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Today we're talking about the germs living on your computer and mobile hardware, a potential health hazard that can easily be remedied. You'll definitely want to complete this D4S Challenge to clean your hardware, because by some accounts, your keyboard likely contains more germs than your toilet seat.

The Dirty Lowdown. When it comes to bugs and computers, your first thought may be addressing cyber security issues to protect your client files and data. But when was the last time you concerned yourself with the bacteria-type of bugs lurking on the outside of your hardware?

A whole host of harmful bacteria and viruses — from e.coli to staph — have been found growing on computer keyboards and mice. Shared hardware between colleagues or family members carries an even greater danger of passing along diseases.

The good news is that by cleaning your hands and your hardware on a regular basis, you can limit your exposure. And, by ridding your hardware of dirt, dust and crumbs in the process, you'll also help your computer to run better.


Spring Clean Your Hardware. Cleaning the outside of a computer or mobile device requires extreme care; the components inside your hardware can become damaged if done incorrectly.


Let's face it, some work days are just harder to get through than others. Whether due to an overwhelming to-do list or just finding it hard to focus — everyone needs an assist now and then.

Today we're exploring using music in the workplace to improve concentration and productivity. And we'll also check out the flip side, using complete silence to aid performance.

The Power of Music. Music has the power to do for the workday what a white noise machine does for sleep, that is, block out distractions. Studies have shown that melodic music also improves your mood by releasing dopamine in the reward area of your brain, which in turn bring about additional positive outcomes from productivity to creativity.

When deciding if listening to music at work will work for you, consider what type of task you'll be doing and whether music will help or hinder you in that task. New research has shown that music can increase your attention span when working on things that are repetitive but may be a distraction when you're tasked with critical-thinking. Each person is different, though, so find out what is right for you.


Congratulations to Stephen Deckro, Stephanie Gilbert, and Mervate Mohammad for each winning a Visa gift card in the #lawinINstyle Instagram contest

During our second week of Member Appreciation Month, we gave advice on how to polish your professional presence by evaluating what kind of image your wardrobe projects. We asked several of our members to give insight and advice on the power of dressing well, then asked our readers to share their favorite outfit on Instagram. We loved seeing examples of how our members use their wardrobes to put their best foot forward as attorneys.

Don't forget to check out our Membership Appreciation Month site for upcoming promotions.


Continuing our D4S Office Wellness Week, today we're looking at a very 21st century work problem — Computer Vision Syndrome — and ways to prevent or alleviate related symptoms.


What is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)? According to the American Optometric Association, CVS (also referred to as Digital Eye Strain) describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and smartphone use. Research shows that between 50 and 90 percent of people who work at a computer screen experience some symptoms.

The most common symptoms include eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, dry red eyes, and neck/shoulder/back pain.

What causes CVS? CVS is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in that both are repetitive motion injuries you can get at work. When you spend the majority of your day on the computer, your eyes follow the same path over and over, constantly focusing and refocusing every time they move across the screen or you look away from your screen and back.


Welcome to D4S Week 4 - Office Wellness! Lawyers tend to work long hours and experience significant amounts of stress. This week we're looking at ways to help you cope with that stress and make your office environment healthier too. Let's get started...

Chances are you spend much of your day sitting in front of a computer. (You're likely there now.) If you are seated (or the next your are,) check your posture. Are you hunched over? Is your breathing inhibited? Does your lower back or neck hurt? When was the last time you stretched?

We've asked Health and Relaxation Coach Liv Ryan — daughter of (proud) mom Jeanne Heaton, ISBA Director of CLE — for an encore of her 'DIY Physio for Stress Reduction' techniques, recently given at an ISBA Solo & Small Firm Institute.

In the video, Liv shares a few stretches you can do seated at your desk, or standing nearby, that will reinvigorate you, work out some of your tension, and get the blood flowing again for better alertness and posture throughout the rest of your day. Watch it before you go get your morning coffee or whenever you find yourself needing a short break.



Our final challenge this week is to uncover some best practices for creating better passwords and learn how to properly store them.

'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.' –Aristotle

Faster hardware and new tech used by password crackers have made passwords less secure than in years past. Your best bet for creating a password that is more difficult for online predators to crack is to employ multiple methods. Our favorites are outlined below. Alone, each is better than doing nothing, but together our 1-2-3-punch makes for a stronger deterrent.

Randomizing. By definition, to randomize is to make unpredictable. Humans are notorious for creating predictable passwords. If you Google 'random password,' a number of online random password generators will turn up in your results. Great, right? Wrong. According to our IT guru Tim, 'If it's online, it's not recommended. Sacrifice convenience for security.' Your results and IP address can potentially be discovered by the wrong people. With that in mind, go old school. Find a favorite book or pick up a dictionary, close your eyes, point to a word...you know the drill. In fact, you'll want to do that a few times because our next tip is to use...

Phrases/Multiple Words. Another best practice is to use a string of words instead of a single word. Here, more is better; use as many words/characters as you are comfortable using, and again, try to randomize and make sure they have no relationship to one another.


We're back today with Tim and Brandt to get more information about how to protect your hardware and data, this time looking at your mobile devices.

5 Best Practices for Keeping Your Mobile Devices Secure

1. Install protection software such as AVG (Android) or Avast (Android | iPhone+iPad).

2. Not to sound like a broken record, but back up your device. Make regular backups of your iPhone and iPad using iTunes/iCloud. Make regular backups of your Android device using the built in 'Backup and Reset' feature for contacts and passwords, and Dropbox, Google+, and Microsoft OneDrive for photos. You can also backup your entire Android device with Helium, MyBackup Pro, or manually by connecting to your computer. Mac users will need the Android File Transfer Tool.


In light of the WannaCry ransomware attack over the weekend — which affected more than 200K computers in 150 countries — today's challenge is especially timely. (Read this if you were attacked by WannaCry and need help knowing what to do next.)

Today Tim and Brandt, ISBA's tech gurus, talk about how to protect your computer and data as best as you can from malware, ransomeware, and other cyber attacks.

13 Best Practices for Keeping Your Windows PC and Mac Secure

(In Italy, 13 is good luck!)

1. Backup your data. Back it up again somewhere else. If everything else fails, you'll be really glad you have all your data saved elsewhere. Check out this previous D4S post that was all about redundant backup.

2. Disable the remote desktop in Windows and only use secure remote software (like TeamViewer). See this document for instructions.


We're providing you with five more free tech resources today — all part of our Timesaving Tech Tips week. If you've found any other great free (or cheap) tech resources that have helped you at work, we're eager to hear from you. Share your tips with us and others by commenting below. 

Google Translate: This free service instantly translates words, phrases, and web pages between English and over 100 other languages. Use while browsing the web. Available for Chrome (by the Google Translate team), Firefox (a third-party add-on), and Opera (a third-party add-on).

f.lux: This cross-platform computer program is designed to reduce eye strain during nighttime use and reduce disruption of sleep patterns (circadian rhythm). It automatically adjusts your display's color temperature according to location and time of day. Stay tuned for more on this coming next week during D4S's Office Wellness Week!


Welcome to Week 3 – Timesaving Tech Tips. ISBA's tech gurus,Tim and Brandt, are back on the clock providing you with five free tech tools today and five more tomorrow.

Lazarus (Chrome | Firefox): Never lose anything you type into a web form again! Lazarus autosaves everything you type so you can easily recover from form-killing timeouts, crashes and network errors.

Google Dictionary for Chrome: View definitions easily as you browse the web. Just highlight a word in chrome to see the definition in a balloon tip pop-up.

AdBlock: Blocks ads all over the web. There is a version for every major web browser (Chrome, Safari, Edge, Opera & Firefox).

AdBlock for YouTube (Chrome | Firefox): Removes the video ads from YouTube.