My tech goals for 2015: ditch the betas and simplify everything

Well, another year is upon us. It seems like it was just last week it was 2014… oh wait. I’m not a big fan of resolutions, but at the beginning of each year I try and set some goals I’d like to focus on. In this post, I’m going to talk about my five tech goals for 2015.

Get off the beta bandwagon

For the past few years, my summers have been pretty booked. As a freelance tech writer focusing on Apple, I need to take advantage of my opportunities. The yearly release cycle of a new iOS and OS X version have been a mini-windfall for me. This makes putting up with with bugs and issues worthwhile.

iOS 8 changed that. It was hard to test from a freelance point since the interplay between IOS and OS X wasn’t implemented until Yosemite’s release, and even then it was still buggy. Unless WWDC 2015’s announcements are something I feel I can test sufficiently to write launch articles about, this will likely be the year I fall off the bleeding edge.

Do a complete evaluation of my tech solutions

Hardware:

My MacBook Pro is a 2011 model (with the discrete graphics card) and my iPad is from early 2012 (The iPad 3). Both are getting long in the tooth and one of them will need to get replaced soon. Since I can’t afford to upgrade both, the next few months will be a period of self-evaluation to determine which piece of kit I will upgrade and what its replacement will be.

2011 15-inch MacBook Pro

Most likely, it will be Mac that will get an upgrade, but I’m still not sure of is if it will be an iMac or a Retina MacBook Pro. What will be the deciding factor is gaming vs mobile. I play World of Warcraft (although with band rehearsals I don’t play much) and EverQuest 2 via Codeweavers. Most of my mobile needs are met by my iPad so I will probably end up getting the iMac with the discrete GPU. What I will be evaluating, though, is whether the improved performance of the iMac will be enough to make the purchase worthwhile now, or if my 15″ MPB still offers the best balance of portability and performance.

I’ve given some though to getting a PC for gaming while also getting a MacBook Air for my general computing but that’s an inelegant solution to solve a problem I don’t really have. I spend the majority of my time surfing, writing and playing music, with gaming in last place. It still makes the most sense for me to stay with a Mac as my only computer.

Cloud Storage:
While I’m looking at hardware, I’m also going to look to see how I can simplify some of my computing services. I have data spread across Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and iCloud Drive. I’d still like to simplify this. Late last year I was bearish on iCloud drive, but I’m going to take another look and see if moving most of my personal files there and downgrading my Dropbox account to free is a good idea.

Fill in some iOS gaps

There are still a lot of walls and speed-bumps in iOS that make it challenging to get things done. There’s no easy way to view all of my iCloud drive, for example. Workflow is a handy little iOS program that acts like Automator for iOS. Federico Viticci has a nice review of Workflow. What I like is there is a workflow to view my iCloud drive, as well as one to help download files from Safari.

I’ve just started seeing what this tool can offer and look forward to exploring how it help my iOS usage.

That said: workflow less, create more

This may seem at odds with the previous goal, but I’m guilty of looking for improvements to my personal processes sometimes at the expense of actually just creating.

So, for 2015 I want to spend less time managing my workflows and searching for better tools and actually get off my butt and work on my personal projects. These include: self publishing a novel (likely under a pseudonym), increasing my freelance output and recording some music. My personal site is also suffering from neglect so I want to start posting there more.

Improve my digital security

Internet security is always a compromise between convenience and safety. It’s a line I straddle constantly. I do a pretty good job of it with two-factor authentication, but there’s always room for improvement. What I want to do in 2015 is look at what I share and store online and decide if that’s really information I want to a take a risk on.

Final thoughts

I haven’t even thought about how new Apple products like the Watch, or the rumored 12″ MacBook Air could affect these goals. Today, I can only focus on what Apple has released for my planning. Given the Apple Watch’s price and first-gen status, I will probably wait a year anyway before getting it.