The new year is only metres away, which means you've got a shining chance to reinvent yourself as less of a jerk. Adopt these tech principles and you'll be a better person in 2013.
1. Turn On iMessage Read Receipts So People Know You've Read Their Messages
We generally hate read receipts — those little notifications that say whether someone has read our texts and when — because they enable us to be selfish and lazy. I have them turned off. I have them turned off because it helps me be a flake, ignore people and generally be socially unreliable.
Turning on these notifications won't make your life any easier or more enjoyable. It'll be the opposite. It'll force you to be more responsible. It might be a nuisance, to have to reply to your friends' questions and invitations when they ask, as opposed to days later. But you'll be a better, more virtuous texter because of it.
2. Back Up Your Things. All the Time
This one is simple, and you know you should have made it a resolution in 2004. There are plenty of automated backup programs that'll send your files to THE CLOUD in case of a computer meltdown. I use CrashPlan, but have heard Carbonite is very good too. It doesn't matter. Pick one. Use it.
3. Get Your Phone Off The Table And Talk To Your Friends
Smartphones at dinner have made their way into social acceptability by brute force alone — it's a bad habit we all decided to pick up together. But that doesn't mean it's right, any more than glancing at a magazine during a meal is right. It's ingrained at this point, but if you make an effort to never take your phone out of your pocket during meals, your friends will take notice — particularly if it's one on one.
Their phone-glancing is contingent on everyone else doing the exact same obnoxious thing. They'll feel uncomfortable if they're alone. So this year, take a stand. Not at every meal, because we're all cripplingly addicted to our phones and that's too much to ask. But maybe just some of your meals can be phone free, and you'll lead the charge.
4. Help Your Hopeless Family With Tech Problems
Just because the holidays are done doesn't mean your hopeless parents/uncles/aunts/neighbours/pets aren't going to be free from woe. If your dad needs help with his new camera, return the call.
5. Don't Brag About Your Life On Instagram
You'll have to follow your heart on this one, but make sure you're not being an unbearable, humblebragging prick on Instagram this year. There's a big difference between one picture of your gorgeous island vacation and 10. Does the world really need to see the bottle of champagne you're drinking to celebrate something? Do we need to see your shiny new car? Ask yourself whether you're tapping that phone to genuinely share, or to just show off.
User Manual is Gizmodo's guide to etiquette.