Weekly output: a privacy-optimized version of Android, wireless plans, Facebook forced breakup, cryptocurrency insecurity

Monday afternoon kicks off a ridiculous three weeks of travel: I fly to Berlin then for IFA, come home Sunday, fly to Portland for XOXO the following Thursday, return the Monday after that, then two days later fly to Austin for the Online News Association’s conference.

8/20/2018: How a European Commission antitrust ruling could impact Android privacy, The Parallax

Remember when I said I’d eventually get around to writing about the EC’s blockbuster Google fine? That was not an idle threat.

8/23/2018: Some wireless plans have aged better than others. Has yours?, USA Today

Researching this story about good wireless plans you can’t sign up for anymore allowed me to realize what a dope I was in February of 2017 for not jumping on the deal T-Mobile’s offered then.

8/23/2018: Why breaking up Facebook will never work, Yahoo Finance

Writing this post required boiling down some complex arguments to chunks no longer than maybe two hundred words each. I think I did a good job of that, but I did not go a good job of correctly spelling Open Markets Institute fellow Matthew Stoller’s first name. Even after copying and pasting his moniker and title from OMI’s site into my notes, I then called him “Barry Stoller” in the story. Stupid and avoidable mistakes like that are just exasperating.

8/24/2018: Crypto investor: How hackers used my phone number to steal $23.8 million, Yahoo Finance

When I first saw a Reuters story about a cryptocurrency investor suing AT&T for lax account security that helped hackers steal almost $24 million in holdings, I thought “I know this guy!” Then I e-mailed Michael Terpin, and after a few days of e-mail tag we talked at length on the phone. Then I bent over backward to give the various companies involved time to comment on his travails, and none provided a meaningful response.

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Weekly output: headphone jack, 5G wireless, unlocked smartphones, broadband maps, wireless plans, MWC’s weirdest gadgets, Twitter spam

I had a terrific but exhausting week in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress and looked forward to a relaxing weekend at home–until Friday’s windstorm toppled the tree in our front yard and deprived our home of power until Sunday afternoon. As a result, most of the pictures in my Flickr MWC album haven’t seen any editing yet. And they may not until next week, since I have another short week: Friday, I head out of town again as SXSW brings me to Austin.

2/26/2018: The headphone jack isn’t dead yet, Yahoo Finance

I revisited a theme of last year’s MWC coverage to note that most phone vendors are not following Apple and Google’s foolish removal of the headphone jack. But with Sony, Huawei and Nokia introducing at least some models without that old but perfectly functional audio output, I’m not feeling too confident about the industry’s direction.

2/28/2018: How 5G wireless will soon supercharge the internet, Yahoo Finance

After years of hype about 5G, the next wireless standard is starting to look less vaporous–and some key industry figures are dialing back that hype.

2/28/2018: Don’t buy these smartphones through your carrier, Yahoo Finance

I’ve been arguing for years that you shouldn’t buy your phone from your wireless carrier, but at MWC three of the big four made that point for me by pricing the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus at least $70 over what you’d pay–with interest-free installment payments available–at Samsung’s own site.

CityLab broadband-map post2/28/2018: The Problem With America’s New National Broadband Map, CityLab

The Federal Communications Commission relaunched its broadband map, but the much better-looking version suffers from the same information gaps as ever. So does a privately-run site that draws on the same FCC filings as the map.

2/28/2018: The best cell phone plans, Wirecutter

I updated this guide to reflect more generous plans at many prepaid and resold services. But within a day of the revised guide’s publication, AT&T reworked its pricing for unlimited data, so we’ll have to update the guide yet again to account for that.

3/2/2018: The 6 strangest gadgets from Mobile World Congress 2018, Yahoo Finance

I had fun writing this look at the weirder hardware I saw at MWC–the last piece I filed from the show, shortly before they shut down the press room Wednesday night.

3/3/2018: Twitter spam, Al Jazeera

The news network’s Arabic-language channel had me on (overdubbed live into Arabic) to talk about an outbreak of Twitter spam in Saudi Arabia. The point I made: Going back to Usenet, every popular social platform has inevitably been abused by spammers and con artists.