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Guide: How to Log and Measure Your Audio Book Listening Habit

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Guide: How to Log and Measure Your Audio Book Listening Habit

Greetings fellow LifeHackers! The gracious Leon has given me the opportunity to share my experience as a fanatical devotee of the almighty audio book; may some hackage result from your reading it.

Entertaining your idle brain through your oft noise-polluted ears during otherwise useless parts of your day is, indeed, audio books’ most obvious and attractive feature. Think about it; reclaiming used time is quite the hack. Once I realized this fact, routine traffic jams no longer brought out my inner leadfoot and Mr. Hyde is kept in check while waiting in line at the bank.

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At first, I found myself reading exclusively fun stuff, which was…, well, fun. It wasn’t until I read my first self-development book that I realized that I could be personally productive. I started to pay more attention to what I filled my ears with and tried to balance between fiction and non-fiction. One day, after completing about 20 books, I realized I had no account of what I had read, nor what I found interesting about each book. Why did this bother me?


Well, we all know the saying, “What gets measured gets _____.” You could fill in the blank with things like ‘better’, ‘organized’, or for the cautiously tautological folk, ‘gauged’. So I started logging how long each book was, when I read it, and what my thoughts were. Even with that much information, the best I could do was recommend books to other people.

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It wasn’t until I made a spreadsheet and some bar graphs representing which genres I was reading that I was able to make use of my reading habits. Balancing the bars became a little goal for me. “Oh look”, I would say to nobody in particular, “the science-fiction bar is racing upwards.” I would want to pump up one of the non-fiction bars; but which one? One time I said, again, aloud, to nobody in particular, “The self-development’s bar is looking stumpy dag-nabit, I’m going to read one of those new-fangled books like ‘Getting Things Done’.” Though I may have since gone overboard by tagging up all my reading and building a webpage that lets me dynamically measure my reading habits, it really helps in finding my next book.

Audiobook log Total Book

    I really need to cut back on the Sci-Fi…

    Whenever you’re developing a skill, be it running, learning to fly a plane, or developing one’s self, logging is one of the best tools to reach goals, to understand what you want to achieve, and even to marvel at your accomplishments thus far (marveling tends to encourage one to reach even more goals!). If you do decide to reclaim the ticks of the clock by having books read to you, I encourage you to keep track of what you’re reading and actively select books based on what you’ve been reading.

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    In Summary:

    • Reclaim precious time by ‘reading’ audio books
      • You may find it calms the nerves while waiting
      • Reading can be entertaining and good for you
    • Log and measure what you read
      • Make sure you’re reading what you want
      • Stroke your ego by reviewing your progress, it can be motivational
    • Log anything you want to improve
    • Spreadsheets are you allies
    • I’d be happy to help, advise, and even rant to anybody who’s looking to get into audio books :)

    Hack on!
    — Maulik

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    Lifehack.org Note: If you are interested in Audio Books, make sure go and read another article, Save Time and Add Value with Audio Books – Part 1.

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    Last Updated on November 25, 2021

    Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

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    Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

    With all of the recent online services and companies falling under attack to hackers in the past few months, it seems only fitting to talk about password creation and management. There are a lot of resources out there discussing this, but it never hurts to revisit this topic time and again because of its importance.

    Password management isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, yet it does seem like a bit of an annoyance to most people. When it comes to password management, you will hear the famous line, “I don’t really care about changing my passwords regularly. I have nothing important online anyways.” Let’s see if you have nothing important online when your PayPal account gets taken over because you thought the password “password” was good enough.

    In my opinion, it is an “internet user’s” responsibility to make sure that they keep secure passwords and update them on a regular basis. In this article we will discuss how to make your online presence more secure and keep it secure.

    The easy fundamentals

    First thing is first; creating a strong password.

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    A strong password is a mixture of alpha-numeric characters and symbols, has a good length (hopefully 15 characters or longer), and doesn’t necessarily represent some word or phrase. If the service you are signing up for doesn’t allow passwords over a certain length, like 8 characters, always use the maximum length.

    Here are some examples of strong passwords:
    * i1?,2,2\1′(:-%Y
    * ZQ5t0466VC44PmJ
    * mp]K{ dCFKVplGe]PBm1mKdinLSOoa (30 characters)

    And not so good examples
    * sammy1234
    * password123
    * christopher

    You can check out PC Tools Password Generator here. This is a great way to make up some very strong passwords. Of course the more random passwords are harder to remember, but that is where password management comes into play.

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    Managing your passwords

    I know some people that keep their passwords in an unencrypted text file. That’s not a good idea. I suppose that if you aren’t doing much online and are decent at avoiding viruses and such, it could be OK, but I would never recommend it.

    So, where do you keep your strong passwords for all the services that you visit on a daily basis?

    There are a ton of password safes out there including KeePass, RoboForm, Passpack, Password Safe, LastPass, and 1Password. If and when I recommend any of these I always count on LastPass and 1Password.

    Both LastPass and 1Password offer different entry types for online services logins (PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc.), credit cards and bank accounts, online identities, and other types of sensitive information. Both have excellent reviews and only differ in a few subtle ways. One of the ways that is more notable is that LastPass keeps your encrypted password Vault online where 1Password allows you to keep it locally or shared through Dropbox. Either way, you are the holder of the encryption keys and both ways are very secure.

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    LastPass and 1Password both offer cross-platform support as well as support for Android and iOS (LastPass even has BlackBerry support). 1Password is a little pricey ($39.99 for either Windows or Mac) where LastPass has free options as well as premium upgrades that allow for mobile syncing.

    Upkeep

    You should probably change your passwords for your “important” accounts at least every 6 weeks. When I say “important” accounts I am referring to ones that you just couldn’t imagine losing access to. For me that would be Gmail, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, all my FTP accounts and hosting accounts, Namecheap, etc. Basically these include any account where financial information could be lost or accessed as well as accounts that could be totally screwed up (like my webserver).

    There is no hard and fast rule to how often you should change your passwords, but 6 to 8 weeks should be pretty good.

    Alternatives

    You may think that all of this is just too much to manage on a daily basis. I will admit it is kind of annoying to have to change your passwords and use a password manager on a daily basis. For those people out there that don’t want to go through all of the hub-bub of super-secure, encrypted, password management, here are a few tips to keep you safe:

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    1. Create a unique and hard to guess “base password” and then a pattern to use for each site you logon onto. For instance a base password could be “Ih2BaSwAa” (this stands for “I have two brothers and sisters who are annoying”). Then you would add something “site specific” to the end of it. For Twitter Ih2BaSwAaTWTTR, Facebook Ih2BaSwAaFCBK, etc. This is sort of unsecure, but probably more secure than 99% of the passwords out there.
    2. Don’t write your passwords down in public places. If you want to keep track of passwords on something written, keep it on you at least. The problem is that if you get your wallet stolen you are still out of luck.
    3. Don’t use the same passwords for every service. I’m not even going to explain this; just don’t do it.

    These are just a few things that can be done rather than keeping your passwords in a management system. Personally, with over 100 entries in my password management system, I couldn’t even dream of doing any other way. But those out there with only a few passwords, having a simpler system may be beneficial.

    So, if you want to be a “responsible internet citizen” or you just don’t want to lose your precious account data, then creating and maintaining strong passwords for your online accounts is a must.

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