I regret missing the blizzard–well, kind of

The roads were clear in D.C. when I left two Thursdays ago and mostly clear when I returned Friday morning. I’m a little sad about what I missed.

Snow bank and stop signLast weekend’s blizzard was the first epic snowstorm I’ve been out of town for since… college? I not only don’t mind being around for a foot or more of snow, I enjoy it. I take pride in my snow-shoveling and snowman-building skills, I’ve got a decent set of snowbound-comfort-food recipes, and getting over six inches of snow has been a great excuse to dust off my cross-country skis.

Alas, I couldn’t do any of that because of travel I’d already arranged. I could only check Facebook and Twitter from afar to see everybody else’s updates, pictures and videos as inches of snow turned into feet.

But even if I’d been in town, I couldn’t have enjoyed any cross-country skiing. One of the aging skis I’d gotten for free at a friend’s yard sale long ago suffered a complete delamination last year, and I’d held off on buying a replacement pair because I was afraid that would ensure we’d never see any snow this year. Yes, you can go ahead and blame me for Snowzilla.

Fortunately, there was still some snow shoveling left for me when I returned: Friday morning, I cleared a path to the grill and the compost bin, and this morning I dug out the two closest bus stops and our kid’s school-bus stop. My next snow-related move will be buying some x-country skis, which I hope won’t stop us from getting a little more snow before spring arrives and I must return my attention to gardening.

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Weekly output: saved WiFi networks, cord cutting, smartphones in snowstorms

TEL AVIV–Instead of typing this post in a snowbound home, I’m writing it from almost 6,000 miles east. I came here not to flee the snow drifts, but for an introduction to Israel’s cybersecurity sector–meetings with a variety of people in industry and government, plus a security conference here Tuesday and Wednesday–arranged for a group of U.S. journalists and analysts by the America-Israel Friendship League, a non-profit based in New York and here.

Like other sponsored trips I’ve taken, this is not the sort of thing I could have done at the Post. Like them, it provides an opportunity to learn outside the usual scope of my work about a topic I would like to know better. Look for a post or two about this at Yahoo Tech… with a disclosure of who covered most of my travel costs.

1/20/2016: How to ‘Forget’ Old Saved Wi-Fi Networks, Yahoo Tech

This week’s tip at Yahoo was inspired by the many time at CES that my phone tried to connect to old saved networks with Web logins that it couldn’t automatically handle as it would a standard WiFi password.

Yahoo Tech 2016 cord-cutting post1/20/2016: The Time to Cut the Cord and Switch to Streaming TV is Now, Yahoo Tech

The text of this column isn’t as gung-ho about dumping cable or satellite TV as this headline suggests–remember, a third of it covers the continued unavailability online of local stations and home-team sports. But that hed seems to have worked at some level, because the link I shared on my Facebook page was seen by more than 51,000 people. Thanks, undocumented and unaccountable News Feed algorithm!

1/23/2016: How to prolong your phone’s life in a power outage, USA Today

You may remember reading something like this at CEA’s blog in 2012; that post, however, went down the bit bucket a long time ago. Meanwhile, smartphones have changed quite a bit, meaning I could write a cheat sheet about phone battery life that could include some details many readers wouldn’t already know.