« Back to blog posts

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.

Other articles:

Parenting with Sanity and Joy

Way of Living – Parenting June 8, 2021 Sue Groner joined us for a Way of Living conversation about the joys and challenges of parenting. She shared her CLEARR method, emphasizing how respectful communication with your child can alter the dynamic in your home, making your child more responsible while you experience less stress. She…

Keep reading »

The Power of Notebooking and Journaling

Way of Living – Literacy June 1, 2021 Stephanie Affinito, a literacy teacher educator, joined us for a Way of Living conversation about the types, benefits, and joys of notebooking. She illuminated how notebooking is an activity that can be tailored to our interests, needs, and hopes, ultimately supporting us to grow closer to the…

Keep reading »

Entrepreneurship in the Fintech World

Work – Fintech May 25, 2021 Luvleen Sidhu, the Chair, CEO and Founder of BM Technologies, Inc., joined us for a fascinating conversation about digital banking, taking her company public, and the practices that keep her grounded. She inspired us to start over with both our understanding of banking itself and how to reframe daily…

Keep reading »

Dementia with Dignity

Wellness – Awareness May 18, 2021 Patti Wick joined us for a powerful yet sensitive conversation about managing the effects of dementia, after a loved one is diagnosed. Patti shared data as well as lived wisdom that can help us to start over our thinking about dementia itself and start over our approach with loved…

Keep reading »

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…

Keep reading »

Bibliotherapy as Self Care

Category: Way of Living – Literacy Date: April 27, 2021 Stephanie Affinito, a literacy teacher educator, joined us for a Wellness conversation about reading as a method of self care. She defined bibliotherapy, illuminated self care, outlined the benefits of reading, provided tips on how to start over our reading life, and gifted us many…

Keep reading »

Finding Hope After COVID

Category: Wellness – Care Date: April 20, 2021 Mark Shapiro, MD, joined us for a Wellness conversation about his experience with COVID as a hospitalist in Santa Rosa, California. He vulnerably shared the personal and professional impact of COVID, his own takeaways and broader advice we can all use to emotionally start over, cultivating preparedness…

Keep reading »

Divided No More

Category: Work – Integrated Self Date: April 13, 2021 Atif Iqbal, a certified leadership and personal transformation coach, joined us for an indelible conversation about bringing your whole self to work; starting over by integrating the personal identity into the professional self.  The Challenges Behind Working with Integrity  Many of us have a professional self…

Keep reading »

Picture Books Are for You, Too!

Category: Way of Living – Literacy Date: April 6, 2021 Pernille Ripp, a teacher, author and educational advocate,  joined us for a conversation about the robust merits of picture books for readers of every age. She invited us to start over our reading lives by seeking the books that satisfy our interests and curiosities –…

Keep reading »

Fifteen with Gene

Category: Wellness – Fitness Date: March 30, 2021 Gene Schafer, an athletic trainer, personal trainer, and founder of ARC Athletics, joined us for a Wellness discussion centered around simple, yet effective exercises we can do in a short amount of time. Our talk felt particularly relevant after the pandemic, which has disrupted so many of…

Keep reading »

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Category: Work Date: March 23, 2021 Sarah Stamboulie, an executive, transition and leadership coach, joined us for a Work conversation about how to professionally start over while remaining in your current occupation or place of employment. She offered advice about how to navigate career development and proactively create opportunities within your organization, while being aware…

Keep reading »

Standing Up to Anti-Asian Hate

Category: Way of Living – Pop-Up Event Date: March 25, 2021 Soyoung Park joined us for an impassioned, vulnerable, and urgent conversation about her experience with anti-Asian hate in this country. Soyoung is a Korean-American teacher educator and a scholar of early childhood. Her presentation was extraordinarily moving, enlightening and informative. It invited us all…

Keep reading »

Humor, Seriously

Category: Work Date: March 16, 2021 We continued our Work series with an informative, hilarious conversation with Jennifer Aaker, a behavioral scientist whose research focuses on cultivating a meaningful life. She shared with us how humor is endemic to professional success, social connection, and personal well-being, and how we can foster more of it throughout…

Keep reading »

Chocolate — Sweet Indulgence

Category: Way of LivingDate: March 9, 2021 Peter Moustakerski, an absolute chocolate guru, joined us for a wide-ranging discussion about chocolate, including its long history, production details, health benefits, ethical considerations, as well as where to find high-quality chocolate on our own. He also led us through a delicious chocolate tasting, offering best practices for…

Keep reading »

Executive Search in Turbulent Times

Category: WorkDate: March 2, 2021 Gustavo Alba, an expert in recruiting and executive placement, joined us for a conversation about positioning yourself in the current job market, partnering with recruiters, and the effects of the pandemic on hiring practices. He offered insider advice and context to anyone looking for employment –   Reflect on Your Strengths…

Keep reading »

Staying Pain-Free While Working From Home

Category: Wellness Date: February 23, 2021 We continued our Wellness conversations with Dylann Craig, whose clinical area of expertise includes orthopedic and sports rehabilitation, physical therapy with manual techniques, functional and corrective exercises, and neuromuscular re-education. With the drastic changes to people’s work setup over this past year, 50% of Dylann’s caseload are problems with…

Keep reading »

Nutrition Myths

Category: Wellness Date: February 16, 2021 Next in the Startover series, we spoke with Sydney Greene, a registered dietitian who specializes in nutrition for recovery from addiction, disordered eating, negative body image, and chronic digestive issues. Throughout our conversation, Sydney stressed that ultimately, food choices are individual and personal. Your eating habits can be customized…

Keep reading »

Breaking Through Financial Boundaries

Category: Wealth Date: February 9, 2021 Our first Wealth event featured the expert Justin Charise, a financial advisor who leads a comprehensive financial planning practice. He explained the benefits of working with a financial advisor, addressed our questions regarding the new tax plan, and shared tips for making sound financial decisions that are responsive to…

Keep reading »

Breathing With Bryan

Category: Wellness Date: February 2, 2021 We launched our Startover series with a conversation with Bryan Mirabella, a certified instructor in Restorative Breathing, Oxygen Advantage, and the Institute of Motion.  He offered simple ways in which we can change our breathing and shared how it can transform our sense of well-being. How to Breathe Breathe…

Keep reading »

Upcoming events:

  • Breaking Bad Pandemic Eating Habits

    Wellness - Eating Habits

    • What prompted Jiying to startover? How does one make a dramatic career change?
    • How can I break bad pandemic eating habits and get back on track?
    • What should I do when I’m tired of cooking and out of fresh ideas?
    22 JUN
    8:00 PM ET
    45 minutes
    With: Jiying Zhang
  • How Indigenous Worldview Can Change Our Future

    Way of Living - Culture & Values

    • Why is worldview reflection important?
    • How is our original Indigenous worldview different than what guides most cultures today?
    • Is comparing worldviews a dangerous binary?
    6 JUL
    8:00 PM ET
    45 minutes
    With: Four Arrows
  • Neighborhood News in New York

    Way of Living - News

    • What is your personal story leading up to when you took over Tribeca Citizen, a neighborhood e-newspaper?
    • How has it been to report during the past year, and what are some headline observations on people and businesses during the pandemic?
    • Looking back at your career, including at Tribeca Citizen, could you highlight a couple of interesting stories that you enjoyed covering?
    13 JUL
    8:00 PM ET
    45 minutes
    With: Pam Frederick

Stay Up-to-Date on Startover

Sign up to be stay informed about what is going on in the Startover community—new events, features and personal stories.