“Easy does it!”

When we are online, we tend not to blink as much. This is not good for anyone, especially those with dry eye syndrome. Something I learned when I was typesetting many years ago (i.e., spending eight hours a day plus, typing on a computer), was to look away often. Get up and go look out a window into the distance every now and again. Remember to blink. Close both eyes for several seconds to let them recoup.

Protect your NECK!

Because I write for myself and edit and design for other Indie writers, my go-to work station is my desktop computer. It’s on a regular computer desk. I use a large monitor (screen) so I am basically looking straight ahead when I’m on it. (I was a typesetter for 20 years so I know how to type all day without negative effects. Not that I do, of course! My wrists and hands scream at me these days if I take advantage of them; and one hip if I sit for too long.)

I also have a laptop that I switch to, e.g., whenever maintenance is going on with my desktop, but since it sits on my coffee table, I can’t be on it too long. Using a laptop on a coffee table makes us bend over and tilt our heads back. This affects our necks.

If I’m going to be using my laptop for any length of time, I use my special box to set it on. I used black Con-Tact® paper to wrap an ordinary, but sturdy, cardboard box. Color doesn’t matter. I just liked the black. (That’s my TV behind it. I listen to the radio on my TV while I work.)

I also use a separate keyboard and mouse (not seen) because I don’t like laptop keyboards. I can only poke at them instead of powering away at high speed (ex-typesetter, eh?) by “feel.” But reaching up to tap the screen of a laptop and occasionally swiping my finger across the “pad” on a laptop, is probably good exercise because it requires stretching. Of sorts.

My laptop.


Ask your grandchildren or great grands to show you how to write an email.

By all means, bank online. No issue there. Just make sure not to “save” your password; type it in every time. And, most important: Ensure that you are on your actual bank’s site when you sign up! And when you sign back in! Remember last week’s post about how many clone-ish links can pop up when we do a Search? Maybe have your IT guy show you some tricks for this, too. Ask your bank.

I keep recommending “the IT guy” and that’s because they for certain know what they’re doing. They went to school for it. Many of them went into debt to go to school for it. They know what they’re doing. Many of our children and grands know what they’re doing. I know what I’m doing—most of the time—because I was working on a computer in 1969. But when I run into issues, do I ask the next door neighbor’s kid? No. I ask my IT guy.


Main thing is to get a good antivirus program and know how to use it.

DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT get sucked into those posts on Facebook (etc.) that ask you to click on, or otherwise disclose, your birth month, or pet’s name, or anything that might even in the tiniest, slightest bit, reveal what your passwords could be.

This is how hackers can find out a lot of information about you. Information that can lead them to know your passwords, banking information, your mother’s maiden name, and other information about you and your life that you might use for online identification purposes.

“I can’t remember the password to my bank account, Ms. Bank Person. I have to change it.”

“When’s your birthday?”

“Bla bla.”

“Where were you born?”

“Bla bla.”

“What’s your mother’s maiden name?”

“Bla bla.”

“What is your favorite dog’s name?”

“Bla bla.”

“All right. It must be you. Here’s your new password…”

And POW! Just like that, somebody pretended to be you and now has access to your account.

I’m not going to tell you how to set up a password. In fact, when you set up your password, don’t tell anybody how you set yours up, either. Most places now require that you include a capital letter, a number, a symbol, and maybe something else.

Figure something out that can be changed on a regular basis in some way, but that you can easily remember. And something that would take that FBI guy on that TV program to figure out.

When publicly online on Facebook and apps like it, assume there are hackers watching you. Because there are. I go on Facebook every day and really like it, but I’m aware. I often get Friend Requests and if I don’t know them, or if they aren’t friends with [more than one of!] my “already Friends,” I delete the Request. I sometimes get Friend Requests from people that I thought were already Friends. I check my Friends list and if they’re already there, I know it’s an evil hacker posing as my friend. I delete the Friend Request. Then I let my real Friend know about this. Then they warn their Friends about it.

When you begin to get comfortable with emailing, be extremely wary with incoming emails that:

  • seem weird
  • are from an unknown sender
  • issue a threat (like, “Sorry to have to tell you this but we have hacked your computer.” This message is pure shite! BUT! If you open that particular email and respond to it… Well, they warned you, right? You will have been hacked then.)

Do not open anything like this. I know it is tempting to “just peek” but that’s how they get ya.

You will sometimes even get emails that appear to be from yourself. This is pure shite, too. DO NOT OPEN. Click on “Mark as Junk” (if you have that app) and carry on.

We often get emails that tell us about updates for the programs we run, for the banks we use, for this and for that. These are legit BUT!

Please notice that emails from your bank (e.g.) won’t have an actual link to where you can open your bank account in that particular email. Some do. Most don’t. They tell you to go there and find it at their actual site. NOT through an email link.

“Be afraid, be very afraid” of emails that contain apparent links to your personal, sensitive, online accounts. Same with emails that recommend you “update your password,” etc. by clicking “here”—on this link [that leads into the evil lair of the hacker]. Close the email and go to the source yourself.

More on Maintenance

When we are doing our maintenance, we need to include clearing out the “Inbox” and deleted files from our emailing app.

The way my emailing program works, I can right-click on an email and it will give me a list that contains the command: “Mark as junk.” I do, and off it goes into the Junk folder. (To be deleted later on.) NOTE: Not all emailing programs offer this feature.

I delete my deleted files and junk files about once a month or so. I get a LOT of emails. There’s also the “Sent” folder, too, that needs deleting from. Those emails get deleted, too. (If I don’t need to keep them. See below for how to organize that.)

I have noticed that some people tend to keep aaaaaalllll their emails in their Inbox. Yikes. Time to declutter!

What I have done is “create” folders that I can “move” dealt-with emails to. Like I mentioned in a previous post, we can get rid of what we don’t want, and store everything else in “drawers” or on “shelves” so we’ll know where they are at all times. (Ask your IT guy to demonstrate.)

Example: I have a folder for my family, one for my business, one for this, one for that. Friends that I’m in contact with on a regular basis have their own folder. I have one called “Clients” and all my clients are listed separately in that folder as subfolders.

(All these folders end up in alphabetical order, by the way.)

I have oodles of folders and subfolders but, hey, I gotta tell ya, that when I need to look something up that somebody sent me or that I sent somebody, I know exactly where I left it.

The more organized we are, even with our computers, the more life becomes fun to live. Live lazy, live large.

This week’s tip: Computers can be as much fun as skydiving. But don’t forget the parachute.

Until next time.

Illustrations from https://www.needpix.com/

Photos by Sherrill Wark

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