Technology is constantly obsolete, and because of that you can have a small gadget cemetery built up in your house somewhere. But you spent a decent amount of money on all that, it should not be wasted! So before you get rid of it, let̵7;s go through some cool things you can do with the dated pieces of technology.
Note: If applicable, guidance or instructions for different projects will be available via links on the point.
Whether it’s an old Windows desktop or an outdated Macbook, you may have a computer or two that collects dust in your closet. And while dated specifications may make them difficult to use today, there are some things you can still use them for.
- Make it a Chromebook: There is a way to squeeze some life and performance out of your old laptop or desktop before it finally dies out: Install ChromiumOS on it. ChromiumOS is the open source version of Google’s Chrome OS, and it’s a less intensive operating system than Windows. While Chromium OS may not make everything more complicated operating system can, for most it is more than good replacement.
- A laptop as a secondary monitor: If you have a Windows computer and a Windows laptop, you can connect them wirelessly so that the laptop can act as a monitor to the computer. Having two monitors is always nice, and this is an easy way to add to your current installation without spending more money on a new monitor. Keep in mind that this is a wireless connection, so there may be some delay.
- Turn it into a Plex machine: Plex is a great service for watching your digital copies of movies and programs anywhere. The thing is, you need a central server for your library to live. Fortunately, the software for creating such a server is available for Mac and Windows, so the process of turning your old computer into a Plex server is quite simple.
- Turn a Broken Screen Laptop into a Desktop: A laptop with a broken screen can feel useless. However, there is an easy way to get more out of it – just use it as a desktop. Buy an external monitor (or save an old one) and you’re done. You may need to purchase a USB hub with an HDMI port for this to work.
- Your old case is a useful box: Your dusty old computer can barely boot nowadays, but if you tear out all the internal hardware, the actual case can be surprisingly useful. At the end of the day, most PC cases are just large drawers, and there’s a lot you can do with an empty drawer from a nerdy mailbox to a unique shelf unit.
While an old phone is the opposite of fun to use (especially on the Android side), there are some things you can do with their cameras – even if the cameras are not good.
- Use it as a Dashcam: A dashcam is an invaluable thing for drivers to have installed, but the price barrier and the installation process can make it difficult to sell. But with a simple phone dock and a car charger, you can easily turn your old phone into a functional instrument camera. Just be prepared to delete the video files from your phone regularly to free up space.
- Use it as a webcam: Webcams are a rare commodity today, but it’s pretty easy to turn your phone into a wireless webcam. The Epocam app is perfect for this and is available on both Android and iOS. You probably also want a stand for your phone for easier installation.
It can take a long time to start up your old tablet, but it does not matter so much if it only serves one purpose.
- Dedicated weather station (Android / iOS): While a tablet can slow down over the years, you do not need exactly much power to control the weather. You can set up your tablet with a kickstand and a charger and keep your chosen weather app open at all times. With the added benefit of virtual assistants, this is a great way to keep up with the weather.
- Dedicated calendar (Android / iOS) and task station: Forget wall calendars and notebooks, you can easily turn your tablet into a dedicated scheduling / productivity station in the same way as the weather station. Just install your calendar and to-do apps of your choice and set up your tablet with a kickstand and charger.
- Recipe machine: Another easy option, but keeping a tablet in the kitchen just for prescriptions is really useful. It is also nice to have something more disposable to take this place than the phone or tablet you use every day.
- SmartHome Hub (Android / iOS): If you are heavily invested in the world of smart homes, you need a place to manage all your smart devices. And old tablets are good for this because devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home have complementary apps for tablets. Apple also supports the iPad to act as a home hub.
Although game consoles at first glance may seem like limited pieces of technology, there are some bonus methods to use them nowadays in addition to playing their respective libraries with games.
- Homebrewing: This refers to flashing ROMs for various games digitally to the console memory. The process is very different for each console, and as such, the degree of difficulty also varies. The Wii (and by extension the Wii U) is one of the simplest consoles for Homebrew, so if you have one of those around, start there. In addition, your mileage will vary, depending on what systems you have available – research will be key here.
- Use it as a Media Center: Your old Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 may be more useful than you think. Both of these systems can read DVDs (PS3 can even read Blu-Rays), but they also have access to apps like Netflix (Xbox 360 / PS3) and Hulu (Xbox 360 / PS3). The online stores for both of these are still up, so it’s as simple as downloading the app and logging in. Despite their age, these systems are still fully viable media centers today.
Here are the projects that do not fit into any of the categories above. That does not mean you should discount them, they are still pretty cool.
- Cameras as webcams: Many digital cameras can work as webcams with a single cord, but for advanced DSLR cameras, the process can be more complicated. Fortunately, Sony, Panasonic and Canon have all released software that makes it relatively easy to set up your great looking camera as an advanced webcam.
- Add Bluetooth to your iPod Dock: Did you buy a doll for your old iPod so you could listen to songs loud and clear? Chances are good that it does not get much use nowadays, but it can still be useful. With a ZIOCOM adapter, you can add Bluetooth functionality to your old iPod docking station and use it in the same way as you would any standard Bluetooth speaker.
- Turn an old monitor into a smart mirror: Why limit your mirror so that it only shows yourself when you look at it? With a smart mirror, you can see the time, the weather and the news while getting ready for work. This is a DIY project you need to spend some time on, and depending on how nice you get with the frame, it can be quite expensive, but the results will be well worth it.
Hopefully one of these suggestions will save your old technology from being dumped yet. While old technology may not be as useful as the brand new devices, it’s always nice to save some money by reusing something.