GEEK! has been placed on an indefinite hold for the foreseeable future as I've ran out of time to keep it up to date. For the mean time it will remain alive at this address in archive form. You can reach me via @geekonthepc. Thanks to everyone who read and got involved with the site! Who knows - when I get the chance I might start posting again! Wish me luck at Oxford Brookes University studying Mobile Computing! :)
You may well have got yourself a brand new phone this Christmas, which is always a nice present now-a-days. I, myself, got a brand new HTC Sensation XE for Christmas (technically it was an early Christmas present – or at least part of it was!) – which I adore.
But it does beg the question, what happens to the old phone? Mine always seem to end up sitting in boxes until they’re no use to anyone at all. This time I thought I’d sent it off to a recycling company. There’s method in the madness – people will pay you to recycle your old phone, but you have to be careful when you do so. So here are some top tips for recycling your old phone:
Shop around – find the best price. You’d normally see that phrase when buying a gadget, but it does also applying to selling gadgets too. Just because a phone recycling company advertises on TV, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll give you the best price. In fact, there’s actually quite a lot of mobile phone recycling companies around – so you’re more than likely to find a better price if you do some hunting. Take a look at sellmymobile.com - just type in your make/model and it’ll do the rest for you.
Check the price you’re getting is consistent. Make sure you read the terms & conditions carefully when you’re selling the phone. Some buyers will only offer you a certain payment within a number of days – after which point they can lower that offer by a substantial amount. Also make sure that you’re not under any contractual obligation – it’s your phone, you can change your mind if you want.
Make sure you’ve backed up anything you want to keep… If you want to keep anything (like camera shots, contacts or messages), make sure you’ve got a copy safely stored on your computer or on another phone. Once you’ve sent off your phone, you may not get it back (and if you do, it may well have been flashed to remove all content). Most recent phones include software to back up content on your phone – so make use of it!
…and deleted anything you don’t want to keep. Make sure to ‘restore factory settings’ on the phone before handing it over. You don’t want any of your personal details (or friends’ personal details) to end up in someone else’s hands. Restoring factory settings will put the phone back to how it was when you first got it, and should delete any content that was once there.
Remove any accessories that you aren’t required to hand over. As already mentioned, you may not get your phone back – even if you request it. So make sure you remove any accessories you don’t have to hand over (perhaps accessories that you bought yourself) like memory cards, cases and spare batteries. Memory cards may well come in handy on new phones, and if not they’re a handy portable storage medium.
There you have it. Five tips to make the most of phone recycling companies. It’s debatable as to whether you’re better off auctioning your phones on sites like eBay – but if you just can’t be bothered with the hassle, you’re quickest way to get some cash is to hand it over to one of these companies. Just make sure you’re not being ripped off!
Recently I discovered that my twitter tweets were no longer being posted to my facebook page. I’ve never really got to the bottom of why my twitter settings no longer give me an option to posts tweets to my facebook page (only to my own profile now?) but nevertheless I pretty much gave up trying to sort it directly.
However, thanks to BBC Click, I’ve found a new service that does the same thing for me. It’s called Ifttt (with 3 t’s) and basically it’s a social network roundabout. It links together with countless social networks at your request (many of which I’ve never even heard of) and gives you the option to perform a wide range of tasks based on certain variables.
For example, I can link it to my last.fm account and make it post a custom facebook status to my profile every time I love a track. Pretty cool, eh?
What’s handy for me, though, is that I can tell it to post a message to my facebook wall every time I tweet. This resolves my problem and means my twitter ramblings can now be seen to my facebook fans once more!
It isn’t perfect, though. My main problem is that it only checks for new events every 15 minutes – which does mean that there’s a small delay between an event occurring and a task being completed. Still, it’s far better than nothing!
It amazes me how many networks it can communicate, so if you’re one who likes to publicise you’re events on all your social networks – this is the service built for you! It’s totally free and has a very tidy website, so why not take a look?
For many months now I’ve been looking for some good value tracking software to install on my netbook and (potentially) my portable devices. As much as I hope my netbook never gets stolen – you can never be sure what might happen and it’s better to be prepared.
It was only today that I’ve finally found the answer. It’s called Prey. It’s an open-source piece of kit that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, that’s the last you’ll see of it. Make sure when you install it to select the option not to install start menu shorcuts as it will make the software harder to find by an thief.
From here onwards, all of your settings for the program will be managed online. Log onto your account at the program’s website, and you’ll be presented with a handful of useful properties.
For example, you can get the program to take logs of any wi-fi networks it’s connected to, together with pictures from any connected webcam and screenshots of your display. These are then summarised in reports that are emailed direct to your inbox for your viewing pleasure. Believe me – you’ll be astonished at what it’ll pick up.
I happen to think this is an essential for anybody with a laptop that they care about – the software is totally FREE and could help you (and the police) in what would otherwise be a relatively hopeless situation. The program won’t hamper your computer’s performance at all (using just 5MB of RAM in Windows) and you’ll forget you’ve even installed it.