It's the time of year when we make promises for the new year that are routinely broken before that year is a week old. And for this reason, far too many of us simply resolve to never make another resolution. (Because, after all, that's an easy one to keep.)
But when it comes to the health of your computer and Internet life, it pays to make a greater effort. With that in mind, I've resolved to end 2013 with a list of resolutions (and the consequences of not living up to them) to be carried out in 2014.
I will back up my data
The two things that people lie about most are the frequency of their flossing (fewer than 30 percent of people in the U.S. do it routinely) and the integrity of their data backup. "Oh sure," they claim, "I have a backup." But dig deeper and ask "And so you'd have no problem if I used this powerful magnet to wipe your hard drive or tapped your iPhone's Erase All Content and Settings button?" and the squirming begins.
Your dental hygiene is between you and the person standing within four feet of your cake hole but I take this backup business seriously. I can't tell you the number of times I receive questions about how to recover this or that bit of data only to learn that such data hasn't been backed up since the last government shut down.
If you have a Mac, buy an external hard drive, jack it into your computer, and let Time Machine use it as a backup destination. Serious backer-uppers will tell you that Time Machine is not a serious solution as you need redundant backups and more robust software. I will tell you that it's a heck of a lot better than nothing.
If you have an iOS device, turn on iCloud backup or choose to back it up to your computer if you plug it into your Mac on a regular basis. Should you later wish to recover just bits of data (rather than everything, as you would with a complete restore) take a look at Ecamm Network's $30 PhoneView. It can grab SMS and iMessages, voicemail recordings, call history, contacts, Safari bookmarks, media files, and third-party app data.
Consequence if you don't: How does losing the images of your child's first years sound to you?
I will use more than one password
I can't see you so you have my permission to fling your hand skyward when I ask "How many of you use the same password for your Mac, iCloud, iTunes Store, Amazon, Gmail, Netflix, and Twitter?"
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