SAN FRANCISCO–The second most-important company at Google’s I/O developer conference wasn’t there: Apple.
A wonky post on what Google’s I/O news suggests about its priorities in nurturing the Android app ecosystem—and what a job it has to overcome some lingering advantages of Apple. Will be a minor miracle if the piece doesn’t draw the usual “Android sucks! No, iOS sucks!” flame war in comments.
The short version of Google’s lengthy I/O keynote: Let’s tell the future.
So much of the future that Google executives sketched out to open the company’s I/O 2013 developers conference depends on its software correctly sussing out what you want and worry about—and you not minding this man-machine mind-meld. Do you?
Question. How am I still getting spam calls,? Will they ever stop? Answer. The enactment of the federal Do Not Call list has not put telemarketers out of business…
A question on my neighborhood’s mailing list about a new round of clearly illegal spam calls led me to devote this week’s USAToday.com column to the Do Not Call list, how it works and how often people complain about violations of it.
The play button is getting yet another upgrade from the Internet: the ability to function in sync across multiple devices.
A few new apps let you use the Internet as speaker wire, playing a song through other people’s devices at the same time that you’re enjoying it on your own phone or computer. Is that legal? It depends!
Question. I’ve got an unlimited-broadband wireless plan, one that my carrier doesn’t offer anymore. How can I keep that?
This week’s USAToday.com column offers a possibly heretical thought: Do you actually need the unlimited wireless plans that some users struggle to hold on to? (I got the idea for it after hearing from one local tech-policy type explain how he’d just bought a Galaxy Nexus on eBay to keep his unlimited Verizon plan.) The piece also throws in a reminder about keeping a spare charging cable handy.
You can’t blame tech companies if they feel a little confused about Washington’s security priorities this week.
At the same time Washington has been pushing private industry to strengthen its online system against hacking attempts, some law-enforcement agencies also want them to ease a particular kind of hacking attempt: government wiretapping. The problem is, it’s rarely only the good guys who attack a failure mode added to an encryption system—and there’s nothing to stop the bad guys from using overseas-hosted communications tools exempt from these proposed rules.
Change a few settings in Windows to stop a PC from shutting down unexpectedly.
This week’s USA Today Q&A recounts two recent episodes of computer troubleshooting: a relative’s confusion over Windows kicking him back to the password prompt after just a minute of inactivity, and how my adventures yanking the remnants of a registry-speedup app confirmed my distrust of those utilities.
By a year or so ago, the leading smartphone vendors could have jointly hoisted a “Mission Accomplished” banner–by then, they’d all succeeded in shipping displays with as much resolution as humans could hope to discern.
Smartphone resolutions have improved enormously since the 120-by-160 pixel display of my first color-screen phone, the Motorola T720—but now that displays are exceeding the capability of human eyes to discern their individual pixels, I think it’s time the industry found something else to obsess over. But will this piece only get me cranky e-mails saying I need glasses to appreciate my phone’s screen?
My first piece for a new client: The Magazine, an iPad/Kindle/Web publication. Here, I inspect BuzzFeed’s image-appropriating habits and discover that many of the people whose images get reproduced there without their say-so don’t mind all that much. (In other words, the evidence my queries revealed led me someplace I didn’t expect—which is one of the things that makes this line of work interesting.)