7 technology strategies of smart people

Follow these 7 strategies in 2011 to get a better grip on your personal technology habits. Make sure you're saving money, staying safe and avoiding the latest hassles.

I can't help you lose weight, stop smoking or keep any of the other New Year's resolutions you and millions of others might make. But I can give you a few ideas that will save you money and help you get the most out of the technology you use every day.

1. Think Carefully Before Switching to Verizon iPhone

I take second place to no one in my ongoing criticism of AT&T's crummy service and its terrible support for the iPhone. But, don't switch to Verizon's iPhone until you're comfortable with the answers to these questions.

• How long is my contract with AT&T? If you cancel before it's up, you could be hit with an early termination fee of several hundred dollars. In any case, you'll have to buy a new iPhone. Models that work on AT&T's network won't work on Verizon's.

• How well does Verizon work in my home or office? Like every other wireless company, Verizon's network of cell towers and service is better in some places than others. Have a friend who already subscribes to Verizon try his or her phone out in whatever place you'll use it the most.

• Ask yourself if you'll mind losing the ability to multi-task on the iPhone. AT&T's much maligned network supports this feature; Verizon's doesn't. That means you can't check something on the Web while you've got a voice call working. Verizon may fix that in the future, but for now, it's a minus.

• Do I want to be a guinea pig? Wait a couple of months and see how well Verizon's network handles the rush of new, data-hungry subscribers.

2. Audit Your Wireless Bill.

I mentioned the issue of early termination fees, but you should also be thinking about avoiding "bill shock", that is a sudden spike and unexpected spike in your wireless bill. That can happen because you've exceeded the number of minutes allowed by your plan, and your friendly wireless company sees no need to warn you.

3. Check Your Web Service Automatic Renewals

Like the automatic renewal of magazines and other periodicals, the renewals on services of all kinds that you sign up for on the Web works great for the vendor, and it can be convenient for you. But it's very easy to forget that you're paying for some of these things. Go over your credit- and debit-card statements carefully and weed out services you no longer use.

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