New Year’s Tech Resolutions for 2017
Based on an article by Jefferson Graham, USA Today
Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions for 2017? If not, we have some tech resolutions that you should make this year. Resolve to take care of your digital lives by protecting yourself from hackers and backing up your precious photos, videos, and documents.
Passwords.Yahoo told us in 2016 that more than 1.5 billion of its users had seen their accounts comprised. The presidential election was influenced by Russian hackers, according to the government. And you think it's OK to continue using a password from a few years ago?
2017 is the perfect time to get with the program: change your passwords, as painful as you might think it be, every three months, with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, long words (iloveusatodayeverydaybecauseofthesportsmoneylifenewsandtechsections) or two-step verification, which won't let you sign in without typing in a newly generated text.
You can write down all the new passwords on paper and hide it somewhere in your house (not in an e-mail, please) or use a password manager to keep track of them for you. The managers also can generate the new passwords for you.
Dashlane, 1password, Lastpass and Logmeonce are all popular and start at free. But you can expect to spend about $35 to $40 a year to subscribe and have access to them across multiple devices.
How they work: password managers are browser extensions for the computer and smartphone apps that will store your various passwords and log you in when you visit a site.
To access the passwords, you instead are asked to first type in one master password for the application. The master pass is stored on the device it’s created on, like your computer, and then synced to the cloud with encryption, so the password manager companies don’t have access to the original.
Backup.If you're like me, you probably shoot many, many photos on your smartphone every month and generate new documents on your computer as well. How's your backup going?
In 2016, we saw Mother Nature's annual array of fires, earthquakes, floods and the like, and watched news reports of people losing their homes, often saying the only thing they cared about were their photos.
That said, back-up has never been easier. All you need is $50 to $100 for an external hard drive that will have ten times the storage of what we had five years ago (1 terabyte and up) or time to upload your photos and documents to an array of online solutions.
Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Apple's iCloud, Amazon and Dropbox all offer online backup that is the safest, most secure option out there. Who's more likely to lose data and have a hard drive fail, you or Google?
I back up all my photos and videos on Google Photos, and write all my documents in Google Drive, which is free, and unlike Microsoft Word, I can access files from multiple devices, anywhere, without having to pay software fees.
Digitize.For those of you from the analog era, with your shoe boxes of photos and shelves of 8mm and VHS videotapes, let's get them saved to digital in 2017, okay?
For one, they'll be safe, and secondly, now you can share them on Facebook, Twitter and privately. I like the services iMemories (50 cents per image, $12.99 per video, and/or $49.99 yearly to have stored on its website for sharing) and Scanmyphotos.com ($149 for a box holding up to 1,800 photos, and $19.99 per video) for getting the entire collection done in one full swoop.)
A cool new alternative came from Google in 2016 for small-scale scanning. The free PhotoScan app promises to get better scans than you were getting from your smartphone camera, minus some of the glare. Google enables this by taking four shots of the same image, and using software to erase the glare.
The app is great for visiting friends or relatives with a wall of photos that you'd like to get hold of. (You know, the best scanner is the one that's in your pocket,) but I wouldn't want to spend New Year's Day scanning hundreds of photos this way. That said, if I was broke and couldn't afford the other methods, it beats the alternative--not having the photos.
Netmedia Solutions is a full-service IT consulting firm specializing in small business support, located in the Greater Philadelphia area.