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5 resolutions for a better digital life

Christopher Breen | Jan. 2, 2014
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.)

Man, I can feel the breeze from here.

Don't. Just. Don't. People who obtain passwords for nefarious purposes understand that we're a lazy species and far-too-frequently do boneheaded things like this. Mavericks' iCloud Keychain can help with its password generator for websites. AgileBits' $35 1Password can too.

Additionally, please resolve to use passwords that can't be easily guessed. Your birthday, your name, your home town, your favorite band, and the word "password" are terrible passwords. Random numbers and characters are great but hard to remember. However, there are loads of ways to create seemingly random yet memorable strings of characters--using the first letters of the words found in a favorite poem or lyric substituting 0 for O, 1 for L, and 3 for E. Be creative rather than predictable.

Consequence if you don't: I have my eye on a sweet little cabin cruiser. Unless you want to help pay for it, keep your passwords secure.

I will clean some of the junk off my computer

A hard drive packed with hundreds of thousands of files is one that's unlikely to be operating as well as it might. Archive your old email and, after ensuring that said email is really in the archive, delete the original stuff and place the archive on another volume. Go through your iPhoto library and delete blurry images. Locate files larger than 500MB and consider whether you really need them. Open up any folder labeled "My Stuff" that you've used for clearing space on your desktop and get rid of nearly all of it.

Consequence if you don't: Your Mac will stutter along like an ancient PC and you and the spinning beach ball of death will become intimately acquainted.

I will keep my home office from looking like an airport runway at 3 AM

If you can walk through your home office in the middle of the night guided only by all the tiny lights emanating from your gear, you really need to consider your power consumption strategy. Unless your Mac is actively doing something, put it to sleep or shut it down at the end of the day. You can configure this in the Schedule portion of the Energy Saver system preference. Scour your other gear for similar power miser features or turn them off.

Consequence if you don't: That empty lot next door would make a swell spot for a small coal-burning power plant.

I will not be a jerk on the Internet

There's power in anonymity and the ability to read and react in an instant. Regrettably that power can be used for dark purposes (or simply as a virtual substitute for kicking the dog after a rough day). Let it go. There's sure to be someone else out there willing to tilt at this particular windmill.

Consequence if you don't: Stroke, digestive problems, migraine, and, of course, you're a jerk.


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