5 ingenious technical hacks to make before February

It’s a new year and we’re busy setting goals and making decisions. One of mine is to spend at least an hour outside every day.

Of course, I still have work to do, and much of it happens via email. I started 2022 by cleaning up my inbox. Tap or click to see the steps I take each year to clear old emails and start fresh.

I also spent time in my phone’s photo gallery clearing out blurry images, screenshots, and duplicates. It is time consuming but there are downloads to help. Tap or click for free apps that find duplicate photos for you.

Let’s jump into a few ways to boost your security, increase your productivity, and clean up your digital life.

1. Inventory your valuables

I’m in the middle of a move. As I cleared out 17 years of junk, I realized that it was a long time ago that I made a thorough inventory of our valuables.

Having a home inventory list is a lifesaver in the event of a disaster or burglary. The last thing you want to do at a time like this is fight to find receipts or put your brain together to put together an insurance claim.

You had to walk around the house with a notebook to catalog your belongings back then. Now the right app can make the job so much easier. A solid option is Encircles.

Be sure to catalog your electronics, furniture, jewelry, appliances, family heirlooms, clothing, decor, luggage, tools, instructions, art, and any collectibles. Of course, this list is not exhaustive and you can always contact your home or tenant insurance company for recommendations.

Stock Photo.

Stock Photo.
(Cherry Beans / iStock)

MONEY SAVING TIP: Do you want your gadgets to last? Do not skip these simple controls.

2. Update your home network

Is your home network locked? Are you of course? I think this is a common blind spot for cybersecurity.

First, check your password. You should never stick to the default username and password. Even if you changed yours a long time ago, it might be time for an update to something more secure.

Can’t keep track of all those long, unique passwords? A digital password manager is the safest way, but password journals can get the job done. Just keep yours in a safe place where snoops can not get to it. Tap or click for options starting under $ 5.

Next, make sure your router’s firmware is up to date. Updates often include important security fixes, but most of us do not look for hardware fixes like the router.

  • Go to your router’s administrator page: You will need your router’s IP address as well as your administrator password, which can be found in your router’s user guide. How to find your password if you do not know it.
  • On the admin page, find a section called Advanced or Management. This is where you will find firmware updates. Download all available updates. Now your system is up to date.

If there is an option in your router settings that enables automatic updates, turn it on. Also make sure that wireless encryption is running on the WPA2 or WPA3 standard.

While you’re at it, make sure your firewall is working properly. Press or click here and scroll to No. 2 in the list.

SICK ON YOUR OLD COMPUTER? My team of technical geniuses has put together a handy quiz to help you find your next laptop. Click or click here to get our personal recommendation for you in 60 seconds.

3. Take back your inbox

Are you the type who keeps your inbox at zero, or do you open it to find hundreds or thousands of unread messages? Instead of manually combing junk, spend a few minutes automating the cleanup.

Search filters allow you to find emails by category, content, file size and more. Log in to your email from your web browser and navigate to the search box.

Let’s say you have a ton of emails from a company you no longer want to hear from. Search for the email address in the search box. Now you can easily mass delete all these messages.

In Gmail, tap Select all conversations option at the top of the page. It’s a small box that generates a tick when you hit it. Then press Trash icon to wipe them all away. Click or click here to get the job done in Yahoo Mail and Microsoft Outlook.

File photo of hands of business person working on computer.

File photo of hands of business person working on computer.
(iStock)

Give your browser a fresh start

Our browser is where we spend most of our time online. Give yours a thorough cleanup by clearing the cache. Note: This will remove your logins, so you will need to log in to the sites again.

To clear your cache in Chrome, click menu with three dots. Hover over More tools, and then select Delete browsing history. A new page opens. Select a time frame from one hour to the entire time. choose Delete data to complete the process.

If you are using Firefox, click on it three-line menu in the upper right corner, then click History. choose Clear recent history and select your time frame. Hit Okay to finish.

For Microsoft Edge, select menu with three dots in the upper right corner, then select Settings > Privacy, search and services. Below Delete browsing history, click Choose what to clear. Select a time frame and click Clear now.

Open a browser window in Safari, then click Safari in the top toolbar. Choose Clear history, select a time frame, and then click Clear history to finish the work.

5. Give your tech a good drying

Your devices are magnets for dust, dirt, oil and all kinds of bacteria. Here is my guide to cleaning your monitors, keyboard, mouse and printer the right way. All it takes is a little know-how, the right tools and a little time.

There are also the ports of your devices to consider. Cotton swabs can leave fuzz and lint, and metal knives and safety pins leave scratches. Also, stay away from toothpicks as they may pop off. Use plastic cleaner, such as dental floss or foam.

You can also pick up a cheap set on Amazon that has everything you need to clean pretty much all electronics. Press or click for an option under $ 10.

PSA: Do not forget to clean your earphones. They become particularly crusty and you need to be careful how you clean around the speakers. Tap or click to clean up your AirPods, Galaxy Buds or other cordless earphones the right way.

If you are going for a total overhaul, then start by making a home fixture.  (iStock)

If you are going for a total overhaul, then start by making a home fixture. (iStock)
(iStock)

Bonus tip: SEO 101: How to get more people to your website

If you have a website, you want it to appear on the first page of Google for as many different keywords as possible. How can you get there? SEO, or search engine optimization, is the secret sauce that stands between you and ranks high. I chat with SEO expert Steve Wiideman about the insider secrets to boost your rankings and make more money online.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” at Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Command.”

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s National Radio Program and press or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or click or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Copyright 2022, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved. By clicking on the purchase links you support my research. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I believe in.

Learn about all the latest technology at The Kim Komando Show, the country’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim accepts calls and advises on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

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