2011 New Years Computer Resolutions

January 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm Leave a comment

Every year about this time, people make resolutions. The origins of this practice are shrouded in mystery, but it suffices to say that for most people they have become a joke. Few people actually follow through on any of them. This is mostly because they are unachievable resolutions. This year, I have a list of universal resolutions for computer users that may solve part of this problem and help them improve themselves in the process.

Here are the 2011 universal computer user resolutions. Adopt as many as you can.

* Develop a genuine data backup strategy that works. Have you ever gone through a complete year without hearing about a friend who stupidly lost all his data because of an equipment failure? You always ask them about backing up, and they tell you they meant to back up but never did. This can happen to anyone if they do not have some process to do it. Even if you have to do it by hand, buy yourself one of the new external hard drives and back up everything. I saw a 2TB hard disk for $99 recently.
* Test your backup. At least once a year, test your backup on a neutral machine to see if you can actually restore the data. Often, you’ll discover you are not really backing up anything. Test, test, test.
* Put in play an entire backup computer. You should buy an inexpensive box to use in an emergency. Even a laptop would suffice. Ask yourself: what would happen on a Sunday night if your machine blew up? Let’s say the motherboard gives out. What would you do? Save yourself the hassle, and get a backup machine.
* Upgrade your machine. Most people out there have computers that are over two years old and some can barely deal with video streams. Get a new display card or look around for a new machine. Then use the old machine as the backup (see above).
* Scan your machine. Every so often, you should run an alien scanner, not from your normal anti-virus software, on your machine just to make sure your anti-virus software is catching everything. You’d be surprised at the different results you get from different scanners.
* Learn Linux. Resolve to get a decent book on Linux and learn how to use it. Better still download Ubuntu or one of the Linux distributions and install it on a new machine or a very old machine you have in the closet. Play with it until you feel comfortable. I can assure you that you’ll love it.
* Learn how to really use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Again, there are a lot of guides to using these products as well as tutorial websites. There are also classes galore. Learn to use these or other products out there, and you will improve your computing knowledge in the process.
* Learn sound and video editing. You do not have to be a pro to know how to do some simple sound and video editing. If you use a digital camera and like to take short movies, do everyone a favor and edit them a little bit before you put them on YouTube. By this, I don’t mean for you to produce the short video as if you are a Hollywood director showing off. I mean, do some simple editing to make the video watchable.
* Sell your excess gear. Many people have an extra printer that they will never use or old SCSI cables or other weird junk around the office and closet. Pack this stuff up and get rid of it by donating or selling it to people who will use it. In other words, do your spring cleaning early!
* Organize your photos. Get a copy of some good organizational software, such as ThumbsPlus, and organize your digital photos. Most people with a digital camera soon begin to accumulate thousands of pictures. The date and time is never set correctly on the camera and the pictures end up lost in a pile of pictures. Sort and organize them before it’s too late.

I’m sure you can come up with a few more universal computer user resolutions for 2011. These are easy and simple. All you have to do is make sure you do them. Have a Happy New Year.


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