Lifestyle

From a party of 1 to a million: 20 tech tips to celebrate New Year’s Eve

My New Year’s Eves have spanned the full spectrum of celebration. I have danced until dawn at underground warehouse parties, toasted with friends at intimate home gatherings, swung solo in a hammock watching the stars, and one memorable year, ran into the ocean wearing all my clothes to watch fireworks. Regardless of your partying preferences, an array of technological tools are out there to help you with every step and style of New Year’s Eve.

At home

The afternoon of Dec. 31 varies greatly depending on your game plan. If it involves snuggling on the couch with takeout and television, I won’t stick my nose in and complicate the matter. But if after two hours of Kathy Griffin and chicken chow main you’re feeling restless, I suggest a round of dance video games. This way, you can stay entertained, get in your token dance moves, and remain as much of a hermit as your heart desires. Dance Dance Revolution, Just Dance, and Dance Central are all good options.

For those looking to use their evening productively, DIY community Instructables offers fun projects to occupy the hours and make them more festive. My favorite is BaR2D2. This mobile robotic bar includes a motorized beer elevator, ice mixer drawer, six-bottle shot dispenser, and computerized drink mixer. For those feeling less ambitious, check out this how-to guide for LED throwies. It is a fun, at-home, and inexpensive way to jazz up your space without the frustration of confetti. All you need are diffused LEDs, lithium batteries, and tape. The Huffington Post also published a great guide to NYE crafts to add a little sparkle and flair to any gathering, large or small.

Party preparations

For those of you planning to be around other people, chances are you will need some sort of a party ensemble. My preferences lean toward excessive amount of shimmer, sparkle, sequins. If you are looking for style inspiration, online lifestyle publication DailyCandy offers a dazzling array of fashion and beauty tips to keep you looking glamorous all night long. I also like the outfits on the Asos Fashion Finder (for both men and women) and, of course, Pinterest. Before the festivities begin, get feedback on your outfit on Fashism. Users post a photo of what they are wearing, ask a question, and people in their social network can “love it,” “leave it,” or offer a comment.

If you are throwing the one throwing a party, a bevy of apps can help with the planning process. Simple Soiree makes it easy to plan a party from your iPhone, with tools to manage guest and shopping lists, menus, decor, and entertainment and any other To-Dos. Pocket Cocktails apps include a thorough mixology guide complete with images, recipes, and tips. Home bartenders can search by category and collect favorite drinks for easy reference. Looking for guidance on holiday party fare? Check out the Epicurious guide to New Year’s Eve. It has articles for everything from a family-friendly feast to dishes to pair with sparkling wine.

Heading out on the town

If you are an energetic soul braving the New Year’s crowds, you will probably want to have an intended destination. I am all for going with the flow, but on New Year’s, that attitude can often result in standing outside a club trying to convince the bouncer to let you in at midnight and giving him a hug at midnight. This is not fun. Trust me. If you haven’t made your plans in advance and are looking for an event at the last minute, Eventful offers a comprehensive events guide to local nightlife, entertainment, concerts, and venues. If you are simply looking for a cool bar or restaurant nearby, Facebook’s new “Nearby” feature is a quick and easy way to discover businesses with your friends’ seal of approval, as is Foursquare.

Nothing can ruin New Year’s Eve like making bad choices, so it is important that while out cheering and toasting, you make sure the good times stay good. It is easy at house parties and open bars to lose track of how many drinks you have had. DrinkTracker is an iPhone app that lets you keep a record of what you have been drinking, and it uses personal information from your profile to estimate your blood alcohol content. DrinkTracker automatically compares your alcohol intake and metabolic removal rate to keep your BAC current and will let you know when you have reached your “target.”

Oftentimes, the things one does whilse inebriated can have longer lasting effects than a headache. Thus apps like Drunk Blocker and Textalyzer are useful, because they prevent communication under-the-influence. Revelers create their black list of contacts and the app won’t let you drink and text.

Midnight

New Year’s just wouldn’t be New Year’s without the festivities in Times Square. The Times Square Official New Year’s Eve Ball app for iPhone and Android lets people join in the fun at a comfortable distance. The app features live video streaming of the activities, including the official show’s opening ceremonies, musical performances, celebrity appearances, the countdown, and the midnight Ball Drop. Users can also access content about the history of the celebration, send e-cards, and share photos. Once the ball has dropped and it is time to party like its 2013, revelers can celebrate with this Champagne Popper app from Maxim. Before the chaos ensues, you can preload a message and choose contacts, who will receive a greeting from you at midnight. It lets you spend more time drinking actual champagne and kissing, and less time texting everyone you know at 12:01 a.m.

Getting home

At the end of the night, once you have downed a few flutes of champagne, sung “Auld Lang Syne,” and hopefully received some sort of New Year’s Eve love whether it be real or digital, it is important to get home safe. Check out VentureBeat writer Christina Farr’s guide to technology that gets you home safely.

Happy 2013 everyone!

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