Good morning, and welcome to 2013. You may already be feeling a sense of dread over some of the New Year's resolutions you've told everyone you're going to make. Have you pledged to give up smoking? To lose weight at the gym? Off you pop then...
We're not saying you shouldn't make these type of resolutions, but it's probably raining outside, and your home is nice and warm. Do you really want to go outside? Here are some tech New Year's resolutions that are far more easy to keep, and can be completed from the comfort of your own, if you like, bed. While you're there, check out our collection of tutorials to give you more than 1,800 reasons to stay put.
1. 2013 tech resolutions: Back up your data
Consider the amount of personal data stored on your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone. You'll have photos, videos, music files, documents and more. Not only will some of these be irreplaceable, but it probably took you quite some time to gather them all together and make yourself at home on that computer. Now imagine someone steals your laptop, or your hard drive fails, or you accidentally overwrite those files. It happens every day, but you can quickly and easily set up an automated backup plan to protect your data. Follow our advice in our backup superguide to get started. For Mac users, also see how to set up Time Machine in Mountain Lion.
2. 2013 tech resolutions: Don't be so easily fooled
No doubt you've read all our advice on securing your PC or laptop with good antimalware, antispyware and a firewall (see Security Advisor), but there's one final piece of the security puzzle with which to contend: you. No offence intended, of course, but you are the weakest component in your computer's defences. It is you who chooses easy-to-guess passwords, clicks on links or opens attachments in emails without checking they are legit, falls victim to phishing attacks and leaves traces of your identity all over the web. The solution is simple, and good advice for all walks of life: think before you act. You can also read up on our security advice, starting with how to stop hackers stealing your data.
3. 2013 tech resolutions: Manage your digital reputation
It's important to realise that these days your chances of securing that job of a lifetime depend on much more than your qualifications and CV. Your digital reputation is crucial. So, whether it's to support your career or simply to prevent your friends thinking you're an idiot and deleting you, watch what you post on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, particularly when you're somewhat worse for wear. Here are some tips on protecting your online reputation, too.
4. 2013 tech resolutions: Make better use of your time
Time is money, and we reckon we can help you make better use of it in 2013 and beyond. Whether you're sitting in front of a PC or on the move using a laptop, smartphone or tablet, you're bound to find some time savings among these gems. They may save only seconds, but add those up over a day, week or month and they start to become significant.
5. 2013 tech resolutions: Spring clean in summer, autumn and winter
Over time your PC will pick up all sorts of dust, grime and other yucky stuff, which is not only a bit gross, but it can cause the computer to overheat and slow down performance. Clean up your act! This one might involve you getting out of bed, but your efforts will be rewarded as your flagging PC is put back on track. Also see how to clean your laptop's cooling fans.
6. 2013 tech resolutions: Upgrade to Windows 8
Out with the old and in with the new. If you're still using Windows Vista, for example, you're either very patient or you just don't know that life doesn't have to be like this. Windows 8 is Microsoft's flagship operating system, and you don't need to buy a new PC or laptop to enjoy it. Here's how to perform an in-place upgrade of Windows 8.
7. 2013 tech resolutions: Rescue your analogue media
Analogue media, such as printed photos, slides and negatives won't last forever and, for each year that passes, you step that little bit closer to losing forever your precious memories. Follow our simple walkthroughs on digitising your photos and take action now.
- How to scan or photograph old photos
- How to scan photographic negatives
- How to scan old colour slides
- Top tips on scanning old photos, negatives and slides
8. 2013 tech resolutions: Perfect your photos for free
We aren't all pro photographers, and you've probably got hundreds of digital photos that should have been worthy contenders for framing on the wall or sharing with friends and family but, ultimately, were a let-down. The perfect photographic moment may have passed, but it isn't too late to rescue your marred shots. You can correct blurred photos, remove red-eye, delete unwanted objects and more, all for free, with our useful tips. See our guide on fixing your photos for free.
These are our top eight; add your own tech New Year's resolutions in the Comments field below.