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Five digital life ideas for the new year

business Updated: Jan 01, 2012 20:36 IST
N Madhavan
N Madhavan
Hindustan Times
gadgets

Gadgets, gadgets, gadgets. Aren't you tired of them? Honestly, whenever I look at advertisements on TV and print, I feel the very purpose of the Internet is being defeated by an excess of focus on the machines, rather than what you can do with them. And so, I dedicate my new year column to reiterate ideas that will make you experience your digital life better.

Think Apps: There are thousands of applications, or apps, out there, whether you are an Android, Windows, BlackBerry or Nokia Symbian user with a smartphone/tablet PC. Tablets are flooding the market but seriously, stop getting confused by physical features and start instead to look for the apps that make sense to you: be it for learning music, finding the right travel deal or simply reading e-books.

Data plans matter more: My prediction is that sooner than later, 3G or other broadband data service plans will be sold with gadgets offered for free. Make a budget that includes both but go with a bias for faster broadband. Shift some of your machine spending to data plan spending for better experience.

Cloud Storage is a good idea: Sites such as Microsoft's Skydrive and Box.net offer storage on the Web. Cloud storage, as it is called, is worth paying for, though free services now offer a lot. Apart from enabling access your files from anywhere, smarter cloud storage helps you share pictures, songs and videos with family and friends.

Offline-online integration: Communities are being formed on Facebook and other social networking sites to help you find like-minded people to share your life with. Nature, heritage, community service, classical music — whatever your niche interest, explore and discover communities by searching keywords on social networking sites. And then you can tell people: “Digital life gets me a real life.”

Smart TVs are cool: This is my only exception to the gadget overkill, because tablets are passe. Online videos and e-books are the apps driving tablet usage but smart TVs take online videos take the place of your prime-time TV shows that are forced by mass consumer behaviour. Nothing like a Net-connected smart TV to watch almost anything on an impulse on YouTube or other video sites. By Diwali this year, I expect more affordable smart TVs.

Happy new year.