5 ways to improve your geek life in 2013

Well done. You’ve been to the gym – once. And given up drinking – for an afternoon. Here are five things you really can do now to level up your life

Get a password manager

A good password looks like this: U+qi<2}kM;6Ke. It’s totally unique (yes, you need a different one for every site) and there’s not much chance of a Russian teenager guessing it and commandeering your social media and shopping baskets. To create (and remember) such intricate locks on your digital house, you’ll need a password manager. Yes, they cost money, but they’re worth it. The best password managers we know are the Mac/iOS biased 1password (from US$50, £13 for iOS) or the more universally applicable LastPass (US$12/year).

Get a better ISP

Do you like your ISP? Not according to Google Suggest, you don’t. And we got near identical returns to Sky’s (pictured) for BT Internet and Virgin Media. So what’s the solution? Get a decent ISP – they’ll charge you more, but small ISPs (we like Fast) who promise not to throttle your connection at peak times or block sites are more reliable and tend to have vastly better customer service.

Upgrade your music

You ripped all your music with iTunes. But don’t worry, so did we. Problem is, a new era of hi-def multiroom streaming is coming, and you’re going to be left with mushy MP3 and AAC files. Now is the time to re-rip to FLAC, a lossless file format that isn’t supported by Apple products, but can easily be converted. Believe us, it’s the best way to future-proof your music. Our chosen tool for the job is Max (free) – we love the Full Paranoia error correction: the stuff of OCD dreams.

Digitise your movie collection

While we’re on the subject of ripping, you need to give up on that DVD collection. Rip your discs using Handbrake (free) and install XBMC media centre (also free) to your media PC (or a Raspberry Pi). Oh, and sign up for a streaming movie service, too. Of the big two, Lovefilm has the stronger catalogue, but Netflix wins out on quality. You can read our versus comparison here.

Kickstart your social life

Aren’t you bored of Facebook? Even its new Graph Search isn't very interesting. Nearly a million people have dropped off the social network, presumably to make friends with more progressive sites. But where to go? Twitter’s already full, but we’ve explored some of the less crowded places you can go to be a modern-day debutante. Don’t be shy now.

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