Stories by Bill Snyder

Attention Samsung Galaxy Users: Your phone has a big security flaw

As many 600 million Samsung phones may have a security flaw that could allow hackers to monitor the camera and microphone, read incoming and outgoing text messages, and install malicious apps. Fortunately, Samsung says it will release a fix in a few days.

Written by Bill Snyder21 June 15 00:12

5 key questions Google needs to answer about its driverless cars

When was the last time your computer crashed? How long has it been since you needed to take your car to the repair shop? The answer to both of these questions is probably not that long. What brings these seemingly unrelated points to mind is this: Google's been trumpeting the safety record of its driverless cars, and the media's been falling all over itself to herald a new automotive era.

Written by Bill Snyder13 June 15 05:51

Why You Really Shouldn't Worry About In-Store Beacons

When it comes to wireless tracking and electronic spying, paranoia is often the right response. Not always, though. Case in point: The rather hysterical flap over beacons, which use Bluetooth technology to detect nearby mobile devices and deliver advertisements and other related content. You'd think the little devices were something out of a sci-fi movie, ready to track your every move and send the data to the Dark Powers that be.

Written by Bill Snyder21 Oct. 14 00:21

Why Facebook Forced You to Use Its Messenger App (Hint: $$$)

If you're like me, you probably wondered why Facebook forced everyone to use its Messenger app for chat. (Well, technically it didn't force people to use the app, it forced people who want to send Facebook messages to use the app.) Wonder no more. As is often the case with Facebook, the answer is money. Facebook is reportedly gearing up to enable mobile payments within Messenger.

Written by Bill Snyder08 Oct. 14 00:16

Facebook and Verizon Reverse Course, Show Power of Consumer Complaint

I frequently tell my readers to complain, complain, complain if they feel like they've been wronged by a service provider. I'm sure I sometimes sound like a broken record. (I know, old-school metaphor.) But guess what -- it least occasionally.

Written by Bill Snyder07 Oct. 14 00:17

Consumers Increasingly dissatisfied with new PCs

Are you happy with your recently-purchased computer? If not, you're in good company. Consumer satisfaction with laptops and desktops has been sliding for a couple of years now, and PCs made by Hewlett-Packard are drawing the most ire, according to the latest edition of the University of Michigan's American Consumer Satisfaction Index.

Written by Bill Snyder24 Sept. 14 03:09

Is the Robot Revolution Going to Put Us Out of Work?

Most of us have experienced the "career creepies," those moments of intense anxiety about our place in the work world. I had one of those a few months ago when The Associated Press said it would use computer-generated stories to supplement its coverage of corporate earnings announcements. Yikes! If a writer isn't safe from automation, who is?

Written by Bill Snyder11 Aug. 14 23:14

User Beware: That Mobile App is Spying on You

Those apps you download on your smartphone may be free or very cheap, but there's a hidden price you should be aware of: loss of privacy.

Written by Bill Snyder06 Aug. 14 00:49

Aereo Deserves to be Put Out of Business for Stealing Content

As a consumer advocate my heart is with Aereo, a startup that uses tiny antennas (pictured below) to capture broadcast airwaves and stream those signals to users who pay about $8 a month. But as a "content creator" my head is with the broadcasters and the Supreme Court on this one.

Written by Bill Snyder01 July 14 06:28

The tech jobs hiring boom is real - for these skills

It's not a myth. The technology industry is in the midst of a hiring surge stronger than any we've seen since the days of the dot-com boom. InfoWorld's interviews with economists, technology executives, job seekers, and hiring board managers indicate that employment in the tech sector is up a solid 10 percent this year - by some bullish estimates, closer to 20 percent. And despite the tendency of the media to fixate on California's Silicon Valley, the hottest job markets are in places like New York and Washington, D.C., where firms in financial services and the federal government hire droves of IT hands.

Written by Bill Snyder11 Dec. 11 22:00

Cloud computing for consumers: The downsides

If you read much about tech, you've undoubtedly been told by some snarky writer that if you're not headed for the cloud, you're hopelessly unhip, behind the times, and probably overweight. You know -- the cloud, that repository of all things digital contained on giant servers owned by someone else out there in cyberspace.

Written by Bill Snyder13 Sept. 11 08:43