The Which? Tech team’s New Year resolutions
Wow, it’s 2011. While you’re recovering from your New Year partying excess, have you thought about any resolutions for the coming months? Which? Tech has and they’re here to help make 2011 your best ever.
Happy New Year everyone! Hopefully you enjoyed 2010 without any regrets, but if you feel the need to improve upon last year’s efforts we’re here to share our New Year resolutions.
What should we change about our technological lifestyles in 2011?
Matt Bath: Time for an online privacy audit
What does Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and countless other online services and websites know about me? I’m not sure, which is rather sobering, but now that the New Year fog has lifted, I’m going to find out.
Bowing to privacy calls, technology companies are inching – painfully – towards telling us what information they hold about us. They’re finally starting to grasp that we might not actually want our internet usage tracked, shared, collated, rolled up and sold off to advertisers. Not that I’ve got anything to hide – apart from an unhealthy need for a technology news fix – but I’m going to make full use of this.
A few starting points: visit your dashboard at www.google.com/dashboard to see what Google knows about you (lots!), opt out of behavioural advertising at Your Online Choices and Google, and try installing Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 (if you have Windows 7) as it’ll let you choose who and what will track you when you’re online. Then, it’ll be back to the hangover…
Andrew Vandervell: Buy myself a decent camera
Cameraphones may be all the rage these days, but a footballing truism still applies – form is temporary, class is permanent. Convenient they might be, but to capture the splendour of the Lake District on a sun-kissed winter morning, nothing does the job like a high-quality dedicated camera. That’s why I’m set on buying a proper camera this year.
There’s a staggering selection of Which? Best Buy cameras available these days. Entry-level Digital SLRs start at just £350 for some older models, and compact ‘mirrorless’ cameras mean a good camera needn’t be bulky. And with many new models doubling as high-quality HD camcorders as well, there’s never been a better time to invest in a camera.
Ben Stevens: Back-up my digital photos
My PC began playing up as I was working from home a few weeks ago. It then crashed and wouldn’t reboot. At first I was peeved – the day’s work had been a waste – but then the realisation that I’d lost loads of photos kicked in. This relegated the lost work to a minor annoyance.
On my friend’s laptop I checked my external hard drive to see exactly what had been lost – I had backed up about 50% of my photos (and all my holidays were safe), but I’d lost the rest. Each day since then I’ve remembered another photo album I’ve lost – I wish I’d backed them all up. Sure, the task can be a nuisance, but from here on in I’ll always keep at least two digital copies of everything.
Ceri Stanaway: Kill technological multitasking
Today’s gadgets are portable, easy-to-use and ‘on-demand’, but these very advantages also result in bad habits – for me at least. A ‘relaxing’ evening at home often consists of me sitting on the sofa with up to four pieces of tech sharing my attention. My TV will be playing one of my favourite shows (scheduled perfectly courtesy of my PVR) but rather than focusing on the programme I’ve made the effort to record, it’s not uncommon for me to be simultaneously tapping away on my laptop while also taking a call on my smartphone.
The result? I lose the plot of the TV show, forget what I was searching for on my laptop, and the person at the end of the line unfairly gets short shrift. It’s time to cut down on the technology multitasking and give each (expensive) device the attention it deserves.
Abi Smith: Switch broadband provider
I say this every year, but this time I mean it – I absolutely must switch my internet service provider (ISP). I’m fed up with paying through the nose for a ridiculously slow connection at peak times. All I want is a service where I can almost go off and make a cup of tea in the time it takes for a YouTube video to load up.
So this year is the year of the switch for me. I’ve already opened up a webmail account and told all my contacts to use that instead of my ISP’s email address. Friends and colleagues have assured me that changing ISP is a painless process these days, so what am I waiting for? Right, I’ve convinced myself. I’m going to switch.
Will you be taking up any of these technology resolutions? Or maybe you’ve got others to add?
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