My tech resolutions for 2014 [Mihaita]
I frequently make resolutions throughout the year, ranging from being more patient to losing some weight. However, I give technology little to no attention in this respect, which may seem a bit unusual coming from someone who writes about it for a living. But, lately, I have been thinking about making some changes, and what I could do more in regards to tech.
I do have realistic expectations, as I am in no way trying to convince myself that I will actually work on every item from this list, starting January 1. It's a fool's errand as far as I'm concerned. Instead, these are the things I would like to build towards this following year, with the end goal of steadily improving myself throughout 2014.
Disconnect More Often
Technology is highly addictive. I spend the better part of each day in front of my laptop and tablet, working and relaxing (sometimes, the two overlap, but don't tell anyone). I enjoy it. But, in the long run, it's also not healthy for my mental sanity, as it detracts me from everything else that matters and happens around me.
I cannot help to lose myself in what I do. There is a problem though -- I do not become a better writer doing so, nor a better person. Too much technology is a bad thing, so every time I get the chance to disconnect I jump in with both feet. But I keep my phone and tablet around, for those rare occasions when I need them (jotting down ideas, looking at maps, etc.).
After I return home, I often find that I am much more relaxed, more focused on what I need to do, and more insightful. This applies to both work and personal life. I rarely took breaks in 2013, but in 2014 I plan to disconnect as often as I can (certainly, more often that I did this year), perhaps close to every weekend.
Make Smarter Purchases
Sometimes, there is a huge gap between what I need and what I buy. Case in point, I need a tablet with a cellular connection, yet I bought the new Wi-Fi-only Google Nexus 7. Not smart, not smart at all.
Here's why: When I go away from home, I usually have to use my Nokia Lumia 920 to tether. Wi-Fi hotspots are common in the city, but scarce otherwise. Its battery life is never amazing, let alone while sharing the Internet connection.
It is also not convenient, because if the connection idles the Windows Phone will automatically interrupt the sharing, with no option to always keep it on (not a sound design, Microsoft). I have to keep it plugged in while tethering, otherwise the Lumia 920 would wave the white flag after three to four hours.
This year I also bought two Windows Phones, an HTC Windows Phone 8X and the Lumia 920, when what I really wanted was the latter of the two. Needless to say, I wasted a ton of money at resale. There are other good examples of this, but you get the idea -- buy what I need, not what may work.
I am not very good at exercising self restraint. I buy gadgets on impulse sometimes, as I get bored with the ones I have, only to discover history will repeat itself in a few weeks or months. It's a very expensive weakness of mine.
I have managed to keep it contained for the past couple of months though. Surprisingly, I did not buy anything that was tech-related, on Black Friday and Christmas. I plan on keeping this up in 2014, for as long as it makes sense (I do, however, have a job where using the latest tech gives me a good perspective on things).
Embrace Safer Online Habits
Like my colleague Mark Wilson, I also plan to make some changes related to the security of my online accounts. I have ones which I have not used in years, that I must get rid of as soon as possible (I will start looking for them this week), and must also use new and better passwords.
I am also an adopter of two-step authentication, which I use whenever possible. I plan to enable this feature across all remaining accounts that support it. I also plan to review all security-related settings on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and so on, in order to minimize my exposure in certain cases (I do not want some of my social media accounts to appear as public). Finally, I may also start paying attention to app permissions.
What About You?
What are your tech resolutions for the year to come? Do you have anything special that you want to accomplish by the end of next year? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.