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It’s probably not your fault either, but here you are about saving someone’s bacon. What can you do here

Is the Website Actually Down?

This might be obvious, and also a means to toot our own horn, but in SolarWinds® Pingdom® we’ve uptime tracking –your very first line of defense. Since Pingdom is using over 70 worldwide test servers, it’s possible to really get an external perspective on your site –which beats clean your browser, like a monster. Within a moment, Pingdom will confirm if your site is down or not.

If the site is down, be certain that you sit up straight and continue reading. Oh, also it would be suitable to pinch the bridge of your nose and simmer for several seconds–if nothing else than for result. Let your colleagues know you are important.

Related: –  12 Must Have Features for Your Website

Figure Out What the Problem Is

A Lot of things can Violate a Web Site, but Generally, It Is Going to be more of the following reasons:

Code error

DNS problem

Networking issues

Server issues with your web host

From the Pingdom awake, you will get the main reason behind your own toaster. It is time to check at a few of the most frequent reasons sites return.

HTTP Error 403: Your petition was legitimate, but the host is threatening actions. You may not have the required permissions for a source or might require a consideration of some type.

Packet Loss: This is a system error that may be related to damaged hardware such as a server, network congestion, or another hardware/network capacity bottleneck.

HTTP Error 503: Indicates the hosting isn’t accessible due to scheduled maintenance or due to a temporary overload in visitors. This will probably require support from the hosting provider or your operations staff.

HTTP Error 500: The 500 Internal Server Error is a really typical HTTP status code which means something has gone wrong on the site’s server, however the host couldn’t be more specific on exactly what the specific problem is.

Redirection Error: That really is a 301 or 302 gone poor and happens when you attempt and do a redirect to a HTTPS URL, but the SSL certification for this URL does not match the domain name.

The Pingdom reside map permits you to observe the condition of the net live since it occurs, from the number of outages we have discovered in the previous hour and many frequent error messages into what browsers and devices Web users are employing. Additionally, this is a remarkably useful tool when important outages happen from hosting and CDN suppliers.

Related: – 5 killer Tips make Your WordPress Website more Impressive

Use Your Monitoring Data as Leverage With Your Hosting Provider

Many hosting companies will not be upfront about website issues if you don’t have evidence to back this up. When there’s absolutely no reported status difficulty with your supplier, now you can file a support ticket and also utilize all of the appropriate monitoring data you need from a different third party to prove you’ve got problems.

The earlier you know about a issue, the sooner you are able to repair it. Conversely, if you do not know about a issue, you can not mend it.

Communicate With Your Users Via a Status Page

We can’t overstate the value of this step. Transparency inspires dedication, therefore please think about having a public status pageyour customers will thank you for this. A public standing page is a excellent way to keep users at the loop of everything you are doing at this time and will decrease the influence on your customer care team. And you do have two minutes to log in and upgrade your public status webpage.

Get a people status page. Hey you’ve one through Pingdom, or in the event that you’d like you can attempt Atlassian Statuspage, SorryApp, or even Cachet.

Update your status webpage with your applicable status for example’exploring’,’continuing’, and’solved’.

Update Twitter together with the continuing issue and connect to a status page.

Ensure that you trap this tweet so that it remains clearly observable. In this way, your customers can see you are alert to the problems and follow upgrades on the webpage. You shouldn’t ever (need to) copy and paste the identical conversation over and over to anyone who requests what’s happening.

Many standing pages provide users a means to subscribe to upgrades, so once an issue is solved your users will find an email notifying them it is all system proceed.

Related: – 5 Simple Ways to Optimize Your Website for Lead Generation

Conclusion: Wrap Up

In this guide, we just touched onto the surface of everything you could do, and being on the watch for if something goes belly up. But, we just covered a very small subset of items you can perform. If you are a part of a SRE staff somewhere, odds are you are knee-deep from the Apache or even Nginx server, then palms sore from composing orders.

Consider website tracking as cheap insurance from embarrassingly long downtimes. Heck, look at it because your private watchdog which will bark everywhere there’s an problem with your site. Just this puppy speaks and assists you as a site owner to purge, and helps maintain your internet host fair.

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What You Do When You Don’t Know…?


As a culture, I find we’re OBSESSED with quiz shows. Why? It’s a simple answer: we love to test our knowledge. We put value on intelligence. It becomes a literal competition to see who is the smartest. You can look beyond quiz shows and look at any standardized tests as further evidence of that. As much as I appreciate smart people, I’ve come to realize that the true test is not what you know, it’s what you do when you don’t know.

It’s how you overcome obstacles..that’s the real test of the mind. It’s easy to look at someone we think is smarter than us and feel inferior. The reality is none of us are born with any knowledge. It must be learned and attained throughout life. As writer David Foster Wallace said, “I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.” That’s right. We must learn how to think in order to learn because if we don’t, we’ll forever feel overwhelmed by any subject – simple or complex.

Let me posit it to you this way – how many friends or family members do you have that try their hand at something, rave about it, only to weeks or months later push it out of their lives completely. When asked, their explanation may be the infamous: “it wasn’t for me”.

Here’s a concrete example: I know plenty of people who start tennis, love it and see themselves become better and better. Then they hit a plateau. They can’t overcome it and thus stop playing tennis. The initial incline is evident in all areas both physical and mental. Those who quit as soon as they reach the first dilination from this upward trajectory are referred to as dabblers. They try their hand at it only so far as it provides reward for their efforts.

Here’s a reality check: in all disciplines of life, there will be plateaus to overcome. This is exactly where the notion of what you do when you don’t know comes in. What will you do when you stop improving? What happens when you stop seeing results? What will you do when the going gets tough? What will you do when you simply just don’t know?

The reason why many scrap activities, goals and projects altogether is because it’s far easier to quit. Quitting is the default action most people take unfortunately, and it’s rather sad. Often, you’ll hear people refer to someone as quitting on their dreams. And that’s exactly what it is most often.

But there are several strategies beyond giving up: mentors, books, online videos or articles, classes, groups…you get the picture. Usually, the harder the problem, the more you’ll have to employ a combination of those. Your ability to figure out what to do when you don’t know will impact how fast you’ll be able to work through those roadblocks. If you research solutions to similar problems of the past, discuss it with people deemed experts within those arenas, you can chip away at the problem. Just never give up – It’s not easy, but It’s that simple!

However, the real challenge is often that even those who overcome these hurdles are surprised by such hurdles whenever they come up along the way. If we look at a chart, we classified the first type of person as a dabbler, quitting at the first obstacle. The people who overcome these hardships but don’t see them coming, will eventually be decimated by their inability to foresee such roadblocks. With each breakthrough, they lose a certain amount of passion and energy because of the effort required in overcoming it.

In a way, it’s a combination of perseverance and patience.

So next time you watch or meet someone who knows a lot, rather than be intimidated, learn from them. If you don’t know something they know, it’s okay. Ask for clarity. Ask them to explain. People may try to judge you or demean you for the things you don’t know. Don’t give in to those taunts. You know things they don’t know.

Understand, I do value knowledge. But as you go through life, let your thirst for knowledge be a driving force, not a goal. Study your passions and execute them to the best of your abilities, and as time goes by, continue to get better because of what you’ve learned along the way.

As a start, focus on identifying how you learn best: is it visually, kinetically, or auditorily. This will help yield results faster as each of us have different ways we learn. Happy learning.

Lastly, here’s some quotes to both inspire you and reinforce the lesson:

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with the problem longer.” -Albert Einstein

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” -Anthony J. D’Angelo

“Change is the end result of all true learning.” -Leo Buscaglia

Do I Have A Virus On My Phone? 7 Warning Signs

As people switched from desktops to mobile devices, so did cybercriminals.

Today, your phone can become infected with a virus in much the same way as your computer, though the warning signs for a virus on your computer may be slightly different.

Table of Contents

Android phones are more susceptible to malware because they run on open-source code, and also because of the delays in carriers rolling out updates. These updates often contain fixes to vulnerabilities and bugs in the operating system, which is why you need an extra layer of protection.

If you’re not sure whether your phone has a virus or it’s just acting up, we’ll look at some telltale signs to watch for, and how you can troubleshoot effectively.

How Your Phone Can Get a Virus

Most viruses make their way into phones through malicious software, in turn affecting the device’s performance. If you installed a fake, malicious app from a third-party app store or via Google Play Store, your phone could be infected with a virus.

No matter what kind of virus or malware your phone has, it still needs to be addressed because of the serious damage it could cause.

Some of the known problems that a virus on your phone can cause include deleting your precious data, gathering your sensitive or personal information, and making unauthorized purchases. Other malicious software like ransomware, spyware, or a Trojan horse can interfere with your phone’s operation. 

Ransomware in particular is known to encrypt data, and the hacker may demand money in exchange for unlocking your apps or files. Ultimately, cybercriminals create malicious software to steal your information, sell on the dark web, and generate revenue.

Warning Signs Your Phone Has a Virus

A phone that’s infected with a virus manifests certain behaviors that show in its performance, and other things like your text messages, purchases, and more. Here are some warning signs to watch out for.

1. Battery Drains Faster Than Usual

There are many reasons why your phone’s battery drains fast. These range from a defective battery, running a resource-intensive program, or apps running in the background.  Other performance issues could be as a result of normal wear of your phone.

If your phone has a virus, there’s increased use of your phone’s RAM and this can use up a lot of energy, thereby draining your battery much faster than usual. The virus is probably hiding behind an app that’s secretly using up resources in the background.

2. Overheating

Your phone may occasionally overheat for different reasons, for instance when gaming or watching videos. This is normal and relatively harmless. However, if the overheating is a chronic issue, even if you’re not gaming or streaming videos, it could indicate the presence of a virus.

Viruses and malware can use up your RAM quickly as they run in the background, causing your phone to overheat.

3. Surge in Data Usage and Unexplained Phone Bills

Some viruses like ransomware may simply limit your phone’s operations, but there are some more malicious software designed to steal your data or make unauthorized purchases.

You may not notice such transactions or data loss immediately because malware tends to run quietly in the background while you use your phone normally. If you check your data usage and find an unusual or sudden surge from unknown apps, it could be that your phone has a virus or spyware running in the background.

Some virus strains try to transmit data via the web, delete incoming messages, or send premium text messages from your phone thereby driving up your phone bill. Other viruses are purposefully injected to infect your contacts by sending spam texts with harmful links and attachments.

4. Apps Take Longer to Load or Crash

Apps crash occasionally, owing to inadequate storage, lack of updates, or too many apps running at the same time.

However, if you notice that the apps on your phone crash regularly and for no apparent reason, there could be a virus lurking within. This happens because viruses compromise the software on your phone causing apps to crash repeatedly.

5. Your Phone Lags or Crashes Regularly

If your phone runs slower than usual, it could be caused by excess data stored in the phone’s cache, resource-hungry apps running in the background, or too many unused apps. Push notifications, live widgets, and background syncs can also cause noticeable lag.

While lagging may be normal, if you find that it happens frequently, there could be a virus or malware hogging the phone’s resources and slowing down your phone.

6. Presence of Unfamiliar Apps

Your phone comes with a number of pre-installed apps, some of which you may not know. If you notice an unfamiliar app, or you don’t remember installing it on your phone, it’s likely there’s malware that’s automatically installing apps without your consent.

Some malicious software like Trojan horses tend to attach themselves to legitimate apps and wreak havoc on your phone.

7. Popup Ads How to Keep Your Phone and Data Safe

Use these tips to prevent viruses from sneaking into your phone:

Protect Your Phone Against Viruses

Google My Business Impressions Down 59%

An analysis of COVID-19’s impact on local search finds Google My Business experienced a sharp performance drop.

A study from chúng tôi of over 80,000 US listings finds that impressions are down an average of 59% across all verticals.

However, there are signs that performance will turn around sooner than many might expect.

Here’s more about the recent downturn of Google My Business, and when the eventual upswing is expected to occur.

All GMB Listings Got “Rocked”

Google My Business listings across all industries were negatively impacted by COVID-19.

As the study puts it, “every industry got rocked.”

Although it appears the worst may be over, as data flattened out at the end of March.

This suggests customers are coming around to seeking out businesses that do remain open.

Related: Google My Business Temporarily Removes Features Due to COVID-19

That shows customers are still engaging with businesses even if they can’t visit the location in person.

“As they shelter in place, they might be calling rather than driving, or it’s possible they want to visit and are calling to verify your hours during COVID-19.”

Recovery Already in Sight

Data suggests that performance of Google My Business listings will improve from here on out.

Automotive and retail, two industries hit hard by the pandemic, are showing signs of recovery already.

“Retail experienced a free fall in March followed by an apparent bottoming out.

Why? It’s possible the data reflects people showing an interest in shopping again after stocking up in March and sheltering in place.”

Google My Business performance for auto and retail is turning a corner, but restaurants are another story.

“At first, it was not always clear that it was possible to order from a restaurant, or whether restaurants were even open.

As consumers sorted out their options, they began to call restaurants to place food orders.”

Related: How to Completely Optimize Your Google My Business Listing


People are still using GMB, so it’s crucial that business owners continue to keep their listings updated.

Data shows that people who are searching for a business tend to engage with it either by calling or visiting the website.

So it’s a good idea to keep your website updated as well and ensure calls can still be answered.

For more about COVID-19’s impact on Google My Business listings, download the full report here.

When Reading Logs Backfire, What Can Teachers Do Instead?

To create life-long readers, ditch quotas, calendars, and logs—and replace them with strategies that get students talking about books and keeping track of the joy they experience reading.

We know the many benefits of independent reading outside of the classroom: Research shows that it reinforces early reading skills and improves vocabulary, spelling, and writing. It can also ignite a passion for reading that bears fruit throughout their entire academic career. 

It’s because of these prospective gains that Kimberly Rues, a librarian in Missouri, believes teachers often resort to daily logs to “hold students accountable” for the time they dedicate to reading outside of school. Writing for Ed Surge, Rues said logs are also fixtures in many elementary school classrooms because teachers earnestly believe they help. 

Nonetheless, the research shows that reading logs often backfire, and Rues says that she’s seen them firsthand turn reading into a “chore,” rather than something students feel motivated to do. “The problem is that if the goal is to help kids develop a love of reading, simply passing the minutes with a book isn’t enough,” Rues writes. 

A recent study agrees, finding that second and third graders assigned to read for at least 20 minutes and fill out a mandatory log saw their interest and attitude toward reading significantly decline, when compared to peers simply encouraged to read as little or as often as they’d like. Researchers concluded that reading logs were “ineffective ways of fostering a love of reading and may even lead to a decrease in children’s motivation to read.” 

Instead of focusing on creating more compliant readers, the research shows, teachers should drop activities like reading logs and explore approaches that help students develop intrinsic motivation to read. Here are four ways to get started:


To get students excited about independent reading, make them feel they’re part of a community of readers, Rues writes. She suggests devoting regular instructional time to book discussions, allowing young readers to chat about what they like about a book, what they don’t, and even whether they’d recommend the title to others.

Once effective pairs have been established, model what productive discussions sound like, and provide students with open-ended questions to kick off conversations: What feelings did this book evoke for you? or, Which character do you most closely relate to, and why? As students share, teachers can float around the room and get a far better understanding of how often and how deeply students are reading than they ever could by relying on reading logs.  


Instead of documenting time spent on task, teachers can ask students to track moments of surprise, delight, inspiration, or even confusion that arise as they read. 

The educators Hannah Schneewind and Jennifer Scoggin, authors of Trusting Readers: Powerful Practices for Independent Reading, argue that by tracking moments of “joy” and delight, students are given time to reflect on moments of a story that moved them—while providing plenty of information for teachers who want to know how well, and how often, their students are reading.

Schneewind and Scoggin say that focusing on “joy” might make some teachers think the assignment is too easy. But not the case: “Working through a challenging text is joyful, just as finding yourself in a text is joyful,” the authors wrote on Twitter. 

Students can keep these sorts of takeaways from a text in a reading diary, writes elementary school literacy coach Gigi McAllister. McAllister encourages students to reflect on favorite characters, scenes, or interesting ideas they’ve thought more about thanks to the text. To get a sense of how students are progressing, teachers can periodically collect the diaries, view them if they are digital, or eavesdrop when students are discussing books in pairs or small groups.

For some students, the diaries are a living document that can help them identify the kinds of books or genres that engage their own sensibilities the most. 


Try designating a bulletin board or part of a chalkboard as a metaphorical graffiti space for students to enshrine some of the inspiring or thought-provoking quotes they have come across in their reading. 

The quotes can give you a real-time sense of what is resonating with students, and also be used to start productive conversations in the classroom related to the skills you’re teaching. You can ask students: What details are really interesting to you here? What figurative language is the author using in this quote? Are there any words that we need to look up in our dictionaries?   

To ensure that your graffiti space remains meaningful to observers, you’ll want to discuss the standards for a great quote with your students. You might even integrate this activity into accountability partner sessions by asking students or their partners to nominate quotes that they discuss together. 


While some parts of a curriculum require students to read from the same text together, Rues writes that looking for ways to give students a choice in the books they read at home—and encouraging them to develop their own interests—goes a long way in creating an avid reader. 

Some students might love nonfiction books about animals, while others might enjoy graphic novels. The key, Rues writes, is helping young readers identify what they like and “keep up the momentum” by providing them with more recommendations—or space to research their interests further—when they’re done with a book.  

This can be achieved by taking students to the library in school, but according to Linda Gambrell and Dr. Barbara Marinak, education professors at Clemson University and Penn State Harrisburg respectively, teachers can up their book recommendation game by using other methods to stimulate interest.

Teachers might prominently showcase books upright on a table, like in a bookstore, or read a few pages out loud from a book they know might be a good match based on what they’ve learned about their students’ habits and interests. Teachers can even leave small note cards describing the merits of a book, like many booksellers do, as a way to entice students. 

“When you introduce books by instilling in children a desire to find out what’s in them, those books fly off the shelves,” the professors wrote.  

What To Do When You Lose Your Tech Gear

After quickly checking the terminal and failing to spot my phone on the ground anywhere, I grabbed a stool at the nearby airport lounge, booted up my laptop, and began the arduous task of changing the passwords on all of my online accounts–from Gmail to PayPal to Twitter. But just then I heard a familiar ringtone emanating from behind the bar. Some Good Samaritan had found my smartphone on the floor minutes earlier and turned it in. My data, my identity, and my loved ones were safe–but only because I was lucky.

At that moment, I vowed never to repeat that experience. Since then, I’ve become a faithful custodian of my phone and all of my other mobile devices. Here’s how you can add serious security to your mobile gear, making it harder to lose, easier to recover, and less prone to exposing your personal data if it falls into the wrong hands.

What to Do If Your Phone Goes Missing

The best time to worry about cell phone security is now, before your phone disappears. By taking some sensible precautions, you can make your phone easy to recover, and even safeguard your data.

Losing a phone actually entails three separate losses: the hardware itself, the data on the device, and the security that you would normally enjoy by maintaining control over your data.

To minimize the collective impact that these losses can have on your life, you should address each of the three facets separately. First, take steps to make your phone recoverable, or at least easily replaceable, in the event that it goes AWOL. Second, keep an up-to-date backup copy of the data on the phone in a safe place. Third, make sure that nobody else can access that data if your phone gets lost or stolen.

Lock Down Your Phone

Nearly every cell phone on earth–smart or otherwise–has some kind of passcode protection built in, yet almost nobody uses the feature because it adds an annoying 3-second delay to the process of making a call. Well, get over it. Set a password–or an “unlock pattern,” if you’re an Android user. Do it now, and you’ll avoid worrying later on whether someone out there is reading through your e-mail or accessing your Facebook account on your lost phone.

Make Your Phone Recoverable (or Easily Replaceable)

The first step in taking the sting out of losing your mobile phone is to shell out a few dollars per month for handset insurance from your carrier. When you buy a new phone, do this at the same time. If you have a phone but haven’t yet signed up for insurance through your carrier, do so now. For a monthly fee of about $8 (for smartphones), the insurance will guarantee you a quick, free replacement if you lose the phone–and it will get you up and running if you do something silly like run over the handset with a motorcycle.

If you lose your phone in some mundane way, such as by dropping it under a coffee table, and you’re sure it must be nearby but you just can’t find it, you can call it from another phone so that it will ring until you can home in on it. If you frequently set your handset to silent mode, you can obtain any of several cheap or free apps (available for most smartphone platforms) designed to override the phone’s current settings and make it ring at full volume whenever it goes into hiding.

BlackBerry users have a number of choices as well. The best free option is Where’s My Phone, available from the BlackBerry App World store as a feature-limited version of a more robust paid app. With the free version, you can trigger a loud alarm via e-mail to help you find your BlackBerry. The $4 paid version adds more features, such as GPS location.

Another low-cost utility is Phone­Finder With Google Maps, which brings this functionality to Windows Mobile handsets. A text message to this $1.50 app causes PhoneFinder to kick on the ringer and transmit the phone’s GPS location to the handset that sent the SMS, giving you two ways to look for it at once.

Create a Smartphone Backup

The more extensively you use your cell phone, the more completely you de­­pend on the data it stores. So regularly backing up your phone makes sense.

Often the easiest way to perform a backup is by using a cable connection: Most smartphones–including models ranging from iPhones to BlackBerrys to Palm WebOS phones (including the Pre) to Windows Mobile devices–come with syncing utilities that are de­­signed to create a complete backup of the phone’s contents. Thanks to those programs, if you sync your phone regularly, you should always have a recent copy of your files, contacts, messages, and photos safely stored on your computer. Do this religiously.

Adopt Advanced Security Measures for Your Gear

If you want protection across multiple smartphone platforms, your best option is TenCube’s WaveSecure. Available for Android, BlackBerry, Symbian S60, and Windows Mobile phones, WaveSecure provides as complete a package of protection as you can hope to have for a device that’s prone to wandering away.

WaveSecure also lets you remotely back up the contents of your phone to the secure server and then wipe all of your data from the device. So even if the phone falls into the hands of a thief, none of your personal information will be at risk. After removing the data, you can either turn the location information over to the authorities in hopes of getting your phone back (don’t count on it) or forget the stolen handset and use the insurance you bought from your carrier to purchase a replacement, and then download the backup of your data onto the new device.

Apple offers a similar tracking service, called Find My iPhone, for iPhone users. But you can get Find My iPhone only as a component of Apple’s MobileMe service, which costs a whopping $99 per year (or $149 for a four-user family pack).

Protect Your Laptop From Loss or Theft

Losing your smartphone is bad enough, but losing your laptop can wreak serious havoc in your life. When your PC skips out on you, not only must you cope with lost data and the risk of having your information compromised, but you must also replace the laptop, which can be an expensive proposition. I’ll explain how to improve your odds of getting your laptop back if it’s lost or stolen, and share a few tips for securing your personal and business data.

Record your assets: A cheap laptop may cost as little as $400, but many business users and gamers carry machines worth $1500 to $2000–or more. Re­­gardless of how much money you spent on your laptop, it’s wise to keep re­­ceipts related to your purchase, take a picture of your laptop, and register it on your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. That way, losing your laptop won’t have to be a huge financial burden on top of all the unavoidable hassles you’ll face. (For more tips on dealing with insurance companies, see “Insurance Assurance.”

Back up often: If you haven’t been backing up your data as frequently as you should, don’t feel bad–just go do it. Do it now. Do it weekly. But don’t simply copy your files onto DVDs. Perform full system backups to a reliable, high-capacity external drive using Windows Backup or a similar backup utility. For a complete guide to using Windows Backup, see “Create Idiot-Proof Backups With Windows’ Built-In Tools.”

Install a Recovery App and Sign Up With a Tracking Service

If your laptop is stolen, you have about a 2 percent chance of getting it back. But your odds can drastically improve if you run a tracking and recovery app such as zTrace or LoJack for Laptops.

For about $60 per year, with tracking service, these apps hide in your PC’s BIOS and periodically connect to the Internet to report their location. If your laptop disappears, just contact the company to activate tracking and recovery services that will respond to a signal from your laptop and record its location with surprising accuracy, based on the IP address that it connects from.

Once either LoJack for Laptops or zTrace locates your laptop, the service will work with the appropriate law enforcement authorities to investigate the theft and reclaim your equipment. In addition, you can initiate a remote data wipe that immediately begins erasing everything on your hard drive in a manner that the local user can’t interrupt or override. That way, even if the police never find your computer, your data won’t fall into the wrong hands.

Protect Your Other Mobile Tech Gear

Laptops and cell phones aren’t the only devices that can cause trouble when they stray from their owners. Losing e-book readers, media players, GPS devices, portable hard drives, and even thumb drives can be expensive in terms of both replacement costs and data loss.

Most specialized mobile devices can’t run high-end tracking and recovery software, but you can make them less anonymous by labeling them with recovery tags. One approach is simply to print your name and phone number on a return address label and affix it to the device, but you may get better re­­sults from a professional asset-recovery service like StuffBak.

For about $10, you can buy a preactivated aluminum asset tag from StuffBak, preprinted with a unique ID number, StuffBak’s Web address and toll-free phone number, and a reward offer that gives whoever finds the device an incentive to return it. When the finder reports the device’s ID number to StuffBak, the company will arrange for a courier to pick it up and return it to you.

Portable hard drives can be particularly troublesome to lose, because you don’t want to share the data on them with the world. To protect your business and personal information, consider using a robust utility such as the open-source TrueCrypt encryption software to protect the drive’s contents from snoops.

Four Habits That Help You Avoid Losing Your Stuff

Losing things is easy. Getting them back can be tough. Here are four simple habits that can help you prevent losses and improve your chances of getting your gadgets back if you do leave them somewhere.

2. Label everything: Whether you use laser-printed return address labels or fancy professional asset tags, labeling your belongings gives finders a way to reach you and return the item. Most people are honest enough to be willing to help you if you make it easy for them to do the right thing.

3. Pack consistently: If you always store each piece of gear in the same place, you’re more apt to notice when something isn’t where it belongs. For instance, if you consistently put your phone in your inside coat pocket, you have a better chance of realizing that it’s not there as you leave a restaurant. Get into the habit of knowing which pockets your essential items live in, and you’ll be less likely to leave them behind.

4. Accessorize: Covering your smartphone in a flashy case may suggest that you look to Petulant Tween magazine for tips on style and aesthetics, but it’ll also make your handset catch your eye on a cluttered restaurant table. If you tend to leave things behind, sacrificing a little dignity in return for maximum visibility may save you headaches in the long run.

Insurance Assurance

First, be sure to keep records of all of your expensive purchases. Whether it’s a shiny new laptop or a portable projector, any device whose value exceeds your insurance deductible is worth recording on your insurance policy.

At a minimum, keep your original purchase receipt in a safe place, and record the product’s serial number along with it. You might want to take a photo of the device, too, and keep that picture with the receipt and the serial number. That way, even if you can’t locate exact model information later on for some reason, you’ll have a clear record of what it is you’ve lost.

For an industry that constantly deals with unforeseen events, insurance companies hate surprises. So call your insurance agent and arrange to add your devices to your policy. Giving the insurance company information about the date of purchase and the amount paid, as well as the model and serial numbers, will streamline the process of getting reimbursed if the device goes the way of the laundry sock.

Do the work early, and you’ll take a lot of the hassle out of the process of obtaining reimbursement for a stolen gadget.

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