10 Tech Tips for 2011

An article that recently caught my attention is entitled “10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Technology,” which you can read at this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/technology/personaltech/30basics.html?src=busln

I mostly agree with this concise and helpful article and would like to add my comments and additional ideas to each of the headings, offering this as 10 Tech Tips to help you jump start the new year:

  1. Get a SmartPhone: Anyone who has been using an iPhone or any Internet-enabled mobile device knows how powerful and useful this tool is. However, if you are currently only paying for voice service, adding data service to your plan could raise the fees substantially. And if you are using your phone only to make phone calls and that’s all you need, then you might be better off purchasing an iPod Touch or iPad and using this for connecting to the Internet when you have access to WiFI. (You can also use the iPod Touch for taking photos and videos.) Many public places now offer free Internet (Starbucks, Borders, Barnes & Noble instantly come to mind), so you can access Internet content and use mobile apps when you are connected that way. It’s not as ubiquitous as always having cellular data service, but heck, sometimes you don’t even have cellular.
  2. Stop Using Internet Explorer: Yes, I’ve been preaching this for years, often to deaf ears, but PLEASE, PLEASE stop using this bloated and inefficient browser. Firefox offers so many helpful add-ons that will streamline your work process you won’t believe you lived without it. Also, you might even consider ditching your Windows machine for an Apple computer. Yes, you will have to spend a bit more and yes, you will have to learn how to use an Apple, but once you do, you won’t ever look back.
  3. Upload Your Photos to the Cloud: Flicker, Picasa, Photobucket are all great online photo-sharing services. These services offer convenient ways for you to get your photos off of your computer’s hard drive and save space. However, you also might consider purchasing an external hard drive (I LOVE Apple’s Time Capsule, since it doubles as a Wi-Fi base station and storage medium) and simply storing your photos and other large multimedia files on that. Think of it as simply another storage drive, and it will make sense to you.
  4. Get Music Off of Your Computer: I think this should have been written “Free your Music.” If you don’t know about Apple’s Airport Express ($99), then start reading about it. It’s an excellent and easy way to use the wireless network in your house to stream music from various iTunes libraries to your stereo speakers. And, if you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, you can download Apple Remote (free app) to also access your libraries.
  5. Back Up Your Data: Ditto. I love the Apple Time Capsule along with Time Machine to make automatic backups of my data. It’s stored on the Time Capsule external device, which can serve as an external drive to reboot any of my computers, should the hard drive crash. Whatever you do, make sure you backup ALL of your computer’s data, including programs. You don’t want to be searching for the installation disks when you have a hard drive failure.
  6. Set Up a Free File-Sharing Service: I also like Dropbox (http://dropbox.com), but am still a fanatic for backup. I also keep important files on my MobileMe iDisk (it includes a very easy way to backup and restore QuickBooks, for instance) and also on my computer. If Dropbox should go out of business and my files are gone, I will still have them in other locations.
  7. Get Free Antivirus Software: Here’s an easier solution–Buy an Apple computer and never worry about viruses.
  8. Get a Getter Deal from your Cable, Phone, and Internet Provider: This sounds like a great idea, and if you have the time, endurance, and persistence, this might be worthwhile. However, I’m not sure I want to spend time on the phone with AT&T. That sounds like a nightmare.
  9. Buy a Lot of Charging Cables: I would say buy the necessary cables you use on a daily basis. If you travel and want to use the hotel’s wired Internet, you should have an extra CAT6 cable with you, just in case. If you are doing presentations, make sure you have the Apple connections and also VGA and other cables. Have charging devices for your mobile devices in your car and start to organize charging stations. Make sure you are using the correct wattage charging device for your electronics. I found out that the iPhone and iPod touches use a 12 Watt, while the iPad uses a 50 Watt, the MacBook Air a 45 Watt, the white MacBook a 60 Watt, and MacBook Pros 85 Watt. While I don’t believe it will hurt your device should you try to charge it with a higher wattage device, trying to charge an iPad with an iPod touch charger will take a lot longer.
  10. Calibrate your HDTV: This is something I definitely have to do. If you have recently purchased an HDTV through BestBuy, you might consider including a Geek Squad visit to calibrate your television a few months later, once it has broken in. I’m going to check out the Spears and Munsil HD Benchmark DVD ($25) to help me adjust my HDTV. Then, I’ll have my husband or son do it. 🙂

What are you ideas and tech tips for 2011? Please post your comments below and thanks for reading.

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