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Jewish World Review
January 9, 2009
/ 13 Teves 5769
Facing New Year with Resolve
It's still early enough - isn't it? - to offer some computing resolutions
for the new year? Here goes:
1) I'm going to make backup effortless and automatic. You've heard that song
before, but it's now possible to do on Windows and Mac platforms, as well as
Linux, I'm told. Mac is easiest with Time Machine, but Windows isn't far behind,
particularly in Vista. On one of the Linux pages at About.com
(http://tinyurl.com/5qg2cv), I counted nearly 20 solutions.
Regardless of how you do it, your data is just too important (to you at least) to
leave it unprotected. I can't say that often enough.
2) I'm going to keep an eagle eye on my identity. This isn't narcissism; it's
just common sense. Having been a near-victim (so far) of a "phishing" scam last
year, I want to make sure things are clean. That means being careful with ALL e-mail
requests for any information/confirmation of my online accounts, banking and
what-have-you. LifeLock.com is perhaps the industry leader in ID-theft protection;
they stepped up to help when I was attacked.
ConsumerReports.org, the eponymous Web site of the famed consumer magazine, offers a
bunch of tips on protecting your identity, many at little or no cost. You can find
the report at http://tinyurl.com/5vlvut, but an advantage of a service such as
LifeLock is that they do the work for you.
3) I'm going to keep my software up-to-date, on all my machines. This one is also
often a somewhat-automated task: computer makers and applications software
publishers (Microsoft and Adobe being among the better ones in the latter category)
are providing ways to automatically check for updates on a regular basis. The
patches or upgrades download and install quickly via broadband, and you're good to
Keeping software up to date - especially Web applications such as browsers and
e-mail clients - is another good way to avoid hackers, "phishers" and other
nefarious types. It might also save your data from loss if the patch fixes an
4) I'm going to learn more about creating better Web pages. My personal Web site,
address omitted to avoid further embarrassment, needs refreshing, but 2008 sped
right by without a chance for me to do the work. That'll change next year, I hope.
I've had fun with iWeb, the Apple Inc. application for Web page design, but I'm
planning to return to RapidWeaver (http://www.realmacsoftware.com) and see how the
2008-released version 4 has improved. RapidWeaver has a very loyal fan base, and
it's also an easy to learn and easy to use program.
Of course, Adobe's Dreamweaver is perhaps the industry standard - on Macs and
Windows PCs - for professional Web design, and it, too, has had a new version
appear in 2008. Dreamweaver's user base is huge, and deservedly so; you can find
information about the program at http://www.adobe.com/products/dreamweaver/.
5) I'm also going to do more with my photography this year. There's more than
enough software available - Adobe's Photoshop Elements, for Windows and Mac;
Apple's iPhoto, to name just two - that it should be easy and possible to do a
lot in terms of enlargements for my office, calendars for friends, or who knows what
In my view, a key feature of digital photography is being able to easily share it.
Whether it's Google's Picasa or Yahoo's Flickr or Apple's MobileMe
service, you can upload and share photos with everyone, or just those you choose, in
a flash. Facebook can only enhance your photo distribution. It's fun, it's fast
and a great way to keep in touch in this mobile, in-motion world.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2008, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com