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How to Safely Secure Documents

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Sometimes, there are files on your computer that are meant for your eyes only. This sensitive information needs to be protected from hackers especially if you are connected to the internet regularly to safely secure documents. Exposure of sensitive documents and information like your social security number, credit card numbers and bank information could subject you to information theft. Your company documents could also contain company secrets, information regarding clients and employees or financial records.

Here are some ways you can safely secure documents to prevent unauthorized access.

Backup Regularly and Often

Backing up is one of the most important steps you can take in protecting your files from data loss. How often you backup depends on how much data you can afford to lose. You can backup a month’s week’s or hour’s worth of data since this is a personal choice.

For people who use Windows, the easiest thing to do is to use the backup utility (ntbackup.exe) built into the operating system. You can also use Wizard Mode to simplify the backup process including restoring the backups. You can also reconfigure backup settings manually so that it performs backups automatically and safely secure documents.

There are also many different 3rd party backup systems you can use, if you don’t like or don’t use Windows. Whatever backup system you use, it is important to store a copy in an offsite location in case of fire, flood or other natural disasters.

Always Install Operating System Updates

Always install updates especially security updates in your computer. Not installing updates could leave your computer vulnerable to remote users hacking into it or viruses exploiting bugs to gain access to your computer. Thankfully, updates to your PC are easy to install. Most updates do all the work for you and all you have to do is click on the prompt to allow the updates to install to safely secure documents.

Do Not Use Same Password For Every Site

Remembering all your passwords for every site you log into is impossible but using the same password is also very risky. To help, you can use password management tools like Keepass to help you remember and store all the passwords you store for different sites.  

If you don’t like using programs like these, you can use a password in the format !55. If you want to create a password for Facebook for example, you can use this format to remember your password easily. If you’re birthday is in 1980, your password for Facebook would be 1980facebook!80, if you want an account for CNN, your password would be 1980cnn!80. Using this format gives you a strong password that is easy to remember.

Install and Update Anti-Virus Software

This should be a no-brainer but you would be surprised to how many people do not use or update an anti-virus software. Having an updated anti-virus means that your emails will be scanned as you download them. You will also be prevented from entering suspicious websites or stop you from running dangerous programs. Aside from installing, you also need to update your anti-virus software. Updates enable the software to recognize new viruses and worms that have been released since you installed the program.

Protecting confidential data and personal information should be a priority for all people who use and access the internet on a regular basis. Protection could save you money and days of hassle trying to recover lost data.

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Business

Useless Phrases You Need to Stop Using in Your Emails

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According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of Americans think that email is important to doing their jobs. Despite this fact, many of us are not good at it. Mastering the art of getting to the point is crucial especially if you consider that 66% of emails were opened on a smartphone or tablet. With this in mind, keep these useless phrases off your emails.

Please be advised

Many people use this because it sounds professional but it is also unnecessary. Be concise. The recipient already knows it’s important.

Please do not hesitate to contact me

This is one of many useless phrases that communicates the obvious. Email is a form of communication and it is expected that you will reply if it is important.

I Think

Senders usually include an ‘I think” to soften a blow. However, this phrase tells the recipient that you’re not sure of yourself. Whenever you’re communicating in emails or real life, you need to be confident. You also risk that the recipient disregarding your opinion of you use this phrase.

Enclosed/Attached please find

Nothing can actually be enclosed or attached in an email. This phrase is used when the sender wants to avoid using “I”. It seems minor, but it’s better to use “I attached…” to make your email more direct.

I hope you are well

This phrase is usually used on 3 occasions: when you want to hit the recipient with something unpleasant and when you want to feign closeness.  If you are genuinely concerned about the person, ask them directly and avoid using this filler line.

To Whom It May Concern

There are only a few situations when this phrase is appropriate. If you know the recipient, address them directly. If you don’t, avoid using this unnecessarily formal phrase. The phrase also makes you sound unconfident.

Sincerely Yours

In the days of snail mail, this phrase was the norm. However, in the digital age, it seems stiff and very formal. Instead of using this phrase, use “Cheers” or “Thank you” or just sign you name.

Sorry to bother you

Opening an email with an apology undermines our credibility. Instead of apologizing, get straight to the point. Tell them why you’re contacting them instead of hiding behind apologies.

To be honest with you

This is tricky. It is commonly used when you want to soften a blow or when you want to be candid about something. However, it also tells the recipient that you might not be honest before.

You should

“You should” implies that you make their decisions for them. Avoid using this phrase unless they’re asking you for advice.

No problem

When people use “no problem”, there is actually a problem and you’re softening them up. Instead of useless phrases like “no problem”, use “you’re welcome” or “sure thing” to avoid miscommunication.

I’ll try

We all live in a world ruled by calendars and deadlines and “I’ll try” sounds wishy washy. This phrase does not instill confidence in your abilities. It can also make you seem disengaged or not fully committed to your project.

As I mentioned before

It seems like your explaining the same thing over and over again. Instead of making it seem like your repeating yourself, try to be considerate. Get to the point even if it seems like you’re repeating yourself.

Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you

This phrase is totally unnecessary because it opens a whole can of things totally unrelated to your purpose. Instead of beating around the bush, let the recipient know what it is you can do for them.

I completely understand how you feel

Before you type this phrase to your email, stop and think if you’ve been in their shoes before. These types of useless phrases can sound thoughtful and well-intentioned but it can also come off as condescending and distanced. Emails are the currency in the business world. While proper courtesy is important, rambling and improper phrases can hurt your credibility. Eliminating these phrases from your email ensures that your email is well-received.

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Technology

How To Choose The Right VR Headset

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If you’re a techie, you’ve probably heard of virtual reality (VR). This technology has been popping up during the last few years and is becoming mainstream. According to technology experts, VR headset use will reach up to 500 million units by 2025. Not only is it being used for recreation so that users can virtually jump into the best experiences without leaving their homes, it also has widespread application in the fields of education, business, health care and other industries. People are naturally curious about this nascent technology and are looking for VR headsets to get their feet wet. Here are some factors to consider if you’re choosing a new VR headset.

Price

VR headsets have a wide range of prices ranging from cheap to very expensive. If you just want to test the waters, try to look for something more affordable. There are many headsets around the $40 mark that won’t break the bank. According to some online reviews, the View-Master Deluxe VR Viewer provides decent entertainment for anybody in the family at a reasonable price.

Customizable Features

A good VR headset needs to be customizable to make your viewing experience a good one. Many people are flocking to buy the Google Cardboard but it is very basic and limited in what it can do. to enhance and make a user’s viewing experience great so that they will want to use the VR headset again, it needs to options like smartphone adaptors so that you can use it in conjunction with your phone, focus wheel and decent ergonomics so that it is comfortable. Aside from this, look for VR headsets that have more sophisticated built-in controls like tracking sensors, controllers or their own screens. These features will help you achieve the best viewing experience and the needs of other people when you let them borrow it.

Content

The whole point of buying a VR headset is so that you can immerse yourself in new experiences. A good VR headset has a good breadth of content so that users can enjoy them to the fullest. Try to find headsets that have affordable experiences like going on adventures with Batman in Gotham City or roaming the earth with Jurassic era dinosaurs. How about swimming the deep blue sea with dolphins?

Before buying, check out the manufacturer’s available content to see its breadth. Aside from this, content also needs to be affordable. Remember, there are VR headsets that are expensive so if you want to get your money’s worth, there has to be limitless content available for your enjoyment.

Design

A VR headset also needs to have good design. It has to be ergonomic so that it sits comfortably on your face. There are headsets that are so comfortable you forget that you’re wearing them. There are many headsets in the market. The Google Cardboard for example is very affordable and easy to use. You just snap them to your smartphone like a scuba mask and you’re ready to go. While the experience is somewhat fun, the cardboard can be uncomfortable on the face and the surface tends to feel scratchy. Find something more comfortable if you have the budget.

Compatibility

VR headsets are still an evolving technology. While there is great promise in the market and the public is eager to try out this new piece of technology, there is still a big room to grow. This is why users should buy a VR headset that has good compatibility. There are headsets that can only be used with Android or iOs platform. There are others that have their own screens and cannot b upgraded. When it comes to this kind of technology it is better to find something that is flexible so that you can upgrade your phone or software without having to upgrade your VR headset.

Virtual Reality has been called as the “next big thing”. According to some experts, this technology will soon take over our lives and using it will become normal in the near future. For now, VR headsets make a cool birthday gift or a treat to yourself for a job well done. Whichever headset you choose, find something that is within your budget with good content and flexibility.

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Influencers

Irie to Aurora: Van Life with Two Roaming Nomads

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I met Noami and Dustin one hot New Orleans day while moving a piano from one house to another.  Dustin was a project manager for a construction company and Noami was an environmental scientist studying the coastal systems in Louisiana.  They seemed like your average couple, but what I discovered throughout our friendship was that they were anything but average.  Like myself, they also suffered from a particularly strong and itching wanderlust.  For this, they found and created a pretty fascinating solution: why not get a van, hit the road, work remotely, and explore?

Thus was born their adventure, which they interestingly named “Irie to Aurora“.  Their time on the road is now nearing its first year of completion.  Along the way, they’ve amassed over 8,400 followers on Instagram.  Here’s a sneak peak into their #vanlife journey.

Who’s idea was this?  How did you come up with it?

I think the idea to buy a van and live on the road was both ours. When Dustin and I met it was one of the first things we talked about, and throughout our relationship, we fantasized about the idea until we finally took the leap. Best idea ever.

We both love to travel. We’ve taken road trips together as often as we could since before we were even dating. As our relationship grew, these trips became more frequent and for extended periods. We also followed other people on social media who were doing the same thing, living on the road. This inspired us to do what we had always dreamt of and talked about.

How long has this journey been and how long do you plan to continue?

It has been eleven months on the road and we would like to sustain this lifestyle for as long as we can. 

How did you come up with the name “Irie to Aurora”?

Noami is from Trinidad, and the word Irie is slang meaning “powerful and pleasing; a state of feeling great.” Initially, when we planned the trip, our destination was Alaska to see the aurora borealis, hence Irie to Aurora. 

What has been your greatest challenge to date?

Dustin works remotely so this requires us to stay on the grid most of the time and often hunt for wifi. His schedule is fluid, so finding a routine has been challenging.

What do you guys do for work while on the road?

Dustin currently works remotely as a construction estimator.  On the road Noami works odd jobs and freelance gigs online.

What have you been the most homesick for?

Overall, I don’t think we’ve been particularly homesick. There have been moments where we reminisce about New Orleans and miss the little things, like the food, and the music, and the people.

In what ways has this trip changed you individually and as a couple?

Living on the road and sharing 80 square feet has come with its fair share of challenges. But I think it has brought us closer together. We’ve learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses in ways we never thought we could. Living in such close quarters 24/7 has forced us to be more mindful of our attitudes and how we impact each other’s “space” because tempers do flare. We’re more compassionate with each other and with ourselves. We have created a space where simplicity can flourish, a lifestyle we have both come to value. Learning to let go and let be, keeping an open heart and mind is the everyday lesson and this attitude has led to so many new friendships and experiences. Overall, life on the road has been deeply transformative, it has brought us closer to ourselves and to each other. Dustin and I are better people because of this decision and we are so grateful for each other and our life together. 

Plans for another road trip in the future?

I think the journey we’re on is perpetual. There will be a few pit stops along the way but that’s all part of it. However, we do have plans for Canada and maybe Central and South America, after Alaska of course.

What was your favorite place along the way?

Hmm… Choosing a favorite place is tough because each place is so unique with its own beauty, but we love Baja, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Oregon. 

Van life might not be for everyone, but their journey is enough to make you want to buy a one way ticket to a random spot on the globe.  In an increasingly interconnected world, the ability to be fluid with your roots was once an impossibility that the internet is now making possible.  Perhaps this is a leap we should all consider, at least once in our lives.  Just like Tolkien said, not all those who wander are lost.

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