Weekly output: Biden FCC nominations, Google opt-out for images of kids, Mark Vena podcast, Facebook Papers, Nielsen accreditation, Facebook renames itself Meta, Congress votes to veto Huawei and ZTE, Internet Archive

LISBON–After only experiencing the Web Summit through various screens last year, I returned to that conference’s host city this morning. I have four panels to moderate this week, which don’t seem like that much of a challenge after all the copy I filed this week.

PCMag FCC-noms post10/26/2021: Biden Nominates Rosenworcel as FCC Chair, PCMag

I really didn’t think I’d have to wait until almost November to write about President Biden picking a full-time chair of the Federal Communications Commission and filling the seat that’s been left open since January. Neither nomination–acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel to become permanent chair, former FCC advisor Gigi Sohn to take the vacant seat–is a surprise, so I’m still wondering what took the White House so long. 

10/27/2021: Google Adds Option to Wipe Images of Kids From Search Results, PCMag

Writing this allowed me to revisit the “right to be forgotten” debate and how Google users where I’m writing this have far more rights to have certain results hidden from queries than Google’s U.S. users do.

10/27/2021: S01 E15 – SmartTechCheck Podcast, Mark Vena

This week’s podcast had us talking up the FCC nominations as well as Facebook’s reliance on algorithms and Samsung moving to support the Matter smart-home standard. The video version suggests I should invest in some smart window blinds; I had mine closed to avoid bright sunlight oversaturating my home office, but halfway through the recording clouds rolled in, leaving me in the dark.  

10/27/2021: The Facebook Papers revelations, WWL

I talked to this New Orleans station (the folks there had me on in May to discuss streaming TV) about all of the bad news about Facebook we’ve gotten this week. 

10/28/2021: Nielsen on regaining accreditation: stay tuned, FierceVideo

I filled in at my trade-pub client to cover Nielsen’s earnings call, on which executives for the audience-measurement firm gave… measured answers to questions about how they would regain accreditation for their TV ratings service from an industry group.

10/28/2021: Facebook renames itself to Meta, Al Jazeera

Speaking of Facebook news, the news channel quizzed me about my take on Facebook renaming itself to Meta and recasting itself as a metaverse-first developer. I hope my skepticism came across fully in overdubbed Arabic.

10/29/2021: In Rare Bipartisan Move, Congress Votes to Crack Down on Huawei, ZTE, PCMag

It’s nice to know that even in these hyper-partisan times, Democrats and Republicans can still agree on some things–like their profound distrust of these large Chinese telecom firms.

10/29/2021:  In case you missed it: The Internet Archive turns 25, USA Today

This was a neat column to write–both because I learned some new things about how to use the Archive’s Wayback Machine, and because it let me remind readers of the time I wrote up my visit to the Archive’s offices in San Francisco for the Washington Post and then had Archive founder Brewster Kahle show up in that story’s comments. That 2010 piece, appropriately enough, now seems readable only via the Archive.

Weekly output: 5G leaders, Mr. Antenna, streaming study, Desi Bundle, Disney’s Star+, Seinfeld coming to Netflix, two-factor authentication, HBO Max on Vizio, Locast logs off, Apple loosens App Store rules for “reader” apps, Nielsen nixed, checking wireless coverage, WhatsApp privacy fine

I worked a volunteer shift at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic Friday, the fourth time I’ve done so. On this occasion, we had far fewer customers than before, most coming for their second round of Pfizer or Moderna. But a few had yet to get any dose, which meant that they got to choose between those two vaccines or Johnson & Johnson’s; the latter needing a single jab made the difference for one man who said he was only getting vaccinated because his job required it. We also had a few under-18 kids who were limited to Pfizer–and one whom had been brought by her mom on her 12th birthday, so we had to take a minute to sing “Happy Birthday” to her.

8/30/2021: The 5G 50 to Watch Top Ten List, Light Reading

I helped write the bios for this list of top telecom industry executives put together by my trade-pub client. Yes, my last name is spelled wrong at the end of the piece.

8/31/2021: OTA antenna service alleges Vegas station refused to air its ads, FierceVideo

I spent most of this week filling in at my other big trade-pub client. I started by covering an allegation by a broadcast-antenna vendor named Mr. Antenna that a Las Vegas station had quit airing its ads because increased broadcast viewing would undercut its cable-TV income.

8/31/2021: New study finds more Americans splitting their streaming budget, FierceVideo

I wrote up a Leichtman Research Group study finding more Americans signing up for at least three streaming services.

8/31/2021: DistroScale streaming bundle serves up free South Asian channels, FierceVideo

If you didn’t know that “desi” is a term for people of South Asian descent before reading this post, you did after.

9/1/2021: Disney debuts Star+ in Latin America, FierceVideo

Writing this led me to dust off my VPN service for the first time in months to see what pricing this new Disney streaming service would show to a viewer in its target Latin American markets–the press releases I saw didn’t list any.

9/1/2021: Seinfeld coming to Netflix Oct. 1—and in 4K, FierceVideo

I only referenced one Seinfeld catch phrase in this piece, which I thought showed remarkable restraint.

Screengrab of column as seen in USAT's iPad app9/1/2021: Why you shouldn’t rely on texts when using two-factor authentication to sign into accounts, USA Today

I could have written this column at any time in the previous two years, but T-Mobile’s latest data breach made it newly relevant.

9/2/2021: HBO Max app comes to Vizio connected TVs, FierceVideo

This post reminded me how much of HBO Max’s early struggles with getting its apps on streaming platforms.

9/2/2021: After hostile court ruling, Locast logs off, FierceVideo

As I tweeted after this story ran, the broadcasters who succeeded in suing Locast offline might not want to gloat too much. Viewers aren’t getting any less weary of endless pay-TV rate hikes, and telling people without good over-the-air reception to stick with cable will only get less persuasive every year.

9/2/2021: Apple to let video apps point users away from its payment system, FierceVideo

Apple deigning to allow “reader” apps to include one link to their own site shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is in the context of that company’s history of App Store control-freakery.

9/3/2021: Media Rating Council suspends Nielsen accreditations, FierceVideo

My last post for Fierce this week covered an industry group snubbing Nielsen’s audience-tracking work.

9/3/2021: Which wireless carrier has the best coverage where you’re going? Here’s how to find out, USA Today

A friend’s query about ways to see if T-Mobile or Verizon would offer better service than AT&T at his home was followed by my realizing that USAT had yet to cover the FCC’s release of a new and surprisingly helpful map of predicted LTE coverage from the major carriers.

9/3/2021: WhatsApp fined under GDPR, Al Jazeera

The Arabic-language channel had me on to discuss WhatsApp getting hit with a €225 million fine for violations of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The European Data Protection Board’s ruling in this case calls those failures of transparency, but I see the underlying problem as WhatsApp insisting on access to your phone’s contacts list to place a call or send a message to anybody who hasn’t already contacted you in the app.