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.
Stories by Bill Snyder
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.
In the world of digital devices, more - whether it be megapixels or megahertz - was always better. Until it wasn't.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I was sitting in the middle of one of the most security conscious crowds you'd ever come across -- about 200 computer security professionals listening to a high-powered panel on mobile security threats at the RSA Conference in San Francisco last week.
Ah, the good old days. Of last year. When nearly all wireless data plans were of the all-you-can-eat variety and you could download your fingers off with nary a care. That's not the case any more.
I don't spend a lot of time on Facebook, so when I got an e-mail from the social networking site telling me "you haven't been back to Facebook recently" and here are some messages you missed, it didn't seem odd. I clicked on the link, wondering what one of my friends was doing.