The Worst High-Tech Habits

Everyone has a little techie vice–raise your hand if you have ever used “password” as a password–but with this outing we’re digging a little deeper, calling out the really bad habits  that can cause permanent damage to your high-tech psyche.

1. Avoiding security software

So you thought you could get by without antimalware and anti-virus utilities, just by being mindful of what Web links you click and what e-mail you open. How’s that working out for you? Use something–anything–to protect your PC from the bad guys (or those bad software), who are happy to have you as a target.

2. Failing to backup

The funny thing about people who admit that they don’t back up is that they always preface it by saying, “I know it’s bad, but…” Listen: All hard drives crash eventually. All of them. Yours will, too.

3. Neglecting Offsite Backup

A thief breaks into your house and steals your laptop. Or a thief smashes your car windows and steals your laptop. No problem: You just backed it up last night. Oh, wait, he stole your backup drive too, because it was sitting right next to the laptop, or that backup drive is stored inside your laptop bag. Store your data in multiple locations, with automatic backups scheduled for hard drives kept away from your PC–and make a backup plan to prepare for worst-case scenarios.

4. Replying to spam

Why do spammers do their dirty work? Because enough people respond to it to make sending junk worth their while. Yes, clicking the “remove me” link counts as a response–though on rare occasions, if a message is clearly from a legitimate brand-name company, using that link is worth a try. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. At least, try to check if your service provider provides an anti-spam solution and have it activated. If none, just ignore these emails.

5. Travelling with an open computer

Taking your computer from the kitchen to the living room while it’s running? No problem. Taking your running PC from the office, on the subway, for a mile-long walk, and up the stairs to your house? Terrible idea. Spinning hard drives can crash, and overheat  in cramped quarters. Shut the PC down. (Extra credits if your hot, whirring laptop is sweating it out in a closed bag for the entire ride.) Windows offers custom settings and power management and lets you tell a laptop to power off when you shut the lid.

6. Printing everything

Why print if you already have a soft copy, unless you are a lawyer. Save the trees. Save on ink.

7. Leaving the laptop inside the car

If you are parking under a terribly hot parking space, your laptop’s internal circuitry may melt. And besides, as what I’ve stated earlier, thieves may break in your car, and steal your laptop.

8. Keeping e-mails.

Every e-mail message you’ve ever received for ten years is sitting in your inbox in chronological order.  You now have an unassailable historical record of your communications…and a guarantee that you will never find anything of any importance whatsoever. Use folders or tags to organize your inbox, and be free to delete unimportant e-mails. If you are throwing away old bills, old letters, then I think it is also worth it if you delete your old e-mails.

Oooops, time to delete those e-mails that I’ve received two years ago. And yes, if they are really important, Gmail has an archive functionality. Very useful.

9. Installing too much junk

Why is Windows so slow? You installed three instant messaging clients and seven browser toolbars on your machine. Once some of this stuff is installed, the damage is already done, as many of these apps leave behind traces that are impossible to eliminate. You can try uninstalling as much as possible, but a clean Windows setup is often your best bet.

Honestly, I am also guilty at this too.

10. Discarding equipment purchase receipts

We have observed that oftentimes, equipment breaks down after expiration of warranty but once in a while, they break sooner. You might be able to get the thing fixed…if you saved your receipt.

11. Saving Files Anywhere and Everywhere

When you get your electric bill, do you just throw it on the table, mixing it in with family photos, flyers, the newspapers?  or do you take 20 seconds to file it away where it really ought to go? If you do this, you will consume hours just to find that document or that report. Try to put it in its proper folders, just like real physical papers and documents.

12. Posting hilarious or crazy photos online

Enough said…..Very useful if you are applying for a job and that company that you are applying for does its background investigation via the Internet.

13. Believing the sales person

Believe me, the primary purpose of the sales person is to make sales. Not to help you get a good deal or a better equipment based on your need.

14. Ignoring the specs

You have spent your money on a shiny gadget and when you get home, you cannot use it because the specs are not good for your needs.

15. Using one password for everything

All it takes is a single data leak  for a crook to get into your e-mail, bank account, investing, online shopping, and personal accounts. It’s one-stop shopping for identity thieves! Having a unique password for every site is unrealistic, but use a series of several passwords and save your best for the most critical sites. Password managers can help.

16. Not having a disposable e-mail address

Don’t give out your regular e-mail address to newsletters, iffy Web services, and to all people you meet. A disposable e-mail address that you check once a fortnight is a better solution. This is why Yahoo Mail or Hotmail was invented. They are free so it will not create any harm if you create one for this purpose. So to the person who is always nagging me why I have multiple email accounts, this is the reason why.

17. Failing to lock your cellphone

Each mobile phone comes with a SIM lock or a phone lock which can protect information stored in it if in case it gets stolen or lost. When an unsavory type of person  finds a lost phone, his first order of business is to call as many international and 900-type numbers that he humanly can. Then he harvests all the data on it for identity theft and spam purposes.




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