Eco-Friendly Ideas to Recycle Old Electronics

Photo By David Morris

Photo By David Morris

Most of us have a bunch of unused gadgets laying around, whether they no longer work or are simply out-of-date. Much of the time, we don’t properly dispose of old phones or other electronic devices every time we upgrade. Maybe it’s the fear of not having a backup, but let’s face it, we’re probably not going to use that old flip phone from 2008 anymore. According to DoSomething.org, between 80-85% of electronic devices were discarded in landfills or incinerators, which can release toxins into the air. Instead of throwing away used electronics, there are several eco-friendly alternatives to consider.

 

Donate to Nonprofits/Charities

Cross off your good deed for the day and get those unused electronics off your hands. Donating to charities or nonprofits is a great way to know your old gadgets are being put to good use. You can drop off old tvs, computers and other electronics at Donation Centers for stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. There are tons of good charities to donate those old cell phones to as well. Cell Phones for Soldiers, which provides soldiers a cost-free way to call home from wherever they may be stationed, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which uses the proceeds from the sale of refurbished phones to support programs to end domestic violence, are just two great organizations to choose from.

Sell or Trade-In

If you want to take the for-profit route, you can always sell or trade-in your old electronic devices. Most electronic companies offer trade-in programs for rebates on newer products or gift cards to the store. For example, Amazon has a trade-in program that offers you Amazon gift cards in exchange for your eligible electronics. Other companies offer cash for your used electronics. Glyde in a marketplace for selling used phones, tablets, games and more, and it compares what you will get on their site with other competitors such as Gazelle, Amazon and Apple. They will even sell the broken phones you no longer have a use for

Repurposing for DIY Projects

Why not give those unused gadgets new life by using them differently than what they were made for. There a lot of cool DIY ideas for repurposing old electronics into useful products for the home. Sites like Pinterest have more ideas than you’ll know what to do with.  These ideas from Mashable may be just what you need to get you started with a new project.

Next time you upgrade your electronic devices, take this eco-friendly advice to heart and remember to recycle or repurpose them instead of throwing them away!

 

Independence From Smartphones

As an electronics laggard, I just bought my first smartphone a little over three months ago. The world has become so much more accessible since becoming a part of the iPhone family. I know the weather, find out how my friends are doing, go shopping, text, and more all before getting out of bed in the morning. However, over the Fourth of July holiday, I went “Up North” to Hale, Mich. for five days. While you are suppose to enjoy nature and get away from society for a few days when on vacation, I found myself constantly checking up with everything I left behind because Grandma and Grandpa Conrad decided to get WiFi. For the first time since getting my smartphone, I wished that I left it at home.

Photo Credit: Mike Licht Via: Flickr Creative Commons

Is my smartphone taking over my life? It has been reported that smartphone owners check their devices over 150 times during the average 16 hours people are awake during the day. This constant need to check on what everyone else is doing, posting and saying distracted me from enjoying the beautiful lake house I was staying in. Apparently, 84% of people worldwide say they cannot go a single day without their phones and sadly I have become part of this statistic.

My questions is, why couldn’t I put my phone down or turn it off? According to Judson Brewer of Yale’s Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic, people are addicted to their phones for the same reason many are addicted to gambling. Cellular Devices comply with the associative learning pathway of human brains, and this makes us feel good or bad depending on the situation. When gambling, people do not know when they are going to win and this makes winning even more fun when it happens. When using smartphones, we don’t know when we are going to get a notification or what it is going to say. This triggers excitement within us, causing addiction to our devices.

I love having a smartphone because it connects me with the rest of society. Entertainment and information combined make having a smartphone so convenient and enjoyable. However, the addiction we have with our smartphones need to be controlled. Next year, I plan on leaving my phone at home while I enjoy what the physical world has to offer.

Bacteria Key in Solar Power Breakthrough

The deep sea is taking a page from the eco-friendly intern book it would seem! Scientists are currently studying green sulfur bacteria, an eco-conscious source for modern power and technology. Green sulfur bacteria, which live nearly a mile under the ocean’s surface, use minute amounts of solar power efficiently. So efficiently that in some cases these bacteria are able to convert 100% of the solar power they absorb into electricity.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge are researching the bacteria’s light harvesting proteins to see what advances they could offer the field of solar energy. The green sulfur bacteria is able to move electrons through their system of photosynthesis until harvest without losing energy along the way, unlike other known organisms that engage in photosynthesis. Unraveling the mystery could be groundbreaking in clean energy, opening the door to the most efficient solar panels possible. Currently, “innovative” panels are able to convert approximately 28% of solar power into electricity and are much more expensive than the standard panels.

So, what’s next for these little buggers? After saving the planet and developing energy to efficiently power our homes, where will their next mission begin? Perhaps, and this is only speculation, they may make their way to powering our smartphones, tablets and more. Solar power is already being adopted into city infrastructure goals on streetlights, parking meters, and more, why not make solar power mobile and make the battery a back-up?

That step is further down the line, but maybe not as far away as we think. After all, as all eco-friendly interns at this digital marketing agency know, technology and eco-awareness go hand in hand.

Me and my laptop, strolling down the avenue

I like my laptop. I mean, I REALLY like my laptop. I was recently asked what is the one thing I couldn’t live without and I said, yes, “My laptop.” I wasn’t entirely kidding. I rely on it quite a bit in addition to things like, oh, food, water, oxygen, shelter, and clothing.

Image: freedigitalphotos.net

It’s hard to believe I didn’t own a laptop until about five years ago. “Are you crazy?” a friend asked me in my pre-laptop days. “Why don’t you have one? You seriously need one! It’s awesome!” I didn’t understand what she meant then, but I do now.

My laptop is my “all in one” device. I use it for practically everything related to creating and consuming media — Internet browsing, sending/receiving
e-mail, writing copy, editing video, watching DVDs, listening to music, etc.

Then, there’s the portability. I use my laptop at the digital marketing firm where I work, at home, the library, the coffee shop, etc. The fact that I can take it wherever aids in productivity — a change in location will usually reinvigorate me if I’m working on a project and I start to lose focus.

My first laptop was a Dell. I used it for a few years before buying a MacBook Pro. It was a huge upgrade! The difference is in the hardware — the screen is much clearer and brighter, the speakers are superior, the trackpad is easier to maneuver, there’s a built in memory card slot, etc. I’ve always liked Apple products, but I have so much more regard for them now.

It’s interesting how we form attachments to products. I take note when Apple introduces new merchandise and people wait outside the company’s stores for days to buy it. I can’t see myself doing that, but I do have some understanding why the company inspires such loyalty and even fanaticism. I spend so much time on my laptop doing so many different things that it’s hard not to feel at least some connection to both Apple products and the Apple brand.

iPhone 5: iOS 6 Changes Worth it?

On September 19th, Apple pushed its new iOS 6 software live. With iOS 6, came five big changes: Maps, Siri, Camera, Mail, and Passbook. Out of these changes, the changes with iOS Maps App is by far the one that has the most controversy. Google Maps, which was a pre-loaded feature, has been completely taken off the home screen of the iPhone. Once re-downloaded, the iOS Maps, now controlled by Apple and not Google, is missing points of interest feature, Google transit directions and street images. To say that’s not enough change, the Maps gives inaccurate and incorrect destinations, for instance saying that a farm in Dublin was in fact an airport, which can cause major miscommunication dilemmas for pilots.

Though iOS Maps seems to have the most controversy, the other changes have a more positive note to them. Siri can now tweet, facebook, and make reservations for you. The new Camera feature is by far the most fun to play around with. Now, users can take panoramic shots of different places they visit to the people they are with.

The Mail App now allows you to attach photos and videos straight through the app, which was not possible before. Lastly, a new pre-loaded feature on the iOS 6 software is Passbook, which allows users to be more organized when it comes to storing, boarding passes, tickets, store cards, and coupons. But the Passbook app does not automatically transfer tickets and coupons into its app, users have to download the ticket vendor’s app, the airline company’s app, or the store’s app before they can start storing their information in this app.

The biggest changes to iOS 6, to say the least, give users a mixed feeling about them. Only users can judge themselves, if they like these new features are beneficial to them. It will be interesting to see how these new features affect internet marketing’s fast-paced life.

Chirpify to Expand Twitter

As Twitter quickly grows everyday, more and more opportunities slowly arise for Twitter to expand its domain. That is exactly what the latest startup, Chirpify, is doing by teaming up with PayPal. Chirpify will allow users to purchase anything from companies that also use Chirpify from their Twitter-enabled smartphones. In addition to shopping, users can transfer money to other users in a peer-to-peer transaction as long as both are using Chirpify. Beyond what is already done, Chirpify and future applications will only expand and demand more from social media marketing agencies as a necessity, not just an afterthought.

There are high hopes for Chirpify given the combination of a majority of cell phone sales being smartphones and people becoming more comfortable shopping through the internet. If Chirpify takes off, it would become the first major add-on to Twitter to expand it’s reaches as a social networking tool. With social networking sites quickly trying to expand their reaches by diversifying, it’s plausible they will eventually morph into near-identical entities. Seeing as how for example Facebook has its marketplace, which seems on par with Chirpify. If that were to happen, what would happen to social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook? Would they possibly merge into one giant site? All we can do is wait and see.

Lookout’s Mobile Threat Tracker Shows Where All the Android Malware is

Malware exists everywhere. It exists even to attack your Android phone. It’s even been seen in the Android Market at one point or another. But how big is this issue? Lookout, a company specializing in software for mobile security released a new app called Mobile Threat Tracker that allows Android smartphone users to see the location of every malware incident happening around the globe.

Lookout’s app shows streak upon streak strike with the three-dimensional spinning globe. The attacks displayed are shown close to real time as the date and time is displayed at the bottom of the screen. It gives us a good representation of how phones are becoming ideal targets for malware creators on a daily basis. Lookout also included information of the top three threats for that day and spyware vs. malware percentages.

With all this talk about the threats of malware, it looks like the ideal time to start installing a security app for your Android smartphone. Lookout might just be your solution.

Save up to 80% by Renting Your Textbooks on Kindle

As it is getting closer to the beginning of the semester, many students are beginning to think about purchasing their textbooks for their classes. Every student dreads this time of year because, honestly, who wants to pay $500 for books?! If you have a Kindle, you’re in luck.

Kindle allows you to rent textbooks for up to 80% off the list price of printed textbooks. Sure, the list price is for the new, unused textbook, but if you’re a procrastinator when it comes to buying books (like myself), then you’ve probably gotten stuck buying a new book once or twice because you missed out on all of the used ones.

With Kindle’s textbook rentals, you can choose how long you would like to rent the book for from 30 to 360 days so you only pay for the time you need the book. You can also extend the rental from as little as one day, as many times as you want, or even convert your rental into a purchase.

One of the best things about this is that once you rent the book, you can access it from not only your Kindle, but your PC, Mac or mobile device.

After your rental is up, you can access your notes and highlights any time you want at kindle.amazon.com.

Google Purchases Motorola Mobility for $12.5 Billion

Google

About 8 months ago, Motorola split into two companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. Motorola Solutions offers communication solutions for enterprises and governments while Motorola Mobility focuses on consumers and manufacturing mobile devices, including those with the Droid brand.

Google has acquired Motorola Mobility for $40.00 per share in cash, or approximately $12.5 billion, a 63% premium to the closing price of Motorola Mobility on Friday, August 12, 2011.

While it is unusual for Google to purchase a hardware company, Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile at Google, said in a statement released early Monday morning, “We expect that this combination will enable us to break new ground for the Android ecosystem. However, our vision for Android is unchanged and Google remains firmly committed to Android as an open platform and a vibrant open source community. We will continue to work with all of our valued Android partners to develop and distribute innovative Android-powered devices.”

CEO of Motorola Mobility, Sanjay Jha, said, “This transaction offers significant value for Motorola Mobility’s stockholders and provides compelling new opportunities for our employees, customers, and partners around the world.”

While Motorola is only one of many manufacturers that use Google’s Android software, other companies such as Samsung and HTC, will still be allowed to release phones with the Android software.

Google will now be in direct competition with Apple and Blackberry.

Google anticipates the transaction will close at the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012, and Motorola Mobility will run as a separate business.

Smartphone’s: Can you live without it?

Mobile phones capable of face-time video chatting, Internet browsing, social network status updating and sharing are arguable the years hottest accessory. Smartphone’s allow us to stay updated and in-touch with our friends, family and business engagements in a content rich fast-pace environment that is our World. Location based mobile search changes the way we seek information, making it easier to find the things we need, when we want, from wherever we are. A Mashable article describes the relationship between human and Smartphone as addictive, reporting that, “37% of adults and 60% of teens admit they are addicted.”

CrackBerry.com

The Smartphone has integrated itself into every aspect of our lives, evolving the way we conduct business and socialize with others. The development of sleek applications that support and maybe even encourage questionable social media habits make web browsing easier. There are mobile applications for just about everything, and we can get information about anything from just about anywhere. Technology is evolving and we are evolving with it, adapting our communication, research and sharing habits. Is it really that big of an issue? Only time will tell, but until then mobile phones will continue to improve and influence our daily habits and lifestyle.

Mashable: Are Smartphone’s Taking Over Our Lives? [Study]