Prose Hacking

Reporting, writing and analysis about consumer-tech issues by Rob Pegoraro. Because I like to play with the English language, not just random gadgets.

In this week’s Yahoo Tech column, I’m mad at Apple. And I’m a little mad at myself: Why didn’t I call out these problems with Apple’s approach to password security if they’ve been around for so long?

Weekly output: NYC startup spaces, zero rating (x2), wireless carriers, Internet downtime

My name showed up at a couple of new places this week. FYI: The coming week won’t feature my work on a typical schedule, because Yahoo Tech and I agreed to push my weekly column back from Tuesday so I could offer my take later in the week on the European tech trade show…

On usatoday's site this morning: a cheat sheet for debugging a doubtful Internet connection, including a suggestion for what Internet providers could learn from electric utilities.

Hello, Twitter followers; hello, Facebook fans

On Wednesday, Twitter made itself less opaque and a little more understandable when it invited all its users to log into its analytics dashboard and get a detailed breakdown of who had been following them and reading their tweets.

I’ve had access to that feature for a while–I don’t know why, since my unverified account and unwillingness to buy Twitter ads left me outside of the two groups who…

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My debut on one of my favorite tech-advice sites, the Wirecutter, is a guide to wireless service in the U.S. We rank the four nationwide services, then offer guidance about how to make the most and spend the least at each. It was a lot of work, and that work isn’t over yet—like other Wirecutter guides, we’ll update this one as plans and prices change. Anybody want to guess how soon we’ll need to post the first update?

It had obviously been too many months since I’d waded into the net-neutrality argument, so this week’s Yahoo Tech column addresses a new wrinkle called zero rating—whether either a site pays a wireless carrier to have itself exempted from the data cap, or the carrier decides to do that on its own for its own reasons. I find myself unable to freak out over this, mainly because we have genuine competition in the wireless space and because the existing experiments in zero rating in the U.S. market haven’t drawn too much interest. Will I regret that stance in a year or two?

I’ve made more than a few visits to startup incubators and cowering spaces over the past few years, but until now I hadn’t written specifically about that category of real estate. This post for the Urban Land Institute’s site takes a look at three spaces in Manhattan that promise the seemingly impossible to qualifying startups: free or cheap space in a convention location.

Weekly output: Facebook and Twitter transparency (x2),

This week was looking super-productive until I had two fillings replaced during Wednesday’s visit to the dentist—and then the anesthetic and what looks like an adverse reaction to it had me out of commission for most of the rest of the day.

At usatoday, I wade into the weeds of open and closed standards and corporate priority to explain how a series of decisions at Microsoft and Google have left Outlook users unable to synchronize their calendars with Google Calendar, Fortunately, third-party software can reconnect the two; the column suggests taking a look at CompanionLink and gSyncit, but would you suggest another?

Call me crazy, but I’m warming to the smartwatch concept

From the thumbs-down I handed out to a Microsoft “SPOT Watch” in 2004 to last year’s “try again” dismissal of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, I have not looked too favorably on the idea of wearing a smartwatch with a data stream of its own.

Android Wear watchBut now that I’m wearing yet another one of these devices, the Samsung Gear Liveloaned to me at Google I/O, I find myself thinking of reasons why I’ll miss this thing…

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