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TECH4LIFE: Low Tech Clean.

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    Low Tech Clean
    Some tech threats are decidedly more low tech than others.  Germs, parasites, microbes and quick frankly plain old disgusting gunk, can accumulate on our devices.  Worse, because we are afraid to clean them, we sometimes leave these dregs to fester. 
    Well, no more!  Let us resolve to scrub away any crud that may have built up on our electronics.
    All devices can be cleaned, just in different ways.  For example, monitors require a different approach than keyboard.  So let’s break them down by categories.  But first, lets gather the needed supplies.
    Electronics Cleaning Supplies List
    • Lint free Microfibre cloth (terrycloth texture)
    • Cotton swabs
    • Distilled, filtered or boiled water
    • Vinegar
    • Rubbing alcohol
    • Compressed air or vacuum
    • Elbow grease
    Never apply liquids directly to electronics.  Never use paper towels.
    Electronics Cleaning Dump List
    • Windex and other solvents
    • Disinfectant
    • Paper towels and tissue paper
    Monitors and LCD TVs
    If your TV or computer monitors screen looks spotty, smudges, marks and dried saliva are the common culprits.  Rub them out with a clean microfibre cloth and light elbow grease.  Be firm, but don’t press two hard or risk damaging the liquid crystals inside the screen.  Dampen - never wet - the cloth with diluted vinegar, to amplify the effects of the elbow grease as needed.
    Phones, phablets, and other mobile devices
    Since mobile device screens were made to be touched (for the most part), feel free to add more elbow grease for maximum cleaning power.  And, since  mobile device screens tend to touch our faces, feel free to replace the diluted vinegar with diluted rubbing alcohol to power punch gems to oblivion.  
    Keyboards, mice and other input devices
    Input devices are generally quick hardy, after all, they were designed to handled.  They also tend to be a reservoir for spilt juices, coffee and other liquids (read as nesting ground for slime).  Feel free to pull these devices apart and attack with compressed air or a vacuum depending on your preference.  Then hit them with cotton swabs dampened rubbing alcohol.  Then wipe them down the the microfibre cloth.  Then hit them with air again before reassembling.
    Weather your motivation is aesthetic or antiseptic, a cleaning regimen is definitely rewarding.
    New Age Protection
    I am updating my being safe online tips.  After all, it is a new year and there are new threats out there.  What worked last year simply may not be enough for 2015.  So here goes; make some time to not only really but action these safety steps.
    Step 1: Back up, run anti-virus, back up again
    Do it now, do it again and again.  Only the first back up is hard, each subsequent back up is incremental and therefore doesn’t take much time.  Backing up is your first and best defense against data loss which can happen for more reasons than I have space to mention.  Many systems can automate the process to an external drive or cloud service, so your only excuse is .. none.
    Make sure that you download, install, run and update a good anti-malware programme, even for your mobile device.  Get rid of or prevent viruses, adware, spyware and other wares designed to destroy your life.  
    Step 2: Set Strong Unique Passwords
    Passwords can be a pain, but they are also your first line of defense against attacks.  Forget the old rules, passwords now need to be longer than eight characters, need not be a recognizable word and need to be unique for each account.  Yes, you read that right - each account.  Since remembering scores of complicated passwords would be too much, it is time to breakout a good password manager to keep things in check.
    Step 3: Secure Everything
    It can be tempting to jump on a free WiFi hotspot, skip the hassle of configuring a firewall or browsing quickly through unsecured websites, but try to remember how temptation worked out for Eve.
    Take a moment to set up a new password on your home wireless router and all internet enabled devices like IP cameras.  Take a moment to set up a firewall on your ‘outer, turn off Discovery and disable file sharing, especially if you plan to log on to public WiFi.
    Step 4: Avoid Scams
    Certainly it is not recommended that you click on links in email, but if you do, make sure there is a little lock showing in your browser window confirming that the site is secure.
    Speaking of security, secure your credit card by using a dedicated ‘online card’ issued by your bank, a one time/pre-paid card or a service like Paypal to create a safety zone around your prized plastic.
    Online email services like Google, Yahoo! and Outlook all offer built in virus scanners to reduce the likelihood of nefarious downloads, but it is good to remain vigilant.
    Step 5: Repeat
    Yes, repeat.  Continuous protection requires continuos updating.
    Here’s to a safe 2015!
    Post by Carlette Deleon