Endless entertainment, working and shopping from home, Facetiming and sending gifs of a cat in a monkey suit eating a banana: it's an enchanting time to be virtually connected. But as we've learned from every Disney movie ever, everything tantalizing comes with a potential dark side—in this case, things like malicious viruses, eye strain, and crappy battery life. But fear not! We have ways to magically slay the dragon's tail — er, I mean deal with tangled cords — and live happily ever after with Prince Google.
Here are five ways to combat common technological villains:
Tame the Dragon's Tail (or, Tangled, Exposed Cords)
If your cord dragon is of the computer variety, follow these directions:
If your cord dragon is of the TV variety, go here:
If you're battling a legion of cord dragons, you'll need this:
Battle Evil Intent (a.k.a. Viruses & Phishing)
- Knowledge is power, so arm yourself with knowledge: The Department of Homeland Security has a clear roadmap outlining all things virus related, including different types of viruses and how to protect against them.
- Consider using a more secure operating system like Linux or Mac OS X since they are targeted much less frequently than Windows operating systems.
- If using an unsecured operating system, download free antivirus software (the linked article is a great roundup of the best available options).
- Learn about phishing scams so you'll know one when you see it, as they are becoming increasingly sophisticated—like all bottom feeders, they are learning how to quickly adapt so we need to stay on our toes.
- According to the FBI, Spear Phishing is a specific phishing method designed to gain access to your financial information, so take some time to learn about the sneaky ways phishers will attempt to get you and your financials.
Stand Up to Enemies (When Sitting is So Much Easier)
- It may feel like it's a computer screen world and we're just livin' in it, so many of us need to intentionally break away from our screens, stand up and walk around, at least two hours each workday, according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
- Even better, there are tremendous benefits to working (at least part of the day) at a standing desk or work table.
- Consider something like the Autonomous Smartdesk—a highly rated standing desk ($299) or the IKEA SKARSTA, which is a stand/sit desk ($239).
Fortify Your Magic Purse (Extend Your Battery Life)
Those of us who work on laptops know the exhilarating feeling of harnessing the power of our machine to get work done on the fly: wherever, whenever. We also know the sinking feeling when there's no electrical outlet, work needs to get done, and the sands of the hourglass battery icon begin dropping at a malevolent rate.
- Switch to your laptop's battery saver mode.
- Turn off any ports or devices you aren't actively using (eg., external drives or Bluetooth radio players, which eat up battery life quickly)
- Adjust settings to reduce power consumption—reducing screen brightness alone will actually save quite a bit of power!
- Shut down any apps or processes that you may have running.
- Take good care of your battery: a dirty or damaged battery contact will not work at optimal levels.
- Keep your machine cool; don't let it get overheated.
- Check out the article at PC Mag for more tips!
Avoid the Evil Eye (& Combat Digital Strain)
First, we must acknowledge that digital eye strain is a real thing, with symptoms ranging from dry, irritated eyes, head and neck pain, and blurred vision.
- Adjust computer screen to reduce glare, which can be exacerbated by bright overhead lighting and direct sunlight.
- If ambient light cannot be corrected, consider using an anti-glare filter.
- According to the AOA, "Optimally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and 20 to 28 inches from the eyes."
- Get regular rest break for your eyes, ideally 15 minutes for every two hours of computer work.
- Try palming a technique where you place palms over eyes for 30 seconds at a stretch to relieve eye strain.
- Try a warm compress. Place a soft cloth soaked in warm water over your eyes and relax for 1 minute; rinse and repeat until relief is found.