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5 New Year Resolutions Every Geek Should Aspire To [Opinion]

Matt Smith 01-01-2013

5 New Year Resolutions Every Geek Should Aspire To [Opinion] newyearpartyIt’s a new year, so it’s time for resolutions. You know the common ones already. Lose weight. Watch less TV. Stop yelling expletives at strangers. That sort of thing.


But what about resolutions that geeks in particular should consider? Tech enthusiasts tend to have different priorities than other people – watching less TV, for example, may not be applicable if you’ve already replaced it with YouTube and video games. Here are five resolution ideas that even the most hardcore geek should consider.

Back Up Your Stuff!

5 New Year Resolutions Every Geek Should Aspire To [Opinion] crashplan3

Almost everyone agrees with backing up their data, much like everyone agrees it’s a good idea to lose weight or eat better. Yet many people fail to follow through. Hard drives crash, SD cards break, and data is lost.

Now is as good a time as any to start backing up your data. External hard drives usually run between $70 to $100 and you can use free software like CrashPlan or Windows Backup & Restore How To Set Up & Use Windows 7 Backup & Restore Feature It's hardly a secret when I tell you that sooner or later you will need a backup of your personal data. Do you have one right now? What keeps most people from preparing regular backups... Read More to automatically schedule regular backups.

So what are you waiting for? Back up your data. Do it now.


Start using two-factor authentication

5 New Year Resolutions Every Geek Should Aspire To [Opinion] twofactor

Passwords have some serious issues. They are vulnerable to keylogging. They can be guessed (if simple) or brute-forced (if complex). And they can be gathered through social engineering. Everyone thinks they’d never be tricked by a phishing attack, yet it happens to hundreds of thousands of people every year.

Two-factor authentication can help. It requires that a user have two methods of authenticating themselves instead of just a password. The second method is usually a text message or phone call that delivers a randomly generated code to a user-specified number. That code must be entered to proceed. Even someone with your password won’t be able to log in to your account.

Don’t think a hack can’t happen to you. Earlier this year journalist Mat Honan was hacked and as a result had his MacBook wiped, his Google account deleted and his Twitter spammed with racist comments. Apple did not offer two-factor and so it could not be used to protect his MacBook, but it could have kept his Gmail and Twitter secure.


Mat Honan didn’t back up his data, either – so he lost a year of family photos, email and documents.  Seriously. Back up your data.

Support A Project You Believe In

5 New Year Resolutions Every Geek Should Aspire To [Opinion] kickstartergames

I’ve been watching Kickstarter carefully When Kickstarters Fail [Feature] Crowd-funding has finally transformed from niche idea to mainstream concept. Credit for this surge in popularity can be thrown at the feet of Kickstarter and its contemporaries. Some highly publicized projects have raised millions of... Read More this year and have given money to a few projects. While I remain skeptical that crowd-funding is the world changing phenomena some make it out to be I do think it has a lot of potential.

Maybe you’ve been sitting on the sidelines to see how things pan out. I won’t lie to you. Supporting a crowd-funded project is a risk. There’s no guarantee you’ll see anything for your money and, even if you do, it may not live up to expectations.


But that’s not the point. Crowd-funding is not a pre-order. It’s a vote of confidence. A virtual pat on someone’s back that says “Here – I like your idea, and I’m putting my money down on it.” So I urge you to step off the sidelines, find a project you think is important, and pledge. Don’t count on others to do it for you.

Waste less time online

5 New Year Resolutions Every Geek Should Aspire To [Opinion] wastetime

Procrastination is always just a click away when you have an Internet connection. It’s easy to become distracted by a funny YouTube video, or a link on a friend’s Facebook page, or a Tumblr that’s gone viral. While there’s nothing wrong with online entertainment over-indulging in information of questionable value Eating Only Dessert: Why Your Information Diet Is Probably Terrible [Feature] Email. Social networks. Blogs. Online video. People today consume more information than ever before, and typically only consume the things they really, really like. Clay Johnson compares this to a bad diet. "If you only... Read More can cause its fair share of problems and ultimately lead to a sense that you’ve nothing to show for your time.

So what can you do? There are many solutions. Google Calendar Free Up Your Time With Google Calendar, Blog & Status Updates Read More (or any similar online calendar) can be useful if you set regular reminders about tasks you should be working on. The Pomodoro Technique Cut Through Procrastination With These Pomodoro Technique Apps & Software Procrastination is a malady that pervades students and workers in all corners of the world and it infects amateurs and professionals alike. As a writer, I suffer from procrastination on a daily basis. Some people... Read More can be used to work on tasks in short bursts. Or you can use a time management tool on your smartphone 4 Excellent Free Time-Tracking Tools [Android] No matter who you are, time is an incredibly important commodity. We’re all allotted the same amount of time - 86,400 seconds every day - and it’s up to us how we spend that time.... Read More to keep honest about what you’re really doing all day.


There’s no getting around the need for willpower. Still, software can help keep you on track and alert you when procrastination begins to take over your day.

Play more games with friends

5 New Year Resolutions Every Geek Should Aspire To [Opinion] tabletoprpg

Games are a great way to spend time with friends. They’re among the most social forms of entertainment that you can enjoy, yet it’s easy to forget about their potential and turn inward. Why waste time waiting for someone else to join if a single-player campaign is available now?

The answer is simple – playing with friends is almost always more fun. The genre doesn’t matter. You can comp-stomp in Starcraft 2, shoot zombies in Left 4 Dead or build a monument to the Teletubbies in Minecraft. Whatever your choice, friends almost always enhance the experience.

And don’t forget about tabletop games! Contrary to its reputation, stepping into the tabletop world can be both easy and inexpensive. There are plenty of free or low-cost systems including FATE, Savage Worlds, Dungeon World, and Microlite d20. Games like this focus on being easy to understand and don’t require additional rulebooks to play (though you’ll have to imagine your own setting).

What’s Your Resolution?

I picked these resolutions because they’re clear and obtainable for nearly anyone. There’s not much effort involved in setting up two-factor authentication or pledging to a crowd-funded project. You just need to take a moment and do it.

What’s your geeky new-year’s resolution? Are you looking to get back into a game you loved but abandoned? Do you want to learn to build your own PC? Perhaps you’re seeking ways to automate your life? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credits: Lulu, Mark Turnauckas

Explore more about: Data Backup, Kickstarter, Online Security, Password.

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  1. Dexter Allen
    January 7, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    probably #2 in the list. my whole world spins around my google account. so...

  2. Georgia Caldwell
    January 6, 2013 at 2:55 am

    Just started backing up my files, and not a moment too soon. I lost a folder, but it was a cinch to get it back from Crashplan. But NOW, after seeing this page, my New Year's resolution is to try to put little hats on hamsters as often as I can!

  3. Kathleen Libbey
    January 4, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    to stop fixing other people's computers - no good deed goes unpunished - It seems like after I work on someone's computer they think they can always call me, anytime, and fix anything. I'm just not that interested anymore.

  4. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    January 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Backup and applying stricter time management are on top of my list. I've lost too much time online in winter break, sadly. Then get to ACTUALLY write software reviews and try softwares I was interested in, downloaded, and piled as I spent time procrastinating. Exploring Linux is somewhere in the middle of the list. Two factor authentication is really a hassle, since I'm never a fan of carrying my phone all time, but once I get my mailbox sorted, I'll look into it again.

  5. Prabha Rani
    January 2, 2013 at 10:19 am

    To increase my blog's traffic and buy an Android tablet.

  6. Axandre L.
    January 2, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Two-factor authentication is a really interesting concept that I had never thought of before. I'll give it a closer look. I've also already started on the fifth resolution - Magic: The Gathering on a regular basis.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      January 2, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Your fifth resolution is cool. Problem is: it's difficut to find someone to play with.

  7. Deimarr Callender
    January 1, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Definitely need to do more backups

  8. Jennifer Price
    January 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    I have backups and passwords/authentications on my list too! I really like your non-technical resolutions, although 'get outside' would also be good.

    Here are my 4 technology resolutions:

  9. Dane Morgan
    January 1, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    I'm already checking off everything on this list except ... two-factor authentication.

    I jumped on right off when Google brought it out. I was stoked. This was cool. It was going to make things more secure!

    I never successfully logged into ANYTHING with it. I tried it four different ways and could not get logged in to anything. I don't have time for that. I do have a distinct 10-14 digit pseudo random password for each and every log-in though, and I recon that is probably good enough given that I'm simply not that interesting a target.

    • John Kim
      January 2, 2013 at 3:21 am

      Once you get the hang of it, it's fine. But it falls short with Apple Mail. After putting the application-specific password, it suddenly asks for the password a few days later.

  10. RG
    January 1, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Demand MUO have even more contests

  11. Henree Arriola de Garcia
    January 1, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    I'll try backing up more often.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      January 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      How if you setup a scheduled backup and let it run automatically? Save your time and far safer than manual backup (you might forget to do it, putting it for later, etc).

  12. Kevin Németh
    January 1, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    "Start using two-factor authentication" i love this one.

  13. Harshit Jain
    January 1, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Don't pirate anything

    • Dexter Allen
      January 7, 2013 at 10:26 pm

      good for you. i mean it