Weekly output: budget phones, Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse pitch, SXSW 2022, Check My Ads, Mark Vena podcast, Flickr limits free accounts

It was a real treat to get back to Austin after three years and eat at least a dozen tacos over five days.

Screenshot of story as seen in Firefox in Windows 113/14/2022: The best budget phones in 2022, CNN Underscored

My first byline at a CNN property since the fall of 2012 ran at CNN’s new reviews site. My take on under-$500 phones after trying out this batch: The convenient truth here is that you now give up very little if you decline to spend $1,000 or more on a flagship smartphone, but camera quality remains the biggest tradeoff.

3/16/2022: Do You Care About the Metaverse More Than Mark Zuckerberg?, PCMag

I wrote up Mark Zuckerberg’s profoundly detached video appearance at SXSW.

3/16/2022: At SXSW, in-person networking resumes – along with the struggle to tame tech, USA Today

In my USA Today column, I tried to sum up my SXSW experience in 500 words and change. One thing that helped: Future Today Institute founder Amy Webb provided me with the perfect quote to open this piece in her talk last Sunday morning.

3/17/2022: To fight disinformation, follow the money—and the ads, Fast Company

My next SXSW recap came in this post about Check My Ads’ efforts to defund disinformation sites, one ad exchange at a time.

3/17/2022: S02 E11 – SmartTechCheck Podcast, Mark Vena

My part of this podcast this week was telling listeners (and viewers) about SXSW, which mostly consisted of me talking about Zuckerberg’s profoundly detached video appearance.

3/18/2022: Flickr Limits NSFW Photo Sharing to Paid Accounts, PCMag

When I pitched my editors about writing up two policy shifts at Flickr that further emphasize paid memberships, I thought the photo-sharing service’s mobile apps would rank higher than it appears they do.