Microsoft Outlook: Not Hotmail, Not Quite Gmail →
I wanted to like Microsoft’s new Webmail system, and I thought I would even though it used a proprietary setup for offline synchronization. Then I found out its Exchange ActiveSync support didn’t extend to its own Mac Entourage and Outlook software or Apple’s own, allegedly EAS-compliant Mail. (That, in turn, made its lack of an offline in-browser mode to match Google’s...
How your phone gets location-confused →
This week’s USAToday.com Q&A provides a refresher course on the finer points of three ways a phone can fix its location—and on how Web sites can determine your computer’s location to either provide you with more specific information or block you from certain services.
Apple's Mountain Lion: More of iOS in OS X →
My review of Mountain Lion for Discovery News: I like Notifications (in concept, at least) and the new “Share” menu button, but I wish Apple had used this upgrade to undo some of the mistakes it shipped in Lion.
Your Device Can Be Too Small And Too Thin →
This post on the Consumer Electronics Association’s blog details some qualms I have with the compromises required to make ever-thinner computers, smartphones and tablets—for instance, not having an Ethernet port because it would add an extra eighth of an inch to a laptop’s thickness. (And yet I just bought a MacBook Air.)
Rethinking the State of Competition →
Seeing Microsoft give up on its MSNBC media ambitions—followed by Yahoo’s it-had-better-work-or-else hiring of ex-Googler Marissa Mayer as its new CEO—got me thinking about how I overestimated the leverage of both of those companies in the late 1990s. In this essay for the Consumer Electronics Association, I take a second look at the state of competition in a few key areas today...
Internet Costs And Choices Still Stink →
When I first glanced at the Federal Communications Commission’s “Measuring Broadband America - July 2012,” this report seemed pretty positive overall. But after I got past the complimentary prose about more reliable and faster connections, I realized that two things were missing from this report: an assessment of the value of the often-quite-expensive 100 Mbps connections...
Balance battery, bandwidth for texts →
This week’s USAToday.com column compares the flexibility of texting replacements like iMessage, Facebook messaging, Google Voice and Twitter DMs with the phenomenal power and bandwidth efficiency of traditional SMS, then offers a reminder about seeing which apps eat up the most storage space in iOS and Android.
Redditors Bear Witness To Aurora Shooting →
An essay I wrote for Discovery News about how Reddit has grown from being a site where people talk about the news to one where people make news—in this case, two arresting, first-person accounts of the horrible crime in Colorado.
How A Shockproof Camera Knocked Itself Out →
A review of Fuji’s FinePix XP170, an impressively ruggedized camera that still falls short thanks to a poor implementation of WiFi Direct (which itself seems a poor substitute for Bluetooth) and the sort of casual UI sloppiness that gets people fired at Apple.
Rob's "June" Podcast: Getting Silicon Valley To... →
My monthly CEA podcast got held up by everything from travel to a national holiday to the derecho, plus a little bureaucratic friction. But it’s now up, featuring a long chat with Engine Advocacy’s Michael McGeary over how his group and others are trying to get tech-policy issues into the conversation in Washington.
Review: Nokia's Lumia 900 already feels outdated →
Another long-term evaluation for CNNMoney.com, this time reassessing the Nokia phone that was supposed to reboot Microsoft’s Windows Phone7 but instead looks like more of a useful but not long-lived advance for the platform.
Give your passwords a security check-up →
This week’s USAToday.com column provides some background on the Yahoo Voices password breach (yours is probably not affected) and a refresher course on setting strong but memorizable passwords (no, you don’t have to change them every 30 or 90 days). It wraps up with a tip about enabling always-on SSL for Facebook and Hotmail, where it’s available but not on by default.
What Your Phone Owes Your Next Computer →
An essay that grew out of my experience testing Microsoft’s Windows 8, using Apple’s OS X Lion and reading about OS X Mountain Lion. There are some good things that desktop-OS developers should be stealing from smartphone and tablet software, but they can also easily go astray.
Nexus 7 Writes New Chapter In Android Tablets →
It’s only taken close to two years, but I’ve finally found an Android tablet I can recommend without a series of asterisks. This piece for Discovery News notes the excellence of the Nexus 7’s hardware but calls out some weak spots with its app selection.
How Flash failed JetBlue, and you →
This week’s USAToday.com column unpacks a long-running, just-solved problem with printing JetBlue boarding passes on a Mac—which, as far as I can tell, is due entirely to the airline enlisting the Flash plug-in to process the PDF in a browser window—and notes another instance of a company using Flash for the wrong task. It wraps up with a reminder about how to take screen...
Galaxy S III: Good Phone, Troubled Android →
I’m not quite feeling the love for this phone that many of my contemporaries are—too many departures from standard Android that don’t make sense, too many neat features turned off by default and difficult to discover. And Samsung’s software keyboard is genuinely annoying.
Staying Online After A Storm →
This week’s CEA post recaps some of my own experience in last weekend’s massive storm and what readers have been telling me about theirs to put together a few non-expensive, non-survivalist tips about how to stay online and in touch the next time power and broadband go out for more than a few hours.
How Verizon's new service plans stack up →
This week’s USAToday.com column compares Verizon Wireless’s new “Share Everything” plans with competitors’ smartphone service plans (hint: the news isn’t good news for a single-device subscriber) and tries out the offline mode Google just added to its Google Maps app for Android phones.