10 End-Of-The-Year Tech Related New Year Resolution Recommendations

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computerandroid c   10 End Of The Year Tech Related New Year Resolution RecommendationsAs the year comes to close and a new one begins, it’s a good time to make fresh goals or carry out tasks we have put off for quite some time.

The following list is my personal recommendations for tech related tasks—from the vitally important, backing up your computer hard drive, to the most difficult challenge of spending a whole day without getting on your computer. My list includes links to MUO articles that provide ideas for how to carry out specified tasks, but you’re also encouraged to of course research other ideas and solutions. I also welcome your recommendations for tech related tasks I didn’t include in this list.

1. Backup Your Computer Hard Drive

Technicians who repair computers say that, still less than half of computer users back up their hard drive. While with most newer computers, hard drive failures may occur less, it only takes one for it to happen and loss of all your data.

Justine’s article on Redo Backup is a good one for PC users, while the default Time Machine and Super Duper are good programs for Mac users. A full backup of your system requires an external hard drive that is larger than the memory of your computer’s internal drive. Create an automatic system so backups can be done and checked on a regular basis.

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timemachine   10 End Of The Year Tech Related New Year Resolution Recommendations

2. Backup Media Files

If you are storing photos, music, and other important media files on your computer, these files should be a part of your backup system, but I suggest you also keep a special off-site backup of photo files that are most important to you. Precious photo files can’t be replaced, so copying them to an external drive, such as a thumb drive, can be serious insurance against loss of most your important photos.

If you have enough room on a Google, Dropbox,or any other cloud storage account, backing up precious media files to a dedicated storage is another data recovery solution. It’s simply a matter of dragging and copying important files to another location.

3. Change Passwords

Change the password of your financial and administrative accounts, your router, and other sensitive accounts or pieces of hardware. I know it’s a mental challenge to memorize new passwords, but for the accounts you access on a regular basis, it’s well worth the effort.

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4. Clean Out The Hard Drive

Take an hour and clean out your computer’s hard drive of files and applications you no longer use. Especially look for those files that are over a few hundred megabytes and determine if you still need them.

5. Create a Photo Book

After you have backed up all your photos, create a book of the year’s most memorable photos. Sure, it’s great to have your photos stored on Facebook or Flickr.com, but a printed book is still more tangible and attractive for viewing your precious memories.

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Even if you have lots of low-resolution photos,  on your smart phone for instance, they can still be published in a photo book. In the U.S., stores like Wallgreens and Costco have fairly easy online ways to layout and order printed photo books.

6. Budget Your Money

If you’re not doing a good job of keeping track of your finances and budgeting your money, sign up for a free Mint.com account. Allowing Mint to download your financial accounts is one of the best ways to monitor and budget your spending. It’s like the old envelope budgeting system, but it’s all digital.

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7. Cook New Meals

If your typical dinner meals are becoming a little stale, subscribe to one or more online recipe sites, and commit to cooking at least 5-10 new dinners next year.

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I use the Paprika iPhone app to download recipes and keep track of favorite meals.

8. Cancel Subscriptions

Go through your email client and unsubscribe to newsletters and social website notifications you haven’t been responding to. Reducing email clutter can reduce the amount of time you spend reading and managing emails, and thus help you make time for other things.

9. Automate Computer Tasks

If you haven’t been using automation workflows and keyboard shortcuts, you’re probably not being as productive on your computer as you could be. There are ways to automate tasks on a PC, Mac , and Ubuntu without knowing a single word of code. There are even ways to automate online tasks, using tools like ifttt. Make a goal of creating a few automation hacks. Once you do a few, you’ll no doubt want to do more.

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10. No Computer Day

Choose one day a week in which you avoid getting on the computer. As much as the computer is a part of our daily routine, it can cause us to become detached from other important responsibilities and social interactions. I try to avoid getting my computer either on Saturday or Sunday, unless it’s related to work.

Well, these are my ten recommendations. What are yours? Start today and make a list of the tech related tasks you need to get done.

Image Credit: 3d Robot Image Via Shutterstock

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46 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Paulo Delgado

I will go with no computer day.

Bakari Chavanu

Cool, Paulo. You’ll definitely like it.

randall polk

I like the once a week idea , but I was thinking that might be a good precursor to the ultimate test ……maybe once or twice a year , everyone should just throw their computer into the nearest dumpster , or toss it off the highest building you can find , or , if you live by the ocean , toss it in there ! Then we can really test our social skills and interaction capabilities as we run around freaking out because we need a new computer . But I think we should alternate ….let’s not all do this on the same day !

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Caroline West

Great list!

* I shall be updating/changing all my passwords with my pw manager.
* My external Hard Drive will be getting a complete overhaul (getting rid of stuff I no longer need).
* Budgeting – good idea; maybe I’ll set up with Mint by the end of this year and keep an eye on my budget fresh for 2013 (I hope my Win phone can use the service)
* I have a new laptop so the hard drive will be backed up this time

Lastly….. I don’t know about a pc free day – I doubt that I could manage it. But I shall most certainly give it a try!!

Thanks again. And a “Happy New Year” to all MUO members & staff :-)

Bakari Chavanu

Caroline, thanks for your feedback. Glad you find this list useful.

Caroline West

Designating some time like 1hr to do some of the tasks on the list has helped. Can you believe I am still working on the list! Nearly there.

It feels like a 2013 ‘Computer’ purge! :-D

I’m thankful for the link on how doing a back up. My ext hard-drive has been ‘purged’ now, I just hope the article and program will be compatible with Win8.

Sorting out my e mail’s inbox was good. But regarding my p/w’s…. It has to all be done manually :-( not looking forward to that hence why using the 1hr time limit!

Setting up a budget with Mint.com was not possible as I live in the UK. But I have a brilliant open-source budgeting software which is easy to set up and free with no restrictions on how many account’s and it’s open-source too https://sites.google.com/site/dsbudgethome/ I’ve used it before and I can recommend it.

Using keyboard shortcuts is something I’ve never done only because I thought that I couldn’t learn it, but I’m giving it a try now. Being alien to this I shall refer to the link.

So much to do! But worth it.

Thanks too for the Photo Book link. It’s been one of those ‘meaning to do’ tasks since last year. There is something very special about having digital photo’s in print.

2 additions which I’d like to add to the list is to get rid of unused software, which only hogs and slows down the computer. And to get a good quality system optimizer and cleaner – even a couple of them for a thorough job.

Now onto my 1hr list work! :-)

Reply

Anonymous

Thanks fo

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Mac Witty

Cancel Subscriptions and “direct to trash” for the one one can not cancel or when the sender do not cancel. Should have done it earlier but you reminded me.

Make a better photo archive.

Bakari Chavanu

Yep, thanks for the feedback, Mac. Always great to have you as a reader.

Yogesh Chaugule

We can have unroll.me to manage our subscriptions, but at starting we should be more concern that no important emails are going into unroll.me label, and monitor unroll.me daily basis for few days to avoid such situation.

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Ashwin Ramesh

Amazing list. Thanks for the article, Bakari. Also loved the 2nd pic – Time Machine :)

Bakari Chavanu

Ashwin, you’re welcome. Always great to get your feedback.

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Bumferry Hogart

I shall be attempting all of the above but I will start with my own choice of “Clearing out bookmarks!” Over the past year I have saved what seems to be half the internet into different folders and links. Need to cull the herd as they say and keep things nice and neat.

Bakari Chavanu

That’s a good to-do, Bumferry. I should have added that one to the list. My Safari books run into the thousands. Many of witch I’ll never use again.

DjPete

You could join Del.i.cious and save all your bookmarks there. Also stumble upon to broaden your horizon out of your usual browsing experience.

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Ryszard Grodzicki

I definitely need to start cooking at all, so these recipe sites will help. I was back-uping my music library through last few days, but I didn’t touch any photos as there’s just too big mess so yeah, it would be great if I’d take care of it throughout upcoming year :)
I wanted to automate some tasks when I read about it here, but I couldn’t think of any things I do that were worth bothering to automate xD

Bakari Chavanu

Ryszard, probably anything you do on your computer over and over can be automated. If you’re Mac user, check applications like Hazel and Keyboard Maestro. I also a Mac Automators G+ group where I share more ideas. https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/112877112789973656259

Reply

grandfred

no computer ay is a good idea :)

Bakari Chavanu

Thanks for the feedback, grandfred.

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Bakari Chavanu

Seems like there ought to be a national holiday devoted to everyone getting off the computer. lol Thanks for your feedback.

Sid Cork

Oh goodee, the usual chestnut (dyswidt?) about changing passwords adding some extra level of security. Do you also change your door locks on a regular basis? Of course not, you buy a secure lock and guard the key! Changing the lock provides no extra security at all. Changing passwords simply tempts people to use less secure versions so they can remember them or to write them down.

Bakari Chavanu

Sid, in fact, yes I dod change the pad locks on your door every year. JK. Your point is well taken, but I find that when you use a password on a regular basis, you quickly start remembering.

Sid Cork

Sorry, my name didn’t appear on my comment for some reason.

randall polk

Yes it did bro ……just put a cork in it , ok ? Just kidding …happy new year

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Nikhil Chandak

thnx for the post !

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Marina

Open a Dropbox account at http://www.dropbox.com and save all your files there before deleting them off your drives.

Bakari Chavanu

Thanks for the tip, Marina. In my case, Dropbox has literally become my Documents folder for all my computers. It of course gets backed up in Time Machine on a daily basis.

dragonmouth

While cloud storage is convenient, cool and easy it is NOT a good idea from a security standpoint. According to latest reports from Sophos and Kaspersky, data stored in the cloud is, with increasing frequency, a target of hyper jacking. A bad guy breaks into a cloud server and instantly has access to private data of thousands of people.

The data can also be subject to hijacking for ransom, where the bad guy changes the password on the data to one of his own and then demands a payment for the release of that data.

Then there is the Instagram/Facebook debacle where Facebook announced that any images stored on Instagram servers is now their property to with as they please without acknowledging or remunerating the original owners. They supposedly reversed that policy but who really knows? Only time will tell.

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Anonymous

A no computer day would kill me right away! o.O Thank you very much for this article, that are very good recommendations. ^^

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pixelriffic

I’m a little surprised this was overlooked for number 1, but I guess a lot of folks still don’t know that Windows 8 adds folder history backup. This is functionally the same thing as Apple’s Time Machine.

Bakari Chavanu

Pixelriffi, thanks for the tip. I’m not a Windows user, so this is good to know.

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Peter St.Wecker

Great list!

For Number 8, you might want to use this link instead: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/clear-inbox-quickly-unsubscribe-multiple-newsletters-tools/

Seems more complete, and notes that Unsubscrir is now Swizzle.

Bakari Chavanu

Awww, yes Peter, thanks for reminding me. Yep, Unroll.me and other services are good alternatives.

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Anonymous

I do some, will do more.
Thanks

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Keith Swartz

#11) Subscribe to MakeUseOf.com!! Happy New Year!

Bakari Chavanu

Awww, Keith, thanks for that. Glad you like the site. Thanks for being a reader.

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Mark Reid

Thanks Bakari for making backing up no. 1 on your list…
I had bought a 1TB backup drive recently, but was slack and haven’t backed up my macbook pro, even though I have been using it for 13 months!
As I type, I am now backing up for the 1st time!
Slow learner eh! Your article spurred me into action….
Happy New Year

Bakari Chavanu

Yep Mark, once you get that backup task done, you will feel a little more insured. Be sure to periodically check the backup to see if it’s working. It’s not a hundred percent, but it’s better than not having it.

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Anonymous

it is really lovely… i shall also wish a day to avoid my lap… thanx a lot frd

Bakari Chavanu

Jai, I probably should do another article of tips on how to go a day without using the computer. Seems like this topic resonates with many readers. Thanks for your feedback.

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Jim Spencer

Almost missed out on this little gem of an article. Hurrah for a time-out from the computer. It would almost be like fasting, but healthy for the mind and soul.

Bakari Chavanu

Thanks, Jim, for your feedback. I think that day without a computer resonates with lots of readers.

Reply

TITUS ADAMS

how do i register for this site

Tina Sieber

For MakeUseOf? You can log in using one of your social networking accounts, like Facebook, Twitter, or Google. Just click the icon for your desired login option in the top right, log into the respective account, and confirm the login. This will automatically register you with MakeUseOf.

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fainom enous

deffinately backing up

Bakari Chavanu

Fainom, it will give you some peace of mind to know if your computer crashes, you won’t lose all your stuff.

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