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File encryption, controlling social media sucking time, trello.com

File encryption tools exist to keep your work private if someone gets hold of your computer. With files or even your entire hard drive encrypted with a key passphrase only you know, you can protect sensitive financial, medical, or other personal data. The Pro versions of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 have built-in encryption, as does OS X, but you have to use a third party program for Home versions of Windows, or you just like to use something different. Among the variety of options that exist for Windows and OS X you can find 7-Zip (usually thought of as a file zipping tool), GNU Privacy Guard, and VeraCrypt.

It should come as no surprise that there are ideal lengths for different online content, if you want people to pay attention. The latest figures I found show tweets should equal 100 characters while a Facebook post does better at 40. Email subject lines should fall between 28-39 characters while a blog post should be readable in 7 minutes or scan about 1600 words. If you are hoping for people to read, listen or view what you produce, pay attention to what lengths grab your attention and keep you reading, listening or watching.

Google Earth Pro is finally free and has some tricks that can make it very useful. It comes with a variety of accessible data sets, including property parcel data, and a large collection of demographic and geographic information. You can also generate virtual tours as videos that, no surprise, can be uploaded to Youtube.

Cut wasted time on social media by setting a plan and sticking to it with a timer. It is easy to say that you have to get on Facebook or Twitter to expand your business contacts but without setting a more precise plan, like getting ten new people to call and then logging off, you may want to start using a simple egg timer to keep you from straying way off into the weeds. A great way to keep focused is to learn how to save interesting but unrelated information for later reading. This is a great reason to use a tool like Evernote or save links with a bookmarks tool or service.

To organize project with a group of people or just your own life, take a look at Trello.com, an online “web board” for placing cards with tasks in lists or categories to help you shepherd large projects with many different little tasks through to completion. Its focus is on group projects but you should be able to use it for anything that otherwise you might pull out notecards, sticky notes, or big sheets of white paper and multi colored markers. And, accounts at trello.com are free, forever they say.

Laptop Comparison Chart at productchart.com, need I say anything more once you look?