Smart (and Easy) Resolutions for a Happy, High-Tech 2014

Make sure you don't get hacked, never lose an image, always have a backup, and keep your online profiles in tip-top, non-embarrassing shape.

By Susie Ochs
Fri, January 03, 2014

IDG News Service — Even if you don't do New Year's resolutions, flipping the calendar to a fresh year is a great time to take stock of your tech habits and brush them up as needed. Unlike resolutions you have to keep all year, like working out every day, most of these technology pledges are set-it-and-forget-it. We know you're a super-smart person and you're probably doing all this stuff already, but it never hurts to double-check.

Be more secure

We all hate passwords. But we need them, at least for now. So use a good password manager--1Password is the gold standard, and the also-excellent LastPass has a free tier that should be all you need.

If you really don't want to use a password manager, then at the very least resolve to use the password-reset feature on every website you visit in January to replace your old-standby password with something a little more secure. And be sure to secure your smartphone too, lest it ever falls into the wrong hands.

Make two-factor authentication your friend

Speaking of security, if you haven't set up two-factor authentication for your Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, Google, PayPal, and Microsoft accounts, 2014 is your year.

Think of two-factor authentication like an extra security sweater against the cold winds of being hacked. You need both your regular password to log in, plus a single-serving security code sent to your phone by text message. Once you log in with both keys, you can usually tell the service to trust that device in the future (assuming it's one you use often), and you're back to entering just your password. But an evil hacker won't be able to log in as you from a new machine with just your username and password.

Repurpose old, neglected devices

Don't let old smartphones and tablets languish in a drawer just because you got something better. Those gadgets aren't getting any younger, so clean 'em up and hand them off to family members, repurpose them for yourself, or sell them for some cash. Any kids in your life would love a spare tablet, and it's easy to childproofA so they can have fun and not spend a fortune on Smurfberries.

If you decide to sell your old gear, follow our tips to get the most money and be sure to remove all your personal data.

Set your photos free

It's perfectly natural to have a thousand photos on your smartphone, since that's probably your main camera. Just don't leave them there, because if anything happens to your phone (and it probably will), losing all your photos will make you this sad:

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