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Stories by Bill Snyder

Desktop search: Free and paid apps for finding your data

I've said it before: I'm a world-class pack rat, at least when it comes to my digital life. With several thousand emails on my hard drive, not to mention thousands of documents, photos, and music tracks, you might think I could never find anything. But I can.

Written by Bill Snyder09 Aug. 11 09:44

Facebook Facial Recognition: Why It's a Threat to Privacy

By the end of this year, the world's population is expected to hit 7 billion. That's a huge number, but it pales in comparison to the 60 billion to 100 billion photos Facebook has reportedly stored on its servers.

Written by Bill Snyder21 June 11 03:52

Smartphone data plans: How to keep bandwidth usage in check

I love my hometown of San Francisco. Great weather, great views, great food. But terrible radio. So when I'm driving, I've developed the habit of tuning into Pandora on an iPhone that I link to my car radio. Like a lot of other AT&T customers, I've been moved from my unlimited data plan to measured service. Yes, that was my choice, but what has the metered plan done to my music habit? And does that mean I made a mistake?

Written by Bill Snyder14 June 11 04:00

Cell phones and cancer: 8 precautions worth taking

The good thing about being an adult is you get to make your own decisions. The bad thing? You get to make your own decisions - and live with the consequences.

Written by Bill Snyder07 June 11 02:49

Mobile app security: 5 ways to protect your smartphone

Wave your smartphone; buy a latte. Sounds great, doesn't it? But before running off to participate in Silicon Valley's next new thing, you might want to think about a scary downside to mobile commerce: the vulnerability of smartphones to hackers.

Written by Bill Snyder02 June 11 00:30

Google Voice: Are you missing out on coolest features?

Google and Sprint didn't exactly cover themselves in glory last week. The much hyped integration of Google Voice and Sprint fell flat on its face, embarrassing both companies and irritating an unknown number of users who simply couldn't make the two systems talk to each other.

Written by Bill Snyder10 May 11 02:45

Home Wi-Fi network security: 4 ways to avoid big trouble

Locking down your home Wi-Fi network with a password is like making sure you eat your broccoli. It's probably good for you, but you probably think it's not much of a priority or a big deal. Well, it's time to make an attitude adjustment. It turns out that you can cause yourself a good deal of trouble by leaving that door to your system unlocked.

Written by Bill Snyder03 May 11 02:29

iPhone location tracking confusion: 7 key facts

Given how much confusing and often contradictory information has been filling the media over the last week, it wouldn't surprise me if some iPhone users were calling in priests to exorcise the demons of privacy invasion.

Written by Bill Snyder26 April 11 02:17

Cisco kills the flip camera, consumers ask why

There I was at the San Francisco Giants game the other evening, when my buddy decided to do something a bit silly -- but memorable -- and handed me his little Flip camera. I'm not going to share the YouTube link, but the video is pretty good, considering the lighting was weird and it was a very chaotic environment. There's no way that I would have done nearly as well with my iPhone.

Written by Bill Snyder19 April 11 05:50

Epsilon e-mail hack: How you can protect yourself

Most of the time I only hear from my credit card companies when I owe them money or when they want to sell me a new service. That's changed; now I'm being bombarded with notes telling me that a company I never heard of has been successfully hacked and these still unknown bad guys now have my name and e-mail address -- and maybe more.

Written by Bill Snyder12 April 11 00:40

Backup disasters: How you can avoid them

As poet Robert Burns famously put it, the best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft a-gley, that is, they often go awry. Im thinking of those lines as I struggle to clean up a backup and subsequent hard drive replacement that went seriously wrong.

Written by Bill Snyder05 April 11 02:36

Anti-virus software driving you mad? 5 fight-back tips

I like to think that most of us who use computers are reasonably bright and responsible. So I get really irritated by the mindset of some technology vendors who insist that treating us like children is not only okay, but also the responsible thing for them to do.

Written by Bill Snyder29 March 11 02:24

Firefox 4: Three ways it beats IE and Chrome browsers

There's a new version of the Firefox browser coming out this week, and it's so good you may want to adopt it instead of either Microsoft's IE or Google's Chrome. Indeed, I've already made the switch using an almost complete version of Firefox 4; the finished product will be ready to download on Tuesday, March 22.

Written by Bill Snyder22 March 11 04:20

Cloud tools organize your messy digital life

When people moved from paper to digital files on a computer, it didn't take long to realize that you can get just as burdened by digital stuff as by hard copies. Before long, companies sprang up to sell utility programs to help you find and organize the stuff on your computer. We're going through a similar cycle right now, with many of us moving our digital assets to servers in the cloud, and finding that managing stuff scattered across a myriad of sites belonging to a myriad of companies can be terribly frustrating.

Written by Bill Snyder08 March 11 07:36