Jan. 12 2015 05:34 PM

What I'd like to change about my digital life this year


By now, we can all agree that New Year's resolutions are about as likely to come true as the wishes you make when you blow out your birthday candles. However, as I enter my 36th year on the planet, and my 25th year or so as an online entity, now is as good as time as any to lay out some goals for the year when it comes to my digital behaviors. We can also agree by now that columnists who publish their introspective New Year's-resolution lists are just desperate to fill page-space after a long holiday break that wasn't a tenth as productive as they initially intended.

Still, though, in looking forward, I think I've put together five achievable goals that, if I do genuinely pursue them after my still-lingering hangover dissipates (pukey cheers to you, heavy-pourers at the Whistle Stop), could be enlightening and entertaining to readers. I'll update throughout the year with what I've learned—unless, of course, I'm too embarrassed to admit that I failed. 

Resolution No. 1: Keep my desktop clear: As of this morning, I have 195 items sitting on my Apple desktop, a cumulative 97.2 megabytes of random web downloads, screen captures and document drafts. My former CityBeat coworkers will attest that this sloppiness pretty much mirrors the physical reality of my desk when I worked out of CityBeat's offices in North Park. This year, I resolve to keep things organized enough that my desktop wallpaper (Spider Jerusalem from the comic book Transmetropolitan) is not obscured by useless pieces of digital detritus. At the very least, I'll create the equivalent of the kitchen junk drawer in my Documents folder. 

Resolution No. 2: Play around with Bitcoin: I write a column that purports to report back from the frontlines of the Internet and yet, here I am, still paying for things with plastic cards and flimsy pieces of grimy paper when there's a vibrant new currency system turning the traditional money system on its head. Over the holidays, I set up a Coinbase account, and this year I plan to track if / how my investment grows and to pay for at least one mundane item in the real world with Bitcoin. 

Resolution No. 3: Track my E-reading habits: When I was a kid, Pizza Hut offered an incentive to students: Read books, get free personal pan pizzas. I obsessed over this, burning through texts and keeping a list as proof of progress. Through the decades, keeping track of the literature I consumed over a given year was easy: I could just look at the bookshelf and eyeball the new additions. During the last two years, though, I've moved exclusively to digital books and between Apple Books, Amazon Kindle and ComiXology, and by December, I'd completely forgotten what I read. This year, I've started a Google doc, but I also hope to track down a better app.

Resolution No. 4: Do not exceed my monthly cell data limit: Exceeding your data limit is the new bank overdraft. When I bought the iPhone 5, Verizon wouldn't allow me to carry over the awesome unlimited data plan that I'd subscribed to for years. Now, at least three or four times a year, Verizon texts me urgently to let me know that I'm about to blast past the limit and will consequently start paying significantly higher rates for each megabyte. This year, I pledge to not only monitor my traffic, but also to turn the stream off when I'm not using it in order to cripple apps that secretly transmit data even when not in use.

Resolution No. 5: Publish a Just Dance video: I go to the gym, and I go on long walks, but I also contribute to my health with regular sessions on Just Dance, the popular video game where you bust moves to current pop songs. The 2014 version has a feature that allows you to record video, which it then remixes into shareable clips. So far, I got no rhythm. But if all goes according to plan, sometime this year, I will present you with a dance video that won't totally suck. 

Or, maybe, I'll just pretend that this column was never printed. 

Email davem@sdcitybeat.com or follow him on Twitter @Maassive.


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