J.K. Rowling is in hot water again.
It seems the Harry Potter author — whose latest claim to fame has been getting accused by many of transphobia after wading into controversial discussions about gender and biological sex — is once again the topic of criticism. This time, it’s due to just-revealed details about her new novel (for adults, written under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith), Troubled Blood.
“The meat of the book is the investigation into a cold case: the disappearance of GP Margot Bamborough in 1974, thought to have been a victim of Dennis Creed, a transvestite serial killer,” wrote reviewer Jake Kerridge in the Telegraph. “One wonders what critics of Rowling’s stance on trans issues will make of a book whose moral seems to be: Never trust a man in a dress.”
The response, so far, has been negative, with “#RIPJKRowling” trending on Twitter, as she’s called out with a mix of anger and exasperation — not only for using the well-worn and damaging trope of the transgender serial killer (á la Psycho, Dressed to Kill, Silence of the Lambs and more) in her new book, but for doing so on the heels of her most recent public row about transgender identity, which is being viewed by her critics as a bizarre doubling down.
From ‘Psycho’ to ‘Dressed to Kill’ to ‘Silence of the Lambs’ to this latest screed: Cis folk make up a heck of a lot of fictitious tales about trans folk murdering them but cis folk are overwhelmingly way more likely to murder trans folk in the real world. https://t.co/qO6HCoUe5q
— Becky (@Becky18324396) September 15, 2020
“JK Rowling’s new book is being called transphobic,”
It’s “about a murderous cis man who dresses as a woman to kill his victims”
It was called Dressed To Kill (1980)
You guys think this is bad, you should go watch Silence of the Lambs.
Then hide under your beds.
— Finn, Declan Finn. Author (@DeclanFinnBooks) September 15, 2020
Rowling sparked accusations of transphobia back in December 2019, when she tweeted in defense of a U.K. researcher, Maya Forstater, who had lost her job after expressing views on transgender people — including the belief that “it is impossible to change sex” — that were deemed “not worthy of respect in a democratic society.” After the woman filed a discrimination lawsuit and lost, Rowling came to her defense on Twitter, noting, “Dress however you please. Call yourself whatever you like … But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real?”
Dress however you please.
Call yourself whatever you like.
Sleep with any consenting adult who’ll have you.
Live your best life in peace and security.
But force women out of their jobs for stating that sex is real? #IStandWithMaya #ThisIsNotADrill
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 19, 2019
That caused a huge uproar among many in the LGBTQ community, who called her comments everything from “heartbreaking” to “TERF.” The latter is an acronym that stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist,” a pejorative term used to describe a feminist who is considered to have transphobic beliefs. Still, others came to Rowling’s defense, with feminist writer Julie Bindel, for example, noting, “YOU ARE AMAZING.”
Then, just when the angry buzz seemed to have died down a bit, Rowling returned to Twitter in June, when she shared an op-ed and apparently took issue with the headline: “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.” With her tweet, she noted, “‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
‘People who menstruate.’ I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?
Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate https://t.co/cVpZxG7gaA
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
And there was more:
If sex isn’t real, there’s no same-sex attraction. If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 6, 2020
The tweets re-sparked rage, hurt and allegations of transphobia, including from a range of LGBTQ activists, and from organizations including the Trevor Project and GLAAD.
Ms Rowling, I’m a physician who grew up reading your books and loves them still. I care for children and young adults, some of whom menstruate but are not female. They are not girls or women. And words like yours hurt them, erode their sense of safety and well-being.
— Liz Lemon, MD (@babbymd) June 7, 2020
The vast consensus of medical and other scientific experts validate trans people and urge affirmation of us. Your own country’s medical organizations have said as much.
You don’t love trans people, and certainly don’t care about us.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) June 6, 2020
It is… something that J.K. Rowling made this spectacle of transphobic bigotry under the guise of feminism, when we’re fighting for black lives to matter. She isn’t reachable, which is what it is, but the way she keeps repeating herself without reading the room….my goodness.
— roxane gay (@rgay) June 11, 2020
Then, shortly thereafter, Rowling published a lengthy piece on her website, tweeting it with the caption “TERF Wars” and adding even more fuel to the fire.
“This isn’t an easy piece to write, for reasons that will shortly become clear, but I know it’s time to explain myself on an issue surrounded by toxicity. I write this without any desire to add to that toxicity,” she wrote, and then outlined “five reasons for being worried about the new trans activism.” Then came more tweets, in July, calling out the long-term health risks of hormone therapy used to facilitate gender transition. Yet another backlash followed.
Now, with this latest bit of news about Rowling’s new book, the hurt has been stoked, say her detractors.
Still, some have come out in her defense — most notably actor Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid in the Harry Potter films and told Radio Times of the outcry, “I don’t think what she said was offensive really. I don’t know why but there’s a whole Twitter generation of people who hang around waiting to be offended.” Other defenders include journalist Kim Willsher, Atlantic staff writer Helen Lewis and writers Helen Dale and Andrew Doyle, as well as the U.K. group (which, too, has been called transphobic) LGB Alliance.
Has the world gone mad?
1. JK Rowling’s new book isn’t out yet so all these people calling for her to die haven’t read it.
2. The villain is reportedly (I haven’t read it either) a MAN who dresses as a woman to kill not a transwoman so how is this transphobic? https://t.co/OWDgztfmB8
— Kim Willsher (@kimwillsher1) September 15, 2020
I’m really troubled by the JK Rowling news cycle. It looks like the Telegraph published a review with a clickbait headline. That got followed up by Pink News, who presented it in the most culture war terms possible. Two publications monetising outrage.
— Helen Lewis (@helenlewis) September 15, 2020
Periodic reminder that authors can write about whatever they like. You don’t own JK Rowling’s pen.
I had this go-round with my first novel 25 years ago. My view now is the same as my view then.
If you don’t like what we write, don’t buy our books. 
— Helen Dale (@_HelenDale) September 15, 2020
Good to see Robbie Coltrane defending JK Rowling.
All sensible adults understand the extent to which she has been misrepresented.
If everyone simply had the courage to say what they know to be true, this anti-JK mania might actually come to an end.https://t.co/9efXhh46yv
— Andrew Doyle (@andrewdoyle_com) September 15, 2020
We are horrified by the deafening silence from our elected representatives, our institutions, the media, and the vast majority of celebrities in the face of the death threats and abuse directed at @jk_rowling. Silence is complicity. Prove us wrong. Speak up now.
— LGB Alliance (@ALLIANCELGB) September 15, 2020
Still, many say their view of Rowling has been forever tainted, especially in light of the latest book. That includes USA Today culture critic Kelly Lawler, who wrote on Tuesday that, while she’s been a longtime fan of all her fiction, “ever since Rowling made headlines this summer for her comments on transgender rights that have been widely condemned as transphobic, I can’t see any story she’s written in the same light … You can’t separate the art from the artist. Not anymore, not when the tone of both author and novel is the same. Rowling maintains she supports trans people, but we can only judge her by her actions and words. After reading 927 pages of them, I’m not inclined to change my judgment.”
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment
I tested Apple Watch sleep tracking to save you time and battery life
If you’re an executive seeking peak performance from the moment you wake up, or a parent hoping to create a better nightly routine for your family, you’ve probably heard about sleep tracking wearables — devices that promise to improve your health and productivity by monitoring your sleep. Sleep tracking is rapidly becoming more ubiquitous: This month, Apple added the feature to tens of millions of Apple Watches in a free watchOS 7 software update, and Fossil did so for select Google Wear OS watches in August.
But despite years of work by researchers and wearable developers, meaningfully useful sleep tracking remains closer to a dream than reality. After trying the feature in pre-release versions of watchOS 7, I spent the last week testing Apple’s finished sleep tracking app, which meant changing my daily charging routine, wearing my watch to bed each night, and checking my phone for insights each day. Having gone through that, I’m convinced that I’ve experienced the core of a valuable solution, but just like the very first Apple Watch, it feels half-baked, and not fully ready for prime time.
For the time being, I can’t in good faith recommend that busy professionals waste precious time on Apple’s current sleep tracking app, and I don’t have much confidence in rival solutions, either. Even with the latest and greatest Apple Watch, users can expect little in the way of actionable insights, coupled with the inconvenience of mid-day smartwatch recharging, every day — a step beyond the prior “leave it on a nightstand dock” system people grudgingly began to accept years ago. My big takeaway is that most users will be better off waiting for more mature software and hardware before diving into sleep tracking, but if you want to experiment with the feature now, it’s here to test at no additional charge.
Here are some of the things I discovered during my testing regimen.
Wearable battery life remains the biggest problem
Ever since the first Apple Watch arrived in 2015, Apple has stuck to the same battery life guarantee: 18 hours of run time between charges. The actual number can be much lower if you use the watch to make long phone calls, constantly download data, or track extended runs or workouts, but on the other hand, the latest Apple Watches quietly exceed the 18-hour promise if you disable or only lightly use their new features. Regardless, Apple’s guideline was simple: Put the watch on your wrist each morning, don’t worry about battery life all day, then place it on a charger each night, and repeat ad infinitum.
Given that it has had five years to prepare for the addition of sleep tracking — which obviously requires users to wear watches overnight — Apple could have boosted battery life any year with a bigger housing or more power-efficient parts to enable multi-day run times. Some competitors have made those choices, relying heavily on longer run times to differentiate their devices. Apple instead decided to market its way around its design compromises, and recently has floated the idea that users should just recharge their watches during morning showers.
If you don’t, and the Watch has less than 30% battery life when you reach bedtime, sleep tracking will be a problem. This apparently isn’t some basic background process, which means a lot of juice is being used for overnight tracking. I wonder how much of an impact it will have on the lifespans of Apple Watch batteries: Sleep tracking alone could push the rechargeable cells to age faster than they have during the wearable’s first five years on the market, increasing the need for repairs or earlier replacements.
Since Apple successfully convinced tens of millions of people to deal with nightly smartwatch charging, notably starting at a time when watch wearing was on the decline, I’ll concede that it has a better chance of pushing at least some users to transition to mid-day charging, despite how insane that sounds right now. But from my perspective, the single worst part about sleep tracking is that it interrupts my passive use and enjoyment of the watch every day with a need to take the device off and put it on a charger for a while, just to get sleep data during the night. Between that daily hassle and the nature of the data, I don’t think sleep tracking is worth the annoyance.
Sleep data is modest and not particularly actionable
Apple’s sleep tracking app interface is simple. Tell it your preferred “bedtime” schedule — in my case, 11pm to just before 6am — and it will be looking out for sleep during those times; mid-day naps won’t be counted. It turns out that you must set up tracking schedules to cover each individual day of the week, or use separate schedules for weekdays and weekends. I didn’t realize until too late that the Watch hadn’t recorded data for two full nights because I hadn’t set up a separate weekend schedule to cover them.
Assuming the Watch gathers your data properly, you’ll see a very modest display of data, including a bar representing your total “time asleep,” the timestamps representing the start and end points, and a bar chart covering the last 14 days. If you want a deeper dive than that, you can open the Health app on an iPhone to see “average time in bed,” “average time asleep,” and under some conditions, correlation of your overnight heart rate data with your sleeping schedule. One day when I checked the Health app, the heart rate data was there; on another day, it disappeared from the app’s list of “Highlights,” and I couldn’t find it.
I was somewhat astonished by how little information the Watch presented after a night of sleep. The Health app shows an aqua-colored bar representing “time asleep” overlaid upon a darker blue bar representing “time in bed,” with gaps suggesting mid-sleep interruptions. That’s it. There’s nothing about deep or REM sleep, and no easy way to see whether those interruption bars coincided with a rise in your heart rate or some other event earlier in the week.
Apple has suggested it’s providing little data to keep users from obsessing over their sleep schedules, as it might inadvertently generate even more anxiety or restlessness than before. I’m still not sure whether that’s truly an act of kindness, or just a convenient excuse for underwhelming functionality, but in any case what’s gathered doesn’t yet feel like it justifies an inconvenience.
Accuracy is a positive
The biggest positive I noted is a sense — developed over time, and in consultation with others who have also been testing the feature — that Apple’s sleep tracking data is mostly correct, even if there’s not much of it. My Watch does appear to be properly extrapolating whether I’m “asleep” rather than just “in bed” based on sensor data, including some lack of movement, certain wrist positioning information, heartbeat scans, and perhaps external factors. The aqua bars and gaps lined up temporally with my nightly sleeping recollections, down roughly to the minute I fell asleep. Two friends and my kids have all had the same experience.
As a father, I’m already fretting when I see multiple brief interruptions in my kids’ sleep bars when they’ve been sleeping at another location. If this is the future of health tracking, I can imagine several reasons that Apple — and clinicians, including privacy-concerned ones — might be concerned about presenting too much data, now and going forward. But in a health setting, users should have the ability to choose how much data they feel comfortable seeing, rather than being told that little or no data is being presented because of how they might react to it.
Apple’s Wind Down is better than its sleep tracking
Though I’m not thrilled with the sleep tracking functionality, Apple did a nice job with a related set of watchOS 7 and iOS 14 features called Wind Down. Rather than just telling you how much you slept, Wind Down provides a holistic approach to weaning you off your phone at night, softly encouraging you to settle down before a full Do Not Disturb regime kicks in.
If you prefer to use apps to relax, you can create iOS shortcuts specific to settling down, such as turning on a music playlist or podcast, opening an app for reading or journaling, or accessing apps for yoga and meditation. These shortcuts will appear on the iPhone’s Lock Screen so that you’re reminded to use them instead of diving deeper into your app collection. Alternately, you can initiate a watchOS Wind Down sleep mode that begins however many minutes you prefer before your scheduled bedtime, and ends with Do Not Disturb going on.
These sorts of features may seem simple to implement, but they’re actually thoughtful, OS-level integrations that show how sleep tracking functionality could become a part of a larger sleep management experience for some users. I might want to keep using Wind Down even in the absence of sleep tracking.
Sleep tracking has been on smartwatch users’ wish lists for a long time, so I would love to be able to tell you that Apple nailed it with the feature in watchOS 7 — that it’s awesome and will improve your daily performance. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I would be surprised if most people find Apple’s presented information actionable, and on balance, I found that there wasn’t enough value in the data to justify the hassle of mid-day charging. Having tested sleep tracking for a week, I’m actively looking forward to disabling it and going back to my regular routine tonight.
That said, my gut feeling is that we’re looking at what Apple considers version 1.0 of the feature, and that it has serious potential to improve in subsequent software and hardware releases. Adding more actionable, cross-referenced data similar to the heart rate “highlights” might help users diagnose what’s waking them up at night. This could happen with more robust overnight data collection, such as the ambient noise measurements the Watch already can take, or potentially by synchronizing bedmates’ data, assuming that Apple’s ever-stiffening privacy concerns don’t stifle the concepts. If the Watch is going to be using as much energy as it does at night, it should be gathering a lot of data and making the most of it.
There are alternatives, such as extending Watch battery life with a bigger battery, so that the existing sleep tracking functionality doesn’t require a mid-day recharge. That would make the feature more acceptable as-is, limitations and all.
If you have an Apple Watch already, or have considered buying one for sleep tracking, my advice would be to set your expectations low for this new feature — and probably don’t waste your time or energy on it. But you may find that it helps under specific circumstances, so don’t be afraid to test its value for yourself, as you may get at least a little something out of the limited information Apple currently is willing to offer.
Biden can beat (and infuriate) Trump by being the adult on the presidential debate stage
When Donald Trump first exploded on the political scene, he was an unpredictable rule breaker and neither the news media nor anyone else knew how to handle him. But now, we’ve got a much better idea of what makes Trump tick.
First, the Lincoln Project has proved that while President Trump appears formidable, he’s really just a creature of instinct who’s actually both predictable and unable to defend his weak spots once you find them. Pull the right string, and Trump will dance like a cheap marionette and about as gracefully.
Second, as we’ve seen in numerous interviews and a recent disastrous town hall, Trump has a very shallow comfort zone and is quickly out of his depth once he loses control of an interaction. The more you let him talk, especially under pressure, the deeper he will dig his hole. He has even made up what appear to be entirely new policies on the fly to get out of answering an uncomfortable question.
Reduce Trump to apoplexy
Finally, Trump thrives on anger and conflict. There is no margin in getting into a name-calling match with him. He melts down in the face of pity and laughter, however, and refusing to engage will infuriate him.
Rope-a-dope isn’t just for boxing. Sometimes, it’s an effective debate strategy, too. If Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden puts all these pieces together, he has an excellent chance of reducing President Trump to apoplexy.
The first rule is to never rise to the bait and trade insult for insult. Biden’s best tactic is to always be the adult in the room. The first time Trump gets nasty, which will probably be in the first 10 minutes since nasty is Trump’s go-to move, Biden should look directly into the camera and calmly explain, “If insults are what you want from a president, I’m not your candidate. I’m not here to trade insults with President Trump. I’m here to talk about the issues that matter to you, like how we are going to dig out of the coronavirus mess that President Trump has left us in. So let me use my remaining time to talk about that.”
When Trump interrupts, as he inevitably will, Biden should resist the natural urge to talk over him. Instead, after Trump has exhausted himself, Biden should shake his head ruefully and say, “There he goes again,” and then get back to the point he was trying to make when interrupted.
There is the idea out there that forcefully making your point is the key to winning a presidential debate, but that’s not the same thing as being unable to control yourself. Biden’s campaign is based around him being calm, rational, and a healer. He doesn’t win by being more pugnacious than Trump. He wins by being the reasonable adult handling the angry toddler.
Finally, trying to fact-check President Trump is a losing game. As we saw in his town hall meeting, he can make things up faster than anyone can possibly correct him. But there is a more effective strategy that Biden can employ: He can concern-troll the president.
A tale of two candidates: Donald Trump’s supervillain ABC town hall made Joe Biden appear almost superhuman
When Trump claims, for example, that Biden wants to defund the police, Biden should turn to the camera and say, “Folks, we have a big problem here. It isn’t that Donald Trump lies all the time. It’s that he genuinely believes his lies are true. I am on record multiple times as being against defunding the police.
“Chris Wallace, our moderator, has pointed that out to him personally, on camera. But Donald Trump still believes it. We have someone sitting in the White House who is so confused that he can’t tell truth from fiction. He does this all the time. I’m afraid we’re likely to see several other examples of the president’s confusion tonight. I am deeply worried about him and I’m deeply worried about this country as long as he is sitting in the Oval Office trying to make decisions.”
Ignoring facts on COVID and his taxes
Trump’s greatest, deepest fear is not being taken seriously, so he won’t enjoy having his attacks dismissed like this. Along the same lines, if Wallace brings up Trump’s tax returns, Biden should say, “Look, I don’t blame President Trump for being embarrassed about his tax returns, I would be too, if I were him. But here’s the deal. This is part of a pattern of Trump playing pretend and refusing to face facts.
“Despite six bankruptcies and a taxable income that would qualify him for food stamps, I think President Trump genuinely believes he’s some sort of great businessman, just like he gives himself an A+ for handling the coronavirus pandemic even though we’ve got more than 200,000 dead Americans and rising infection rates. This kind of detachment from reality is killing America and it has to stop.” There is nothing Joe Biden could possibly say more calculated to rattle the president.
Infiltrating head space: I joined the Lincoln Project because it’s leading the 2020 fight to repel Trump and Trumpism
Biden isn’t actually debating Trump on Tuesday night. There are few if any people in America who are trying to choose between the Trump agenda and the Biden agenda. And certainly, no one is going to vote for Biden because he shows he can be just as mean and nasty to Trump as Trump is to him.
There are, however, millions of people trying to decide what kind of president Biden would be and whether they are afraid of him. If Biden can destroy Trump without attacking Trump’s supporters in the process, this election is all over but the voting. And the best way to do that is to let Donald Trump do it himself.
Chris Truax, an appellate lawyer in San Diego and CEO of CertifiedVoter.com, is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.
You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Presidential debate: Joe Biden can beat Donald Trump by being an adult
Slow computer? 4 expert ways to make it speedy again
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The spinning rainbow wheel of death is one of the more frustrating sites in our modern world. Sure, you can refer to it as a beach ball if you’re feeling lighthearted. Or you can call that computer-freezing icon what it really is: the bane of your existence.
A slow computer that takes forever to load web pages, open documents, and respond to pretty much any basic command is more common than you think. It’s often just a matter of poor maintenance or disorganization. Powerful tune-up software like System Mechanic will get rid of all the excessive, unnecessary files and other junk clogging up your PC, jumpstarting its performance and boosting your internet speed.
System Mechanic addresses up to 30,000 potential problems, running hundreds of critical tests to stop your device from slowing down and crashing. The ultra-private software uses military-grade wiping to make sure things like deleted data and cached web pages are gone from PCs forever, freeing up tons of hard drive space.
If system clogging is not the culprit, though, it could mean your PC or Mac is running a malicious program that you’re unaware of.
“Keeping your computer up to date doesn’t just improve your online experience; it can also make attacks from malware, viruses, and scammers more obvious,” says Adam Levin, cyber security expert and founder of CyberScout. “If your computer is always glitchy or running slow, it’s not always obvious whether it’s a newly installed malicious program or a more innocuous problem.”
Ready to get your computer back on the fast track? Below are five common culprits for a sluggish computer, plus the software and maintenance solutions that can have you up and running smoothly in no time.
The issue: Too many startup programs
The solution: Remove and disable unnecessary programs
An abundance of unnecessary startup programs is one of the most common reasons your computer is so slow, and can tack on up to 10 minutes of boot-up time from the moment you switch on your device, according to Techlicious. As those programs continue to run in the background, they further impede your computer’s speed.
Try cleaning up your computer automatically—and in one fell swoop—by installing System Mechanic, the leading solution for decluttering your digital world on PCs. It’ll address all the junk that’s slowing down your PC or Mac, and restore its good working order in no time. System Mechanic offers a free 30-day trial; after that, it’s just $5 a month.
Shop now: System Mechanic, 30 days free then $5 a month, subscriptions.yahoo.com
Here’s how to clean up your computer manually, if you want to get a headstart now: Edit down your default startup programs by first trashing unnecessary desktop icons, then organizing the rest in desktop folders. If you’re using a Mac, navigate to Login Items, then uncheck the programs you don’t need. If you’re on a PC using Windows 8 and above, go to the Startup tab, right-click on the programs you want to remove, and hit Disable.
If you’re using Windows 7 or older, navigate to the Startup tab, then uncheck all the programs you don’t need to run whenever you start your computer. Note that antivirus and antimalware programs should always be included in startup programs; the rest are up to your discretion.
The issue: Malware
Malware is shorthand for malicious programs that make their way into your computer and wreak havoc, allowing hackers access to sensitive personal information that could lead to identity theft.
“Keep your computer clean by always running some type of end-point protection. These often include email scanning, anti-virus, anti-malware, and personal firewall applications to help protect your computer from slowing down and putting your information at risk,” says Ron Culler, Senior Director of Technology and Solutions for ADT Cybersecurity, to Yahoo Life. “Using what [your computer] comes with doesn’t always work, and there are many affordable solutions that often give you the ability to run it on multiple computers in your home.”
Malwarebytes Premium is the leading software for detecting existing and emerging security threats thanks to 24/7 smart technology. Not only will it remove any existing malware in your computer, but it’s constantly on the lookout for malicious program infiltrations, blocking them before they even have a chance of striking. Protect up to three Macs or PCs with one Malwarebytes subscription, and you’ll never have to worry about malware slowing down your computer—or worse, exposing things like your social security number and online banking passwords to predators.
Practicing common sense will keep you safe, too. “Pay attention to what you click on when reading emails or browsing the web. It’s very easy to infect your computer with malware or ransomware by clicking links in unsolicited emails or links in social media” says Culler. “You never really know what is at the other end of that enticing link.”
Shop Now: Malwarebytes Premium is just $4.99 a month for an account you can register to three devices, with a 30-day free trail.
The issue: Your software that is out-of-date.
The solution: Turn on automatic updates
Blame it on your laziness: If you’re often ignoring prompts to update your computer’s software, you’re probably hindering its ability to run smoothly. Even worse, you’re all but inviting malware into your system. “Updates are issued when vulnerabilities are found,” says Levin. Some updates pertain to new features, “but many of these features relate to security issues that have been discovered or new ways to better protect you.”
“Any time you get a legitimate notice to update your software, don’t click ‘I’ll do it later,’” advises Levin. That being said, he warns never to follow a link from an email to perform a so-called software update; this is most likely a phishing scam. Only perform updates based on actual, legitimate prompts on your computer sent directly from the programs you have installed.
Having Malwarebytes Premium running in the background at all times lets you double-down on the protection, in the off chance you accidentally slip up and click on a malicious link. Malwarebytes thwarts the threat in real life, stepping in when human error occurs.
Shop Now: Malwarebytes Premium is just $4.99 a month for an account you can register to three devices, with a 30-day free trail.
The issue: Your hard drive is a mess
The solution: Clean it up—and “defrag” it
Consider your hard drive the storage room of your computer. It’s where everything is kept for the short and long term, from your operating system to anything you’ve ever downloaded from the internet. Your hard drive only has so much space, and when it gets clogged and cluttered, it borrows “mental” energy to sort through things, slowing down its performance when called upon to do other things like load a web page.
If your computer’s running on Windows, run a disk cleanup by selecting Disk Cleanup in your Start menu. Then select the files you’re okay with deleting, including those already in your Recycle bin. You’ll also want to “defrag” your hard drive. The hard drive stores everything in sequential order, but over time, files can get disorganized, leaving defragmented holes and random information scattered everywhere. A tool like Defraggler by CCleaner can do the work for you.
Shop Now: A basic version of Defraggler by CCleaner is free, or you can upgrade to Defraggler Pro for $25, and use it on up to three PCs.
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