What is a VPN?

WhatIsAVPN
It was less than five years ago that the Starbucks Corporation – the trendy super-chain of coffee shops  – made the decision to provide free WiFi access at each and every location worldwide. Since then, we’ve seen an overwhelming mass of public WiFi hotspots appear in nearly every place where people visit that are likely to bring an Internet-enabled device. So, pretty much everywhere. Widespread Internet connectivity makes sense in certain locations: major arenas, restaurants, and airplanes – all likely places where lots of social sharing is going on. But now we’re seeing the surprising rollout of easily accessible WiFi in public parks and local car washes (among other obscure locations), and let’s face it – that extra boost of Internet-juice is rarely a disappointing find.

 

Wireless access to the internet in these places is made available through largely free and insecure hotspots that anyone in the near vicinity with an Internet-enabled device can get on and use. These open connections prove as both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, the lack of any troublesome passwords makes connectivity and breeze. Literally, it’s a matter of toggling one, maybe two connection options and before you know it you’re surfing the ‘net and ready to go. But in a negative regard, security-free WiFi means that none of what you do or the information that you share while on an Internet hotspot is protected. Anyone also sharing the same hotspot could be snooping in on you and watching everything you do (and no, we’re not talking about the NSA here, though that’s a concern in and of itself). So does that mean that you should stop using public access free internet hotspots? Of course not; you just need to add some protection to your connection first.

 

The key to your security woes is a Virtual Private Network – henceforth referred to as a VPN. Simply put, a VPN is a layer of security between you and the outside digital world. It typically employs some level of encryption to protect the privacy of the data you transfer while connected. Most introductions to VPNs come from the workplace –  when employees need to connect to their employer’s network from outside of the office.

 

A VPN creates a secure tunnel between your Internet-enabled device and the network or server you’re connected to. Everything you do while connected to a VPN is encrypted, from what you’re viewing and downloading, to your IP address and access point. This tunnel is totally private – not even your Internet service provider (ISP) can see exactly what you’re doing or transferring. Additionally, VPN is a must-have for international internet users looking to access websites that have been blocked or censored by their home country (lookin’ at you, China). If you are very privacy-conscious, and you prefer that your information and all that you do online stay hidden from prying eyes, a VPN is the best solution and a great way to go.

 

At Newshosting, we offer VPN as both a standalone product and an added feature to our Usenet plans. Start a VPN-only plan for as little as $8.33 per month.

7 Usenet Questions You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask

Usenet Questions You're Too Embarrassed to AskWhen starting out a new hobby, there’s typically a learning curve separating newbies (beginners, new users, whatever) from the more experienced. In the case of the Usenet, many, many users have only scratched the surface. In reality, without any outside help, the newest to the most intermediate user finagles the bare-bones experience: manual searches, header downloads, default protocols, the list could go on forever. We’ve corralled our most frequently asked questions about Usenet best practices to shed some light on those subjects that you’re too afraid to ask. We want our users to get the most out of their Usenet access, without fear of judgement or rejection for asking the n00b Usenet questions. After all, you never know until you ask, right?

 

1) What is a block account?

A block account is a “block” of data from a Usenet provider that typically serves as a back-up to your main provider. Generally, people have a monthly subscription with one provider, and a block account with a second provider as a fallback. We made this block account thing easy by partnering with Easynews. If you have an XL Powerpack Plan, it comes with a free Easynews account. The idea is, if one provider has deleted one set of articles and another provider deletes a second set with little or no overlap, then the download can still be completed.

 

2) Who uploads files to the Usenet? Do they gain anything from uploading?

The community-at-large, the users upload all of the files to the Usenet. In fact, only about 1% of all Usenet users upload over 90% of the original user-generated content. As for what they get from it? Nothing. They don’t get anything from it, other than the community of usenet being thankful.

 

3) I’ve hear that Usenet is far superior to other similar services. Is this true?

Typically we don’t like to talk about the competition, but in this case – yes, Usenet has full superiority. Not only is it safer, considering there’s no seeding and you yourself aren’t uploading any files to individuals, but it’s optimized for better use on the user’s end. Instead of relying on others to be available during the download period, you can just download files from the server. And since you’re downloading from a server instead of another live user, you can normally max your connection speed.

 

4) Why are some downloads slower than others?

The simplest answer is that it depends on what you’re downloading and how old it is. Older files, while hosted, are archived since they aren’t frequently accessed, whereas newer files are available right away since they’re spread out across multiple servers for speed and redundancy. In essence, the older files take more time to access in this archive and therefore, take a longer time to download.

 

5) Is Usenet safe?

Skipping over the opportunity to crack a NSFW joke here, the short answer is yes, it is safe – or at least it can be. There are plenty of steps one could take for optimal security and online anonymity when accessing and download from the Usenet. The first is using an SSL connection. A secure sockets layer is a layer of encryption that prevents your ISP from seeing what it is you’re downloading. Additionally, avoid uploading copyrighted content, that’s a big no-no…but that goes without saying.

 

6) Do you log downloads?

At Newshosting, we do NOT log the downloads of our users. In actuality, we at Newshosting hold personal information about you in the strictest confidence and does not sell or rent that information. Newshosting will not release or divulge any customer information unless ordered to do so by a Court of law. For more information about that, read our Privacy Policy.

 

7) Do I need to use a VPN when I’m downloading from Usenet?

The short answer is a simple ‘no,’ you do not need a VPN – but there is enough reason to continue using one. If you’re not ready to play with your download and connection settings, a VPN may be the easiest encryption method achievable. Similarly, if you want to keep your ISP from throttling your newsgroup download speed, than a virtual private network would be just the thing. Newshosting offers a VPN for users to achieve this high level of security when downloading, both from Usenet and from the World Wide Web.

If we’ve missed a topic you’d like us to shed more light on, add a comment below!

Spread the Love – Usenet Contests, Savings, and More!

Newshosting Valentine's Day Enter to Win

It’s been widely accepted by the community-at-large that the first rule of Usenet is that you don’t talk about Usenet. Users have been keeping mum about the platform for a long time, but we think it’s time to break that first rule. We want to share the best-kept secret on the ‘net with the world – it’s time to share the wealth and Spread the Love!

Enter to Win

We love our users – I mean obviously, right? We wouldn’t be here without you all! That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to give you a little somethin’ somethin.’ Enter to win a FREE month of our XL Powerpack plan using the Rafflecopter widget on this page. Earn additional entries by following Newshosting on Twitter or by subscribing to our monthly newsletter!

How to Enter
Complete the Easynews Love Letters Campaign entry form.

Promotion Dates
Entries will be accepted from February 6 until February 20, 2015.

Winner Notification
Winners will be selected at random will be chosen from all of the submitted entries from the Newshosting Valentines Day Card entry form. Winners will be notified via email within 30 days of the conclusion of the promotion.

Longtime Love

For our existing and long-term subscribers, we wanted to offer a love more satisfying. Take advantage of our Partner Special – a special rate of $99.99 billed annually for unlimited Usenet access and free VPN service! This special rate will not be publicly available for long so now is the time to take the plunge and commit!

 

Using a VPN on Inflight Wi-Fi

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If you’ve been on a plane in the last year, you know that Gogo’s Inflight Wi-Fi is the only major player when it comes to Internet connectivity in the clouds. Then, if you actually chose to shell out $10.00 for a measly two hours of internet access, you know that it was on par with the 256 kbps dial-up you were running circa 1998. Literally, a snail could travel from one end of the plane longer than it takes to load your Facebook Newsfeed.  Slow speeds aside, there’s a general assumption that if you’re paying for Internet – and low performing Internet access at that, that you’re paying for a secure connection. That was until a Google Engineer realized that Gogo was using fake SSL certificates. You know what they say when you assume…

This is a massive problem. Not only does this expose you and your private data to Gogo (who already have your email address, name, and credit card on file) but by removing this layer of security, Gogo is practically handing the keys to your kingdom of data to anyone else on the network with malicious intent. So why are they doing this? According to Gogo Inflight, it’s all to curb traffic from certain data-heavy websites (YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc.) but we know there are plenty other ways to go about this instead of a MiTM attack.

What is a MiTM attack? It is an instance in which an attacker (in this case, Gogo Inflight) will intercept the data sent between two different systems, allowing it to act as the middle man, get it? If your SSL certificate is returning red flags (because it’s being signed by the MiTM), your browser will warn you with some sort of pop-up or a red “x” in your search browser—though many often ignore this warning.

Luckily, this can all be avoided with a simple tool that many Internet-savvy users already have, a virtual private network. A VPN connects two computers securely and privately over the internet, even if that connection is though a public network. A VPN client on one computer connects to a VPN server on another computer and by using encryption and other security measures, no-one can see what kind of information is being exchanged.

Let’s say we were to hop on a flight today from Los Angeles to London and we use the Newshosting VPN. We’re on and our information is encrypted, but the ISP (in this instance, Gogo) can still see how much data we’re using. This would not be an instance in which the VPN is helpful to access geoblocked streaming content, or any streaming content really. Remember, VPN’s can be tricky when you’re 50,000 ft above and to reiterate, the speed of Inflight Internet is reminiscent of a snail’s speed. But that shouldn’t deter you from checking your emails, reading the news, social networking, and the 1000000 other things you do online.

5 Gadgets That Will Change The Way You Live

You’ve probably seen an overwhelming mass of posts and articles referencing the gadgets from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month. But it seems as though the majority of electronics presented, however fascinating, are items unlikely to come into contact with the average middle class consumer in the foreseeable future. We’ve combed through the best of reported tech, from the Panasonic Smart Mirror that tells you your flaws and offers solutions for a fix, to the best of the best in wearable tech. Here are our finds for this year’s gadgets most likely to impact the way the work and live.

 

1. Energous WattUp

wattup We all hate having to surrender our devices to a stationary location as it charges for any given period. WattUp gives you the freedom to receive a charge from anywhere within a 30 foot space. The best part? This nifty little router charges ALL of your battery-operated devices (well, specifically 12 at a time) that require less than 10 watts. That means it charges:

• Smart Phones, Phablets, eReaders and Small Tablets
• Smart Phone Accessories, such as Charging Sleeves
• Wearable Fitness Trackers
• Smart Watches, and other Wearable Computing Devices
• Computer Accessories, such as Wireless Keyboards and Mice
• Remote Controls
• Home Device Networks
• Home, Office and Commercial Wireless Sensors
• Gaming Controllers
• LED Lighting
• Battery-Powered Children’s Toys

 

May low-battery anxiety be a thing of the past. Seems like an innovation winner to us.

 

Price: $299.99

 

2. Misfit Bolt

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If you haven’t heard, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a reality and it is upon us! The Misfit Bolt is a smart lightbulb that integrates with Android and iOS devices to program custom color, hue, and brightness settings. This bulb is very similar to the Philips Hue lighting system that released back in 2012, only this guy doesn’t have a complicated setup and add-on process. The smart bulb will be sold individually and in a 3-pack to light an entire room. Now remember it is a “smart bulb” – the bulb is much pricier than your typical light bulb but it’s an LED bulb with a life of 23 hours and it does mark a much lower price that is coming to the smart bulb arena.

 

Price: $129 for 3 bulbs

 

3. Amazon Echo

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For all of you in the peanut gallery with your tin-foil hats ready to “boo” and “hiss” at the integration of smart tech in our daily lives, it’s really time to get over it. Move past the creep factor: Amazon’s Echo is a personal assistant you’ll actually use. The moment it connects to Wi-Fi, the Echo has access to Amazon Prime’s music service and is enabled to connect to iHeartRadio and TuneIn for audio content. Alexa can answer a lot of questions, specifically fact-based ones. If it’s on Wikipedia, Alexa can reference it and read the first paragraph to you. Need measurement conversions? Alexa can knock that out, too. Alexa can also tell you about the weather, what time it is, set an alarm for you, and add items to a shopping list or a to-do list. Plus, any answer Alexa gives or song she plays also shows up on the Echo app too, so you can dive deeper into that Wikipedia entry or manage your to-do list.

 

Price: $99.99 with Amazon Prime Membership

 

4. Vysk QS1 Privacy Case

vyskqs1

A follow-up to Vysk’s widely successful EP1 case, the QS1 case uses a combination of hardware and software components to protect the details of your life from the prying eyes of hackers. A patented camera shutter is used to prevent hackers from taking control of your iPhone’s cameras and the Vysk Private Gallery app and Vysk Private Text app are used to encrypt and protect your photos, videos and text messages. Similarly, the case blocks the microphone on your device so useful tidbits and discussion points are totally encrypted. As an added bonus, the Vysk QS1’s rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides up to 120% more battery life for a phone.

 

Price: $229.99

 

5. Phorce Freedom

phorce

This laptop bag is just oversized enough to say “Hey, I mean business” but it’s what’s inside that you’re gonna love: there’s a backup battery charger with designated compartments for your phone and tablets. Now you can charge all of your devices without worry as you walk through an airport or sip coffee at Starbucks. Since the cables feed through the interior of the bag, no longer shall you find yourself amongst the horde of others guarding precious outlet space with the fervor of a territorial animal.

 

Price: $199.99

Usenet for Beginners

Too often do we hear online chatter about Usenet and the serious learning curve for the new user to “get it.” Outside of the most obvious of controversial issues when accessing content stored on Usenet (don’t make us spell it out for you,) the first rule of Usenet is that you don’t talk about Usenet. The active Usenet community has been keeping mum about the platform, hoping that the lack of attention will save it from the same fate as, say, Napster or the Pirate Bay. However, we no longer live in an era where something cannot easily be located or found. Large content rights organizations are abundantly aware of Usenet’s existence and it seems unnecessary at this point to remain silent about the most raw part of the ‘net.

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What is Usenet?

The purpose of Usenet is to provide a network where any user can publicly post information which is then quickly disseminated, allowing any other user to access said posted information.

Okay, so I’ll admit that’s a terribly vague description and it makes Usenet sound like…well, the Internet. This is a loaded question because what Usenet is now is not what it was originally. Like all great things, the Usenet has evolved over the last three decades into the behemoth we love today.

Historically, Usenet is the OG computer network. It predates the World Wide Web by over a decade and is the key influencer for how we communicate on the web today, particularly in forums and social networks. It’s a public network that it is not controlled by any single source – no one owns this network, and no one can truly eradicate it.

Similarly to how we remember Facebook’s initial launch, Usenet was primarily accessed by university faculty and students. At that point in time, Usenet was a means of transferring files as well as providing newsgroups to discuss any number of topics with other users.

 

Enough with the history lesson, what does Usenet do NOW?

Fair point, noble reader. You could’ve looked that up on Wikipedia and let’s face it – we are focused on the *NOW.* But in order to wrap your mind around what Usenet is, you should try to understand its roots.

The newsgroups are still very much an active component of Usenet. Newsgroups are like forums, and there’s a massive number of them. In fact, there are over 100,000 Usenet newsgroups, covering a huge variety of subjects ranging from space science and exploration to iOS app development and technology.

The bread and butter so to speak, of Usenet are the binaries. These encoded binaries can be any type of media file ranging from mpeg video to mp3 audio files. All of these binaries are user generated and are available to download from the Usenet.

 

I downloaded something but I’ve never seen this file format before and it’s all broken. What the deuce, is this a virus?

Calm down, this is how it normally works. Binary files are broken up into teeny tiny compressed files (usually RAR format) along with parity files (PAR) to allow you to repair any missing parts post-download. These smaller parts are spread across many Usenet messages or articles to make it possible to store the entire file and for quick transfer.

 

What is this I’m reading about NZB files? Explain that one.

An NZB file is simply a file that points to specific message IDs (in this case, a segments of a binary file) that acts like a table contents for your newsreader. This table of contents tells your NZB client or newsreader exactly where to find specific binary content you are looking for on the Usenet. For the geeks out there, an NZB file is actually an XML file format that contains the full message ID list for the binary content you are trying to download.

Because an NZB file points to all the parts that make up the file you wish to download, using NZBs to download files becomes the fastest and best way to download binary content from the Usenet.

 

Why are there so many file components?

This is a multi-prong process to make the downloading of binaries easier. The more time you spend setting up your system, the better experience you’ll enjoy in the long term. All of the components ensure quick transfers, self-repairing files, and automated functions. You can even automate your downloads if you’re regularly searching for the same kind of media to skip the search and ensure you’re downloading files the moment they hit the ‘net!

 

What’s on the Usenet?

Anything and everything. Some stuff is NSFW, and some stuff is great for the kids. Literally. Everything.

 

NSFW? Is there porn?

Is that your primary concern ;) To reiterate, Usenet is a network of user-generated content. Have users uploaded their home movies for all the world to see? Yes. Is that all you’ll find? Definitely not!

 

Is there anything you’re not telling me?

Yes – yes there is. The first rule to Usenet is that you don’t talk about Usenet. There are some additional resources that can fill in the gaps, but that’s all we’re gonna say about that.

Weird New Year’s Traditions From Around the World

In many countries around the world, there’s a common belief that specific actions taken on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day—or at the stroke of midnight when one turns into the other—can influence the outcome of the twelve months ahead. In sunny Brazil for example, residents flock to the shores to jump over seven waves at the stroke of midnight for good luck. Or in Chile, where it is common practice on New Years Eve to sweep one’s house inside-out to remove bad energy. A New Year signifies a new beginning. Finally, a chance to shrug off a year’s worth of worries, conflicts, and mistakes; a chance to start over.

NYE-Celebrate-Around-The-World4-e1355937789463

It’s no wonder we all welcome the holiday with such vehemence. Here in the United States (and in many other counties), the event is celebrated with fireworks and spectacles, carousing and toasts. Some cultures though, have more bizarre ways of ringing in the new year. No matter how weird New Year’s traditions from around the world may seem to us, these customs share an optimism that’s hard not to appreciate. Out with the old, in with the new!

 

Argentina

If you’ve already planned an outfit for your New Year’s celebration, it probably includes some sort of black tie or party dress depending on your needs…but what about your bloomers? A popular practice amongst Argentinians (and other South American countries) is to coordinate their underwear color with the kind of good fortune they want to receive in the New Year. And while there’s a debate on the kind of underwear – granny panties, boxers, thong, briefs – the type of fortune behind the color is not a debated issue

  • Pink: Luck in love and harmony.
  • Green: Life, nature, and overall well-being.
  • Blue: Wellness, tranquility and good health.
  • White: Peace, harmony, and happiness.
  • Red: Love, passion and romance.
  • Yellow: Prosperity, wealth and success.

 

Brazil

The New Year is one of Brazil’s major celebrations. It marks the official start of the summer holidays, which last until Carnival. While they also share a similar practice with Argentina of coordinating underwear colors with luck, most partygoers will wear a white ensemble as doing so is traditionally believed to bring and sustain good luck for the rest of the year whilst sending bad spirits away.

 

Chile

The sight of people aimlessly wandering with a suitcase in tow may seem strange, but it does serve a purpose, however wishful it may be. Chileans performing this routine are hoping to do lots of traveling in the coming year. Then, people ensure to eat a spoonful of lentils at midnight for a year filled with work and money.

 

Denmark

If you’re Danish, you might throw your old plates at the doorways and stoops of neighbors, friends and family that you want to have good luck in the coming year. Similarly, if you find many old broken dishes at their foyer, then it’s considered to be an positive indication that you have many good friends and well-wishers. Additionally, it’s quite common for one to stand on a chair and jump from it at the stroke of midnight to welcome the New Year.

 

Italy

Italians have managed to make the otherwise innocent New Year’s Eve celebration (mind you, the generally accepted holiday mascot is a baby) a bit naughty. Tradition dictates that everyone must wear red underwear on New Year’s eve – be they boxer shorts or sexy lace panties – anything goes, as long as it’s red. Shortly after Christmas, red underwear is stocked exclusively all over the country. Then there are the mass PDAs. St Mark’s Square in Venice is known for holding not only a big firework display over the Basin of St. Mark but for a mass kiss-in in the piazza. What better way to ring in the New Year than a nationwide case of mono? TRICK QUESTION – there is none!

 

Peru

While also taking part in colored undergarment tradition, one of Peru’s most well-known traditions is the burning of dolls. Now this isn’t some cryptic side plot for a horror film, the dolls of are made of old clothes, wood, cardboard or paper that represent the old year. Peruvians burn the dolls at Midnight, symbolizing the obliteration of all the negative energy from the old year and the transition to a new year.

Many of the smaller villages in Peru have local traditions to welcome the New Year as well. The village of Takanakuy for example, allow people with conflicts settle them Fight Club style and then start the year with a fresh slate.

 

Romania

A rural Romanian tradition, folks wear brightly colored costumes and animal furs (most notably the bear and the goat) and travel to different houses dancing to ward off evil. That’s one way to keep things from going wrong next year.

 

Russia

Russians don’t have Christmas trees, but they do have New Year’s trees. Gifts are placed under the tree for children, who wake up on New Year’s Day in anticipation of opening wrapped presents, a custom left from the Soviet-era. The the whole New Years celebration is a 10-day affair of family time and food. One particular tradition involves the writing of a wish on a piece of paper. The paper is set on fire and thrown in a glass of champagne. If the champagne is drunk before the last ringing of the New Year’s bell, the wish will come true.

 

Spain

In Spain, New Year’s Eve is all about good timing. When the clock strikes midnight, Spaniards try to eat a grape in time with each chime. Those who don’t manage to cram the right number of grapes at the right time face the threat of bad luck for the following year. Be warned, it’s not as easy as it sounds! Many people practice beforehand to increase their chances of beating the clock. It’s also tradition to include some gold trinket in your glass of bubbly during a toast. Gold rings, chain, and small objects work perfectly.

 

Did we miss a weird New Year’s tradition? Sound-off in the comments and bring us up to speed! We hope you have a Happy New Year wherever you are, and we’ll see you in the New Year!

Newshosting’s Christmas Gift To You – Free VPN

Free VPN (virtual private network) for 1 Month

Newshosting’s Christmas Gift To You

‘Tis the season to show our Newshosting customer appreciation, and in that spirit, we’re gifting each and every new and existing subscriber a FREE month of VPN access*. Hurry – Christmas comes but once a year, and this free gift won’t always be here.

Existing customers can easily access the Virtual Private Network by logging in to their account home, and clicking the shiny redemption link near the top. New users would first need to signup for a Newshosting Usenet plan, then the VPN will redeemable.

Free VPN to all, and to all a good night!

 

*This free gift only applies to Newshosting accounts that do not already have the VPN.

Ho-Ho-Holiday Happenings!

The internal team at Newshosting has been jingle-bell rockin’ since December 1st. Ugly sweaters have be donned, Jack Skellington-clad suspenders have been rocked, and we’ve been flexing our ability to create ridiculous holiday slogans.

This time of year brings out the best in us all. Our family wanted to deliver a sweet deal to users old and new, and like any other family – we fought about it until we found a compromise. We’re excited to offer an array of Contests, Gifts, and Giveaways this season.

Show Your Spirit Giveaway – Photo Contest

PhotoContest

Newshosting wants you to flaunt your festive side! Is there a crazy (beautiful) ornamentation level with your tree? Does your office cubicle scream “SANTA! STOP HERE!”? Then this contest here is for you!

We want to see your best holiday decorations. Whether it be your home, your office, your car (if your one of those kind people) whatever…it just can’t be yourself. I can only imagine what we’d get then.

The best submissions will go head to head in a vote. It’s like the “Hunger Games,” only everything depends on your votes from others. If your holiday submission gets the most votes, you’ll win an XL Powerpack (WITH THE VPN) for a year, for free! Or for the price of a photo, however you choose to look at it.

 

Who is your Christmas alter-ego?  – Personality Quiz

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Are you a Griswold, a Grinch, or something in-between? Take this personality quiz to find out who your Hollywood-inspired Christmas alter-ego is. And no, you will find none of those creepy-classic claymation characters* as alter-ego options worth comparing to. After you’ve taken the holiday quiz, you can use your result to enter to win a free month of unlimited Usenet access.

*Say that 10 times fast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Organization Tips to Getting Your Media Library Back On Track

Is your hard drive a cluster-free kingdom of order, or a dark realm of chaos? If the mere thought of searching your desktop for a specific file incites strong feelings of anger and anxiety, than we need to get you to a better place – STAT!
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Let me get this out of the way – there is no futuristic system nor automated application capable of organizing all your various documents and media files precisely the way you would like. Just as every person is unique, every organizational system is different. No two people have the same files, the same needs, the same search tendencies…it’s just not the case.Instead, this post is to help you jump-start your file purge with good habits and organizational hacks that will get your file library back on track.

 

01. Create a folder hierarchy with direction. Do you create a “2014” folder inside of the “Projects” folder, or create a “Projects” folder inside of the “2014” folder? The answer depends on how you instinctively browse your folder structure, and how often new folders need to be created. Try to think about everything on your computer in the most general-sense. If you’re like me than you probably have an assortment of documents, photos, videos, etc., that seem to have come from every which way. A good approach is to determine the first two, three or four levels in the hierarchy and then let yourself create subfolders for the lower levels. For example, you could have a folder called “Projects” and create project-specific subfolders as needed.

 

02. Define what files are active and what should be archived. There is a large number of people incapable of viewing their desktop background, and that is equal-parts scary and sad. It’s common to save things to the desktop for easy access, but on an already-cluttered screen, specific files will be too trying to locate. It’s time to put those documents that haven’t been modified in months to rest – you will not be needing them so readily. Put them in the subfolders where they belong. (Note: this step also applies to the “Documents” folder.) What’s left on your screen should be the direct files that you’re actively using. Now you have your to-do, list!

 

03. Don’t be a content hoarder – consume & kill. In the physical world, the signs of a content hoarder would be obvious: dusty video cases piled high to the ceiling, scattered papers engulfing rooms, a seemingly infinite number of photos, etc. But in the virtual world, the clues aren’t as obvious. If you use something and you no longer need it, there’s no reason to continue holding on to it. Allow yourself to detox – get rid of those screen grabs that are no longer useful; and that meme on your desktop that you’re planning to use when the opportunity (finally) presents itself? You know what to do – use it and then lose it!

 

04. Actively purge your downloads folder. This is a point that cannot be reiterated enough. We download things a LOT! Not even counting what our Newshosting usenet access provides, average tech-novice users are saving photos from the Internet, downloading free fonts from dafont, even managing to save a web page on the accidental occasion. Then the downloads that arrive in a compressed folder requiring you to unzip the file? Forget it! This default-save location is regularly flooded with a wild assortment of files, and is a known source of discouragement for those starting out with their cleanse.

 

05. Be consistent in your labeling.
Speaking as part of the majority, it is time to admit that we frequently skip the labeling prompt for the files that we save. Actually, many times we don’t even receive that prompt. If you’re a person who saves images by way of the click-and-drag, you’re left at the little mercy of whatever the image host has chosen to name the particular select. lt’s time to break this nasty habit. Every person needs to find a naming system that works for them and stick to it. There are plenty of guides out that provide suggestions of how to begin your file labeling system, like this one here from Stanford University.  If you plan to go for more humanistic, descriptive-labeling as opposed to a series of letters and numbers, use CamelCase character formatting as it makes it easier to read file names quickly.