Tech geeks take Twitter! That's right, instead of Bieber trending, this morning, anyone who has ever had a major computer failure took to Twitter in an exercise of catharsis.
The game? Express your tech horror in five words or less. As the guy who has served as the de facto IT department for his family, high school, a small law firm, and more, reading these tweets is giving me flashbacks.
Here are the ones you'll be most likely to encounter. Prepare accordingly.
"I use this password everywhere" #FiveWordTechHorrors-- David Lutz (@dlutzy) December 11, 2013
Password incorrect. One attempt remaining. #FiveWordTechHorrors-- That Girl (@diwsickles) December 11, 2013
How do people fail? Let us count the ways: writing passwords on sticky notes, using "password" or "12345," or using the same password for every single site or service.
If you can't remember 387 distinct passwords (with sp3ci@l characters!), consider using a password manager. The New York Times has a few recommendations.
And if, like me, you're too paranoid to give a single app all of your passwords and credit card details, we busted password myths and provided tips earlier this year for devising strong and easy to remember passwords.
Hard drive cannot be found #FiveWordTechHorrors-- Niclas Marie (@niclas_marie) December 11, 2013
This one is bound to give anyone, who has ever lost everything to a hard drive failure, PTSD. Breathe. It's okay. You use cloud storage or some other backup medium, right? NO? ARE YOU NUTS?
And if your hard drive ever fails, we can relate. We provided troubleshooting tips, but as always, an ounce of prevention (backups!) is worth a pound of cure.
"Free virus scan: CLICK HERE" #FiveWordTechHorrors-- jay, smugsexual (@jaythenerdkid) December 11, 2013
This one hurts. In my time at a small firm in Los Angeles, I encountered the most annoying virus ever: a fake antivirus virus. It tricked users into installing faux antivirus software that slowed the computers to a crawl and prevented them from going online.
The only solution? Wipe the hard drives after backing up files. Each PC took hours.
Stick with a known antivirus provider. My personal favorite is Microsoft Security Essentials (if you are on Windows). It's free, it does the job, and oh yeah, it's free.
Best viewed with Internet Explorer. #FiveWordTechHorrors-- Nick Pettit (@nickrp) December 11, 2013
Internet Explorer. For the past decade, it has been the slowest and least reliable of all web browsers. It maintains its market share because it is bundled with Windows. The new versions are greatly improved, but lag greatly behind Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
Alas, rarely, some sites work better on IE, especially, for some reason, government and court sites. Our advice? Use IE only when needed.
My nephew does web design. #FiveWordTechHorrors-- Zoe M. Gillenwater (@zomigi) December 11, 2013
We can't stress this enough. Though your nephew may do web design, or you may feel competent enough to throw together a template-based site, your online presence is worth the investment of hiring a professional.
Do you know how to optimize your page for search engines? How about updating periodically to adjust for Google's ever-evolving search algorithm?
How about social media and blogging?
Does your site provide an easy way for clients to contact you immediately, such as chat or a "call us" button? (Conversion matters above all else.) Your nephew means well, but go with the pros. And we're not just saying that because we're the best at online lawyer marketing (though yes, we are pretty amazing).
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