Maybe you're tired of paying the cable company and want to get your movies and other entertainment from the Web. Naturally you'll want to watch those shows on your TV with the aid of a Roku box or similar device. More and more people are doing that, and if you want to join the crowd, you've got to be sure you're home Internet network is up to the challenge.
Stories by Bill Snyder
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."
Your old PC is ready for the recyclers and it's time to buy a new one. Or is it? These days, we're fortunate to have a plethora of computing devices that can handle everything from sending an e-mail to watching a movie or writing a thesis. A PC (or Mac, for that matter) is no longer the only choice.
Does the world need yet another browser? It depends. If you're like me, and spend a lot of time on the Web, but not too much time with social networking sites, you don't. Firefox and Chrome and even IE (not to mention Safari or Opera) are more than enough. But if you can't live without instant Facebook updates and the latest Tweets, you should check out RockMelt, a new browser designed for the social networking aficionado.
I spend hours and hours exploring the Web. At times all that mousing around makes my right hand hurt. So I try to use keyboard shortcuts at least some of the time. At the very least, using different muscles in the hand relieves some of the strain, and sometimes those shortcuts save time compared to the corresponding mouse commands.
I hate to blame the victim, but people who inadvertently gave up personal data to Google's Street View cameras were really asking for trouble.
Location-based services on a mobile phone are terrifically helpful when you need to find a nearby business or directions to the freeway.
Hair-pullingly bad experiences with wireless networking have led me to formulate Snyder's First Law of Home Networking: No matter who sells you the router, you'll have at least one excruciating session with tech support before you have an Internet connection.
Think you can hide behind the privacy of an "unlisted" cell 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.
If you're like many small business owners, the news that Microsoft is weeks away from the release of a new version of SQL Server 2008 could seem utterly irrelevant to your interests. But it isn't. Microsoft has added important new features in this version that will help you delve more deeply into your business data, extract the most useful nuggets of information, and present them in a compelling way.
No one likes to be hated, but if you're running a small business, sometimes you've got to take security measures that will make your employees really angry. You might even have to (gasp) pull some PCs off the Internet, and treat some employees like, well, children.
There's storage and then there's storage: There's storage that's really just backup, and there's storage of the stuff you work with frequently. The reason I'm making the distinction is that many of us are now backing up to the cloud. And that's a good thing; in some ways, cloud options can be more secure and more convenient than backing up to hardware.
A Wall Street analyst asked about the company's exclusive iPhone deal with AT&T. There is speculation that by the end of the year Apple will end that arrangement and sell the iPhone via additional carriers.
Attention Apple fan-boys and -girls: Read no further. But if you run a small business and want to avoid wasting money and brain cells on superfluous technology, forget about the iSlate or whatever Apple is going to call its tablet computing device. It's going to be too expensive, it does things you don't need to do, and it will add a messy layer of complication to your company's computing infrastructure.
A venerable New Year's tradition in the tech world entails trotting out year-old predictions by analyst shops and laughing at their off-base prognostications. But here's a surprise: The two biggest analyst firms still standing -- Gartner and IDC -- did a pretty good job a year ago forecasting the shape of IT in 2009, as did the smaller Forrester Research and 451 Group.