Tech spring cleaning tips for the quarantine era

Sunday Signal
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By Kim Komando

Signal Contributing Writer

For tens of millions of us, quarantine is a great time to make your home cleaner and more organized, which includes your technology.

Repurpose your old phone or tablet as a security camera

If your home doesn’t have a security cam, it’s easy to repurpose an old smartphone or tablet into one with help from a simple app.

Android users can download a free app like IP Webcam that only requires a Wi-Fi connection. For iPhones, download Manything that uses cloud storage to save your recordings and features options like motion detection and push notifications.

Digitize your old photos, slides and videos

Organizing old photos, slides, and VHS tapes takes time and now you have it. Once you have them all together, you can bring them into 2020.

Online services let you select a plan and mail your physical media to the companies to scan and upload. When the process is complete, you’ll get your originals back in the mail along with digital files you can download. There are several services that do this.

I used iMemories.com and wow, I had forgotten how little my now teenage son once was. 

Download your Facebook photos

Incredibly, you can download your Facebook photos, along with all your other personal data, anytime you want.

Open your Facebook settings and choose Your Facebook Information and then Download Your Information. Check the box that says Photos and Videos and click Create File. You’ll get a notification when it’s completed along with a link to download the file.

Update and streamline your LinkedIn account

Whether you’ve been furloughed or not, there’s no better time to update your LinkedIn account.

Review your LinkedIn profile and fill in any missing information that can help you stand out to potential employers, including a professional photo. The file should be a 200-pixel by 200-pixel headshot. No bathroom selfies.

Google your name and see what you find

If you’re prepping for transitions after quarantine, you need to make sure the information people see about you online won’t harm future job prospects.

When you Google your name, you’ll usually see your social media profiles at the top, as well as any blogs, websites or content attached to your name. Check your social media profiles to make sure they’re set to private and delete any information you don’t want publicly visible.

Google Alerts notify you automatically when your name appears on the internet. 

Remove yourself from people search websites

In addition to social media profiles, you’ll also see genealogy and people search websites like FamilyTreeNow. These platforms collect publicly available information about everybody and will sell that data to businesses, advertisers and private investigators.

Most of these sites don’t make it particularly easy to remove your info, either. You will likely have to submit a request, usually by visiting the “Contact Us” page and sending an email.

For information on Kim Komando on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks, visit her at Komando.com. 

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