Anybody can resolve to exercise more and eat better. But religiously backing up your data to the cloud? That’s true commitment.
It’s almost New Year’s resolution time, and for anyone in need of some inspiration, we’ve polled the GeekWire editorial team for their New Year’s Tech Resolutions — the stuff they’d change about their tech habits, the technology they use, or anything else about their digital lives.
Personally, I resolve to get my own pair of Snap Spectacles because, hey, I haven’t looked this cool in years, but without further ado, here’s everyone else.
Reporter Clare McGrane
My 2017 resolution is to be more purposeful about each piece of technology that I use. This is pretty general on purpose: I want to change the way I approach the gadgets and services that I engage with every day and be more mindful about the role they play in my life.
One of the most important elements of this resolution is to break out of my social media bubble. Like many Americans, I’ve become acutely aware of how limited a view of the world my Facebook and Twitter pages give me. Next year, I will make a conscious effort to seek out social media that challenges my world view and represents the real society that I live in.
I also want to engage more purposefully with the various gaming platforms that I use. In 2017, I will seek out more locally made and independent games to broaden the games that I play. I will also find opportunities to play groundbreaking VR games and learn more about this emerging technology.
By rethinking the way I use social media and video games, among others, I hope to turn these technologies into opportunities to learn more about the innovative world I live in and change my outlook on technology’s place in my own life.
Reporter Taylor Soper
It’s frustrating and annoying when people start looking at their phone while we’re having a conversation. And yet I do the same exact thing.
My tech resolution for 2017 is to stop giving so much attention to personal gadgets — in particular my smartphone — during times that deserve my undivided focus. Whether it’s at the dinner table, in a work meeting, or out at the bar, the phone should not always be at the center of what we’re thinking about.
This is a difficult resolution. With so many apps and digital tools at our disposal, people are looking at their phones many, many times per day — some might say way too much, in fact. This is partly because our need to be constantly connected has intensified; my job as a reporter only makes this more apparent.
Don’t get me wrong — smartphone technology has provided tremendous benefits that make our lives easier. But is checking the latest push notification or sending a selfie really more important than what’s going on directly in front of you? Can it wait? What might we miss out on because of our digital habits?
Voice-enabled technology like Amazon’s Alexa and new form factors like Snapchat’s Spectacles will reduce the need to constantly be on our phones. Artificial intelligence can help prioritize what’s really important. But we can also make better decisions about when and how the devices interrupt our real-life experiences. Here’s to being less distracted and more engaged in 2017.
Reporter Monica Nickelsburg
In 2017, I want to resolve my cloud storage woes. Between iCloud and Google Drive, I face a steady stream of scary reminders that my cloud storage is running out. I’ve steadfastly avoided the issue so far, partly because I don’t know how to fix it and partly because I don’t know what fate will befall me if and when my storage does reach max capacity.
This year has been a doozy and next year I anticipate all kinds of things I can’t control driving me up the wall. So for my New Years tech resolution, I want to prove that I can at least resolve this one small thing.
Co-Founder John Cook
Todd likes to give me crap for my laissez-faire approach to software updates and computer backups. It’s a well-meaning criticism, and he’s absolutely right: I could do better! In 2016, I started to use iCloud with a bit more regularity as a way to ensure that photos and videos were preserved. But I still feel as if I am terribly disorganized, and vulnerable to losing my stuff.
I’ve never been one to store things on an external hard drive, and I am not about to start now with the plethora of cloud services available. (I am a big user of Google Docs, simply because I like storing things in the cloud). Even so, I do wish there was an easier and more seamless way to organize my digital life. Suggestions welcome!
As a secondary resolution, I would like to pick one social network, and really become proficient with it. I don’t have aspirations to be the next YouTube star, but I would like to invest more time in at least one social network as a way to better connect with friends, family and GeekWire readers.
Marketing and membership coordinator Cara Kuhlman
Vive l’année 2017! Is that correct? My first tech resolution of 2017 is to improve my French using technology such as Duolingo, Babbel, and the Coffee Break French podcast.
I’ve sporadically studied French in the past but with the available apps, videos, and other online resources, it’s more convenient than ever. I’ve got a flight booked to France in May so I better get started!
One tech hurdle I would like to overcome in 2017 is a better process for finding the right tech tool. Whether managing GeekWire’s membership program, consolidating my many to-do lists, or sharing files, I want to know that I am investing in the right tool for each job.
To reward myself for these high-tech aspirations, I’m also going to read more paper books, get a DVD player for my dusty DVDs and print hundreds of photos in 2017. Vive le DVD!
Geek Life reporter Kurt Schlosser
I’ve got almost 20,000 images and videos on a Flickr account that I’ve been maintaining for 10 years. Every time Yahoo shows up in the news I tell myself I should consider another means for archiving the many photographs that I want to preserve digitally.
I have lots more images on Tumblr, and Facebook, and Instagram and media platforms that I’ve probably forgotten about. It is fun to manage a social presence in a variety of forms, but I feel like it’s time — especially since I don’t print images for photo albums anymore — to have a more reliable centralized spot to truly serve as my historical/family photo hub.
My gut is telling me to lean toward Google Photos or Amazon Photos, since those two tech giants appear to be in it for the long haul and I’m already wedded to both for a variety of reasons (Gmail, Prime). I want whatever I choose to be unlimited and inexpensive.
The thought of decommissioning one platform to move stuff to the next seems daunting, especially in an iPhone-fueled photo era in which I’m taking images faster than I can organize them. But I have a photographic attention span that’s left over from the age of print film — I want to preserve and revisit stuff. In our digital, blink-and-you-missed-it age of consumption, I’m going to focus in 2017.
Cloud Tech reporter Dan Richman
— Make Amazon’s IoT button do something more useful than sending an automated email to me saying it just sent me an automated email. My first attempt at using the Internet-of-Things button, made this past summer, was instructive, and I was happy to have some success. But I know there’s much more the button, and the Amazon Web Services smarts behind it, can do. I’d love to wire up a pressure sensor and wifi chip so I can tell from my desk when the single stall in our mens’ room is unoccupied. Hey, a man’s reach . . .
— Teach myself to code in one language to a basic level of competence. When I was in Chicago for grad school in a totally different subject, I came across a book entitled “Learn C Now.” Not “Learn C At The End of The Semester When You’ve Finished What You’re Paying Big Money To Study.” Learn it NOW.
So I did. Or tried to. Despite a Herculean effort, it proved way beyond my English-major understanding. I’ve been code-shy ever since, but I’ve also felt the urge to program recurring consistently over the years. With all the bootcamps going on these days, and so much instruction available at no charge online, 2017 is the time to make this happen. I’ll probably start with Python, which I hear is simpler than C but still low-level enough to be powerful.
— Start using a password manager religiously. Good lord, those programs are such a bore. And a chore. And using the same clever password everywhere is so easy. And dangerous. ‘Nuff said.
— Take at least one selfie. Is there something wrong with someone who has literally never used his smartphone’s front-facing lens? I hate seeing pictures of myself, but as a result I have practically none of them. I vow to take one during the new year. Possibly wearing a mask.
Reporter Nat Levy
In 2017, I plan to take the bold step of using at least one of my many devices to something approaching its full capability. My house is full of tablets, smartphones, computers, an Xbox, an Amazon Echo and a few more I’m probably forgetting. The Xbox and tablets are just glorified Netflix machines. I just type, type, type away on GeekWire stories on my laptop. Through the Echo, Alexa sets timers while I cook and plays the Hamilton soundtrack, and occasionally I use the device to get Marshawn Lynch’s thoughts on life.
But in 2017, these things are going to get a lot more use! Just like my gym membership. Alexa has more than 3,000 skills and I intend to get to know at least 1 percent of them. And did you know you can play Xbox 360 games on Xbox One? Me neither, so I’ll try a bit of that too.
Aerospace and science editor Alan Boyle
I admit it: I’m a pack rat. Our attic contains what could well be hundreds of pounds’ worth of clippings and memorabilia from 40 years in journalism and 60 years of scribbling (including, somewhere, the graffiti I wrote on scraps of wallpaper as a tot back in Iowa).
But 24,142 email messages in my in-box is a bit much, even for me. It doesn’t help that I have five (or six?) separate email accounts, plus Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Whatsapp to monitor. In 2017, I’d love to pare down the email backlog, go to a more integrated approach for dealing with messages and find smart ways to cut down on the clutter. As John Cook says, “Suggestions welcome!”
P.S.: I’d also love to lose 20 pounds in 2017. Which New Year’s resolution is more realistic?
What are your New Year’s Tech Resolutions? Share yours in the comments below or on our Facebook page.