lines about overage fees at AT&T and Comcast that should have been in my copy from the start, plus a tweaked headline.

Updated 5/2 to add last weekend’s USAT column, which I didn’t even realize I’d overlooked until I was invoicing for April’s work. And updated again that afternoon to add a link to the updated Wirecutter guide. It appears that I could use more sleep.