OffBeat

We’re aiming high for 2014: Building our own apps and hardware

Above: Intern-turned-reporter Meghan Kelly flashes her signature smile.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell

In 2014, we’ll be backing up everything, changing all our passwords, updating all our software, learning to code, and even running our own apps and building our own hardware.

That is, if we can stick to our resolutions.

What are yours? Let us know in the comments!


Editor-In-Chief Dylan Tweney

I’m finally going to figure out how to organize, back up, and share (with my family) all of my family’s photos and music.

For the past few years, we’ve been storing everything on a Windows desktop and backing up occasionally to an external hard drive. But I’m not backing things up frequently enough — and as a result lost all of our 2012 Christmas photos — and it’s a pain to access all the music and photos on other computers, or our TV.

Besides, whenever I have a new crop of photos, I have to go to the desktop, upload them, and organize them. There’s got to be a better way, and in 2014, I’m going to find it.

Security reporter Meghan Kelly

I want to make sure I’m not the end user who screws over the whole security team by not keeping my systems up to date. One of the biggest liabilities for a company (or more importantly, yourself) isn’t your technology; it’s you.

This year, I want to keep my operating systems, browsers, and software all up to date, because with fresh software comes security patches and bug fixes. It doesn’t matter how much work the security teams on these products do if the consumers don’t actually take advantage of it.

On that line of thinking, I want to start paying a lot more attention to what I post on my social networks and start clearing out what I’ve already put on there. We can’t stay beholden to a funny post if it looks bad down the road.

Copy it into a notebook called, “Funny shit I said on the Internet in 2005,” and be done with it. Your kids don’t need to know that you surveyed your Facebook friends for “how to take care of an unruly pre-teen” when they go off to college and suddenly become friends with you.

Games reporter Dean Takahashi

I want to learn how to fully use my game consoles for the living room and take advantage of what they have to offer online.

The Xbox One lets you control your TV channels and Skype calls with voice commands. I’m using the voice commands on Netflix movies right now, but I’d like to be able to do more with the cool tech that’s built into the machine.

The PlayStation 4 lets you share your experience with others instantly and create a room where you can have parties.

Both let you play lots of games for free online; and you can get your music, apps, and videos on the consoles, too. The machines have the potential to make your gaming and entertainment experiences a lot more social and fun.

I hope to get more apps that exploit what’s already in the box and learn how to use them.

Cloud reporter Jordan Novet

I want to get through all my RSS feeds every day and run a homemade application on a public cloud.

Article-recommendation systems like Prismatic serve me stuff I’m generally interested in, but because I subscribe to a ton of feeds, I suspect that I’m missing a lot of other stuff. As a result, I often feel like I’m not as informed as I could be every day. I want to feel like I’m on top of everything every day.

And I want to see for myself how easy it is to build and scale an application on infrastructure that I can’t physically see. I write about this every day, and it’d be nice to have a better understanding of the process.

Cloud reporter Eric Blattberg

In 2014, I’ll start treating my laptop’s hard drive with some respect. For the entirety of this year, the 250GB HDD has been chugging along with no more than 20GB of free space (this very second: 10.42 GB free). I have a 1TB external drive, but that’s nearly full, too.

I just installed Grand Perspective (a little app that visually demonstrates disk usage) to help me free up some space, which I’m totally going to do in 2014. Or I’ll just get a new computer.

Events director Amy Nichols

I definitely want to shed some extra pounds that crept up.

Thankfully I got a Jawbone Up24 — I know it will help remind me to keep moving throughout the day.

I really want this laptop bike from Amazon for the office so I can crank out some calories while working!

M&A and funding reporter Rebecca Grant

I plan on lobbying for more intricate online reporting tools for funding news. I just love those multi-thousand-dollar seed rounds!

Investigative reporter Christina Farr

I want to take an hour of coding from a handful of the learn to code companies we’ve covered in 2013. Write an in-depth review. Learn JavaScript. Double win.

Developer reporter Jolie O’Dell

Toward the end of this year, I started shutting down my social media accounts. I plan to continue that process and start to slowly erase myself from the Internet — especially copyrighted photos that others are using without permission on their sites!

I’m changing all my passwords and keeping the new, long, hyper-secure passwords on an actual paper document in my safe at home. Each service will have its own unique password, as well. I got myself outed in the Adobe hack last month, so it’s darn tootin’ time to get my password situation under control.

And don’t tell me about the password management software out there. If your passwords are online anywhere, there’s still a chance that service will be hacked and your accounts will be compromised.