2011 has come and it’s time to make a few resolutions. You might be thinking of your health, weight, bad habits, goals, etc. but I’m here to tell about some Mac resolutions that you need to make, and follow through on. These steps are going to make this year the best one yet for you and your Mac.
Make a Backup Plan
You’ve been worrying about backups for a while now. Maybe you even started with Time Machine, but have been looking at that little exclamation point for the last few weeks. 2011 is the year to get your act together and put in place a proper backup plan. You don’t need to spend time messing around and weighing different strategies. Here’s what you should do.
1. Set up Time Machine
Go and get an external Firewire hard drive or a Time Capsule network drive, and turn Time Machine on. Keep that little backwards clock turning all year long.
2. Use SuperDuper! to clone your boot drive
Use SuperDuper! to make a clone of your boot drive on an external drive. Update this boot drive clone at least once a month — once a week, if you can. If your boot drive fails, you can run off this clone for a day or two until you replace your internal boot drive and restore from your Time Machine backups.
3. Back up important files in the cloud with CrashPlan (and Dropbox)
I’ve looked at plenty of cloud backup solutions and CrashPlan is my recommendation for Mac people. It respects all your metadata, is reasonably priced, and just plain works.
Get a Dropbox account and use it to store copies of your most important documents. You get 2GB for free, but you can buy more space if you want. Dropbox probably won’t be big enough for your iTunes media or your iPhoto library, but it’s perfect for storing your financial documents and other important files. And it will work great with my next suggestion, too.
Change Your Password(s)
As the recent break-ins to large websites proved, most people use simple, easily cracked, passwords. Do yourself a favor and stop using the same password on each and every website that you visit. Go out and buy 1Password and use the strong password generator to create a unique, difficult to guess password for each individual site. You don’t have to remember it, because 1Password will do that for you. Use Dropbox to sync your password file between computers, and even with your iPhone if you like. You’ll be protected because you have good backups and a copy on Dropbox as well.
Protect Your (Online) Privacy
This is a bigger topic than can fit in this short paragraph, but for now, do a little housecleaning with your online privacy. Check out the Facebook privacy settings, and make sure you understand them. Clean up your LinkedIn profile, and other places where you appear online. You should be in charge of your online presence this year. Make it happen.
If you like something and use it often and enjoy it — pay for it. The Mac platform is probably stronger than ever, but we still need to support great software and the developers who craft the tools that we use every day. Yes, I know Skitch was free for years while in beta, but it’s out now. Pay for it. It’s worth $15 a year if you use it. If you followed my advice above and bought 1Password, make sure to save records of your license keys there as well. And, with the Mac App Store rolling out in a couple of weeks, you know there will be stuff there that you will want to buy.
Learn Something New
You are never too old to learn new tricks. There is so much happening in the Mac and iPhone space right now, you’d probably have to try pretty hard not to run into something new this year. Learn it. Figure it out. Get better at something on your Mac. You can always start by digging through our archives. If there’s something we’re missing, post it in the comments, and we’ll try to cover it.
Share What You Know
Learning is only the first part of what you need to do in 2011 though. Take the time to share what you know. Make someone’s life a little better. 2011 is going to be a great year to be a part of the Mac community. Leave it a little better, and a little smarter, than you found it. In the words of one of my favorite poets: “You might say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”
Happy New Year! Hope it is a great one for you.
If you have made some other resolutions for you and your Mac this year, please share your plans below. But be warned, we’re going to hold you to it!
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