The 21 Worst Tech Habits--and How to Break Them

Your keyboard is just one spill away from dark roast Armageddon. Sound familiar? Then you have a very bad tech habit, friend.

By Christopher Null
Tue, April 23, 2013

PC World — You bite your nails. Your house is a sty. You never signal before changing lanes, and when you finally reach your destination, you're 30 minutes late.

We all have bad habits in real life. Why can't technology help cure them? While technology should help us break bad habits, all too often it makes things worse.

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Are you guilty of a bad tech habit? Here are 21 of the worst technology-oriented habits, plus potential fixes for all of them. (And we have a bonus at the end, on mending bad email habits.)

1. Leaving equipment in plain sight

The typical gadget isn't stolen by thieves who've done lots of planning. No, most gadget heists are conceived and executed in seconds, and probably beAAcause you left the item unattended. That cozy window corner at the cafA(c) is great until you need to run back to the counter for a refill. A thief can pop in, grab your device, and be gone. Gadgetry is also commonly snapped up from airport security conveyers (sadly, sometimes by TSA agents themselves) while you're waiting for your body scan. Your locked car isn't safe, either. An eager crook will happily smash your window and grab the laptop bag from the passenger seat, even in broad daylight.

Fix: Don't leave laptops and other gadgets unattended. Yes, that means you must either take them to the bathroom or leave them with someone you trust. At a cafA(c), it doesn't hurt to ask the staff if you can leave something behind the counter for a minute. In any case, skip asking, "Can you watch this for me?" and pointing at your PC across the room.

2. Oblivious gadget usage

Here's how street hoods steal your phone. They lurk at the top of the stairs as you emerge from the subway, or sneak up behind you while you're lounging at an outdoor cafA(c). Either way, you have no idea they're there, because your nose is buried in your smartphone's Facebook feed. Next thing you know, you've been punched in the face, and the thieves are dashing off to a getaway car. Can you identify the suspects? No, because the last thing you saw before it happened was a picture of a puppy.

Fix: Everyone uses phones everywhere, so it doesn't feel risky to break one out on the train or while walking home in the dark. But electronics remain some of the most easily fenced items on the black market, and it pays to keep your wits about you when using them in an unknown situation. Make it a policy to limit mobile device usage to areas where you're completely certain you won't be the victim of a smash-and-grab attack. That goes double for using your phone while you're driving. Don't become another statistic!

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