It’s the new year! Are you ready?
The holidays are over and we’re in the long lull of drudgery until Family Day (or whatever it’s called where you are) in February. Now’s the time to do a bit of administration to keep all your technological stuff in good order. Here are six things to consider:
- Change your WiFi password(s) – If you don’t have a WiFi password, then for the love of all that is silicony, set one and make it a good one. It’s 2018, stop providing free wifi to any idiot who is nearby… it’s much safer for you, your bills, and your computers. If you already do have a wifi password, awesome! Change it. Even WPA2 can be broken with modest means and a bit of free time, so change that password to give the bored neighbours’ kids something new to work on. It costs nothing to do this but a bit of time. Also, you’ll find out who you gave the password to when they complain!
- Check your photos stored on CD / DVD / Cloud / NAS – home burned media (CD / DVD / BRD) degrade over time and realistically only have a shelf life of 5 years, so you should check to make sure those disks still work and maybe copy them onto new disks. Better yet, buy a network drive with RAID capability. Storing them in the cloud is an option too, but you want to make sure you do that with a company that is going to be around. If the cloud company goes belly up, you could lose your stuff. I’ve written about this one before, and the article still stands. If you have a NAS or external hard drive, do some maintenance on it – makes sure it still works up to spec. Remember, if you have a single external drive, be it SSD or traditional hard disk, you are one failure away from losing everything, so keep copies of your pictures and important data in more than one place or on a RAID system.
- Change your important system passwords – when was the last time you changed your banking password? your debit card PIN? your Facebook password? It really is a good idea to think up new ones at least once in a while, if for no other reason than password databases are one of the first things that scumbags go after when they break a system. Changing passwords is a hassle, and that’s why it’s handy to have a password manager tool like Password Safe or Lastpass.
- Check your online subscriptions – Most subscription services let you know when your credit card expires or something happens that blocks payment, but are you actually aware of how many $1, $2, $3 per month subscription services you’re actually signed up for? How many things auto-renewed that you not pay for but don’t use? It’s good to dig into this a bit at least once a year and cancel those things you’re not really using. You’ll be able to sign up again if you change your mind, and they might even cut you a deal to get you back. There’s a good chance you’ll be surprised how many tiny little subscriptions you’re paying.
- Clean off your electronic devices – your phone, tablet, MP3 players, etc. are not intended to be permanent, long-term storage. Clean that crap off there: archive your photos to a real storage medium, uninstall apps you don’t use, etc. You’ll reduce the risk of losing stuff, you’ll reduce the risk of some creepy border guy trolling through it when you travel, and there’s a good chance you’ll improve the performance of your device.
- Delete your old social media posts – Maybe you don’t have to be as picky as me and delete everything older than a few days, but it can save you long-term grief to delete those age-old social media posts. Yes, naysayers, they probably exist on a backup somewhere… but that’s a lot harder to dig up than simply typing at the search bar of Facebook, Twitter, etc. In my experience, most social media discussions on the stuff I post runs its course in a few days, and, at best, has a shelf-life of a few months. Clean up your social media like you would your refrigerator and get that old, mouldering content out of there. Keep your best stuff, delete the rest.