Recently, my partner mentioned that he wanted to let his daughter download Apps from iTunes by letting her sign-in with his account. I suggested that he buy an App Gift Card instead so that she could sign-in using her own account. "Why? Isn't that just more work?" was the quick reply. For techies, the answer and it's value are obvious: because you should, generally, never sign-in with someone else's ID. For non-techies, however, detailed explanations of why this is true often offer little real immediate value. Yes, I could come up with a dozen scenarios where having your daughter have access to your iTunes account is a bad thing, but they are all in the FUTURE. Accepted computing "best practices" often impose immediate pain, with little immediate gain.

Much like good actions and Karma however, best practices do occassionally provide immediate benefits! Today, I decided that I would organize the Launchpad (OS X Lion) area on my Mac because, by default, it just contains pages of icons representing all the programs on your computer, in no particular order. To organize them, much like I organize the many Apps on my iPhone, I created folders that grouped the Apps functionally. The act of categorizing all my Apps (something that could be considered a "best practice") however, had unintended consequences. It pointed out the many Apps that I had installed at one time but no longer use, and which could safely be removed. Apparently, one of these silent unused Apps was slowing down my system quite a bit, because after removing about 8 apps and restarting, my Mac is running MUCH faster, but I couldn't have known that before I started!*

What's my point? Until we can find a way to reward users IMMEDIATELY for following best practices, they'll usually have better things to worry about than what's best for their computer!

* Your milage may vary, I'm not recommending people just randomly delete things from their computers!