If the statistics are correct, most of us will be doing it with a computer, a mobile phone, alongside a pen and paper. When it comes to window shopping, most people no longer have a night out at the mall. Nearly 70% of people say they now do their browsing online.
Tis the season to do the online shopping too. Black Friday signals the start of the season this coming week, and the following Monday is Cyber Monday. It’s a term that was coined in 2005 when people would do the malls on the weekend, and then head to work on Monday, and do their online shopping.
The US branding is now coming up to Canada so this week some reminders on how to do safe online shopping, and some sites to scout to get the deals.
WHERE TO FIND THE DEALS
Top to bottom Red Flag Deals is the biggest online shopping community in Canada. They give you coupon codes, advance alerts of flyers, and there are forums where people share tips and insight. This is extreme couponing Canadian style. Smart Canucks is very similar.
ebates.ca is a site that pays you a bonus by using them as a gateway. You can get 2% cash back from Sears or the Apple Store just by using their site.
Beyond the Rack is a very popular global online shopping site, that is Canadian. It offers short term blast sales on designed clothes. So you can’t really browse, you have to see something and pounce on it.
Shopbot.ca can help you compare prices across retailers online in Canada, while some stores have committed to nline price matching. In the US, Amazon drives the prices down – a lot. Target and Best Buy have announced plans to price match any price people find online, in their physical stores in the US.
APP OF THE WEEK: Shop Savvy [FREE] QR Reader [99c] Red Laser [FREE]
I barcode scan all the time. Especially when I’m shopping for toys. If you want to see if the price you’re paying is a good one, you can scan the barcode with this app and it will bring up comparable retailers both online, and off. Now you need to know these are American apps (I have yet to find a Canadian one), but it will help you ballpark the prices, and maybe you can use the prices you find online to negotiate a better deal. As mentioned above, Target and Best Buyhave said they will price match – so try it!
On this November 11, a look at ways technology can help us remember.
THE MEMORY PROJECT
My grandfather served aboard the HMCS Oakville in World War II. One of my great-grandfathers liberated Jerusalem in 1917 (that’s John Keelty later in Egypt at right), another great-grandfather was at Vimy Ridge in WW I.
The Memory Project is an effort from The Dominion Institute to catalog the stories of Canada’s veterans. As the greatest generation passes on, so do the stories and lessons of war. This website has interviewed thousands of Canadian veterans about their experiences in World War II and the Korean War. The website features collections of photos, audio, and video of their first-hand accounts. It’s a great gift to preserve these stories for all generations.
If it’s not too much of a reach, I’ll segue now to some digital tools to help you remember the everyday things.
REMEMBER THE MILK
If you need help getting things done, the consensus best list-making, and reminder app is Remember the Milk. It’s been around for more than 8 years, starting out as a web based task manager before getting appified for the mobile world.
You can sort tasks, tag them, postpone, them, set up reminders, synching and more. If you have a hard time remembering what is on your To Do list, try this.
iOS added Reminders in recent updates, a built-in iPhone To Do list app that adds geo-fencing. This means you can get location based reminders to do things.
Need to get fish food the next time you’re at the mall? Set up an alert so the next time you go there it will send you a text. You can also do this on a newer iPhone with Siri. Simply say “after I leave the restaurant, remind me to call Mom” and you’re set.
We are pouring so much of our lives into Facebook. It really is a public diary of everything we’ve ever done except unlike our diary, Zuckerberg has the key to this book of memories. So download your Facebook data. As you go through time some parts of your timeline may be too embarrassing to be public, but you may want to hang on to for old time’s sake. So download it and keep it with your other backups.
THE INTERNET ARCHIVE’S WAYBACK MACHINE
The internet never forgets. Even after you have deleted something from the web, there is a chance it will be there – forever. The Internet Archive has saved over 10,000,000,000,000,000 bytes of the Web. It has spiders going out and crawling and downloading bits and pieces of websites every single day creating a sort of online museum of the internet.
Remember Geocities? For a lot of us, it was where we had our first website. Yahoo! shuttered it in 2009, but the Internet Archive still has most of it, including my very first website from 1996.
This has been especially handy for me after my blog crashed last year and took out my database and backups. I’ve been able to troll the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine for my old posts and have rebuilt more than 2/3 of my old content.
APP OF THE WEEK: Artkive [free]
If you have school aged kids, the art will be plentiful and this app helps you keep it, without keeping it. Artkive lets you take a picture of the masterpiece, catalog it by age and grade and then keep them online. You can share them with family and friends (without plastering all over Facebook), and you can print off ones that you’d like to keep. One endorsement of the app admits “I’ll never have to feel guilty about throwing away my kids artwork!”
The default option to retweet using Twitter via the web interface does not offer an opportunity to add context or comments to the tweet. You get to retweet the comment as is, that is your only option. It’s what is referred to as a naked retweet.
The naked retweet was debated last year when the Associated Press issued standards for retweeting by journalists.
the AP rules say reporters should write a lead-in to the material. Instead of simply retweeting a controversial quote from Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, for example, the reporter should preface the retweet with “Gingrich shares view on taxes: RT @newtgingrich…”
“A naked retweet..can certainly suggest that the AP staffer was endorsing that opinion,” Kent says. “Not everyone would think that, but some people would.”
[The Naked Retweet Dilemma - American Journalism Review]
In a recent design change, Twitter added the original author’s name and avatar to the timeline when something has been retweeted. It made clear the distinction that the tweet was the original work of someone else.
I agree with the notion that context for retweets is a good thing to add, but if Twitter does not include that functionality how can we expect all to add it? 3rd party apps like Tweetbot do allow for quoting tweets, and the Twitter desktop app, TweetDeck, allows for this functionality but it is not available on the web interface. If you want to add context, you have to copy the tweet, edit it for length, and then add commentary to the front.
Associated Press does a two-fer — maintains the dumb “no opinions” policy and gets retweet etiquette wrong: is.gd/k1vCXM
Justin Fenton, a crime reporter at the Baltimore Sun and an avid Twitter user, includes the line in his own profile, but says that it’s essentially a useless tactic to cover himself.
“The people who are going to get upset about it aren’t going to look at that disclaimer,” Fenton says. “I still hear from people who say, ‘I can’t believe you said that the other day and are expressing your opinion.’ Those are people who aren’t familiar with Twitter.”
[The Naked Retweet Dilemma - American Journalism Review]
A retweet cannot be considered an endorsement because Twitter does not provide default tools to add context. A retweet is merely a “Hey! Did you hear?…” or “So this just happened..” It is a reporting tool as much as it is a vehicle for sharing like-minded ideas.
More often than not, a retweet will be something the poster agrees with, however it cannot be assumed as such by default.
an RT is NEVER and endoresement and should NEVER be considered as such. It’s simply a “hey, did you hear? …”
It’s not referring to having a second tv in your home, it’s all about how we interact with the screen that’s in front of us. More often than not, we’re doing it with a second screen.
We have two monitors on our desktop. We have a laptop open and a phone beside it. We are on the couch watching tv and pecking away on a notebook, tablet, or phone. They are all second screen scenarios that are more present in our lives.
A recent Nielsen study found that around 1/4 of smartphone and tablet owners check their device several times a day while watching TV. Nearly half check it at least once a day while watching TV.
WHAT IS A HASHTAG?
A hashtag is a pound simple followed by a word or phrase. Hashtags help curate the content on social media. If you just want to follow one conversation, you can click on the hashtag and get all tweets using that one phrase in one spot. So for global conversations around award shows, sporting events, or tv episodes, it can feel like you’re talking about the show with hundreds, or thousands of other people.
The first time it was noted to have been used was during the Comedy Central roast of Donald Trump. Now many shows now flash hashtags on the screen during a show. You’ll see #Glee, #MadMen, or #SharkWeek in the bottom left hand corner. Survivor takes it a step further, suggesting hashtags throughout the show. #challenge or #tribal will pop up on the screen as the teams move from scene to scene.
APPS TO USE WHEN WATCHING TV WITH A SECOND SCREEN Twitter would be the grand daddy of apps to use when watching tv with a second screen. Hashtagging makes it easy to find who is talking about what, and the stream flies by making it easy to follow.
Get Glue is a check-in and loyalty app that works in the same way as Foursquare, but for tv. You check in that you’re watching a show, can see what other friends are watching the same thing and can collect stickers and points.
Into Now acts as a combination of social interaction and a ‘dvd extras’ list of bonus entertainment. This app from Yahoo! pulls in Facebook and Twitter conversations and then adds extra information.
USING THE SECOND SCREEN AS YOUR FIRST SCREEN
The apps put out by broadcasters now are great. There are so many first run shows that are being streamed that it’s almost like having a cable subscription for the cost of internet. You don’t need a PVR, they’re all right there on the app.
The Global TV App is a great example of how you can watch your favorite shows at any time.
A word of warning: video takes up big chunks of data, so if you’re into watching tv while riding the CTrain, just know you might end up with big data charges each month, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ride the WiFi at home.
APP OF THE WEEK: The Ultimate Disaster Kit
Something interesting happened this week with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy back east that showed where people’s priorities really are. The top downloaded free apps this week were YouTube, Flashlight, and The Red Cross. If the disaster has had you thinking about your own disaster readiness kit, make sure you have them because you never know when you’ll need a flashlight, medical advice, and videos of cats re-enacting Star Wars.
I have had content go viral twice in the past month. Parenting posts I have written have been picked up by a blog on MSN, leading to a conversation across blogs and news sites around the world. I was very ecstatic to go viral and immediately expected a surge of traffic to flood my blog entries. But the opposite happened. No huge traffic spike, no volume of eyeballs, no increase in ad banner clicks. My original content had been hijacked and the curators were getting the traffic.
While my name was mentioned a lot and there were dozens of link backs to my original article, the curators did a thorough job explaining what I had written in my posts so there was no reason for people to read the original article. Content curation had trumped my content creation. Witness the stats on the latest viral story: It’s Time To Retire, Charlie Brown. My original post on Babble.com has 75 comments and 1 500 Facebook shares. The curated piece from The Today Show Moms has 700+ comments and more than 72 000 Facebook shares.
Curated content 1. Created content 0.
It’s obvious why curated content is winning over created content. A news aggregator can pull content from a variety of voices and sources becoming a one stop shop for information. Think of it as the WalMart of the web. You can get sports, hollywood, local, and international news just in the way you can get groceries, lawn supplies, and greeting cards at the superstore.
So, just as singular, local stores are buckling under the aggregating power of WalMart, news sites are cracking under the pressure of aggregators. Instead of increasing variety of voices on the local level to compete with the international aggregator, the news sites are putting up paywalls. That’s the equivalent of being charged admission to enter your local store, while WalMart is free just down the street.
I have argued before that news wants to be free. The notion that locking up one source does not make people pay for that source, it forces them underground to find a free source. There is no scarcity of quality journalism online. If the Toronto Star, New York Times, or The Globe and Mail wants to charge readers for their news, people will shift to HuffPo, CBC, or the BBC where news is free.
As the Toronto Star joins the list of news sites to announce the arrival of a paywall, you’re going to see the power of the content curators grow even stronger. One digital subscription for a reporter at The Huffington Post can now feed that news to the entire audience, for free.
While Hurricane Sandy batters the east coast today, organizations with paywalls have torn them down. They know the news they are producing is valuable and a paywall is hazardous to increasing the reach of their audience. You have to know, that deep down, the editors of these papers also understand that news wants to be free.
Odd message that news websites with paywalls are sending: When the news is really, really essential, we’ll give it away. #PaywallsKillReach
It’s what has helped Apple leap to the top of the food chain when it comes to integration across their product line. Apple controls the hardware, and it controls the software. The experience is identical no matter which Apple device you use.
With so much computing being done on mobile devices, you’ve slowly Apple start to merge OS and iOS. Microsoft took a different approach – they ripped off the bandage and did it all at once.
This week, with the launch of Windows 8, the Redmond software giant is taking a shot at building it’s own ecosystem. It wants to control the message from phone to tablet to desktop – and users had better get used to it, because Microsoft is all in.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT WINDOWS 8?
In a word – everything. Gone is the start button, the desktop is now a screen of tiles and something Microsoft calls “the charm bar.”
That lack of Start Menu is really going to confuse a lot of people. The desktop now looks like a phone or tablet interface. The tiles move and update with notifications just like they do on the mobile spaces. To be honest, I think Windows Phone is gorgeous. I like the big tiles so much better than the iOS interface. That said, having it on a desktop is an entirely different thing, and it’s going to take some getting used to.
A Windows 8 tutorial is available when you first start your machine and you should watch it. There are keyboard shortcuts, and windows will slide in and out depending on where you put your cursor. Windows 8 has a learning curve, and it’s best to take advantage as soon as you can.
I HEARD EVERYONE HATES IT?
Well, it is radically different. Imagine the blowback every time Facebook does a redesign. This is like that, but instead of one website getting overhauled, it’s an entire reboot of the OS.
It will take some getting used to, but those that have spent time with the OS eventually come around. Eventually.
DO I NEED TO GET IT?
We still run Windows XP on our computers at work. We skipped Vista AND Windows 7. Enterprise is often slow to change, and with this one being so radical you might find business slow to move forward on this one too. That said, it is only a $39 upgrade and Microsoft says most computers currently running Windows 7 will work better with Windows 8. They’ll have better battery life and shorter boot times.
One step ahead you’re a leader, but if you’re two steps ahead you’re a martyr. Microsoft might have taken a step and a half here. Waiting to see how it all shakes out is not a bad strategy.
The thing about the big switch for Microsoft is it might have people make another switch. The Apple storm has been bubbling for a few years now. People just might say, if I have to learn something new I might as well learn Mac.
APP OF THE WEEK: Hockey Canada Concussions Awareness [free]
The Hockey Canada Concussion Awareness app is a great tool for parents, coaches, trainers, players, administrators and anyone interested in learning about the prevention, recognition and response to concussion injury, including responsible return-to-play protocol. Sidney Crosby is on board endorsing the free app calling it a ”commitment to educating families and players about all aspects of the game.”
Can you get fired for something you put on Facebook or Twitter?
Yes you can.
Now there is a grey area that depends on what you say, whether or not you have a union, and what your relationship with the boss is like, but the short answer is: yes, you can get fired for what you put on social media – even if you have a twitter disclaimer.
The question is being raised a lot this week after two very high profile cases where comments online have cost people their jobs.
AMANDA TODD Amanda Todd committed suicide after being repeatedly bullied by people online and off. Her case has been well documented. Even after her death, the bullying continued as people jumped on her memorial pages to continue the abuse.
One such scene was witnessed by an Airdrie mom, Christine Claveau, who took a screenshot of the Facebook comments and notified the person’s employer. The man was then fired from his job the next day.
The case of Violentacrez is perhaps even more disturbing because it really sheds a shocking light on the lives of internet trolls. Violentacrez has, for years, been one of the most controversial characters on Reddit, a vast discussion board. He created and moderated many of the most successful boards on the site, many of them associated with racism, and pornography.
“My wife is disabled. I got a home and a mortgage, and if this hits the fan, I believe this will affect negatively on my employment,” he told Gawker. “I do my job, go home watch TV, and go on the internet. I just like riling people up in my spare time.”
In a phone conversation, Brutsch admitted to being the Reddit user named Violentacrez, who created or moderated sections dedicated to pornographic and violent images, including subreddits called r/rapebait, r/incest, r/picsofdeadkids, r/jailbait, and r/chokeabitch.
These stories aren’t new. As soon as Facebook became mainstream, people started losing their jobs over postings online. Just ask Charlie Barrow, Devon Bourgeois, James Wood and Zach Good. They were all fired for comments they posted on Facebook, groups they joined or just for spending too much time on the site.
“The vast majority of people believe that what they say outside of the workplace is none of the employer’s business. But that’s not true. The employer can always fire you for whatever you say. The only issue again is whether you’re entitled to some sort of notice before you’re fired.”
[How an online posting can cost you your job - CBC]
Take Damien Goddard, for example. The former Sportsnet anchor tweeted support for an agent who had spoken out against gay marriage. Hours later he received a call from his bosses, he was fired the next day.
There are strong laws internationally about what can happen to you when posting things online. The UK has famously jailed people over racist tweets and threatening Facebook posts.
Lisa Jones, prosecuting, told Swansea magistrates at an earlier hearing: “Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch and was believed to have died. Shortly after, Stacey posted on Twitter: ‘LOL, F*** Muamba. He’s dead.'”
After other Twitter users criticised Stacey, prompting him to post further offensive and racist comments, users reported him to police forces around Britain.
Stacey branded people who criticised him on Twitter as “wogs” and told one to “go pick some cotton”.
On her personal page, Houghton wrote of her victim: ‘Keeley is going to murder the bitch. She is an actress. What a ******* liberty. Emily ****head Moore.’
[The Daily Mail]
THE GOLDEN RULES OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Avoiding the drama should be easy, it’s common sense even, but worthy of reminders.
1. Do A Self-Evaluation Mitch Joel has a great article that encourages people to go back and look over their history of tweets and evaluate them from the point of view of an employer, or prospective employer. Joel calls it “The Twitter Test“:
The Economist magazine used to run a print ad with the copy: “would you want to sit next to you at dinner?” It’s a clever line of copy and an even cleverer thought. You have to smart, interesting, pithy and curious, don’t you? How do your tweets stack up? You see, beyond the basics of a good Twitter profile (a simple username, photo, legible biography, a link to something more relevant about you, etc…), it’s really what you’re tweeting (and how you’re doing it) that’s going to keep someone who is finding you for the first time interested in hitting that “follow” button.
Joel encourages people to take the test monthly. I do it often, it’s a great way to step out of the emotion of the moment where tweets are often crafted and look at your brand from a distance.
2. If You Don’t Want It On The Front Page Of The Paper, Don’t Say It
When journalists really started to mine Twitter for information a few years ago, I posited that lifting quotes directly from twitter was “lazy journalism“. That notion has disappeared, it’s conventional wisdom that what is said on Twitter is public and eminently quotable without approval. Still, Shaw’s response to my question is still one of the most quoted lines I mention in relations to social media.
My advice is never tweet anything you wouldn’t mind reading on the front page.
APP OF THE WEEK: Tweetbot [$2.99]
The absolute best Twitter client is Tweetbot. If you’re a power user that curates content via lists, and have multiple accounts, this is the app for you. This week Tweetbot made a move to the desktop with the release of a Mac app. It’s not a cheap app, it’s $2.99 for iOS and $19.99 for the desktop. They say the high rate for the desktop app is because of restrictions Twitter is putting on third party clients. Fans are already saying it’s worth the money. While I love the iOS version, I still prefer TweetDeck on my desktop.
It’s time for a refresher course in how to play nicely in the digital sandbox. Some of these tips are simple etiquette, some are user guidelines, others are just common sense.
Here’s 6 bad tech habits you need to break:
CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD
The top passwords in a Yahoo! hack this summer were discovered to be 123456, password, and welcome. That’s not good people.
Tips: use numbers to spell out words. $ for S, 4 for A, 3 for E – things like that. Mixing case, letters, and numbers is key. For something that’s easy to remember, use foreign words and then spell some of the letters with characters.
Using a system like 1Password will also help you as you just create a solid password to get into the site and then it manages all your other passwords with strong strings of characters.
VERTICAL VIDEO SYNDROME
This is going to get worse as smartphones get skinnier and taller (I’m looking at you Mr. iPhone 5). Think of how your tv sits – that’s how you should hold your smartphone when shooting video. When you’re using your smartphone as a camera – hold it like a camera. Vertical photos are bad, vertical video looks terrible.
TEXTING AT THE TABLE
This needs to stop, it needs to stop now. Phones face down on the table when you’re out with someone. You don’t need to see the screen calling you with random texts or alerts, but you’ll able to hear or feel if it rings and your kids are in trouble. Otherwise, phone face down. Pay attention to the people you’re with. Apple has a Do Not Disturb function built in to iOS6, learn to use it.
You might also want to suggest a phone stack if you’re out with friends and nobody can talk for longer then 5 minutes without their face in the phone. Pile them all in the middle. First one to grab their phone from the stack pays the bill.
BACK IT UP
Like Sir Mix A Lot says, Baby Got Back (Up). Just do it. Do it today. You can get free storage from places like Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Drive. You can have your photos passworded on a site like Flickr, your home movies on a site like YouTube. There are thumb drives, external drives, cloud solutions, physical media. There are dozens of ways to get it done so do it before you lose it.
SOCIAL MEDIA SCREAMING
If you’re not comfortable shouting it on a megaphone in a crowded room, don’t say it. A good thing to do is roll back through your stream and see what you’ve said and look at it from the point of view of an employer – are you always being on point with what you say? While you’re doing an inventory of your social, have a double check of your settings. Keep the private things private. It really is okay not to share EVERYTHING.
They look ridiculous when you leave them in your ear all the time. They’re great for the car, it’s a simple and affordable hands free solution. But you don’t need to keep it in all the time, they look ridiculous.
With Thanksgiving this weekend, families are gathering around the horn of plenty for a feast to celebrate the harvest season. This week Tech Buzz gets into the spirit with a look at some of the biggest tech turkeys of recent memory:
TWO TABLET FAILS
While the iPad has been a huge success for Apple, legions of others have tried and failed to crack the market. Two of the biggest failures on this list belong to RIM and HP.
RIM’s Playbook has been a massive disaster too. The buttonless interface was innovative, but it lacked some key features out of the box namely email. It has been nearly 2 years since the original Playbook was unveiled, and version 2 is still stuck behind the BlackBerry 10 operating system delays. Even with price discounting, the device hasn’t caught any traction. RIM’s window to salvage the entire company is closing quickly, and this failure is just one on a very long list of reasons.
As high definition moved to the home, two competing file formats went head-to-head to become the industry standard. HD DVD and BluRay each had their backers but movie studios weren’t keen on producing content in two formats.
When this battle was last fought between Beta and VHS, the victory was predicted by the the porn industry. This time, however, porn was an early backer of HD DVD, a strategy that didn’t pay off.
In the end BluRay won the coin flip when Toshiba pulled out of HD-DVD in 2008, soon followed by WalMart‘s retreat from the format. But has it been a victory worth winning? Netflix has virtually killed the physical media home movie market.
I’m guessing you have no idea what this is. Apple unveiled Ping in 2010 as a social network for music. It was meant to help people discover new music, but with no inherent plug-in to other social networks, it couldn’t gain traction. Facebook wanted “onerous terms that we could not agree to,”Steve Jobs told Kara Swisher at All Things D. So there was no synergy and Ping was just another social network. Ping’s plug was pulled last week.
APPLE MAPS How bad are Apple Maps? Tim Cook issued an apology a week after launch, admitted the product wasn’t ready for prime time and actually recommended people use the web based maps from Google, Nokia, and Bing on their iPhones. The CEO of Apple actually recommended users switch to Google. Steve Jobs is definitely dead.
This is a turkey on our list because of the promise the device was given at it’s unveiling. It was hailed in 2001 to “be to the car what the car was to the horse and buggy,”by inventor Dean Kamen. Instead it’s become a punchline for Mall Cops. If you have ever ridden a Segway, you will sing it’s praises. It is a fun machine, and a great way to get around. Numerous tour operators offer Segway tours of old cities, and it’s a perfect tourist tool. For meter maids, mall cops, and others who have to work a beat it’s an easy way to get around – just not the revolutionary society changer it was promised to be.
How bad was Windows Vista? They had to include as part of the operating system, a function that allowed users to revert back to Windows XP. The reviews came fast and swift that the much-delayed OS was too slow, too hard to manage, and one to be avoided. The Vista debacle seemed to dovetail right along the rise of Apple with the iPod, iPhone and it’s culture of cool. Mac sales could look at Vista as one of the reasons it took off.
The next few weeks will prove interesting for Microsoft, Windows 8 will be released in a few weeks and it promises a complete overhaul of how we interact with the desktop.
Just as everyone is now taking shots at the iPhone and iPad, the iPod was a target of imitators years earlier. Microsoft was late to the music player party when, in November 2006, it unveiled the Zune some 5 years after Apple gave birth to iPod. Bogged down with DRM, and an inability to interface with iTunes, Zune could never get going. Even an all you can eat subscription model that loaded the Zune with millions of songs couldn’t save it and it was killed this past summer.
Honorable Mentions to Google Wave, Motorola Xoom, Windows Phone
APP OF THE WEEK: Epicurious [free]
Whether you need help and advice on your old standards, or want to add some flare to your feast this weekend – this app is the grand daddy of food apps. With more than 30 000 recipes from magazines like Gourmet and Bon Apetit, you’ll never go hungry with this one. This app works on all the devices, including eReaders and .. .. fridges. Yes, the Samsung fridge will run the Epicurious app.
Now that the new iPhone is here (and rumours persisting of a new iPad before Christmas), you might find yourself with a few extra silicon gadgets lying around the house.
What to do with them? Personally, I use my old iPhones as new iPods for my kids. Pop out the sim card, turn off the mobile features and it’s just like an iPod Touch – except one that cost $1000. The other option is a more thorough recycling. Here’s how to do it:
DELETE YOUR DATA
First things first, make sure you remove all of your personal information from your device. When I recycled my old laptops, I first removed the hard drive. I bought a simple case for it, and I keep it as a backup.
For recycling phones, especially smart phones which can contain passwords, contant information, banking data, and more make sure you perform a factory reset. This resets your phone to the original factory settings. Contact your provider about how to do this for your particular model of phone.
Once you’ve wiped the device of information, it’s time to get rid of it.
Making some money off your older iPhone, or Samsung Galaxy, or BlackBerry is very easy to do. Sure you could try eBay or Craigslist, but Gazelle is a gadget reseller that gives you money right up front for your device, and doesn’t charge for shipping or anything.
You fill out an online form telling them about your device. They’ll quote you a price and if you accept it, they send you a plain box and the deal is done. If your device is too old, and worth nothing, Gazelle will still help you out by acting as a recycler. They’ll have the device responsibly torn down to salvageable parts and keep them out of landfills.
Many manufacturers are very responsible in recycling their hardware. Go to their corporate page to search their recycling policy and you’ll find out if they accept the items, or recommend other outlets for recycling.
Kodak offers a mail-in cash program for old digital cameras, digital photo frames and printers, not just their own brand.
Staples will accept many office type items for free recycling, and you can even get gift cards when you bring back printer cartridges.
Best Buy will let you drop off up to 2 items a day for responsible recycling. Note some do have recycling fees attached to them (TVs, for example). You pay, you don’t get paid.
You can recycle old cell phones at the Calgary Zoo. For every cell phone returned, Eco-Cell will make a donation to the Calgary Zoo’s Conservation Outreach Fund, which supports ape conservation initiatives, including projects for gorillas. Since 2007, nearly 20 000 phones have been dropped off at the South Security entrance or at the North or West Gates.
Alberta Recycling is recommended by a number of manufacturers. It has information on recycling everything from paint to tires to electronics. The electronics collected at municipal collection sites are transported to Alberta’s 6 registered electronics processors, where they are reduced to commodity state (plastics, metals, glass), which are then used by manufacturers to create new products. None of the products processed in Alberta’s electronics recycling program are sent to, or ‘dumped’ into developing countries.
APP OF THE WEEK: Bad Piggies [99c]
The gang from Rovio are out with the sequel to the Angry Birds franchise and it’s called Bad Piggies. This one is a little more complicated I’m finding. You are given bits and pieces to build vehicles to help the Bad Piggiesfly. Not as simple as pull and fly like the birds, but it’s from Rovio, it’s got the familiar characters and it was just released this week.
Dad. Broadcaster. Writer. Media Disruptor. Team Diabetes Champion. Double Guinness World Record Holder.