Five smart, simple tech changes to make 2024 better

New Year, same you. And that's good! You don't have to change your whole life to have a good 2024.

But I can personally tell you that it is completely It's worth taking a few minutes to clean up your tech life. Keep reading for steps to get rid of junk mail, make your phone less annoying, and improve your cyber security. You got it!

I share tips like this every day in my free newsletter, The Current. Join the 500,000 smart people who read it. You'll be glad you did!

Two Minute Tech Trick: Start the year with a clean inbox

1. Automate a pointless security step

They forget to lock the computer when they get up. Welcome to the club. Be smart and tell your Windows or Mac to do it for you! You can set your computer to automatically lock if you are inactive for a certain period of time.

On Windows:

  • Open it parameters and go Personalizationthen Lock screen.
  • Click on it Screen saver settings and select any option (except “None”) from Screen saver drop down menu.
  • Set the amount of time Windows waits before locking. Check the box for that In summary, show the login screen. hit ok.

On Mac:

  • Click on it Apple menu > System Preferences > Desktop and screen saver > Screen saver. Use it Slider Choose a time.
  • Click on it Show me all To return to the main System Preferences window.
  • Click on it safetythen Require a password to wake this computer from sleep or screensaver.
A man on a laptop

A man looks at his computer (Cyberguy.com)

You can also Set your computer to lock down Depending on where your phone is. Think about it: if your phone is nearby, so are you – and your computer stays open. You go, it closes.

2. Say goodbye to group chats that drive you up the wall

Group chats are fun when you're happy to be there and horrible when you're not interested in meeting up. The adult step is to ask whoever added you to remove…

  • Or make an old Irish pass if you have an iPhone. Tap a topic, then select the group icon at the top. Scroll and tap Leave this conversation. Save that for when you're desperate.
  • You can also go the subtle route and stay silent. (This is what I usually do.) Tap a group text message, select the group icon at the top of the thread, then scroll and toggle Hide signals.

Your smart assistant is listening, but is it affecting your display ads?

Mute on Android is the best option—unless you're going to tell Aunt Cathy that you're out.

  • If you're using Google Messages, open the group text, then tap Three point menu > Group details > messages. Select in silence. Ah, better.
  • For other Android apps, check your notification menu options to mute the conversation.

3. Fix the home security bug, even if I made it

That day, I disabled all my home security alerts because they were annoying – bad move. What you may want to do is adjust your camera's sensitivity (or upgrade to better cameras) if your camera keeps randomly turning off.

A photo of a mounted ring camera.

Ring cameras are used by most people to capture footage around their homes. (CyberGuy.com)

You can usually find controls to adjust motion sensitivity in your security system's app. The systems have different names, so I'll cover the steps for two.

Adjust your camera sensitivity with SimpliSafe

  • Take it SimpliSafe app and touch cameras at the bottom of the screen.
  • tap on gear icon at the top right of the screen.
  • Choose camera You want to change.
  • Select motion detection and adjust your sensitivity.

Five stupid tech security mistakes you're making

Adjust your camera's sensitivity with the Ring

  • Take it call application and touch gear icon for the camera.
  • tap on Traffic settings > motion sensitivity. Adjust the slider.

4. Organize your cables and cords like the pros do

When everything is mixed up, it's impossible to tell where it's going. Try this super clever trick.

  • Get stickers. It could be on the labels you write on or Color coded dots. One of my readers, Tony, suggests using colorful foil stars.
  • Create a system that works for you. Write on the labels or use colors to represent the cable type (eg red for USB-C, blue for HDMI).
  • Attach the same label or colored sticker to the cable and the device port. When you connect the cable, simply stick the cable sticker to the port.
  • Place the sticker in the same position on each cable. Try placing it on top of the cable to quickly find the correct orientation in the port.

5. Dealing with less junk mail

Is your inbox full of unwanted credit card and insurance offers? You can thank the Big Four credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax, TransUnion and Innovis.

Close-up of two modern black and brown metal red flag mailboxes on a single family home in a residential suburb with no one and a house in the background

Close-up of two modern black and brown metal red flag mailboxes on a single family home in a residential suburb with no one and a house in the background (iStock)

Each bureau provides lists of customers, based on specific criteria, to credit and insurance companies for pre-screened offers. Yes, it is completely legal. But don't worry, there's a solution: Denial Screen, a tool created by these very credit bureaus.

  • visit optoutprescreen.com. You can choose to opt out for five years or forever, then fill out the form.
  • Have you given up forever? You'll have to use snail mail, but it's worth it. Print, sign and submit the confirmation form.

Continue your technical knowledge

My popular podcast is called “Kim Commando today.“It's a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips and advice from subscribers with the same tech questions as you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcast. For your convenience, follow the link below for the latest episode.

Choose a podcast: Billionaire Doomsday Preppers, Copyright Trolls, and Creepy Amazon Scammers

Plus, my tech resolutions for 2024 and AI ways to exist can help you create yours. California is banning this ultra-weird product from Amazon — and yes, it's about donkeys. The Peloton tablet is out of date, and I've got five techy road trip tips.

Check out my podcast on “Kim Komando Today”. Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here Or wherever you get your podcast. Just search for my last name, “Commando”.

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