There are things you can do to tweak the technology you use in your life. For example, using strong passwords will keep your information safe from hackers. Getting rid of your electronic junk would give you peace of mind and is good for our environment. Also, some quick maintenance will keep your devices running fast. Here are my top tech recommendations to make your tech less frustrating and to keep you safe in the new year.
Take Cyber Security Seriously. Cybercrime was a big problem in 2016 and it's only going to get worse in 2017. The first step is to stay vigilant. Google your name to see what information about you is publicly available. Next, set social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to private. Finally, spend some time and log into each of your online accounts and create unique, strong passwords. The worst thing you can do is reuse the same password for your online accounts. To make this easier, use applications like LastPass or 1Password, which are password-managing apps that let you use one master password to unlock a vault of passwords to log in to all of your internet accounts. They also automatically generate strong passwords for you.
Perform Regular Maintenance on Your Devices. A little quick maintenance will make your devices run like new. First, check the condition of your batteries. iPhone and iPads users can use coconutBattery, which will inform you of your device's battery health. Android users can use the app Battery by MacroPinch. If your battery is on its last legs, it's time to give us a call to replace it.
If your devices are running slow, freeing up some storage can also make a dramatic difference. Start by deleting apps you never use anymore. Then do something about those photos you never look at: back up all your photos to the cloud using services like Google Photos and then delete them from your device to start the new year with a fresh photo roll.
Show your gadgets some physical love, too. Give your screens a good wipe with a wetted cloth. If you own a desktop computer, open it up and use compressed air to blow out the dust. Do this basic maintenance every six months and your devices will run smoothly for many years.
Get rid of your unused gadgets and tech. If you have gadgets lying around your office or house, then now is the time to start clearing them out. This includes old printers, old phones and tablets, and old desktops or laptops. The fastest, simplest option: Take everything to your local recycling center such as The Surplus Exchange, The Salvation Army, Best Buy, or Goodwill. Keep a list of what you donated, then get credit for it at tax time. Want to try to sell your old tech instead? Companies like Amazon and Gazelle offer easy trade-in services for selling used electronics. Just punch in the gadget you are trying to trade in and the sites offer a quote for how much money or Amazon store credit you can get in exchange for the gear. Just remember to erase all the data from any phone or tech device you're getting rid of. Need help? We can do it for you.
Update that Old Outdated Wireless Router. You don't wait to update that smartphone or tablet every couple of years, but your Wi-Fi router tucked away in the corner of your home or office is the most important tech product to upgrade every few years. There is nothing more annoying than a sluggish, spotty wireless internet connection. If your router is more than three years old, you probably need a new one that is compatible with today's faster, smarter wireless standards. Also, newer routers are able to keep your protected from the latest security threats. For most homes and businesses, your best option is to use the router provided by your internet provider. Many providers charge a rental fee, but by using their equipment, you have peace of mind knowing that your internet provider will fix any internet connections free of charge. If you need to have wireless coverage over a wide area, you should probably buy a more powerful stand-alone router.
Get Smart With Online Shopping. To get great deals on electronics, there is no need to wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Tools like Camel Camel Camel and Keepa make price tracking on Amazon.com easy. On their websites, just do a search on the name of the item, and the sites will pull up a price history. From there, you can create a tracker to alert you via email whenever a price drops to a desired amount. Another way to save money is to consider buying used products whenever possible. Be on the lookout for sales of used or refurbished electronics from reputable brands like Apple, GameStop, Amazon and Gazelle. Before you buy a used item, read about its condition carefully: Often, products sold as used were barely touched before they were returned by a customer, or they were restored to good-as-new condition by a refurbishing center.
What resolutions have you made for 2017? Drop me a line at email@example.com. Please share this information with everyone.