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


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

Dirty Secrets of Popular Printers

Paper jams, wasted ink, too much noise and scanners that don’t work. Why oh why is something as basic as a low-cost printer so hard to find?
August 9, 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

AT&T Jumps on Shared Data Bandwagon with Confusing Choices

AT&T and Verizon are pushing customers toward shared data plans and AT&T's new shared options are a tangled web indeed. For most people, such plans are not a good deal, but in some cases they can give you an advantage.
July 20, 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

McAfee Survey Shocker: Teens Lie to Parents About Online Habits!

A new McAfee survey shows that when it comes to their teens' online habits, parents are out to lunch. So what else is new? Still, despite online activity being mostly harmless, parents are being duped by kids on the Web in the simplest of ways and should get a clue.
June 26, 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

iPod Owners: Did You Know You’re Suing Apple?

Apple has been hit with a class action suit by iPod owners saying that the company has made it unfairly difficult to play songs if they haven't been purchased on iTunes. Unless you opt out, you're part of the suit.
May 15, 2012

Sleekbooks and Ultrabooks and Notebooks, Oh My

It's getting harder and harder to cut through the marketing hype to find the PC you really want. It may be annoying, but if you don't look hard at the specs on different models you may wind up with the wrong computer.
May 10, 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

Verizon Is Picking your Pocket for $1 Billion

The bargain prices you pay for smartphones are much less of a bargain than you think. There's a huge hidden profit for carriers like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint that we consumers never hear about.
April 12, 2012

Fastest Browsers? IE9 and Opera Mini, Believe It or Not

Internet Explorer 9 on the Windows desktop and Opera Mini on Blackberry (!) are the surprise winners in a new browser speed test. But when factoring in browser use on a Mac, Chrome wins the race.
April 7, 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

The New iPad: Verizon Is Your Best Bet

If you want to take advantage of the iPad's new found ability to tether on a 4G network, Verizon is your only choice. AT&T, as usual, lags behind.
March 13, 2012

Windows 8: Attention Consumers, Do NOT Download It Yet

Microsoft is inviting consumers to be unpaid beta testers of a not-yet-finished operating system. But for the average PC user, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is intimidatingly different. It's also buggy enough to give you headaches. Wait until it's finished.
March 5, 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

SOPA on the Ropes?

Angry consumers are forcing Congress to back off on SOPA, a flawed anti-piracy bill that would curtail free speech and damage the Web, proving that protests can effect change. Add your voice to the opposition.
January 17, 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