Dilemma: Offloading old tech

phonedump_250.jpgOk, so here’s the deal. You want a new computer, or iPad, or BluRay player or whatever. But your old one is still working perfectly fine. Yet, the features of your next technological acquisition are so good, so cool, that really, that new tech item will make your life much better.

Great, so you go out and get it, but what do you do with the old item?

And there’s the rub.

You’ve got the old tech, that still works and you’re comfortable with. And you’ve got your new tech that you’re learning and works and is Jobs-gift-to-humanity.

For me, there’s huge reluctance to get rid of the old stuff. Sure, it’s already been replaced by better stuff — but it still works! It can still do things. So here’s what I do:

1) Resell — this one is pretty obvious, but takes a bit of work. Listing on (competitor) or Kijjiji requires setting up an account and managing the process. If you’ve done everything right, you’ve got a buyer for your tech-stuff and you’re both happy.

Other alternatives that often work are pawn shops. If not, proceed to step 2.

2) Regift — it’s entirely possible you’ve got a very young neice or nephew that could use a ‘first’ computer. Once properly refurbished, your ‘gift’ could meet that need. Of course, you’ll be the first in line for hardware support, but isn’t that what being supportive in a family is all about?

3) Repurpose — Older computers still work well running older operating systems. Given your hardware won’t be your daily desktop box, nothing’s preventing you from giving it new life as a dedicated server, a home security system, or a media centre box.

4) Recycle — this one is actually my favourite. In Edmonton, we have local EcoStations that are set up to take our tech. As well, FutureShop has an amazing Electronics Take-Back program in Alberta and Ontario. What better way to keep your older tech out of the landfill and ensure it (or its component material) is being put back to work.

Obviously, this won’t work for every situation. For example, I’ve got a few old cell phones and  PDAs gathering dust in my closet. I’ve not figured out nor taken time to determine the best ‘end’ for them, yet. Your mileage may vary…in fact, I hope it does! And I hope you share your best ‘tech recycle story below…because frankly, I could use a bit of help 🙂

This post of is one of many I publish weekly at the Future Shop Techblog. Read more of my stuff here.

Another favourite Christmas gift from the annals of tech time

In the last half of the previous century, technology was simpler. Computer circuits were just coming into their own on a piece of silicone called an IC, or Integrated Circuit – a chip. Budding young hobbyists wanting to learn this arcane art of electronics had one great omnibus took to help them out… …more

This post is an excerpt from one of my weekly posts on the Future Shop Techblog. Check out the full post here.

Me? A Professional Blogger? Yep, somewhat.

Today I became a professional blogger for Future Shop, the Canadian technology retailer. Professional as in ‘compensated’ for my writing. No, I’ll not be leaving my most excellent day job, I’d need a bunch more of these to make blogging my sole source of income 🙂 and I’m not that prolific 🙂

You’ll find me (and a bunch of other very smart / cool Canadian bloggers) writing for the Future Shop Tech Blog. Here’s the rest of the team:

Mathew Kumar
Paul Hunter
Buzz Bishop
Tris Hussey
Klaus Boedker

We’ve been given pretty-much free reign to write about whatever we want. So, in my case, I’ll be writing about things I’m passionate about; Technology, How-Tos, Reviews, Entertainment, etc.

To give you a bit more background into the Future Shop Community and the new Tech Blog, I thought I’d pose a few questions to Laura Buchanan, Future Shop’s Social Community Specialist and the Tech Blog manager. You can also read Laura’s kind introduction to the blog team here.

BG: Tell us a bit about yourself and the role you have at Future Shop. Social Community Specialist is a very ‘open’ job title 🙂

LH: My job title is pretty unique – when I tell people that I’m the Social Community Specialist for Future Shop, at first, they nod politely, but this nod usually turns into a sideways shake of the head, their eyes darting slightly as they say “uh huuuuhh…??”  So I follow this statement up with a more long-winded one: I manage the Future Shop Community – an online tech enthusiast community for Canadians.  No, I don’t answer every question that gets asked.  I’m responsible for the overall health and strategy for everything that touches the Community, including the forum, blogs, how-to videos and lots of other fun projects.  I joined Future Shop in this role in November 2007 a few months after the Community was launched.  Future Shop was really one of the first companies in Canada to launch this sort of forum, so it’s been a pretty steep learning curve for everyone here – there was definitely wasn’t a manual!  It’s a pretty fun job – you’ll never hear me say I’m bored!

BG: Can you give us a bit of background as to how the Future Shop Community came about?

LH: The motivation was simple: create a space where Canadians could connect with their peers, Product Experts and manufacturers on everything related to technology.  The idea was to help our customers make informed decisions that were right for them whether they were looking to purchase a new printer or needed some help figuring out how to connect with laptop to their tv.  To date, the community has over 125,000 posts, that’s a lot of techno stress relieved!

BG: How does the Tech Blog fit into this strategy?

LH: In order to keep our community healthy, we need to continue to evolve it and to give our users a reason to come back and a reason for new members to join.  The Tech Blog has always been part of the plan.  We want to provide our Community with as many resources as we can to help them make informed decisions.  We also want to spark discussion and debate about technology & consumer electronics, and see the tech blog as a great way to do that.

As a Tech Blog writer, I find myself in some awesome company. Generally speaking, how did you select the blogging team?

LH: When I started looking for bloggers, the criteria that I set up was that they were knowledgeable, already blogging, good writers and above all else, passionate about technology.  I had a few bloggers in mind already, but spent a lot of time googling, clicking through blogrolls and “asking around”.  I looked at dozens and dozens of blogs before shortlisting, then finalizing the team.  There’s definitely a diverse pool of expertise amongst the bloggers and we’re all very excited to see what sort of articles are going to come from them!

BG: Any other plans for the Future Shop Community you’d like to share?

LH: The Community is going to be a very dynamic space over the next couple months – actually over the next couple of years.  I think the potential that it holds is only just now starting to be realized.

As you can tell, I’m a bit excited about this. Over the next little while, I’ll be looking into Linux, Netbooks, my Windows 7 beta experiences, and maybe even some casual gaming.

So do check it out. My fellow Future Shop Tech Blogs are awesome (and funny) writers and well worth the read. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.

The Future Shop Tech blog will be live on Friday May 15th. I’m looking forward to your feedback on it.