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Timely Tech Tips

Way of Living – Tech

Date: May 4, 2021

Christopher Hobbick, an IT expert, joined us for an important conversation about how to successfully, safely, and easily start over our digital lives. He shared the details of his upcoming application for estate planning and then provided quick tips for how we can use our devices more securely and efficiently.

My Digital Life Application

Christopher created an Iphone application, My Digital Life. It can be used as a day-to-day app to organize your digital life and it can also function as an estate planner for your digital legacy. He kept it simple, but powerful, and easy to use.

We are all keeping track of so many passwords – Apple IDs, netflix, emails – and it can be a frustrating ordeal. People are using similar passwords for everything, which is an unsafe practice. Security measures are becoming more complicated every year, and the majority of users do not fully understand where their documents are located, how the cloud works, or how to protect their digital life.

Chris was motivated to find a robust solution. That solution is My Digital Life – a one-stop application for your digital life. We’re no longer limited to just one device, and the average person has over 100 online accounts. Most people no longer even know what they are subscribed to – it’s intangible unless it’s documented. My Digital Life creates a roadmap of your cybersecurity across all devices, keeps track of accounts, the location of specific data, passwords, the accounts where 2-factor authentication is enabled, subscriptions, etc.

Additionally, it can be a vault to a set of instructions regarding your digital life, in case of your passing.

Chris felt the urgent necessity of this app, as every tech company has a “No right of survivorship” clause, so even if you have a court order to reset a password on a spouse’s account, the tech company has the right to refuse. This clause makes it exponentially more difficult for loved ones to tend to the responsibilities of the person they lost. 

It empowers you to handle your digital legacy upon your passing by letting you designate different appointees and beneficiaries, as well as deciding what you want to happen to your devices.

When you launch the app, it leads you through a series of questions during which you designate your emergency contact and the digital fiduciary. You’ll receive a welcome packet in the mail, a magnet for your fridge, contact information, and then you’re all set.  

For this application, security was of the utmost importance. It has multiple levels of encryption, stored on a server. Data is encrypted to a level where even Chris does not have access to it and is completely unbreakable. If you choose to use it as a digital fiduciary, the data is unencrypted. 

For more information, you can go to frtc.info.

Searching More Efficiently

We can all search more efficiently on our devices. Rather than searching manually, looking, scrolling, and clicking around for a document, photo or application, there are easier and softer ways to find precisely what you are looking for.

  1. Spotlight (Mac)

Use this tool on your Mac to find an email, a calendar, open an app, or search for a doc. It is the tiny magnifying glass symbol in the top corner of your screen. Type in what you are looking for (such as a document) and it opens. Very instant.

  1. Swipe Down (Iphone)

When you swipe down from the middle of your screen, you get a search function, and you just need to type in the first few letters of whatever you are looking for. This is so much better than the endless sea of swipes. 

  1. Safari Search Feature (Iphone)

This search feature enables you to find any word or passage on the page you were reading. Type in a few letters, and it will take you to that part of the article. This feature is the tiny up arrow at the bottom of the screen when within safari on your phone.

Improving Security

It is essential to secure the information on our devices.

  1. Two-factor authentication

Your email inbox is the most vulnerable thing you have online. Use two-factor authentication on your email.

  1. Malwarebytes 

Antivirus software will not protect against the most malicious software, like cryptoware or ransomware, whereas anti-malware software will proactively protect your device against these. Malwarebytes – at Malwarebytes.com – is the best option to protect your computer. Regarding any antivirus or malware protection, the security of your computer depends on definition updates. Many softwares fall short on these updates, but with malwarebytes, there are dozens of definition updates every single day. It costs approximately $40 a year for one device.

  1. Dashlane

There are data breaches every single day. Companies have account information stolen constantly, and they do not have to notify you until months after it has happened. Dashlane – at Dashlane.com – will notify you if your account has a data breach, so you can promptly change your password. 

  1. VPNs (Virtual Private Network)

Sniffer programs will attach to your same network, so while you are browsing, all of the websites, usernames, and passwords you visit and enter are readable. Using VPNs encrypts all of your data traffic, protecting you against sniffers. VPNs are effortless to use and incredibly effective. They cost $5 or less a month.

Limiting Screen Time

Websites are intentionally designed to get your attention, distract you from your work, and lead you down rabbit holes. The volume of sites and apps available only amplifies how distracting your digital experience can be – it can be enormously challenging to focus and work, which is frustrating as the computer and internet is optimally a tool to help you be more efficient.

  1. Distraction Blocker Applications – they will block certain sites on your devices for a set period of time. Recommendation: Freedom.to. The Freedom application works on all devices. It is quite granular, as it both can function as a parental control and/or enable you to get work done.
  1. Built-in Screen Applications – On your iphone, you can select specific apps and the amount of time you want to spend on time. By using these, you can empower your child to have free reign on the phone but within a limited amount of time.

These tips equip us to be savvier, safer, and more focused participants in our digital lives.

Chris’ Top 10 Tools

  1. Email: Protonmail (www.protonmail.com) – Secure email, based in Switzerland. 
  2. VPN: ProtonVPN (www.protonvpn.com) – High-speed Swiss VPN that safeguards your privacy.
  3. Password Manager: Dashlane (www.dashlane.com) – Simple and secure password management. 
  4. Cybersecurity: Malwarebytes (www.malwarebytes.com) – Protect your devices, data, and privacy. 
  5. Two-factor Authentication App: Authy (www.authy.com) – Two- factor authentication is the best way to protect yourself online. 
  6. Focus App: Freedom (www.freedom.to) – Block digital distractions to stay focused and get work done. 
  7. Image Scanner App: Scannable (www.evernote.com/products/scannable) – Easily save and share PDF documents from your phone.  
  8. Screen Capture Software: Snagit (www.techsmith.com/screen-capture.html) – Screenshot program that captures video display and audio output. 
  9. Duplicate File Remover: Washing Machine (www.intego.com/mac-cleaner) – Mac cleaner that makes it easy to get rid of junk files, duplicate files and programs you never use. 
  10. Email Verifier: Email Checker (www.email-checker.net) –  A nice tool that helps you check whether or not an email address is valid. 

Chris can be reached at [email protected] or 203 998-5088.  He is available for IT consultation and support.

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