It’s amazing how fast technology changes and improves – it continually gets smaller, faster, cheaper, better.
The above graphic came in an email a while back, and it’s a pretty astounding realization… what cost thousands of dollars and required a roomful of bulky equipment not all that long ago can now be done by a single smartphone. No wonder Radio Shack tanked.
It also means it’s much easier to pack for your stay in one of our SC vacation rentals, be it one of our many Isle of Palms vacation rentals or a Folly Beach house Charleston. Can you imagine bringing along a bulky Tandy 1000 desktop computer with chunky monitor, a giant mobile cellular telephone connected to a big box, a massive VHS camcorder to capture your Charleston beach house adventures, a portable CD player, a weather radio, a calculator, an answering machine, a landline phone, alarm clock and more?
Just slip your smartphone in your pocket when you’re heading to any of our luxury beach house rentals SC, and you’re good to go.
Because tech changes so fast, you’re often left with old gadgets that still work, like smartphones or tablets. You may be able to sell or give them away, but there are some other options to consider. It’s good for the planet and part of the green motto: REuse, REduce, REcycle.
Kim Komando is an expert in all things tech, and she currently hosts the nation’s most popular weekend radio talk show that’s filled with nuggets of practical wisdom. She also writes a column in newspapers across the country, including USA Today, and has dedicated herself to educating the public on this fast-changing landscape.
Here’s a recent column of hers from USA Today that offers some creative ways to use an old smartphone or tablet, including embedded links with more information on how to do each one:
1. Security camera
You don’t need a complete security system just to watch a single room, closet, drawer or jewelry box. A single Internet-connected security camera can do the job, but why spend the money?
With a simple free app, you can transform your Android or Apple gadget into a motion-activated security camera that records images and alerts you when someone comes snooping. Check out Salient Eye (Android; free) or Manything (Apple; free). Then, click here to learn how to make them work and what to do if you need more security in your home.
2. Digital photo frame
If you want to frame a digital picture to hang on the wall, you have to print it out. Of course, thanks to easy digital photography, you probably have hundreds or thousands of great pictures to choose from.
Instead of trying to choose, turn an old tablet into a digital picture frame. It can sit on a table or counter and display hundreds of great photos in a row.
For an Android tablet, grab the Dayframe app (free). Not only does it let you set up photo slideshows from local photos, it can pull images from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other major photo and social media sites. Plus, if you have a Google Chromecast, you can easily stream photos to your TV and turn it into a giant digital photo frame.
For an iPad, Digital Photo Frame (free) and Picmatic (free) are two good apps. Digital Photo Frame lets you pull images from online sources while Picmatic lets you add filters and create interesting layouts.
3. Universal controller
Tired of juggling remotes for your TV, streaming box, Blu-ray player and more? You can turn your old gadget into a universal remote control for your entire home entertainment system.
Most new Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and streaming video boxes have remote apps. Simply load the app on your gadget and you have complete control over Wi-Fi. For older gadgets, you can get an IR transmitter adapter like the Zmart Remote PRO or a Wireless-to-IR base station like the Logitech Harmony Hub.
If you have other Wi-Fi enabled appliances in the house, like smart light bulbs or thermostats, you can control those as well. And you don’t have to stop at your entertainment system and appliances. An app like Remote Mouse (Android, Apple; free) lets you control your computer using your smartphone or tablet over your network.
4. For the kids (perfect to bring along for them to use in our Isle of Palms luxury rentals or Folly Beach rentals Charleston)..
If your children are clamoring for a gadget of their own, an old one is perfect for watching videos, reading eBooks or playing games. You can set it up so they stay safe. And if they destroy it, it isn’t a real loss.
On Android tablets with version 4.3 and up, you can create Restricted Profiles under Settings>>Devices>>Users so you have complete control over what your kids are doing. Apple lets you enable restrictions on in-app purchases and some apps.
You can also install a third-party app like Famigo (Android, Apple; free) that locks the gadget into a kid-friendly mode. Click here to learn more about sharing tablets with people and still keeping your privacy.
You’ll also want to install an app like DinnerTime (Android, Apple; free) that lets you shut down the gadget when the kids start misbehaving or it’s time for family dinner.
5. e-Book reader
A good use for an old tablet is a dedicated eBook reader. You can install the free Kindle app (Android, Apple; free) to read any of your Amazon eBooks, or buy new ones from Google Play or iTunes Books.
6. Alarm clock
I know a lot of people use their smartphones as their alarm clock. While this gives you more alarm options than your typical clock radio, it can disturb your rest if you get texts or other notifications pop up during the night.
Using an old smartphone (or tablet) means you can turn off any distractions and just use the gadget as an alarm. Apple and Android both have good built-in alarm functions, but you can do more.
Grab an app like Sleep Cycle Alarm (Apple; $1), Sleep As Android (Android; free) orSleepbot (Android, Apple; free). These track your sleeping patterns and wake you up at exactly the right moment so you’re refreshed.
7. Dedicated car player
Tired of getting in the car and taking spending a minute or two plugging in your phone so you can listen to your music? Load your music library on your old phone and stick it in your car permanently. Click here to learn how you can turn an ordinary binder clip into a smartphone holder for your car.
Turn on the Wi-Fi so it connects to your network while the car is parked at home to grab new music or your favorite podcasts. You can also grab an app like MAPS.ME(Android, Apple; free) that gives you navigation without a cellular connection.
Bonus tip: If you are going to sell your gadget, or give it away, make sure you completely wipe your personal information off of it first. Click here for step-by-step instructions to keep snoops from getting their hands on your information.
On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.
So salvage that ol’ tech in a creative way… and when you’re searching for rental homes South Carolina, namely a luxury house on Isle of Palms, call EP. We have the best selection of beach house rentals Charleston SC.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger