With the New Year being a time for fresh starts, the wiping of slates and the turning over of new leaves, GadgetGuy staffers present to you our 2012 tech resolutions.
As a list of tech tasks we pledge to do better, differently, or for the first time it’s not so ambitious, so wish us luck… and don’t forget to add your own resolutions into our comments section.
I’m going to use gadgets and video games to lose weight
This is the collective aim of most GG staffers: to use video games to help lose weight. As a New Year’s resolution, it’s far from original, but we reckon the fun factor involved in our approach will make the goal more achievable than a regime of lettuce and Pilates.
For starers, there are loads knick-knacks to help us shed the kilos digitally. We can go for a brisk with an iPod and track our footsteps with the Nike+ gadget, lose weight with the aid of fitness video games – sans controllers – on the Xbox 360 Kinect, and there’s even a scale that can tweet our weight to the world.
In fact, exercising with video games has become a big deal thanks to the motion gaming successes like the Xbox 360 Kinect and Nintendo Wii, so much that the area is now called “gamercising”.
Personally, we’ll try to get up extra early, play a few rounds of Dance Central 2 with the calorie counter turned on, measure our weight, and come back for some more fitness game playtime with UFC Personal Trainer and Your Shape Fitness. What will you do?
I will backup daily. Or at least monthly
Backing up should be like brushing your teeth, but the truth is most of us do it only semi-regularly.
And that’s just not good enough, because lots of things can happen to your data. Your phone or computer can be stolen, you might accidentally delete information, or your device might simply fail. One GadgetGuy staffer even reversed his car over his notebook. Accidentally of course.
The unforeseeable can happen, even when you’re careful, so make sure to give yourself a bit of insurance by doing a simple backup. There’s no excuse not too, really, as most solutions are easy to use, and don’t cost much. Some don’t cost anything at all.
Find your most important files – data you really want to keep – and sign up for a Dropbox account. You can upload these important files to a website and access it from wherever you are, provided you don’t forget your password. The first 2GB or storage is free.
For everything else – photos, music, videos – buy yourself an external hard drive from your local office or electronics store and backup. And the next time you take some photos you value, back them up to it as well.
Make it routine to backup too, so that you’re updating your archive regularly with newer files. Set a reminder for yourself in your calendar, or choose a programmable solution that handles everything automatically.
I will stop checking my phone messages at the lights
It’s illegal in Australia to use a mobile phone while you’re driving. This includes texting, playing games, and of course lifting the phone to your ear to talk on the phone.
That’s why you resolved to get a hands-free system for your phone last year, right? And it’s been great, right?
But you’re still checking messages at the lights, and that’s just not on. It’s illegal, and more importantly, very bloody dangerous. You could crash your car, crash into another car or run down a pedestrian. Not. Cool.
Plus, you’re not soooo important that the world will end if you don’t check your email and messages This Instant Right Now. You’re just not.
So wait until you’re home or at a petrol station to check your messages, and refrain from checking messages as you’re walking too. Just to be on the safe side, you know, because those lampposts you bump in to have feelings too.
I’m going to properly dispose of my electronic and white goods instead of just leave them on the nature strip
Did you know that your gadgets and electronics can actually be broken down into base materials and reused in other things? Think recycled paper, but with electronics instead.
And then there’s the extra more obvious bonus: you get to reclaim all that space in your home that those gadgets were taking up.
First off, take a wander around your home and work out what you don’t need anymore. Whether it’s appliances, old computers, phones, TVs and other gadgets that are broken or you just don’t use anymore.
Gather them up, work out what you need to do, and deal with them.
Things with no data – appliances, TVs, and home stereo equipment – can be sold on eBay, Trading Post, given to friends or charities, or recycled through one of the e-waste programs that your local council may run.
Computers and phones, however, probably have information of yours on them, so take them aside, backup your old info, and run memory wipe software on them, taking the time to make sure your identity isn’t accidentally taken when you decide to get rid of them.
I’m going to install internet security software. There, I said it
We know that you don’t have an updated copy of anti-virus on your computer. Most people don’t, especially Mac users.
But these days, any computer can be targeted for hacks, scams, malware, and viruses. It’s not just a Windows thing anymore, people.
This year, we want you to buy a copy of an internet security suite and let it take steps to stop you from doing something stupid, like downloading nasties to your computer.
These days, internet security solutions arrive in year-long subscriptions, requiring you to pay an annual cost for the peace of mind you get when you’re having your computer secured for you.
Some of us have lived with Symantec’s Norton Internet Security and 360 for a while, while others prefer solutions from AVG, Kaspersky, PC Tools, and Trend Micro. You’re certainly not starved for choice when it comes to finding security for your device.
McAfee has one of the more interesting solutions out there, offering you protection for a certain amount of devices in your home, including extra computers and phones.
Shop around and find the internet security solution that works best for you, and then don’t be stingy.
The criminals of the internet certainly won’t be stingy when they’re trying to nab your details, and that’s only going to get worse in 2012.