10 Super Geeky Tips for the New Year 2013
I was going to update this post from last year & add some new stuffs for 2013 because this IS the time of year that I do try to do my Geeky housecleaning. But dag...this post holds up! So..being sorta lazy anyway I'm going to re-post it with new commentary!
(click above for a larger size or download PDF it here)
1. Change your passwords. Yes, ALL of them.
According to CNN Tech an 8 digit password can be hacked in 2 hours but a 12 character password would take 17 years. Use this handy Comic Tutorial to create a really super new password for every website....don't worry, there's a trick! You don't have to go to every site you use right away - just make a commitment that when you do go to a site that requires your password you take the extra 5 min to change your password - maybe using the suggestions in my Comic Tutorial.
Basically, have a root password, a varying numeric addition (not the year or your B-DAY!) and add an ending that has something to do with the site. EX: for Huffington Post ---> H@PPyZ0mbiesEat24HuffPo. Twitter would be H@PPyZ0mbiesEat25TWEET etc.
Oh and in the small print of my comic I said 3 important things - Change your passwords twice a year, have a different password for Facebook because FB's security is notoriously craptastic, and a diff password from ANYwhere else for your bank that is randomly generated. Oh and here's my Disclaimer - I'm not a security expert and nothing is foolproof. And geeks all over have different opinions about passwords - these are just mine.
2. Dump your cache, cookies, & clear history
At least once a year (I try quarterly) go around to every computer you use public & private -and dump the cache, clear your cookies, & browsing history.
3. Consolidate your Flashdrives
We all have a gajillion flashdrives floating around from 128mg's to 16gb's. Lazy Way: Gather them all up and create a folder on your external HD called flashdrive backups (or one folder per flashdrive) and drag all the stuff in there. Smart Way: Go through all those flashdrives & trash anything you really don't need & save only the archive worthy stuff. While you're at it - are those drives named? Do you have an .RTF doc on it that says "If found, Please Read" with your contact information? This might be a good time to get those on there. I give every new teacher & secretary to my school a new 4G flashdrive and yeah, sometimes they lose them (I'm looking at you Sue! LOL) So, even though it's super easy to carry around & save stuff in a pinch, you wanna give yourself a chance to get it back if lost. Now... throw some of those old flashdrives away & go on to the next tip.
4. Forget the flashdrive try the cloud!
Now that you've backed up your flash drives consider using Dropbox, Amazon Prime storage, iCloud, or Google drive to save your stuff! I've blogged about Dropbox before, but this past year after getting 3 new computers & a new mini iPad proves to me how vital having Dropbox is. When I go to each device I don't have to transfer my documents because they are already there once I install the Dropbox! Boom! Don't have Dropbox or joined & never DOWNLOADED it on your computer? Get it by using THIS SPECIAL SECRET SQUIRREL LINK to register for dropbox & use your school email account and you'll get EXTRA FREE SPACE! (it's a total geeky pyramid scheme but SO worth it!) Dropbox allows you store your files online, easily share files with others, and sync your documents with multiple computers and mobile devices once you Download Dropbox. I have it on my iPad and all my Macs both home and at school! This is a must have tool for educators! It's Free, Convenient, and Saves Time! And you can increase your space for FREE if you Tweet about it & do a few other tasks (or blog about it using your referral link - wink wink) Seriously, it's just downright awesome.Want to read more? My fav Auntie & blogging mentee Life With Lynn has written a new post Feelin' (and sharin'!) the DROPBOX Looove! about how she uses Dropbox.
5. Edit your privacy settings & friendships
Facebook is notoriously changing their privacy settings (that's why I've had an on again and off again relationship with FB right now we're broken up)- Google "latest facebook privacy settings" to read blogs with advice to double check that you're sharing what you want to share. Consider what you share and who you share it with. Also, look at your friends - are you really friends with them? Do they add to the conversation? Have they contributed lately? " While considering what's private and public, take time to evaluate what a "friend," "contact" or "follower" means to you and what types of information you share with different groups." (Quoted from the super AWEsome Jolie O'Dell)
6. Be Transparent
I've said it all year, but Transparent is the New Black! If you haven't done it already, go for it! Though some still consider it a big leap for an educator on the intarwebs, I think that horse has already left the barn. I went transparent in 2009 after being inspired at NECC-DC. Sure, it's a little scary but worth it if you're building a PLN and wanting to make a "name" for yourself out there. And really? Our names are already "out there" best to craft how it shows up yourself & be a good role model for creating your own positive digital footprint. (Search this blog "digital footprint" to read more) So yeah, now I'm Gwyneth Jones here and on the Twitters in addition to my electronic portfolio and on my wikis.
7. Buy your name.
For $10 bucks a year you can own your own domain through Google Apps. You don't want to be the last person who has their own domain or let someone else get it. I was lazy in this, considered it back in the late 90's - went with Angelfire instead. That was stooopid. Wish I had grabbed Gwyneth Jones before the Welsh Opera singer & the Sci Fi YA Author! Ahh well! Now I have 2 domains! thedaringlibrarian.com for this blog and daringlibrarian.com for my electronic portfolio.
8. Get Wikified
Sure there are LibGuides & LiveBinders out there but nothing is so easy to use, flexible, FREE, & just a joy as a Wikispaces! So, if you're not ready to buy a domain but don't just want a school based web page? Create a FREE K-12 Wikispaces. Learn from my mistakes, when you sign up for the first time, use your own name or a variation thereof! I made the mistake back in 06 when I joined wikispaces of making it under my school name because my intention was for it to be a prof dev wiki... so I named it mhmsmedia for my wiki account -I've since changed it to http://thedaringlibrarian.wikispaces.com (Thanks Wikispaces!)
9.Build your PLN
Build your PLN! Today, having a Personal Learning Network is essential to stay in tune with the trends and what's going on. So whether you join a Ning or Twitter (even just for conferences!) Here's a getting started Twitter 101 Flickr gallery so you can start talking to other excited educators about new ideas...crowdsource! Got a question? Pose it to the PLN and you'll be amazed at the answers you get! See a question someone else is asking that you can help with? Contribute! (I try to give 95% and only ask for help 5%) GIVE, give, and give some more! Share shamelesly! Whatever you create think of your other educators out there who might benefit from it. Add it to your blog, wiki or slideshare! No one likes to re-create the wheel. Give your greatest works to our profession - it's good ed tech karma! PS. Always give attribution! I know professional teacher thieving is par for the course, heck I do it all the time, but I ask permission whenever possible and link back and ALWAYS give attribution!
10. Back up your data.
"Hacks and hardware failures happen. Before this year gets going, make sure as much of your data as possible is protected. From bookmakrs, calendars and contacts to blog posts and work projects, more and more of us are relying on networks of servers and startups to keep us running. Save anything that's valuable to you and portable. Get a big external HD but also burn to CD or DVD the really important stuff because I've had externals die on me. And yeah, the cloud is awesome, but I'm not ready to give over yet completely! LOL "Think of it this way: You - or at least parts of you - live in the Internet. If the Internet caught on fire, what would you grab to carry with you out of the blaze?" (Quoted, inspired & adapted from the super AWEsome Jolie O'Dell)
So, Ok...some of these things are stuff I preach about ALL the time... like a flippin broken record when it comes to shameless sharing I'm that passionate about it....but what did I forget?
What are the geeky things that you do that we can learn from?
Please comment your suggestions, corrections, & additions! Thank you dear readers! Muuuwa! And......Happy New Year!
--Credits & Resources
Creating and Remembering Complex Passwords by Alex Jones (not my nephew!)
Suggested alternative expert comic - Thanks, Colin!(click above for full size on XKCD!)
The Ultimate Guide for Creating Strong Passwords - Some of these suggestions seem impossible but I got great ideas here.
The top 50 passwords you should never use | Naked Security
8 Things Every Geek Needs to Do Before 2010
Five New Years Resolution Suggestions.
Baby Cthulhu Squishable a gift from my dear friend Dr. Gelving Obolensky of New Babbage. Thanks darlin! He, I will NEVER Prune from my PLN tree!