San Francisco journalist Bill Snyder writes frequently about business and technology. His work appears regularly in 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


Black Friday Tips and Deals for Tech Shoppers

From laptops to iPhone accessories, online and brick and mortar retail stores will be chasing your dollars with tempting discounts. Here are some ways to come out ahead on the biggest shopping day of the year.
November 9, 2012

With Quicken 13, Your Finances Go Mobile

A familiar desktop application gets better mobile capability, making it easy to track and manage your finances when you're on the go.
October 3, 2012

Ditching DropBox? Here’s an Alternative

If the DropBox security meltdown convinced you to abandon the service, consider switching to the more secure SpiderOak. But be warned, it’s not for the newbie.
August 10, 2012

Facial Recognition Abuse Is Bad, Government Regulation Even Worse

Congress is making noises about regulating facial recognition software and other abuses of privacy. Instead of having the government damage the technology industry with too much regulation, vote with your feet and boycott sites that abuse facial recognition.
July 23, 2012

Does Customer Service Even Exist Anymore?

A weekend in tech support hell shows how difficult it is to get the service you’ve paid for. Although low prices contribute to terrible tech support, consumers need to stand up to vendors that don’t deliver.
July 2, 2012

New Sonos Subwoofer Boosts Wireless Listening Experience

Sonos promises to turn your living room into a home theater with its expensive line of high-end wireless speakers and amps. Now the company has cranked up the volume with Sonos Sub, a subwoofer that delivers rich, vibration-free bass.
June 18, 2012

Google Gets Slick with Updated Search App for iPhones

Web search on your iPhone has gotten easier. Google’s search app lets you enter queries via voice or typing, and it has a slick, easy-to-use interface that pulls up full-color images.
June 8, 2012

X-Rated Spam Coming to an Email Box Near You

A nasty spambot called Cutwail is sending out porno spam in an effort to sell counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Clicking on it can turn your computer into a spam-spewing zombie.
May 25, 2012

Ease Off Email, You’ll Live Longer

Higher heart rates, shorter attention spans and more stress are just some of the downsides of email addiction. A new study shows that unplugging now and then may save your life.
May 4, 2012

Macs, iPhones and iPads: When to Get the Best Deal

Sometimes it's better to wait before you shop. Aggregation site has a database that predicts when prices on Apple products will drop and by how much.
May 2, 2012

Google’s Street View Spying Was No Accident

An uncensored report by the FCC exposes the truth: Google employees knew that Street View cars were scooping up personal data from home Wi-Fi networks.
April 30, 2012

Buying a New PC? Wait Until Windows 8, New Intel Chips

Upcoming "Ivy Bridge" chips from Intel and touch-screen PCs running Windows 8 are reasons to hold off on your next PC purchase. And even if you can't afford the latest, you'll love the bargains that are sure to come.
April 25, 2012

Hackers’ Next Target: Your TV

More and more of us are buying Internet-connected TVs. They’re lots of fun, but did you know that hackers can hijack them as easily as they can drop a virus on your PC?
April 23, 2012

Mad About Facebook/Instagram? Pixlr-o-matic Is for You

Have you lost respect for Instagram now that it has been acquired by the mighty Facebook? Not to worry: Pixlr-o-matic from Autodesk is a solid choice on iOS and Android for photo editing and sharing.
April 18, 2012

Step Off DOJ: Paying More for E-books Is a Good Thing

Apple broke Amazon's monopoly power over e-book pricing. Now the Department of Justice, in the name of fairness, wants to roll back the clock and let Amazon kill even more bookstores.
April 15, 2012

iPhone 4 Owners, Apple Has $15 for You

Apple never did admit it was wrong about iPhone 4 antenna problems, but it will give iPhone 4 owners $15 as Antennagate finally comes to an end. Be sure you apply by August 28.
April 2, 2012

Say Goodbye to Expensive Tax Preparation Software

If your taxes aren't too complex, the IRS offers free electronic forms you can fill out and file yourself. The feds will even hook you up with a private company to help fill out those forms. The cost? Free.
March 1, 2012

Is Your Wireless Carrier Throttling Data? Sue ’em!

An AT&T customer whose iPhone data was throttled took Ma Bell to court--and won. If carriers want to play games with the meaning of "unlimited," consumers can and should fight back. Let's all throw the (law) book at them, says blogger Bill Snyder.
February 27, 2012

Android: Not So Insecure After All

Symantec recants its scary Android malware warning, as Google's new app security system, called Bouncer, makes the Android Marketplace more secure. Do security companies hype their warnings?
February 3, 2012

Symantec Drops the Ball on pcAnywhere Attack

Users have a right to be upset when a major security company admits that it has been hacked, but then issues confusing and contradictory warnings.
January 26, 2012

Check Forgery: It Can Happen to You

During a recent personal encounter with white collar crime,'s Bill Snyder learned that check forgery is shockingly easy and check writing software companies do little to prevent counterfeiting. Here's how he survived check theft and learned to protect himself.
January 24, 2012

Hang up on Verizon

After suffering 3 outages of its 4G network in December, Verizon now wants to charge $2 to pay bills online. Customer pressure stopped Bank of America from charging outrageous fees; let's do the same to Verizon.
December 30, 2011

New Wave of Hacker Attacks Coming

Smarter hackers, and a new generation of "hacktivists" will launch attacks on mobile banking apps, virtual currency and even your local supermarket in 2012.
December 28, 2011

AT&T Surrenders; Drops Megamerger with T-Mobile

Christmas comes early for consumers as AT&T surrenders to pressure from the Department of Justice and drops its $39 billion attempt to takeover T-Mobile..
December 20, 2011

It’s Time to Turn Off Your Cell Phone When Driving

Look this is America; we're all individualists and don't want the government messing with us. Fair enough. But can we also agree that getting broadsided by a cell-phone-yakking driver isn't exactly what we'd like to happen on a Saturday morning when we're taking the kids to the mall?
December 15, 2011

Apple iPhone, Meet Flipboard

Fipboard is pretty cool. But until now, the only folks who could enjoy it were iPad owners. That changed late last week when Flipboard came to the iPhone, and its new iteration is impressive.
December 12, 2011

Is the ‘Bandwidth Hog’ a Myth?

Sharing, you learned in kindergarten is the right thing to do. So when broadband providers said that "bandwidth hogs" are slowing the network for everyone, you probably thought it was fair to share those resources, well, fairly. But it turns out that the providers weren't telling the truth (there's a shock) about the causes of network congestion.
December 5, 2011

Carrier IQ Anxiety: Chill Out People

When people start quoting Senator Al Franken as a computer security expert , you know something odd is going on. I thought Franken was a good comedian and if I lived in Minnesota I'd probably vote for him. But giving him kudos for his knowledge of mobile phones and root kits -- not so much.
December 3, 2011

Exploiting the Fear of Cell Phone Related Cancer

It's time to introduce the "Bozo of the Month," my way of rewarding those who rip off, mess up, prevaricate, and otherwise shame the world of technology and embarrass themselves in the process.
December 1, 2011

Shop Till You Drop: Consumer Electronics Deals Abound

Missed Black Friday? No worries. It's Cyber Monday and good deals on PCs, cameras and HDTVs are out there for the taking. Here are prices on some killer deals and a few turkeys you should avoid.
November 28, 2011

Firefox 8 Upgrade: Mostly Ho Hum

If you're not already running a version of Firefox, the open source browser from Mozilla, you probably should be. It's fast, a lot more stable than it used to be, and offers the best way to handle tabs of any of the three major browsers. That last feature alone makes it very easy to recommend it to users of competing browsers.
November 10, 2011

Lenovo’s X220 vs. Apple’s MacBook Air: Which Is Better?

The older I get, the less tolerance I have for heavy notebooks that I have to schlep to meetings and through airports. Like many of you, I don't mind spending a reasonable amount of money for a good system, so $1000 seems like a good cut off point for us working stiffs.
November 7, 2011