Cutting Corners With Outdated Technology

  • Ron Callari
  • 10/17/2016 7:01:19 PM

Since technology is moving at such a fast clip these days, users of various devices are motivated to acquire ‘the new’ — more so due to FOMO [fear of missing out] — versus budget cutting.

So, it’s easy to understand why Apple, Google and even Samsung keep developing new iterations of their mobile devices, quicker than you can move your contact list from one cellphone to another.

Everybody has older tech apparatus sitting around our homes and offices, and have often debated whether to keep or discard them. Today, we’ll discuss how to dust off and recycle that outdated tech and convert it into something more useful.


Webcams can become security cams

Who doesn’t want to feel safe in their home or work offices? Since most of today’s computers come with built-in cameras, you might want to consider using your stand-alone webcam for security purposes.

To start, by using the standard USB cords these units came with, all you have to do to make them operational again is reconnect them to your computers

Then acquire software which can record the feed from your webcam either continuously — or when motion is detected. The free application iSpy Connect can do the trick nicely. Its feature-rich surveillance software includes: unlimited cameras and microphones (including IP and USB cameras), motion detection, motion processing, recording, scheduling, audio, remote access, network audio broadcasting, password protection and desktop recording.


Routers can become a ‘smart home’ system 

A ‘smart home’ automation system wouldn’t be very smart without a Wi-Fi network. So think about using your old router for that purpose, instead of investing in the very costly smart home products that are currently in the market. Old routers have an embedded AP [Access Point] in addition to its function as a basic router. APs broadcast Wi-Fi signals that wireless clients, such as smartphones, tablets and other smart devices can connect to.

To start, take your old router and connect it to your new router. The objective here is to make old router [or Router B] to function as an external AP for Router A. Then follow the step-by-step process outlined here for MACs and desktops to allow the two routers working together to automate all your smart devices.


PCs fans can become mini-wind turbines

If you still own an old desktop PC, before retiring it, here’s an inventive repurposing that can convert it into a mini-wind-powered turbine.

Here are step-by-step instructions as to how to recycle those CPU tower cooling fans into a little wind-powered motors that can generate around 1.5 – 2V in an 8 mph wind.


Old mobile phones can become a dedicated VoIP phone 

Just because your old cellphone is no longer connected to an active cellular service anymore doesn’t mean you can’t use them to communicate in today’s world. An old smartphone can very easily become an Internet/VoIP phone.

The easiest way to accomplish this is with an app, such as that which Telzio provides. All you need is a WiFi connection [see Router repurposing above], and you can use Telzio to chat with and call other users of the app, with no additional cost to you. And for a small subscription fee, you can call actual phone numbers, and even receive incoming calls (so long as your phone is logged into your Telzio account).

Since iPhone’s CallKit was introduced, this new platform allows fully native Internet calling. All you need to do is enter your SIP account credentials and you will be good to go [Note: some Android devices also allow for native calling as well.]  If you already have a VoIP phone, this approach will allow you to use your old smartphone as an additional VoIP phone for yourself or others.


How about you?
Have you tried any of today’s suggestions to convert your old, outdated tech devices into the uses outlined above? Or have you come up with some additional innovative methods to repurpose old devices into new tech? If so, let us know in the comments below.

Ron is a blogger at Telzio, covering business, technology, and mobile trends. Previously the Director of Advertising and Public Relations for Marriott International's Caribbean and Mexico division, Ron has published several books including the award-winning graphic novel Facebucks.