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 Sure, it’s already been replaced by better stuff — but it still works!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.


Legacy Hardware loses flagship application

Five years ago I modded my first Xbox to create a Media Centre. The software I ran, and still run is the uber awesome XBMC (for Xbox Media Center).

But now it seems that the days of using my original Xbox as a media center are numbered — the developers are stopping work for that hardware platform.

So now there will be no updates, no new ‘official’ features or bugfixes for what has become the cornerstone of my entertainment system.

And this means that I’d better start looking at a replacement that offers:

  • Multimedia playback
  • Huge library of media codecs
  • Native network awareness for Windows, OSX and Linux shared drives
  • Simple and easy-to-use interface

But I’m in no rush. My original modded Xboxen still run the last build of XBMC just fine. And will likely continue for some time. But now I know, the days are numbered. Something else just got added to my todo list. Lucky for me it involves tech 🙂

Modding my Xbox…

[ This item originated at my previous (now defunct) blog bradblog.info — copy retrieved from the Internet Archive]

A while ago I managed to lay my hands on a refurbished Xbox for a fairly reasonable price. Great, methinks. A game console and a DVD player, all rolled into one. And hey, it’ll even play music from the built in hard drive too¦ but not stock from the factory. No, my friend, you have to void the Microsoft warranty and mess with the happy technology that lies buried within your game console. Once you do that, you then have unlocked the power of your Xbox, and created a Monster¦here’s how I did mine¦ Continue reading “Modding my Xbox…”