7 technology strategies of smart people

Follow these 7 strategies in 2011 to get a better grip on your personal technology habits. Make sure you're saving money, staying safe and avoiding the latest hassles.

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4. Manage Your Passwords Better.

Yes, you've heard this from me (and plenty of others) before, but I'll bet that many of you still use the same password on every site you visit, including your bank and brokerage accounts. Seriously, you need to cut it out. People really do hack into online accounts and making it easy for them isn't smart. The best way to handle that chore is with a password manager, but there a number of other strategies you can adopt. A related issue: Buy a paper shredder for your home office and make sure no one can pull credit card statements and the like out of your garbage or recycling cans. I've been victimized that way, and I'm a lot more careful than I used to be.

5. Spend Money on a Really Good Keyboard.

Many of us do all or most of our work on a laptop, and that means typing on an awkwardly positioned keyboard that is almost certainly flat and quite possibly not full-sized. I use a curved wireless keyboard from Logitech, but lots of companies including Microsoft, make decent ergonomic keyboards. Not using one is simply asking for trouble in the form of RSI or neck and back pain.

6. Check What Your Backup Software Actually Backs Up.

Sure, you know about backing up, whether it's to the cloud or an external hard drive. But are you sure everything you want to save is actually being backed up? For example, if you use an email service that stores mail on your local drive, is the mail itself being backed up, or just your profile information? Don't wait until you have a drive failure to find out.

7. Be Nice to Your Laptop's Battery.

These batteries are surprisingly expensive, and don't like sitting in your laptop for weeks on end when the PC is powered by AC current. Take the battery out when it's about half empty, stick it someplace that's dry and cool and it will be at your service when you need it. Of course, remember to charge it all the way up before you hit the road. There are a few other things you can do to keep that bad boy healthy; check them out here.

San Francisco journalist Bill Snyder writes frequently about business and technology. He welcomes your comments and suggestions. Reach him at bill.snyder@sbcglobal.net.

Follow Bill Snyder on Twitter @BSnyderSF. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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