We all have bad habits in real life. We bite our nails, we never signal before turning off and we’re always late for an appointment. Using technology does not cure them in fact it often makes things worse. Here are 12 of the worst habits when it comes to technology.
1. Leaving equipment in plain sight
The typical gadget is not stolen by thieves who’ve done loads of planning. Most gadget thefts are conceived and executed in seconds because you left the item unattended. Opportunistic theft is common, by developing certain habits, you can reduce the risk of petty theft. That cosy window corner of the restaurant with the free WiFi is great until you need to run to the loo. An opportunistic thief can pop in, grab your device and be gone before you know it. Don’t leave laptops and other gadgets unattended. That means you must either take them to the bathroom with you or leave them with someone you trust. If you at the restaurant on your own it might be helpful to ask the staff if you can leave something behind the counter for a minute. Definitely do not ask” can you watch this for me?” , pointing to your laptop across the room.
The latest trend for gadgetry thefts and becoming more common is from the airport security conveyors (unfortunately often by the security agents themselves) while you’re waiting for your body scan. If you have a companion travelling with you, have them stay behind you while you go through the security check to keep an eye on the stuff on the tray. If travelling alone put the gadgets into a secure pocket in the online case, it might make it slower for the items to be stolen than grabbed from the tray.
2. Oblivious gadget usage in public
Everywhere we look people are using their Smartphones or iPads everywhere, so it doesn’t feel risky to break one out on the train or while walking home in the dark. But electronics gadgets remain some of the most easily fenced items on the black market and it pays to keep your wits about you when using them in public. The thief usually lurks in the corner of the building as you pass or sneak up behind you while you’re relaxing in the outdoor restaurant. Either way, you have no idea they’re there, because your nose is buried in your Smartphone’s Facebook feed. The next thing you know you’ve been punched in the face, or shoved and the thieves are dashing off in a getaway car with your Smartphone or iPad. You can’t identify the suspect because the last thing you saw before it was stolen was a picture of a cute kitten on Facebook.
Make it a policy to limit mobile device usage to areas where you’re completely certain you will not be the victim of a smash-and-grab attack. This goes double for using your phone while you’re driving, outside of the obvious danger and penalty points.
3 Using dirty hands or not cleaning your equipment
Playing Candy Crunch while eating a kebab won’t leave your phone looking fresh. This is not only gross but it brings health risks too. The old adage that your keyboard is dirtier than your toilet applies to your phone as well. Keep electronics cleaning wipes by your desk in plain view or in your bag. Clean your phone, tablet and other touchscreen device daily. Not only is the danger to you, but also to your gadget too. Dirty touchscreen devices are vulnerable to damage from dust and dirt. Grime seeps in through any cracks and crevices. The most affected are machines such as desktops, laptops, and printers which have air-intake vents for cooling. The dust can clog fans, optical-drive mechanisms and other moving parts. This can lead to component failures and over the heat if the fans stop working properly. Clean your equipment regularly before things build up too much. Once or twice a year should do it, try cleaning out your PC at the same time as you do another job such as changing the oil in your car to remind you.
5 Bad posture at the PC
Breaks are essential to good health from the PC. Joints, muscular systems, circulatory system, and eyes all benefit from a change of scenery once in a while. If you remain in a seated position for extended periods of time can cause blood clots ( sometimes even fatal ones). Staring at a screen for hours on end can cause eye-strain which can affect your vision, especially if you drive afterwards. One way to remind you to take a break is to download such program as Scirocco Take a Break, mobile apps or Web browser plug-ins can remind you to step away from your gadget. Stretch your legs, get a drink of water or call it a day on your computer time.
A good way to ensure you take a break regularly is to keep a very large glass of water by your desk ( failure to hydrate is another bad habit). Sipping a gulp from that glass of water regularly will force you to take an occasional break to the bathroom.
6 Working with the laptop on your lap
Using a laptop on your lap can lead to a whole host of problems, many caused by the heat that most laptops expel from their undersides. This can cause maladies from skin dryness and dis-coloration to reduced sperm count and still in dispute: Cancer. Not only is the heat the problem but by placing a heavy objects across your thighs for hours on end can cause nerve damage. Along with the typical laptop posture of hunching over, legs outstretched, neck craned, arthritis can also develop over time.
Use a laptop desk that shields your thighs from the heat and follow the break-taking tips from number 5. Also shift your laptop from one leg to the other may help. Avoid working on your laptop with your legs our stretched on the coffee table. Keeping your knees bent and your feet on the floor will improve the alignment of your nervous and muscular systems.
7 Never backing up your data
Ok if you have read my post on “ Backup your Data” you can skip this one if you like. Everything is zipping along merrily until one day it suddenly stops. Could be a hard-drive crash, maybe a virus, or a stolen laptop. One way or another, your data is gone. ( Remember data includes: family-photos, personal papers, songs etc.). The excuses for not backing up your data are becoming thread bare. There are hundreds of online backup services that will sync ( backup) your files automatically with a cloud-storage system ( skydive, Google Drive, Dropbox and Crash Plan that will automatically backup to an external Hard Drive attached to your PC to name a few) and many are now free to use or charge a small amount. For most backup systems you do not need to do anything except install an app and setting it up. This goes for a PC, a tablet, or a phone. Do not be fooled into thinking that you have nothing important on that device. It could be a forgotten family photo of a relative that is no longer with you or a game saved on the verge of hitting the finishing line, you’ll feel different once it’s gone.
8 Reusing the same password
We are all guilty of this one, reusing a password that works for you time and time again. Password “strength” is a bit illusory. All it takes is one website that doesn’t store passwords securely and gets hacked, or an unencrypted hard drive disposed incorrectly to upset the whole apple cart. The best solution involves coming up with a system so that you can have a unique password based on where you want to use it. One good trick is to use a sentence that is private to you e.g. “I would travel a mile for a slice of my mum’s apple pie “ becomes: “IWTaM4aSommAp” and if its for Facebook put fb8 at the end…( the numerical component is the number of character that site has) for Twitter put tw7 at the end of it…and so on is one example of keeping track. In other words a password that you won,t forget but is harder or impossible to crack.
9 Same account, multiple users
Read my post: “New PC account with a password” for instructions on how to do this. A typical move when a parent gives a child or teenager, their laptop to use is to hand it over and hope for the best. Then there are surprised to get it back full of odd and unwanted software. Which, not only is annoying but can also bring in malware and virus that can cause untold damage. Setting up multiple user accounts on windows is not difficult and can prevent accidents happening never mind privacy issues. Accidents can happen even among grown-ups’ sharing a PC. Having more than one person working on different files called “ resume.doc” can only end in heartache.
Security and safety are a bigger concern when it comes to children. Setting up kids with Standard User accounts ( instead of Administrator) is the smart things to do to keep unwanted software from being installed. Parental controls can also be configured as well. So next time your child or teenager wants to use your PC just to “look up something” you can tell him sure and give them their own account.
10 Over-sharing on social media websites.
Banal stories, photos and comments on Facebook and other social media sites have become a major problem of the greatest order. This is especially true considering how social media and the business world have become intertwined. The person likely to suffer the most is the one who does all the blathering. To keep some kind of reasonable appearance in the world try and keep comments unique and unexpected. Dutifully copying the latest “ Post this if you agree “ to “ Follow these instructions or else!” post on Facebook is no better than mailing chain letters to all your friends. Restrict social media chatter to a few posts a day. You can post the rest of your conspiracy theories and nauseam to your blog which is free to create. Instructions and Hosting Websites offering free websites can be seen here.
11 Texting at the table and not using a case
Really? Is it that important? We all love our Smartphones but using them in the company of others, particularly at mealtimes is just plain rude ( also gross: see number 3). Yes, we know the phone is on your lap!!! That goes for any kind of social situation, school, work, or a simple conversation with someone else.
If you must deal with another conversation, voice-or text-based take it to another room or outside. Ensure a “ no phone at the table” rule apply to everyone in the household , including yourself. When you do use your phone at the correct time and place, make sure its in a case. No matter how sure-handed you are, and no matter how carefully you treat your devices, one day they are going to slip out of that pocket, or simply fall to the ground when someone bumps against you. Choose a thick rubber or silicone case that covers every corner of the device.
12 Failing to silence your phone and never rebooting
Every public performance begins with an entreaty to the audience to mute or turn off their phones. Then 30 minutes later, the unmistakable sounds of a mobile phone make its presence and its clueless owner, known. Cell phones that erupt at the most inappropriate times are a cultural epidemic. This might well be because we have heard so many commands to silence our phones that we simply do not hear them at all anymore. One solution is to make your default setting is “ ringer off” and only turn on the ringer when you know you’re are going to need to hear it ring. Use vibrating when it’s in a pocket or within arm’s reach.
Every operating system, whether desktop or mobile, benefits from an occasional reboot. Think of it as a good night’s sleep for your device. A reboot lets it start fresh, free of digital baggage. Sometimes a reboot may improve your device’s battery life. Make rebooting part of the natural downtime of your day, just before you go to bed. Better yet, turn it off completely and save energy.