Hello, 2015. How are you? I'm fine, but still bouncing back from my NYE hangover. Not a great start, but that doesn't mean we can't better ourselves this year.
It's 2015, and if we're going to live in the bright future that Robert Zemeckis predicted, we need to shed ourselves of the old tech ways of thinking. These are some things you (and I!) really should and shouldn't be doing anymore.
Enable two-step authentication
If there is one thing we learned from hack after hack after hack after hack after hack in 2014, it's that our passwords are not safe. Ever. The best thing you can do is to safeguard your account as much as possible in case your credentials are leaked to nefarious parties. The best way for at least a little digital peace of mind is to enable two-factor authentication, which makes it extra hard for people to break into your accounts. In fact, stop what you're doing and do it right now!
Starting using end-to-end encryption
While we're on the subject of fending off prying eyes, why not beef up your text messaging too! In 2015, it's much, much easier to adopt end-to-end encryption since many chat services, like Wire and WhatsApp, have added the super-secure function. Now you don't have to shove your friends into a silo-ed off application, and the messages that you want private actually stay private.
Back up your shit
Tech disasters are always creeping just around the corner. You need to always have a digital spare on hand — just in case. I'll admit this one is the probably the toughest for me, but it's a new year dammit!
Thou shalt not Tweetstorm
Tweetstorms are a blight on Twitter, and they need to stop. Now, certainly there are ways to go about tweetstorming courteously. Instead of opting in for the typical "1/" approach, give your followers a heads on how many tweets are incoming? Is it 3? Great. Is it 30? Hold on, let me unfollow you real quick. Also, the Internet invented blogs and Twitlonger for a reason.
Ditch the printer
When you get right down to it, how many things in your life do you actually need to print, to be consumed among reams of discarded paper that you swore you were totally going to need and then never used. Cloud storage declared an all-out price war in 2014, and some now offer unlimited storage(!) with a subscription. That means everything, absolutely everything, can be stored in the cloud, saving trees and your sanity along the way.
Be better (or just smarter) about passwords
Passwords are tricky business. One day people say long, complicated passwords are the way to go, but other studies show that the opposite can be true, especially for low-risk websites and services. But passwords are the last line of defence from some nefarious hacker or weird college roommate from breaking in and stealing your banking information or posting embarrassing pictures on your Instagram account. Password managers like 1Password or LastPass can help bring order to the chaos, but at the very least, treat passwords like underwear — change them frequently, please.
No need to lose your keys
This will be the year that I embrace the key fob and get back the seconds/minutes/hours patting down all my pockets trying to find my keys or my smartphone. I've been meaning to get my hands on a Moto Keylink for some time, but there are lots of keyfob alternatives that can help me place little homing trackers on all my stuff.
There's no such thing as a dead battery
Battery life is your smartphone's single-most important feature, and chances are you're squandering it. Treat your smartphone battery right this year, and get even more mileage out of the device you use the most.