Four Easy Ways To Simplify Your Tech Life

woman headphones

Photo: Flickr / Kashirin Nickolai

Tablets, desktops, televisions, and MP3 players don’t even begin to scratch the surface on the amount of technology we welcome into our daily lives. But it all adds to the clutter of cables and the stack of monthly bills.Working off of this list from Apartment Therapy and adding some items of our own, we’ve generated a list of suggestions on how you can pare down if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your electronics.

Get rid of cable. It’s too expensive and it’s easily replaced with a combination of the following services when you connect your computer or tablet to your TV.

  • Hulu Plus: $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming of most television shows just after they air. Need to stay on top of SNL  and The Colbert Report? This is what you need.
  • Netflix Instant: $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming of a huge collection of movies and TV episodes. If you want a Breaking Bad marathon, this is the ticket.
  • Amazon Prime Instant Video: $79 a year for an Amazon Prime account will get you free access to loads of video and reduced prices on many more.

Stop buying music. There are a number streaming services you can subscribe to for a monthly fee. In exchange, you get unparalleled access to a huge catalogue of music.

  • Spotify: $9.99 per month gets you instant, ad-free access to a catalogue of millions of songs. 
  • Rdio: $4.99 per month to listen on your computer or $9.99 per month to listen on your mobile device as well. But the best deal for families is a plan that gives you two unlimited subscriptions at $17.99 a month.
  • Rhapsody: Normally $10 per month, Rhapsody is running a promotion right now where your first three months are free.

Take your content to the cloud. Not only does it serve as a way to back up your files, but cloud storage makes your content easily sharable and accessible between devices. Delete files on your local hard drive to free up space and know that they’re still safely stored.

  • Dropbox: With a free account, Dropbox will set you up with 2 GB of cloud storage. That’s more than enough to handle storing your documents along with plenty of music and pictures. Need more storage? Plans start at $9.99 per month for 100 GB and go up from there.
  • Box: Similar to Dropbox, Box offers storage and file-sharing abilities. While it’s more targeted at businesses, there’s nothing stopping you from using its personal plan to share large files quickly and back up your data. Your first 5 GB are free.

Lose the computer. It sounds drastic. But the simple truth is that tablets are getting better and more capable all the time. If you primarily use your computer for email and Web browsing, consider whether a smaller, more portable tablet can become your primary device.

  • iPad: The latest version of Apple’s immensely popular tablet starts at $499 and can run any of the hundreds of thousands of apps in the iTunes App Store, many of which have custom iPad versions. Its Retina Display keeps the image sharp while its A6 processor handles tasks quickly and powerfully.
  • Nexus 7: For a heavy user of Google services, this tablet starts at $199 and comes with a $25 credit for Google Play, the Android equivalent of the iTunes store. Run apps, fill it with media, and get your work done with Google Drive.

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