So Christmas is over and your house is full of gadgets. Now what? As the proud owner of far too much gear, I don't often follow my own rules of the road, but here are a few quick tips to keep them safe for you and yours this holiday.
Whether you got a new family computer or an e-reader for Grandma, my primary rule for all these devices is Keep Them in a Case. iPods and iPads have great resale value and almost everything can benefit from a case, from your camera to your new laptop. This also helps when returning things to be serviced: service techs are more likely to give you warranty coverage on items without physical damage. Even a few scratches or dings can encourage them to void your warranty. Water damage is even worse. Getting a little water in a new iPod essentially turns it into a brick in the eyes of Apple. Case it up, people.
The second rule is Always Back Up. Take cards out of cameras and copy them to a hard drive as often as possible. Don't risk losing your precious memories.
Here are a few specific rules for those with new toys.
iPhone/iPad/iPod - If you've handed these devices over to kids (or even forgetful adults), go get a case. Right now. Leave the keyboard and go get a case. We'll wait.
Good. Now that you've stuck your gear in a case, make sure you turn on iCloud backups so you keep everything backed up and safe. If, and when, your screen breaks, head over to iFixIt to get a screen and have someone tech savvy fix it for you.
Game Console - The best advice I can offer is to keep consoles well ventilated. I have an external fan attached to my Xbox and I like to keep the cabinet doors open when I play the PS3 and Wii U. Console controllers and accessories are usually fairly damage resistant, but when that console overheats, you're in for a mess.
Laptop - Always be backing up. When you buy a laptop, buy a portable hard drive for it for backups. Then download the Prey Project to keep an eye on your laptop when it's out of your hands. The backup will ensure that when your laptop inevitably hits the kitchen tiles, you'll have a recent backup ready to save your photos, apps, and games. The Prey Project will, in turn, allow you to track the laptop when it's stolen.
Digital Camera - First, get yourself a nice camera case, preferably something a bit more waterproof. Next, write your name and address on a piece of paper and take a picture of it. Take the SD card out of the camera and put it into your computer. Find the image you just took -- it will probably be in the DCIM folder.
Change that file's name to something like HiLookAtMe.jpg and drag it out of the DCIM folder into another directory on the SD card. This way if the camera is lost or stolen, those who find it will be able to return it to you by looking at the image that will always be in the camera. It's not a guarantee, but it will definitely help.
Have you had any mishaps with your new gadgets?
Image via blakespot/Flickr