Smarter & Safer: 5 Better Tech Habits for the New Year

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Over time, we all develop bad tech habits. It's natural. We let batteries die. We lose track of cords. We stop backing up our hard drives. With a new year upon us, here are five smart tech habits to pick back up again.

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Here are the things I'm committing to in 2014:

1. Change all those passwords. I know, I know. It's a pain. But it's one of the best ways to protect yourself online. If your passwords don't contain numbers or special characters, add one or two or both.

2. Commit to a back-up system. There are plenty of ways to keep a back-up of your hard drive, both physical and digital, but most people I know have a combination approach. This can lead to unnecessary duplication and can create a ton of confusion if and when you need to recover information. Commit to a system, schedule regular back-ups, and relax.

3. Stop hoarding files. Clean out the inbox. Discard the 7,029 photos from the 3 megapixel digital camera from 10 years ago that don't look like anything. Sure, keep the things you really like, but don't get nostalgic for junk.

4. Edit your social media "friend" lists. If you wouldn't stop to talk to them in the grocery store, why are they on your friends list? Yeah, we're all guilty of this one.

5. Sell, recycle, toss. Old tech has a short shelf life. If it's not being used, sell it for what you can. If it can't be sold, recycle or donate it. There are lots of good tips on how to responsible recycle old tech here.

(Image credits: Andrea Sparacio; Elizabeth Giorgi)

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Liz is a writer and filmmaker from Minneapolis. She was nominated for a Webby and won an Emmy for Science of Watchmen, a documentary short about the physics in the comic book movie. She’s a tech obsessive, verified nerd and total Anglophile.

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