Spring Cleaning Time!

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February 15, 2018

Spring Cleaning Time!

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Spring has traditionally meant cleaning, organizing and mops. But in our increasingly high-tech households, your hard drive, phone or tablet may need as much attention as your broom closet and stove.
It’s not just stuff. Your privacy needs a cleanup too. You’d be shocked at how much Google tracks you, including when and where you have been.

Here are a few tools that can help you organize your virtual (and real) environments.

1. Clean up your browser

Cookies are like the gunk in your roof gutters: you can’t see them, but they’re there, clogging everything up and keeping your computer from running fluidly. The same goes for download history.

A free program called CCleaner helps you sort out the cookies and archives you don’t really need. When you download the app, you can focus on a specific browser that you would like to clean up. CCleaner analyzes its backlog of information and lists the data that seems unnecessary. You can download that from our website on the FREE STUFF page.

2. Speed up your smartphone

Most of us already know about cluttered desktops, but what about smartphones? Our phones are essentially handheld computers, and when they overflow with useless information, their operations can also slow down. These aren’t necessarily apps, but overburdened call logs, search history, and saved texts.
For Android users, there’s 1Tap Cleaner, an app that earns its name. The app gathers that data in one place, letting you decide what to keep. Most of us are surprised by how many outdated messages and URLs get archived, a data stream that we will probably never refer to again. Then again, you do want to make sure irreplaceable bits (landmark texts, unsaved photos) survive the deep clean.

iPhones don’t have an equivalent app to 1Tap Cleaner, so you’ll have to remove the surplus manually. Luckily, iPhone makes it pretty easy.

3. Remove redundant images

Digital photos are easy to shoot, upload and copy, which is handy in almost every respect, especially if you grew up lugging rolls of film to the one-hour photo lab. The downside is that you may end up with multiple copies of the same picture. If you’re shooting with a decent camera, each shot could take 10MG or more of space. This volume adds up.

The trick is to safely delete redundant photos without losing the original image. This is the premise behind Duplicate Photo Fixer, which is designed to filter through your photo collection in search of double takes.

The program is compatible with Windows, iOS and Android. Not only can Duplicate Photo Fixer find identical photos on your hard drive, but it will also match similar photos — so don’t worry if you cropped an image or tinkered with its brightness and contrast.

4. List all your physical belongings

We see household objects every day, but what do we actually own? You may be the type of person who likes to keep track of every ironing board and lampshade in the house, or you may want to compile a report for insurance companies, so there is no question whether something has been stolen or lost.

The Encircle app works on both iOS and Android and was created to take inventory of your worldly possessions. Just take a photo of each valuable object, then attach notes to the image, including its original cost, relevant serial numbers, and even appraisals. Makes the process super easy.

5. Sell your secondhand stuff online

Every time we clean the offices, we discover something we will never use and want to throw out. But sometimes that knickknack has monetary value. Craigslist isn’t very dependable these days, with all the scams and false advertisements going around, so where can you offer your old television to the highest bidder?
There are several online markets we recommend, which are considered more trustworthy than Craigslist, but are still free and user-friendly. (Note: Scams can happen just about anywhere, so keep an eye out, even on these sites).

Like eBay, in OfferUp you sift through commodities and make an offer. Unlike eBay, OfferUp isn’t an auction site, and you don’t have to wait for a clock to tick down. Also, OfferUp uses the TruYou system, which confirms the identities of buyers and sellers. Your junk may just prove to be someone else’s treasure.

6. BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP!!!!!!

No matter what you use for backup, it is wise to actively keep an eye on what is making it to the file system and what isn’t. Checking your backup system and doing it manually at least once a year (ideally a little more often than that) gives you a clear and concise date that you can remember your system goes back to.

There are many different types of backup solutions (Local vs. Cloud, Automated vs. manual, etc.). If you don’t have one or are looking to upgrade, let us know, we’d be happy to advice you on what would work best, and even get you set up.

Now that all that pesky computer spring cleaning is done, you have more time to get to everything else on that to-do list.

As always, if you have any questions, or need any help or clarifications, feel free to give us a call or text us at 847-502-1531, shoot us an email to mark@lakecountygeeks.com, .

We’re always happy to help.

Questions? Give us a call!

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