Top Tips for a Digital Deep Cleaning

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Spring cleaning tends to elicit images of washing windows, airing out linens (who has ‘linens’, anyway?), and shredding old paperwork after filing taxes. Boring but necessary, right? What you might not realize is how important it is to also perform a routine deep clean of the digital files stored on your computer, external hard drives, smartphones, and other devices. As with other types of spring cleaning, it’s a good idea to purge out ‘invisible clutter’ once in a while. Excess, outdated, and potentially security-threatening information overflowing the edges of your devices and online accounts isn’t something you’re visibly confronted with like a pile of old clothing, but this type of clutter can cost you much more in terms of device and account space, ease of retrieving current files, accurate personal information, and cyber security. Here’s how to perform a deep clean of your digital life (besides signing up for Easynews now).

 

1. Create Space by Decluttering, Deleting, Compressing, and Organizing

You probably don’t have to look far to find a folder, inbox, account, or device that is nearly at capacity. Have you received any nasty reminders from your email program threatening to withhold mail until you make space? Is your Dropbox constantly full? Are you getting dangerously close to the memory limit on your laptop or smartphone because you’re storing too many files? All these are signs you’re overdue for a good deep clean. If the thought of tackling masses of information overwhelms you, start by decluttering one category a week. Get yourself in spring cleaning mode by asking yourself these hard questions:

  • Did I use it in the last year?
  • Do I have duplicate copies?
  • Do I really need to keep this e-receipt from 2012?

You’ll also do yourself a favor by establishing new habits to create less digital clutter in the future, such as:

  • Unsubscribing to newsletters, retail sites, and tagging junk mail as spam
  • Restricting new downloads until you’ve sorted/used/viewed what you already have

Cleaning out digital files – including entire programs or applications you don’t need – will not only save you storage, but time looking for what you actually use on a regular basis. You’re less likely to accidentally delete something important if you’re regularly sorting and safely filing instead of mass-deleting out of desperation for space.

 

2. Back Up Important Files in More than One Location

This is pretty straight forward. We could all tell personal horror stories of losing photos, writing, projects, or other important documents because our computer or portable device crashed. This is why it’s vital to back up important files either on an Internet-based service (Dropbox, iCloud, etc.), external hard drives, memory cards, or USB storage devices. That being said, don’t store all your storage devices in one location, either!

 

3. Make Sure Your Digital Self is Your Real Self

Go ahead and Google yourself. You might be surprised at what you find! Checking your cyber reflection will reveal any outdated, inaccurate or embarrassing information that needs to be corrected. Both your professional and social life will thank you now and in the future. This could include updating your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blog, and other social media profiles – basically, any memberships that reveal personal information.

 

4. Secure Your Identity and Finances 

Is your virus and malware protection software updated and active? If you have to stop and think about it, then probably not. The time we spend on the Internet, including browsing and downloading creates a window of vulnerability to increasingly intelligent and sneaky hackers. Follow these four steps to ensure your information stays safe:

  • Make sure your computer and smartphone’s security settings are high, and don’t let browsers remember your passwords. Sure, it’s convenient…convenient for the hacker who wants in to your bank account!
  • Secondly, don’t use the same username and password for all your accounts. It’s like handing over the combination to the jackpot of your personal information. Instead, use a password manager like LastPass to keep your credentials in check.
  • Remember to also logout of your accounts every time you use them, and don’t access them on public WiFi. It’s also a good idea to clear your browser history and cache from time to time.
  • When you upgrade devices, don’t just throw the old ones away. Even if you’ve wiped the data, there are still ways for hackers to get your information. Have a professional clear them, or have them shredded. The Better Business Bureau even hosts free semi-annual shredding services, called Secure Your ID days. Check to see when the next event occurs in your state.

 Have you successfully completed a Digital Deep Cleaning recently? Share your story with the rest of Easynews in the comment section below!

Not an Easynews User?

Sign up for Easynews Usenet + VPN today, and you’ll get a 14-day free trial of both services!

Easynews Adds Virtual Private Network (VPN) to Service Offerings

Easynews Adds VPN Security

Easynews is pleased to announce that we have added VPN (Virtual Private Network) offerings to our list of services. Our team of developers and engineers have been working diligently on this new product to provide an additional layer of security for our users.

What is a VPN? A VPN is a tool that creates a secure network connection over the Internet, encrypting the data transferred through it. Major corporations, educational institutions, and government agencies use VPN technology to enable remote users to securely connect to the central work (or school) servers, but this technology can be used for encrypting general Internet traffic as well.

 

The Easynews VPN service offers 80+ servers in 17 countries with anonymous IP addresses, and our software delivers the following benefits:

  • Unmetered VPN bandwidth
  • Unlimited server switching
  • Two simultaneous VPN connections
  • OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP Protocols
  • Direct access to the fastest worldwide VPN network
  • No logging policy

 

Our custom and user-friendly VPN software puts you in control of your IP address. This allows you to do the following:

  • Dodge Internet censorship blocks
  • Protect your identity and virtual information
  • Stop your ISP’s throttling
  • Keep your data secure at public WiFi hotspots
  • Block geotargeted online advertisements

 

The ultimate benefit of having access to both the Easynews Usenet Browser and VPN service is that you can enjoy all that the Usenet has to offer without worry from outside forces. You can hide your browsing history from unwanted onlookers in real-time; your ISP cannot spy on what you’re doing online, nor can they throttle your traffic. This total anonymity is the ultimate freedom!

Want to add VPN to your Usenet subscription? Big Gig subscribers get it FREE, but Plus and Classic plan users can add VPN for as low as $2.99 per month. Sign up for Easynews VPN + Usenet today!

Mac and Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard Shortcuts

We’re sure you have noticed that there are other keys on your keyboard besides those in the alphanumeric alphabet. But, do you know the powers of convenience that they hold? A Google survey reported that about 90% of computer users don’t use the CTRL-F function to search for a word – perhaps it’s due to not knowing that the shortcut exists.

A keyboard shortcut allows you, the user, to perform common operations on your machine quickly and easily, versus using the mouse through multiple windows and clicks. Between Macintosh and Windows operating systems, there are many control (or command) functions that can make you perform the same actions. Yet there are still different key combinations between the two and what actions they perform. Take a look at some of the most common keyboard shortcuts used on Macintosh and Windows computers and add them to your arsenal of awesome knowledge. There are many more than this list and we’re sure some of your go-to’s may not have made the cut. Share with us the keyboard shortcuts you use most frequently in the comment section below.

Macintosh

1. Command + W = Closes the current window.

2. Command + Shift+A (while in the Finder) = Takes you directly to the “Applications” available on your Mac.

3. Command + Spacebar = Opens the “Spotlight Search” allowing you to quickly search your Mac for files, folders and applications.

4. Command + Shift + Tab = Allows you to cycle through all of the different applications and windows opened on your Mac.

5. Command + Q = Gives you the ability to quickly quit your current application.

Windows

1. WIN + L = Allows you to lock your desktop.

2. F5 = Refreshes a page in your browser.

3. Alt + Print Screen = By using this key combination, you can capture a screenshot of the current open window. Then, using CTRL + V you can paste it wherever you like.

4. Windows + E = Open Your Computer to allow you to view your settings.

5. Windows = Displays or hides the Start menu.

Easynews Member Area Gets an Upgrade

Updated: 4/2/2015

Easynews Members Area

We’ve been hard at work redesigning the ‘under the hood’ stuff that makes the Easynews members area work. Since the earliest days of Easynews, we’ve maintained critical interface data (Preferences, Zip Queues, Favorites, etc.) in custom formats stored on NAS appliances. As the years have gone by, and as our service has grown, the architecture of this data has increasingly become a bottleneck in many ways, and has been a major source of outages and headaches. Upgrading our back-end storage systems will enable Easynews to provide better quality of service to all of our subscribers.

Easynews has begun the process of moving all of members.easynews.com (both the vintage and 2.0 members areas) to a new system. Between Wednesday, April 1st and Friday, April 10th, Easynews subscribers will automatically be transitioned to a set of upgraded servers. This update does not require any immediate action on your part, however your zip manager queues will not populate automatically. If you are interested in importing your old zip manager data into this new system, click here.

Want an early look at the new Members Area?

Classic (Vintage) InterfaceClick Here
2.0 InterfaceClick Here

 

While the Easynews interface and user experience that you’ve grown familiar will not be changing, we are informing you of this update so that any lingering errors associated with this migration are reported early-on. Any bugs or other feedback can be sent via e-mail to dev@easynews.com. This will create an internal ticket in our system that we can use to track issues to resolution. When contacting us, please include your Easynews username so that we can credit you for your efforts.

The feedback we’re most interested in involves these features:

  • Preferences
  • Zip Manager
  • Favorites
  • Management of Saved Searches

Thank you in advance for your help and participation, and thanks for using Easynews!

Easynews Love Letters Contest

Easynews Love Letters Campaign

Do you love Easynews? Prove it! Share your love for your preferred Usenet provider from now until February 25th by writing us a letter expressing your affections for a chance to be featured and win FREE gigs and a FREE year of Big Gig Access with Unlimited NNTP. Our favorite love letters submitted from existing subscribers will be highlighted on the campaign landing page and on our social media channels. Enter now!