Weekly output: Rocket Lab booster catch, passwordless logins, Mark Vena podcast, Chris Krebs cybersecurity-policy assessment, Facebook to end background location tracking

Friday marked two years since we adopted our cat. Abel still ignores us when we tell him not to jump on the dining-room table but is a sweetie in most other ways. And every time I expand the online world’s inventory of cat photos by posting one of him, I feel like I am being a good citizen of the Internet.

Screenshot of the PCMag post in Safari for iPadOS, showing the screengrab I took of Rocket Lab's stream showing the Electron booster and its parachute at right, with the helicopter's cable at left.5/3/2022: Watch a Helicopter Catch an Electron Booster Rocket, PCMag

I watched a helicopter catch and briefly hold a spent first stage of a rocket as it descended under a parachute, a first-time experience for me, and then tuned into Rocket Lab’s press conference hours later to get some quotes from Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck for this story.

5/5/2022: Google lines up with Apple and Microsoft to nix passwords in favor of nearby-device authentication, Fast Company

I got an advance on this three-company news announcement from Google, so all the quotes in this post are from two Googlers. If you’d like to read more about this initiative, please turn your attention to Dan Goodin’s writeup at Ars Technica.

5/5/2022: S02 E19 – SmartTechCheck Podcast, Mark Vena

I rejoined this podcast after missing it last week due to travel.

5/6/2022: Ex-CISA Chief: Biden Cybersecurity EO ‘Raises the Standard’ on IT Vendors, PCMag

I wrote up the closing session at the Hack the Capitol event in D.C., in which former Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Administration director Chris Krebs shared his insights about the state of information-security policy.

5/6/2022: Facebook Unfollows ‘Nearby Friends,’ Other Background Location Features

Facebook bulk-erasing everybody’s location history will be its biggest data-minimization move since scrapping its facial-recognition database. And yet the company’s sole announcement of this move Friday was in-app prompts and e-mails for some users.

Weekly output: FCC chair at MWC, Rocket Lab in Virginia, Verizon’s fixed-wireless 5G ambitions, Russia bans Facebook, U.S. tech companies fire Russia

I got home from MWC Thursday afternoon and finally got a Flickr album uploaded Sunday night. I’m blaming not just jet lag and a busy schedule, but a weird bug in the Flickr Android app that strips out geotags from photos automatically backed up. My workaround for this has been to select the pictures I want to share in Google Photos, download them to my Mac, and then upload them to Flickr. I would very much like to see this bug get fixed already.

Screenshot of the story as I viewed it in my Android phone's copy of Chrome on the way to MWC3/1/2022: Rosenworcel’s MWC appearance hints at shifting spectrum policy, Light Reading

My first MWC dateline came from me covering a speech by somebody whose office sits less than five miles from my house–Federal Communications Commission chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, who came to Barcelona to suggest two changes in the FCC’s spectrum-policy priorities.

3/1/2022: Rocket Lab to Build, Launch, and Land Reusable Rockets in Virginia, PCMag

The second story I filed from Barcelona also had a back-home component–the news that Rocket Lab USA would build a factory for its partially-reusable Neutron rocket on Wallops Island, Va.

3/3/2022: Verizon’s Sowmyanarayan on how FWA supports edge computing, private wireless, Light Reading

Story number three from Barcelona involved me interviewing a Verizon executive who works 200+ miles northeast of me.

3/4/2022: Russia Blocks Facebook for Not Giving State Media Free Rein, PCMag

The day after I got back from Barcelona, I covered Russia’s latest temper tantrum over American social networks not obliging its authoritarian streak.

3/5/2022: American tech sanctions against Russia, Al Jazeera

Saturday, I joined the Arabic-language news network (overdubbed live) to talk about the trend of U.S. tech companies cutting off Russia. As I noted, the likes of Apple and Intel can afford to fire Russia as a customer–it’s not a Japan, a U.K. or even a Canada.

Weekly output: space tech, Fox earnings

Not going to Las Vegas for Black Hat deprived me of some conference receptions (excluding those that got canceled on account of the resurgent pandemic) and also reminded me of a failure mode specific to virtual events. As in, a speaker’s presentation stalled out on one slide, but he didn’t realize that because he apparently didn’t check the online chat and there was no IRL audience to say “next slide!” at increasing levels of volume.

8/3/2021: CES and Space Tech, Clubhouse

I finally opened my mouth on the audio-room app to chat about the intersections of private space-launch firms and next year’s CES with my space-nerd pal Doug Mohney. We had exactly one person show up in the audience, which I guess means we should have led off with cryptocurrency and blockchains.

Screengrab of FierceVideo post as seen in Chrome on an Android phone.8/4/2021: Fox touts Tubi in quarterly earnings, FierceVideo

Fierce asked me to fill in to write up Fox’s quarterly earnings. I found it weirdly fascinating to hear Fox execs voice total confidence in their prospects, pandemic or not–even though some of the most-watched Fox News hosts have repeatedly questioned the utility of mass vaccination against the coronavirus. (I made sure to include that angle in the story.) I hope people who have been suggesting that an ad boycott will bring Fox to its knees will read this story or one like it and be reminded of how much money this company makes from affiliate fees collected from every pay-TV subscriber, even those who never watch a second of Fox News.