Is your old technology residing in that drawer, like the one we all have, in your home? It's probably filled with smartphones from years past, and maybe an old tablet that couldn't upgrade to the latest iOS or Android release. How about all the different headsets you've tried, looking for the best noise cancellation? I've got at least 10 of those in my drawer.
Don't leave them in an electronic mausoleum. Instead, re-purpose your old technology to fit current or temporary needs.
Even Old Technology Can Do New Tricks
All smartphones will connect to emergency services (911 or whatever your local city uses), even when they are not connected to a service. So keep a charger in your car (if you aren't already doing this) and an old cell phone in the glove box. Keep one or two old phones charged inside your home as well. These old fogey devices just may save a life.
Here are a more few ideas for those old phones:
- Donate them. Lots of shelters accept old phones for their residents to use for everything from getting and receiving calls for jobs and other appointments to emergency service phones. Many nonprofits are also asking for cellphone, tablet and old computer donations.
- Use for basic business functions. Unconnected phones can still have calendars, notepads, calculators, and camera functions you can use while your current smartphone is safely locked in your desk drawer. This allows you to free up memory on your "every day phone."
- Use the MP3 apps. If you like background music, an extra phone can hold the kind of music you find will help you focus at work. For example, I find jazz is great for background sound but when I'm driving, I need that good old rock and roll, to quote Bob Seeger.
- Use for emergency distractions. Sometimes we have to take a kid or two to the office for a couple of hours. It can be because school closed early or a snow day and a sitter can't be found. Those downloaded games still work on the old phones.
You can also use old tablets for the same functions listed above. Even better, their larger screens make them easier to read and use for notes. There's lots of other ways for you to re-purpose technology too.
Another great use for old tablets is to transform them into e-readers for the office. This of course depends on your old tablet's ability to communicate, either through a USB drive or its networking capabilities. Do this with white papers, textbooks, and other information you can peruse when the network goes down or there's a local brownout or power failure. At some point, though, the old technology will no longer talk to the new stuff that lets us share between devices.
Finally, use your old tablet as an electronic photo album, at home or in the office. In an office, they're a nice way to remember the last vacation you took, gaze at your new puppy, or grin at the gap-toothed kid you had a few years ago. These help you remember why you're there in the first place!
Give Your Old Technology to Younger Kids
Old cell phones are perfect for younger kids who may not be ready to have the same smartphone you use.
You may be struggling with what kind of phone your fourth grader should have, or if he or she should have one at all. If you are leaning toward "Yes," they will do fine with an old, Captain-Kirk style flip phone. Most kids who are still in grade school aren't mature enough (or legally old enough) to be on Facebook and other social media sites.
I attended a presentation at my child's school a few years ago given by the local police sex crimes unit. The officers strongly urged parents to black out the lenses on our kids' phones with a permanent marker to avoid "accidental" photos that may end up where they don't belong. In addition, some flip phones also had camera capabilities so look for lenses on these, too.
Got some other ideas on re-purposing old technology? Do you have something to add to this post? Please share it in the Comments.