badtechhabidI really make a point to tell everyone I know that they need to up their game in terms of backing up their data on their computer and updating security measures.  The risk of encountering trouble via fraud, data theft, hacking, and more grows every day.  I mean even reading a site like Krebs On Security is an eye opening experience that shows just how vulnerable you and your data can be.

One thing that you can start with is starting an online automated backup routine.  this is so easy once you sign up for a service like Backblaze or similar.  I personally use Backblaze and MyPCBackup for my data backups.  They are online backups and they run automatically if you are connected to the internet.  I really like the no-brainer approach to backing up my data.  I don’t have to remember to do it all the time and it’s nice to know that my data is backed up “off site” so that a disaster to my apartment or house is not going to destroy my originals AND my backups.  An even more secure way to go would be to use these online backup services as well as a hard copy on an external hard drive at home.  This is what I do with my most important files that I can’t afford to lose.

In addition to backing up your data you should also think about computer security very seriously.  There is a constant race between hackers and computer security experts and it’s hard enough to stay ahead of the game even with the latest and greatest software installed on your computer.  So I suggest starting with the basics:  Norton 360 is a great application and a software program I use day in and day out.  It runs in the background and protects my computer from malicious files on the fly.

However, sometimes even Norton fails to prevent certain malwares and adware from getting on my computer.  This happened to me recently when my PC got infected by the Conduit search adware.  The adware took over my browser and installed a plethora of things on my computer that were making it impossible to use it right.  So I downloaded and used Spyhunter 4 which is safe and effective.  I really liked the speed and efficiency with which the program worked.  It’s pretty easy to use even if you’re a bit technically challenged.

Another strategy that you should consider is to just mind the websites that you’re visiting.  Gambling and adult websites are notorious hotbeds for computer infections and “drive by downloads”.  They should be avoided.  If you MUST go to these websites I suggest buying a second cheap computer that you don’t store any sensitive data on that you can afford to chuck if it gets infected.  That’s probably the best way to go about it.

All in all it’s kind of change in routine if you want to properly protect your data, but in the end it’s worth it.  I can’t tell you how glad I was I had backed up my last laptop before the hard disk completely broke on me!

GQ-Street-Style-Europe-Favorite-635I remember back in the day when I was afraid to dress the way I wanted to. The fear of judgement by my peers was crushing, and I was hindered. My style also suffered – I think if I just dressed the way I wanted to I would ultimately have looked much better – just taking a look at the photos from my junior high and high school career are proof of that. I have since learned that just dressing the way I feel like is a much more powerful statement and also comes off as more natural.

Things that have definitely helped me to shape my own style are the influence of my friends as well as online portals such as Tumblr and Pinterest. I mean, there is just SO much style advice that you can glean from browsing Tumblr. You get access to so many photos at once, and so many different styles. I particularly like to browse the themed blogs that people have up, such as action sports and skateboarding.
Another way to get fashion advice and ideas is through online fashion blogs and look books. It’s a pain if you’re at a cafe with a slow internet connection, but I digress. One thing I really like to do is to bookmark all these blogs and sites and browse through them on my lunch break with my iPad.

The other thing that is so great about using the internet for fashion advice is that there is such a huge range of styles. From high fashion to gay fashion, to everything in between. There’s something for everyone, and 1000 Tumblr blogs for each taste and sub fashion niche.

Having easy access to these inspiration sources is also helpful for people who want to buy what they see right away using the internet and online shopping resources. It’s so easy to use these sources to find small brands that are creating trendy new stuff that you know you won’t see ten other people wearing when you go out (I have this problem with a lot of big store items such as things from H&M. I hate it when someone is wearing my shirt at the same party!).

Online shopping makes it easy to have your own unique style and break away from the crowd. The thing about online shopping, however, is that you really need to be careful who you do business with. Make sure that the online store you’re buying from has the appropriate amount of online security for their site. You can find more information about online computer security programs such as Spyhunter 4 and Norton 360 from several blogs. It’s very important to educate yourself about the risks, and be vigilant about checking on your credit card bills.

Overall I really find that the internet has helped me to expand my scope in terms of being creative with my own personal style and having fun with it. It’s cool to stand out and have your own personal “calling card” of sorts in terms of what you wear. I want to stand out from the crowd a bit, but look good doing so.