Business Hardware

The 25 Worst High-Tech Habits (and How to Fix Them)

14. Waiting in Line for Tech Stuff

Remember when you slept in a tent so that you could be the first guy in your ‘hood to own a PlayStation 3? Your parents are probably just as proud of that achievement as when you finally leveled your Druid up to 80. Trust us: The gadget works the same 24 hours later. You can probably even preorder it online and let it come to your door.

15. Hitting Your Computer

Be mad. Seriously, Windows aggravates everyone--get angry! Remember, though: We can offer a lot of aid, but throwing, kicking, or otherwise abusing a PC physically will not help. And shelling out a few hundred bucks for a new computer will actually make you feel even worse in the end. Meditate, and restrain yourself. If your laptop is sick from a latte that you tossed on it in a fit of rage, clean it carefully. Luckily, you can try a few emergency tech fixes that can restore hardware to health if your tantrum goes too far.

16. Saving Files Anywhere and Everywhere

When you get your electric bill, do you just throw it on the table, mixing it in with family photos, flyers, the Sunday paper, and your discs from Netflix, or do you take 20 seconds to file it away where it really ought to go? Wait, don't answer that. As with your inbox, folders are your friend.

17. Checking in With Location-Based Services

The only people who care that you're at Sizzler or TJ Maxx are people you really don't want to know. Exceptions: If you're someplace really cool--like Mt. Fuji, Versailles, or Chernobyl--check in all you want. We've looked at some practical uses for services like Foursquare; stick to those.

18. Citing Wikipedia

When you need a fact to make a point, the perfect place to go is a gargantuan Website that anyone can edit anonymously, and where hoaxes and gag entries can have a life span of years. [citation needed] If you must use Wikipedia, click the links in the footnotes on the page to get the real story, and to see how credible the information digested there really is.

19. Posting Hilarious Pictures Online

"Hey, coworker! Looks like you had a great time at your pal's bachelor party. Oh, is that you posing with a Heineken in your hand? How original! Yeah, you and that girl look pretty wasted in that one. At least, that's what our boss said when he e-mailed it to me. Good luck with that evaluation!" Save such moments for posterity in private--or else. Pay close attention to the privacy settings on Facebook (and untag yourself in those compromising pictures) and on photo-sharing sites. On Flickr, for example, click Edit your profile privacy from the 'Manage your profile' page to control who can see what.

20. Believing the Salesperson

Let's put it this way: If that guy really knew a lot about computers, would he be wandering the aisles in a blue shirt and slacks asking if you need help? No. No, he would not. Do your research by googling for consumer reviews and comments before you get to the store, and learn which stores offer the best services and deals.

21. Ignoring the Specs

The big idea in tech today is to offer three classes of product: A bare-bones version, a power-user version, and an "extreme" version, each with an escalating price tag. The problem is, the extreme edition may not really do anything that the bare-bones version can't do--or it has features you don't actually need--but you buy the expensive one anyway, because you didn't really read the specs. It can take a lot of Web research time to figure out the meaning of some of the arcana--and what's really important--but this is time well invested.

22. Using One Password for Everything

All it takes is a single data leak at your cell phone company for a crook to get into your e-mail, bank, investing, online shopping, and Match.com accounts. It's one-stop shopping for identity thieves! Having a unique password for every site is unrealistic, but use a series of several passwords and save your best for the most critical sites. Password managers can help.

23. Not Having a Disposable E-Mail Address

Don't give out your regular e-mail address to newsletters, iffy Web services, and girls or boys you meet after midnight. A disposable e-mail address that you check once a fortnight is a better solution. This is why Gmail was invented.

24. Failing to Lock Your Smartphone

When an unsavory type finds a lost phone, his first order of business is to call as many international and 900-type numbers that he humanly can. Then he harvests all the data on it for identity theft and spam purposes. Or you could, you know, prevent all of that by putting a simple PIN on the thing. You can find tools built to manage security for Android and other mobile operating systems.

25. Commenting Online

I know: You have the perfect bon mot to counter one of the points on this list, and you're going to enter it painstakingly into a Web form at the bottom of this article so you can be clever comment #86 on page four. Congratulations, sir or ma'am. Touché. Seriously, people, this is 2010. If you have something snarky or inflammatory to say, at least have the common courtesy to tweet it (politely).

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

Subscribe to the Business Brief Newsletter

Comments