Stories by Bill Snyder

Facebook facial recognition: a threat to privacy?

By the end of this year, the world's population is expected to hit seven 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.
I bring this up, of course, because Facebook users are clicking their little fingers off tagging those billions of photos, and Facebook is happily adding those tags to its enormous databases of personal information.

Written by Bill Snyder20 June 11 22:00

Five best browser innovations of 2010

The browser wars have changed. During the last couple of years, the four or five leading browsers have all greatly improved -- to the point that the choice often comes down to taste or political conviction, as in "I hate Microsoft and I'll never use IE."

Written by Bill Snyder30 Nov. 10 03:53

Make your laptop battery last longer

I never give the battery in my laptop much thought. I charge it when I need to and forget about it. That changed a couple of weeks ago when I couldn't get to the web at home, and was reduced to working at an internet café. Since there's lots of competition for seats with power outlets here in blogger-heavy San Francisco, I made sure my laptop was charged before I left the house.
Ooops. Ten minutes of use and my PC shut down. It was out of power. I charged it again, same thing happened. Yes, the battery was DOA. Humble as a battery may be, you won't get much work done without a good one.

Written by Bill Snyder16 Aug. 10 22:00

Nicholas Carr: The Internet is hurting our brains

How familiar is this? You're reading an online newspaper article on the Gulf oil spill, but before you get half through, you've clicked on links that lead you to fascinating pieces about marine biology, Sarah Palin, and Moby Dick. As you return to the original story, a pair of alerts tells you that a buddy has updated his Facebook page and your son has Tweeted something from the ballpark, which in turn links to a really cool video about Barry Bonds. Got to check those, of course, and by the time you return to the newspaper article, you've forgotten the point of the story and don't bother to finish it.

Written by Bill Snyder22 June 10 06:08

Five technology security myths busted

Think you can hide behind the privacy of an "unlisted" mobile phone number? Think again. Maybe you believe you don't need security software on a Mac or iPad. You'd swear that Firefox is the safest browser in town. Wrong on both counts.
Most of us don't think about security for our digital devices until something goes wrong, or it's time to renew an anti-virus subscription. But what the security experts like to call the threat landscape changes all the time, and keeping up is hard to do. So we'll save you some time. Here are five current facts that you probably don't know about digital security --but should.

Written by Bill Snyder03 May 10 22:00

Thunderbird 3.0: Better than gmail?

In the age of Twitter, SMS and IM is email obsolete? Not yet. Like it or not, most of us gets dozens, even hundreds, of emails a day. Since that's the case, why not look for the easiest and least costly way to manage that flood of useful - and useless - information?
The hands-down answer to that question is the latest version of Mozilla Thunderbird, the open source email client brought to you by the same folks who develop and support Mozilla Firefox, the world's number two Web browser. Thunderbird does pretty much everything and then some that you can do with Yahoo mail or Gmail (with the exception of Google's new Buzz social networking tool) and lets you keep email on your own hard drive and under your own control.

Written by Bill Snyder14 Feb. 10 22:00

Tech vendors behaving badly

I had a problem with the power steering on my old Toyota, so I took it to a mechanic, and he told me, "We'll try and fix it." "Excuse me, you'll try?" "Right, we'll try, but if we can't, we'll charge you anyway."
That exchange would be ridiculous, of course, and it didn't happen. But scams like that really do happen every day in the world of technology. Buyers of PCs, networking gear, cameras, cell phones and everything else that's digital put up with levels of service and support that would never be acceptable in other parts of the economy.

Written by Bill Snyder03 Dec. 09 22:00

Open-Source CRM Delivers More Control, Less Cost

A good CRM package does you no good if employees aren't willing to use it. Case in point: IMA Financial Group, a medium-sized financial services company based in the US. IMA had installed a commercial customer relationship management system that "was flexible and configurable and attractive on the front end," says business processes manager Jennifer Hallam.

Written by Bill Snyder07 July 08 13:28

How to improve disaster recovery plans

Hancock Bank, a century-old institution headquartered on Mississippi's hurricane-prone Gulf Coast, likes to boast that it will be the last to close and the first to open when stormy weather shuts down area businesses. That claim got the severest test imaginable when Hurricane Katrina roared ashore in 2005. "We were hurt badly," says Ron Milliet, the bank's director of IT services.

Written by Bill Snyder15 May 08 21:47

Cloud computing: Tales from the front

Writer <a href="">Nicholas Carr</a> will earn the enmity of even more tech veterans with his newest prediction: Cloud computing will put most IT departments out of business. "IT departments will have little left to do once the bulk of business computing shifts out of private data centers and into the cloud," Carr writes in his new book, "The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google."

Written by Bill Snyder05 March 08 19:22