bsnyder

bsnyder

San Francisco journalist Bill Snyder writes frequently about business and technology. His work appears regularly in CIO.com and the publications of Stanford's Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.

Articles by bsnyder

Consumers are fed up with ‘human-less’ customer service
Consumer Tech Radar

Consumers are fed up with ‘human-less’ customer service

Modern consumers are sick of bum support from cable and satellite TV providers, and the vast majority prefer talking to actual people over Twitter support or other online options, according to new research.
April 4, 2016
iOS 9.3 brings Wi-Fi calling, VoLTE to Verizon iPhones
Consumer Tech Radar

iOS 9.3 brings Wi-Fi calling, VoLTE to Verizon iPhones

Apple's iOS 9.3 software update lets Verizon Wireless customers place voice calls over Wi-Fi, and they'll soon be able to use VoLTE for higher quality, more reliable cellular calls.
March 23, 2016
Sloppy Windows 10 upgrade process leads to unwanted updates
Consumer Tech Radar

Sloppy Windows 10 upgrade process leads to unwanted updates

Microsoft is the target of much criticism this week, following reports of a wave of 'forced' Windows 10 OS upgrades. Here's one possible reason why some people found themselves with unwanted Windows 10 updates, and how you can avoid being tricked.
March 17, 2016
Consumer Tech Radar

March Madness apps for iOS could put corporate data at risk

A new report suggests many of the most popular March Madness apps for iPhone and iPad request access to potentially sensitive information, and they could endanger corporate data stored on BYOD phones and tablets.
March 14, 2016
Facebook’s new Live Video could wreak havoc on your data plan
Consumer Tech Radar

Facebook’s new Live Video could wreak havoc on your data plan

Everybody loves live video, and Facebook knows it. But just a few hours spent using its new Live Video feature each month could quickly eat up your wireless data allotment and cost more than you think.
March 3, 2016
Consumer Tech Radar

Comcast, telcos spent $88M to influence lawmakers in 2015

Do you ever wonder why U.S. cable companies aren't more heavily regulated? One possible reason: Comcast and other telcos spent $88 million on lobbying last year, or more than the aerospace and real estate industries, according to Open Secrets.
February 25, 2016
Consumer Tech Radar

5 key steps to take before you sell an old smartphone

Selling a used phone is a great way to make some extra cash, but it's important to delete all of your personal or corporate data before you do. These five tips from an IBM security pro can ensure you know how to remove sensitive information.
February 22, 2016
Consumer Tech Radar

Verizon keeps its crown in latest wireless performance report

All of the Big Four U.S. wireless carriers claim to have the best and fastest networks, based on 'independent testing' from a variety of sources. Verizon Wireless has topped RootMetrics' ranking for some time, and it continues to lead that pack.
February 18, 2016
Consumer Tech Radar

Two-factor authentication, and how it protects your passwords

If you're not already using two-factor authentication to secure your passwords, you're putting sensitive personal information at unnecessary risk. Here's how two-factor auth works, along with a tool to help you get started with the tech.
February 16, 2016
Consumer Tech Radar

MetroPCS courts Sprint customers with deep discounts and free phones

T-Mobile and its MetroPCS subsidiary took a shot at Sprint this week with a new promotion designed to steal customers. The deal won't be right for everyone, but it's a reminder that consumers have more options than just the 'Big Four' carriers.
January 21, 2016
AT&T finally joins modern wireless world, kills off contracts
Consumer Tech Radar

AT&T finally joins modern wireless world, kills off contracts

AT&T plans to abandon the wireless contract this month, a move that should ultimately mean more flexibility for consumers, who will also save money in the long run despite higher up-front costs.
January 5, 2016
How to fix Microsoft’s latest software update blunder (updated)
Consumer Tech Radar

How to fix Microsoft’s latest software update blunder (updated)

Microsoft pushed out yet another problematic software update, and it erases customizations made to the 'normal' template in Word 2016. The company confirmed the issue, and though it hasn't released an official fix, it offered a way to recover lost tweaks.
December 23, 2015
Consumer Tech Radar

How to pay less for TV and get much more

Why continue to pay for cable or satellite TV options you never use? This eight-step strategy can help you significantly reduce your TV bill without giving up the services you really want.
December 22, 2015
Consumer Tech Radar

FAA mandates registration for all non-commercial drones

Sparked by reports of near collisions between consumers' drones and passenger planes, the FAA passed regulations that require U.S. hobbyists to register their drones.
December 14, 2015
Amazon beefs up Prime streaming, but is it worth the price?
Consumer Tech Radar

Amazon beefs up Prime streaming, but is it worth the price?

Amazon this week unveiled new, paid add-ons for its Prime streaming video service. As premium TV content goes cable free, consumers get more options — but people who don't do their homework could regret 'cutting the cord.'
December 9, 2015
6 important considerations before you cut the cord
Consumer Tech Radar

6 important considerations before you cut the cord

'Tis the season to cut the cord and stop paying those ridiculous cable bills. Cord cutting can be more trouble than its worth, however, if you don't do your homework. These 6 tips will ease the process and ensure you get your money's worth.rn
November 24, 2015
Yahoo Mail ad-block ban proves the Web is broken
Consumer Tech Radar

Yahoo Mail ad-block ban proves the Web is broken

Many online publishers view ad blockers as threats, so it should be no surprise that some, including Yahoo, are fighting back. However, such moves could have lasting effects on the modern Web.
November 23, 2015
Consumer Tech Radar

Google Voice Search is getting smarter

Recent improvements in the Google app let the search engine understand you better and handle more complex queries delivered in natural language.
November 16, 2015
FCC says sites can ignore ‘do-not-track’ requests
Consumer Tech Radar

FCC says sites can ignore ‘do-not-track’ requests

Despite a recent FCC ruling in the favor of sites that gather user data for advertising, savvy Web surfers don't have take no for an answer when it comes to privacy, thanks to two useful anti-tracking tools.
November 10, 2015
Cord cutting more attractive as streaming-video market heats up
Consumer Tech Radar

Cord cutting more attractive as streaming-video market heats up

As the new Apple TV hits store shelves, the cord cutting movement is gaining momentum thanks to an increasing number of attractive programming options and significant market developments involving Time Warner Cable and Comcast.
November 2, 2015
Consumer Tech Radar

Smartphones, tablets might not be bad for kids after all

A respected group of pediatricians that previously warned against the use of electronic devices by kids has changed its tune, but other experts suggest old school toys and books are still better options.
October 26, 2015
Consumer Tech Radar

2 good reasons to avoid Microsoft’s Edge browser

Microsoft Edge doesn't current support browser extensions, and a new feature spotted in a leaked version of Windows 10 is sure to annoy anyone who wants to use Chrome or Firefox instead of Edge.
October 21, 2015
Firefox’s new IM, privacy features are worth a look
Consumer Tech Radar

Firefox’s new IM, privacy features are worth a look

Mozilla announced two new versions of its Firefox browser, an official release with valuable new IM features, and another beta version that adds advanced privacy controls.
September 24, 2015
Consumers increasingly dissatisfied with PCs, tablets
Consumer Tech Radar

Consumers increasingly dissatisfied with PCs, tablets

Junkware, poor support, and slow processors are among consumers' top complaints about desktops PC, laptops, and tablets, according to a new survey that placed Apple at the top and Acer at the bottom of a consumer satisfaction ranking.
September 22, 2015
Consumer Tech Radar

Surprise! Best Buy prices often on par with Amazon

Best Buy closed the price gap on electronics and tech gadgets during the past years, and its in-store prices are often just as low — sometimes lower — than Amazon.com, according to new research.
September 2, 2015
Good riddance to bad U.S. wireless service contracts
Consumer Tech Radar

Good riddance to bad U.S. wireless service contracts

Verizon and Sprint recently joined T-Mobile in the movement to kill wireless service contracts, and AT&T is likely to follow in the near future. For most consumers, that's a good thing, but a lack of contracts means you'll pay more for new smartphones.
August 24, 2015
Consumer Tech Radar

9 signs your computer’s hard drive is about to die

Losing data can be a real disaster, but thankfully hard drives often show warning signs before they die. If you observe any of these nine signs of impending failure, back up your drive immediately and prepare for the worst.
August 14, 2015
Consumer Tech Radar

Epson’s new ‘EcoTank’ printers sound great, but …

Buying expensive cartridges for cheap printers is a bum deal, and it's time for change. Epson says it's breaking the mold, but until the company delivers the new 'EcoTank' printers, there's no way to tell how they'll actually perform.
August 6, 2015