— December 13, 2017
Today I want to get into A Day in The Life, and the ups and downs of being Captain Obvious. What I mean by that is, I want to talk about some stuff that is just so basic, but a lot of people don’t think about.
Today I’m going to give you five things – some ups and downs about being Captain Obvious.
Turn Down Spammers & Scammers
The first thing I want to discuss is spammers and scammers. That is a downer. Now, why do people jump on and try to hack your computer or hack your web server? Well, straightforwardly, they’re looking for usernames or passwords so they can get access to credit card information. If they can’t get credit card information, chances are what they’re trying to do is use your email address or web server as a giant spam machine, so that you get dinged for it and they don’t, and they can spread their messages without getting blacklisted. This could turn your website, your web server, into a giant mess. Here’s the thing to help you be unhacked, or to avoid getting hacked. On a PC, you’re going to need some kind of software that’s going to help you with anti-virus. You don’t need it so much on Macs, especially iPhones and tablets like iPads, because they’ve already got a lot of that stuff built in.
For an example, when somebody sends you an email – let’s say they’re sending you a connection request for LinkedIn. Now I get these all the time, but the difference is that I have 11 email addresses. When I get one of these emails, I can tell immediately; if it’s not sent to the email address which is associated with my LinkedIn account, I know it’s spam. But they’re getting smarter. They’re figuring out how to figure out what your real email address is, and they’re sending requests to that.
Here’s what you have to do. You have to look down. Look down to where it says either, “Log in” or “Accept a request” and just roll your mouse over it. Do not click it, just hover. At the very bottom of your browser, you will see the URL that that link is going to go to. That URL will tell you whether it’s linkedin.com which is legit, or whether it’s somebody else’s website/ihackthisweb/login.php something along those lines. It’s just a URL that does not start with LinkedIn. If you see that, run away. Delete it and forget it.
So that’s the first thing. Avoid spammers, avoid scammers, and do your best to make sure that you’re protecting yourself.
Look Up And Review Your Renewals & Subscriptions
The next thing I want you to do is what I call review and renew. This one is an upper. So what you have to do is look up everything that you have on a recurring charge on your charge cards. For me, it could be stock photography, web servers, URLs, whatever it is. I’ve had clients that have not kept up on their email, changed their email addresses, their credit cards expire. All of a sudden, their website goes down and the reason their website goes down is because they could not renew the URL. And guess what? Somebody swoops in and takes it, and now has control, and would be happy to sell it back to you for $ 600,000. Yes, I have seen that price and, yes, people have paid for it.
So, make sure that you’re going through and making a list of everything that you have on auto-renew. I don’t suggest you write down the entire credit card number, but maybe make the spreadsheet and put in the last four digits, the expiration date of that credit card. And then, also make sure that you’re putting in there the date that you signed up and the date that’s going to expire. And then put it in your calendar at least a week in advance, or maybe give yourself a week advance notice or a day advance notice, so that you know that this is coming up. Then you can actually log into the account and make sure that it’s going to renew. The bottom line is, if you don’t need it anymore, delete it! Don’t renew it. That’s okay.
Embrace Down Time And Update Often
Okay, number three. We’re gonna talk about another downer, and that is to update often. Okay so, we all hate it, especially Windows people. Windows decides for you that now is the time to update all the software and do the security patches, and you’re locked out of your computer for a half hour or an hour… Well, the same thing happens on Apple, but the difference is, and I’m not 100% sure because I don’t have a Windows machine, but on an Apple I could say, “Do it later.” I can actually initiate it myself.
The thing is, you wanna make sure you do those updates. The reason they’re doing those updates is to protect you. They’re not doing it to be annoying. They’re adding functionality, but more importantly, they’re closing security loopholes. They’re fixing problems to help you stay safe.
One of my suggestions is, when you’re going to update your software, do it at a time when you’re not using your computer. Like, for example, when you go to lunch, start your update. Or, when you’re going to bed, start updating your phone or your tablet or something like that, when you’re not using it. So you can actually schedule it and make sure it happens at a time when you’re not in need of that particular device, but don’t ignore them because it’s there to protect you.
Back It Up (I Mean Your Data)
Number four is an upper, as in backUP. Make sure you have backups of all your important files. Now, in most cases, like for example, you get iCloud with an iPhone, and if you’re just backing up a normal iPhone it should work fine, you don’t have to pay. But we have multiple iPhones and tablets and stuff like that, so I pay a whopping three bucks a month for backup software for the Apple. I also have hard drives here that I’m backing up all of my project hard drives. ‘Cause I’ve got multiple hard drives. I mean, I’ve got projects that date back to when I started in 2001. I’ve got different hard drives specifically for my art and my video, and so I keep things very organized. And I have a backup system of hard drives here for that.
Well, the other day it crashed. So I had to kind of reset everything and start from scratch, and start the backup again. Well, that backup happens to be 1 terabyte. All right? That is 1,000 gig. That’s a lot of stuff. So, I have to make sure that I have enough backup capacity to be able to do something like that. You can buy terabyte drives relatively inexpensive nowadays.
The other thing you can do is look at external services. There are things like, you know, Carbonite, Dropbox, iCloud. There’s tons of different things out there and the prices can range anywhere from, say, a couple of bucks a month to $ 20 bucks, but if you had to recover or redo anything, is it worth 20 bucks a month? That’s up to you. I can’t make business decisions for you, but I spend over $ 1,000 on my local backup. It’s worth spending an extra $ 240 a year to make sure that it’s safe. My stuff is in the Cloud as well.
Write It Down
The fifth and final thing is a downer. And that is, write it down. There are times where I get these great ideas and by the time I pull my phone out, figure out the app, and start talking, I forgot the idea. So the bottom line is, always have a pad of paper with you. Keep a pad of paper next to your desk, have a pad of paper in your briefcase or in your iPhone or iPad case or whatever, but always have the ability to jot down some quick notes. Those quick notes can easily be added to any software that you wanna use like Evernote or just regular Notes, but make sure that you have something that gives you the opportunity to quickly take your ideas and put them somewhere where you can retrieve them and act on them later.
So, hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this Day in The Life of Captain Obvious.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on how you manage tasks like these and others. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you or your business ever run into a problem by NOT doing some of these obvious tasks? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?