What Can You Do With Your Old Smartphone?

Have you ever really thought about what you can do with your old smartphone(s) when it’s time you’ve decided you no longer want it? You’ve pulled it out of that dusty drawer and now you don’t know what to do with it. Who knows, maybe you have a few smartphones stashed away somewhere? It’s not your fault, technology moves quickly or maybe your phone is at the stage of burnout. Well, I have a few ideas of what you can do with your old smartphone besides giving it away to large corporations that already make tons of money anyways. 

Did you know – just because there is no cell service on your old smartphone(s) that doesn’t make it completely nonfunctional? 

Don’t forget your smartphone is basically a mini computer. If it’s still working, it may still have some uses. Sure, it might be a little slow, but there are quite a few things you can do with it. And don’t you dare think of throwing it in the garbage can because at this point in time,  we damn well know that’s just messed up and it’s definitely not the answer. Here are some ideas of what you can do with it instead: 

Think of it like spring cleaning. Before you decide on whatever you want to do with your old device, perform a backup of your precious data and head over to settings and complete a reset by erasing ALL content and settings. This is final so make sure you have EVERYTHING that’s important off there and on somewhere that’s safe and easily accessible so you can live with no regrets. If you end up giving it away or do keep it after all, a reset will refresh everything and make that device feel good again – like spring, a nice feeling of renewal.

  1. Giving it away/donating. If you are thinking about giving it away, either to family or friends, or even donating it, you should see how the phone’s overall performance is. Old devices are usually stored in that old drawer for a reason after all 🙂 Even though you’re giving it away for free, if it can be helped, you should never give away a phone to anyone who is going to be completely clueless to what they are getting, because that just wouldn’t be fair. Do a little testing first.

Give the phone a complete charge, and once it’s reached 100% charge it for another two hours to ensure you’re giving it a really good charge. Once the battery is fully charged, unplug it. If you haven’t already, connect to wifi. Play around with the phone a little bit to see how it’s functioning. Check the battery percentage – does it seem to be holding a decent charge? Or is it draining too quickly? Make a test phone call to make sure the speaker and microphone are working correctly. Since there will most likely be no cell service you can download an app like Google Hangouts or Skype to do a check phone test. If all seems to be good with the device, you’re ready to give it away, partially tested for the new user. Since you already deleted your data, you are being responsible and won’t have to worry about any of your data being leaked. 

If the device seems to be functioning poorly, you can still give it away but you should let the next user or company know some of the known issues that you found out while testing. 

  1. Selling. If you still don’t know what to do with your device at this point, consider selling it. You will want to do a little more in-depth testing with the device to make sure everyone is happy on both ends. But don’t let that discourage you –  knowing the health of the phone will help you a lot when it comes time to sell your old device. Since you already backed up your data and reset all settings to factory default, by now you should already know the status of the battery sound and speaker. You might want to make note of the body. Are there dents, scratches? Check the charging port, is there any corrosion, or is the port loose or wobbly when plugged in? Things like this are very important in an ad and are very important to a buyer, so you want to provide as much detail as possible. Testing your device’s software and hardware has never been simpler than just downloading an app. Kinda weird right? I recommend downloading a helpful app diagnostics tool that will diagnose any issues with your device. For iPhone I use “Phone Diagnostics” (created by Test & find Repair Shop) and for Android I use “Phone Check and Test” (created by inPocket Software). These apps have helped me a lot and almost always provide accurate information. Once the tests are done, this app will help you know more about your phone and will help with your decision on the price your phone is worth. 

Occasionally I come across good deals on smartphones. Sometimes they are fixable, while others are just not worth my time. When I do come across the ones that are not worth my time, lately I’ve been thinking of things I can do with them so they don’t turn out to be completely worthless. When I say not worth my time, I mean cracked screen and battery issues to the point where the only way the phone is slightly usable is by having it plugged in all of the time or at least most of the time. Once you get connected to wi-fi, here are some ideas you can try to get the most out of that expensive smartphone when you don’t know what to do with it or it feels like there’s nothing left:

  1. iPhone/Android smartphone media entertainment centre. Stream video or audio from your phone to TV, speakers or headphones – and there are a few ways to do this by turning your old smartphone into a media centre!

For TV – HDMI or Airplay. Once connected you can mirror your screen to the TV. This is good for many reasons. You can stream horizontally for the full widescreen size effect. There are so many apps to choose from in the App Store, not just iTunes – Netflix, Amazon, sports and even more to stream your favorite TV apps. 

Music player: Speakers. Turn your smartphone into a music player. Your old device will probably support Bluetooth. Connect your favorite Bluetooth speaker to your old smartphone and turn it into nothing but a MP3 player to listen to your favourite tunes out loud! The App Store has so many music apps to choose from – Apple Music, Spotify and your favorite Radio apps. Who knows what else you can find when you search music!

Music Player: Headphones. Same idea as the speakers, but with the sound in. Have a great experience with just your old smartphone and a pair of headphones. Don’t limit yourself to music – you can enjoy some peace and quiet while meditating with your favorite meditation apps. Nothing else to disturb you when it’s just a music player instead of a fully functioning smartphone.

  1. A real dedicated gaming device. How many of you currently have games on your smartphone? Probably most. Turning your old smartphone into a gaming centre is the perfect solution for your mobile gaming needs, especially if you want to save some space on your current device. Mobile games take up a lot of space, so why not transfer them to your old device and organize your mobile gaming library?
  2. E-book reader. If you don’t mind reading on a small screen, this could be a cheap solution for e-book lovers. Turn your old smartphone into an e-reader by using the Kindle or Kobo app or downloading PDFs into your files. This option also gives you more storage space for all those books. 
  3. A universal remote. Most digital media players offer remote apps – Apple, Roku and Amazon Fire TV to name a few. Download these apps on your old device and you have yourself a handy universal remote! 
  4. Security camera. If you don’t already know, home security cameras can be expensive. If someone (or something)  is lurking around your home at night, be it on two feet or four, you should be able to have the luxury of a camera to detect any intruders. Well, if you have an old smartphone laying around, you can turn it into a home security camera for basically 0 dollars! Try to make it as discreet as possible. 
  5. Kids camera. Let’s be honest here. Kids take terrible pictures – their arms aren’t fully developed, their pictures are blurry and out of focus and just generally bad, and it’s not their fault. Get them familiar with your old smartphone – that way when they are older they will be ready to whip that smartphone camera out like a pro. 
  6. GPS. It should be connected anyways, so if you need a GPS this could be a great solution for a road trip in the car or just biking around the city. Make sure to test it before leaving home.
  7. Money making device. If you like to make some money on the side, your old device could bring you in a small amount of dough. There are apps you can download that will allow you to watch videos, play games and more in exchange for points you can redeem for rewards such as gift cards or PayPal payments. To save wear and tear on your primary device, you can run these apps on your old smartphone instead. Cha-ching!! 😉

And if you really don’t know what to do with it – please, recycle it the proper way. A certified company will know exactly what to do with it. Be kind to our planet, let’s not pollute it with more e-waste.

May the Force Be With Alexa

Alexa is far from perfect, but if you’re into accessories and you’re a Star Wars/Mandalorian fan, you can now add some Baby Yoda ears to ensure that the Force will always be with her.

If you have the 3rd Gen Amazon Echo Dot, you are in for an adorable view. I mean, this looks pretty cute, doesn’t it?

Starting on August 20, 2020, you can add this practical and collectible piece from Otterbox to your Amazon family. Baby Yoda ears are not just for decoration — with a brand like Otterbox, you know you will be getting more than just that.

They are a trustworthy brand, so you don’t have to worry this product won’t hold up. This piece comes with a solid non-slip stand/base that looks like it will fully protect your device, especially if it falls on the floor. They claim it’s made for easy interactive functions, so some thought was put into it. It’s been built with audio in mind and that is very important when buying expensive things like this for these devices.

If only we could mess around with the voices in the Echo to make it sound like Yoda, that would be a lot of added fun! 

That’s it. That’s this post. Truly adorable Baby Yoda ears are!

Is Technology Actually Getting Better?

I used to love tech a lot more, but now, I feel like tech is getting worse. Keep playing with my time and money, and I have every right to be mad.

In the tech world, you would think as time goes on, and we learn from past technology mistakes, life would be just wonderful, sharing our world with our devices and having some trust in developers. But here we are in 2020 and that’s not what’s really going on. What’s up with the bad software that we pay hundreds of dollars for?

Developers, designers and businesses improve technology and software every day – that’s their job. But is the technology improving or getting worse?

Let’s just think here for a minute. Consumers buy very expensive devices and depend on apps every single day. But yet some multi-millionaire developers and companies give us people mostly CRAP. By this I mean you give us the most bugged software to work with. Just providing nothing to us but shit that should have been properly beta tested, and making our lives miserable. The worst part is this is the new normal and I don’t like it one bit.

Example: Projects you work for hours on may have gotten deleted for no reason, data recovery doesn’t work, blocked software, Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) crashes, unexpected errors, missing user data, performance issues, broken apps. Things just don’t work properly like they should. Some apps won’t work unless you provide something, like your information of some sort. To me that’s just weird and IMHO I think they are taking it way too far. In some cases companies might even warn you about troubled updates facing new problems. Seriously? You don’t fully test products before they are released or what? It’s all out there on the internet! Thousands of articles, reviews, opinions can be read on some of these topics. Oh and these days, you can’t just reply on one device. You may need two or even three. There is so much going on in the technology world that just makes absolutely no sense and there is definitely something strange about it!

Do you think it’s just poor old baby boomers that can’t figure it out? You are wrong. I’m young and I have enough experience with tech to know the problems are not just because of a user’s knowledge; that has something to do with it, but in most cases it doesn’t. If you think it through, maybe you won’t be so quick to judge someone for thinking the new times are just a bit ridiculous. Things are moving way too fast and software/devices are not getting tested properly. It’s all about money, money, money, money! All these billionaires care about is hoarding $$$, rather than putting that money back into making sure things work properly and make our lives easier. If they knew how to handle it, they would make users happy by making sure UI is simple, or at least have some option to change to the updated version or keep to the old within a certain amount of time. They just go ahead and change it like it’s nobody’s business. So the people that think it is just baby boomers who don’t know what they are doing, are you telling me if an app just closes, or you lose your work, that this is the times we are working in and you are okay with it?

We spend way too much time trying to diagnose the problem when we shouldn’t have to do this, especially with the price we have to pay for our devices. That’s the job of the developers/companies. Like honestly, can’t the software/device just work without so many annoying issues?! We should be able to use our technology with fewer problems. This makes me think, what the hell are developers doing? If you decide to send crash report logs/diagnostics back to the developers and it still isn’t getting fixed properly, why the hell are they asking for that information if they are using us for dummy material anyways? And what the hell are they doing with their time?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been relying on technology more than ever before. While working from home, a lot of people have been experiencing a lot of technical difficulties that make no sense. How is anyone supposed to get any work done? Oh, because you already have millions (or billions) of dollars feeding through so who gives a shit about anyone else, perhaps? Not everyone is going to have a high-end computer like the workplace does, let’s give some people a break here.

Is it because they know people will put up with it? Consumers buy these things and once it breaks or stops working they just buy more? Are developers being lazy? Not working hard enough? Developers and businesses are taking us for granted, they have way too much power! Incidents where our information has been stolen and it’s our fault because we didn’t read the terms and conditions? Please, your terms and conditions suck and you know it. I bet some developers/companies, once their terms and conditions are all figured out, attach it to the app/software with a sneaky smile because some know they are getting something extra out of it. That was supposed to get better too, but I don’t see that happening soon. I’m not saying all developers are bad, just the ones that have a reputation or got caught.

There are so many intelligent designers and developers on the internet, there are so many people that actually care that could make things work better. Why isn’t there more of that?

I’m pissed. I’m so mad. There is absolutely no reason software and devices need to be the way they are. When there is a bad app, bad software, anything you buy that’s super expensive and it turns out bad, that’s BS. This is just something else out of this world. You have so much money to work with, you have millions of customers but yet you treat them like they don’t deserve the very best you have to offer.

Brave Web Browser: You Stupid Idiots, You’ve Been Caught

Why didn’t you just do it right from the beginning? I gave you a great review and now I’m questioning why I did.

As a business owner, you damn well know your customers depend on trust, and you might have slightly blew it. Brave is fairly new, and making sure they are doing it the right way from the start should have been their top priority, showing us that we can trust this company and build that relationship up. As a new company, this is very important. Sure, you can say you are sorry and promise to never do it again, but who is going to completely trust you now. We don’t know what you are capable of doing next, if anything.

If you don’t already know, this is what they did. When browsing, they replaced crypto-related URLs with affiliated links. Affiliated links means Brave earns commission. That’s pretty tricky and most definitely will cause frustration to their users. When it was brought to their attention, the team tried covering their asses and suggested that it was a bug. No thanks, forget it. No one believes that.

Will this change Brave’s reputation? I would imagine it would.

IMO what they did is BAD. But it isn’t as bad compared to what some companies have done and the ones who haven’t been caught and are still getting away with their dirty little shenanigans. 😉

I believe that the Brave platform is still good. They still provide good services like ad blocker, and it’s perfect for creators. You create content, you get tipped, and you get paid. I feel like what they offer is really good. And like I said, even though what they did is bad, you can still benefit from using Brave’s web browser; they should have just been honest from the get-go. If you are afraid of leaving your details with Brave, I think it’s safe. I don’t think they are going to pull anything stupid for a while. Well, at least let’s hope so.

Fido Internet Review: Update

It’s been almost a year since I wrote about Fido’s Internet. I believe it’s time you guys need an update to see how Fido is holding up. After a year, I’m giving Fido’s internet an 8 out of 10.

It looks like once you’ve reached a year with Fido, they may just offer you affordable deals you can work with.

Like I said it’s been a few months and I’m still satisfied. I have experienced some disconnections, but I have been using more devices on the network than I was a few months ago – 4 consoles, 2 PCs, phones, tablet, TV and possibly more. Seems like a lot of devieces connected at once, but that’s just life. I’m not sure, but I think it’s my device usage all at once that could be choking out the internet and making it cloggy ONCE in a while. It doesn’t happen a lot, about twice weekly and at random times. But really, that’s nothing. Not all the time, but when there are a few devices connected at once on the same network, at the same time, we can’t really expect a 100% connection all the time. That’s just a bit unrealistic.

If you are experiencing modem issues, this usually calls for a reset. It’s time to give her a little rest. There is so much feed going through to the modem to satisfy our needs. If problems occur, reset it. You can do this by unplugging the power cord at the back of the modem. The normal wait time before you should plug it back in is around 1 minute, but I like to give her around 10 minutes. 5 minutes off and 5 minutes to get her gears going again. Reconnect the power adapter to the modem after 5 minutes. Once this is done, I find I don’t seem to experience as many disconnections. Before you even think about saying 10 minutes is too long, it’s actually not. That 10 minutes could be used to take a break or complete another task while you’re waiting. And who couldn’t use an extra 10 minutes away from internet anyways?

I have yet to get a LAN cable to see if it makes a difference… but using a LAN cable should make the connection stronger. If you have a LAN cable around the home and are using devices that support it, I would definitely be using it. Preferably Cat6 or higher. You can’t rely on wi-fi entirely to do a great job.

I’ve also taken a peek into the modem settings. You can check yours too by typing 192.168.0.1 into any web browser on any device. When you get here you will see username and password. Username is always going to be “cusadmin” which is the default and your password is what your wi-fi password is. Once you get into your Hitron modem, you will see lots of information about your device. To see how many devices are connected, just click on the basic tab on the top. If you see devices you no longer wish to keep on the list, you should remove them. Devices that are no longer being used shouldn’t be on the list as it will take up space which you don’t need anyways. This might help the connection be more stable. Another thing you can try is a device reboot. You can do this by clicking on Admin and at the very end click on device reset, and now the orange box that says Reboot. You can also change your username and password here as well.

These tips and tricks have helped me and I hope they help you too if you are experiencing disconnections. It’s true – usually a great deal means it’s garbage and there could be something fishy about it. But in this case I believe it’s worth it. You can’t expect a solid connection 100% of the time and for the price you just can’t beat Fido internet. You are better off trying the troubleshooting tips and go get a stress snack or get your body moving while you wait.

If you’re considering Home Internet from Fido, I would still go for it. The flaws aren’t that bad to want to change to another company that is probably way more expensive for what you get, and you could experience even more issues, so why bother if this option is more affordable and just as good?

Another good thing you can take advantage of (especially during this time) is that you can self-install it yourself. This keeps you and others safe. Self-install and home delivery means no contact and nothing to worry about in this department.

In Ontario – I’m very happy with Fido.