I share my life with someone who loves technology. Oh, yes, if there’s a way to knock off an extra millisecond from waiting for something to load on a computer, he’s trying to improve on it and knock off two. That’s just the way life has gone since starting our lives together back when external modems were all the rage. Then came affordable laptops. You know…for folks who didn’t like sitting at computer desks and felt the need to take their work with them while traveling?

And as if having a laptop didn’t make us lazy enough being able to sit in our favorite comfortable chair or out on the balcony, we then felt the itch to be able to search the internet. And it wasn’t enough that we had to run a phone line outside and plug it into the jack. No, no. Someone went and created wireless hubs so that we no longer needed to expend the energy of unplugging the phone cord, walking with the phone cord and then using one’s fingers to plug the aforementioned phone cord back in.

This means that the love of my life can walk from room to room with a laptop and never once have to look up at the annoyed scowl on my face from being ignored while he steps over his own clothes instead of bending down to pick them up. No, no. That’s what my parents invented me for; his servitude.

I do remember one fateful day when I noticed the internet running particularly slow, so I investigated only to discover someone else borrowing our network. They didn’t even have the decency to identify their system with a name I could trace back to them and knock on their door to inquire about. Security needed to be enforced and it was; we passworded the system!

That was then and we’ve gotten a bit wiser about it since then. Well, okay, he’s gotten a bit wiser about it since then. Instead of our computers searching and finding the wireless, he simply programmed the wireless to acknowledge ONLY our specific computers. That means anybody else searching for an open network won’t even see ours and I like that. I’m good with that. That’s how we roll in the shire.

The only thing worse than somebody borrowing your wireless…and I’m guilty of doing that when I head out with friends or family to run errands and have a few minutes while they’re busy…is when somebody can see the files on your computer. If they can see them, chances are you don’t know about it and they can copy or delete them if they wanted to…all without your knowledge.

Feeling safe if your wireless is passworded like ours? You shouldn’t. I have certain folders set up to share when I’m at home, mostly media files like music or videos, and it didn’t occur to me that they are still set up to be shared when I travel and connect to the hotel or airport’s wireless. I was amazed at how many people had left their documents and music libraries completely wide open. If I’d ever wanted to add to my music collection, I could have amassed quite the library from one hotel in Grand Rapids. Fortunately, I’m honest. Even more fortunate, they didn’t have anything I wanted to listen to.

I’m not a computer expert. It’s really not my forte and considering my homemaking tormentor is, I figure I can best put that energy into discovering new ways for him to pick up his clothes…perhaps with subliminal suggestions. Regardless, there are simple things you can do to keep the information and files on your computers safe. Passwords on the wireless and passwords in order to share your folders—or even simply turning file sharing off while you’re traveling—are little bits of security that can go a long way.

Now if I can just figure out what a DOS prompt is…

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