Get those phones out of the junk pile and put them to use.
If you love having the latest phone, then you probably have a couple of perfectly good phones sitting in a desk drawer or in a closet. They aren’t really worth enough to sell, but they still work, so throwing them away isn’t an option, either.
It’s time to give those cast-offs a new purpose. Here are five ideas to take your old phone from junk drawer fodder to productive member of your household.
Turn it into a security camera
If the camera is still good on your old phone, turning it into a security camera is an option. With it, you can keep an eye on your back door, use it as a baby monitor or spy on your pets.
Taylor Martian has a great tutorial on how to your old phone into a home security camera you can watch from anywhere.
Donate it to science (sort of)
Even if you don’t want to use your old phone, someone else might. There are a couple apps that let you donate the phone’s unused computing power to use on scientific research projects. BOINC is an app created by the Space Sciences Laboratory at U.C. Berkeley and Power to Give is a similar app created by HTC. All you have to do is download them.
BOINC and Power to Give apps use the computing power donated and form — in simple words — a grid. According to HTC, “Projects that could otherwise take hundreds of years are executed in a drastically shorter time,” with these grids.
These apps only run when the phone is connected to Wi-Fi to prevent data usage and only when the phone is plugged in, so you won’t suddenly have a dead phone. Plus, you get to choose which research projects get to use your phone’s computing power.
Create a universal remote
Your old phone can make an awesome universal remote that controls things like like smart lights, Roku, Xbox One, Apple TV and your sound system. Just clear your phone of old apps and install apps for any smart devices you own. Or you can get a little fancier with these tips for turning a tablet into a universal remote that apply to phones, too.
Or use it as a wireless mouse for your computer
A discarded phone can also make a great wireless mouse and remote for your computer. It’s useful as a clicker for presentations or a remote for a home theater PC.
Just download an app like Gmote 2.0 or Remote Link for Android or Remote Mouse or Mobile Mouse for iOS. These apps can be used as trackpads, keyboards and remotes.
Make it your garage buddy
There are apps that will run diagnostics on your cars, check error codes and more. If your hobby is rebuilding cars or you just like working on your car, these apps are valuable, but not at the cost of getting your primary phone greasy.
Instead, use your old phone for these apps. Some good garage apps to try are OBD Auto Doctor for iOS or Android, Car Diagnostics Pro and OBD Fusion. Many of these apps require an OBD Wi-Fi cable or Wireless OBD adapter to connect your phone to your car’s computer. This cord or adapter connects to your car through the Data Link Connector (DLC) that can be found under the dash. You may need to consult your owner’s manual for the exact location of this outlet since it is located in different places depending on the make and model of the car.
Nine tricks you can do with Google search
You can add two more tricks to Google’s search repertoire.
Starting Thursday, users can play solitaire or tic-tac-toe directly within Google search on a desktop or mobile device.
Google is known for using keywords and phrases in its search results to trigger funny animations or interactions. For example, searching for “flip a coin” will help you make a tough decision. Or searching for “askew” will throw everything, well, askew.
As with the other tricks, you just need to search for the specific terms using Google. In this case, that’s “solitaire” or “tic-tac-toe.” Tic-tac-toe will let you adjust difficulty and take turns playing a friend (by passing the phone).
Solitaire will take over your entire screen, helping you waste time while waiting in line at the grocery store.
If this isn’t a throwback to the early days of Windows and trying to pretend like your working, then I don’t know what is.
If you’re interested in discovering more hidden search terms, be sure to check out our complete list of OK Google commands.
Get ready to see more targeted ads on Facebook.
That doesn’t mean that you’ll start seeing ads on WhatsApp. The messaging service is sticking to its promise of never offering ads on its platform. The data will instead be leveraged to show you targeted ads on Facebook, offer better friend suggestions, and fight spam. And if you don’t want the service to share your data with Facebook, you can opt out.
In a blog post announcing the changes, WhatsApp reiterated its commitment to user privacy, stating that all messages will stay private. WhatsApp won’t be able to read them, nor will Facebook, or any third-party advertisers:
We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers.
By coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of.
Even though ads aren’t coming to WhatsApp, the service has mentioned that it is looking at ways to engage its userbase with businesses:
In the future, we will explore ways for you and businesses to communicate with each other using WhatsApp, such as through order, transaction, and appointment information, delivery and shipping notifications, product and service updates, and marketing. For example, you may receive flight status information for upcoming travel, a receipt for something you purchased, or a notification when a delivery will be made. Messages you may receive containing marketing could include an offer for something that might interest you.
We do not want you to have a spammy experience; as with all of your messages, you can manage these communications, and we will honor the choices you make.
The Facebook family of companies will still receive and use this information for other purposes such as improving infrastructure and delivery systems, understanding how our services or theirs are used, securing systems, and fighting spam, abuse, or infringement activities.
Amazon is currently offering the 11.6-inch ASUS C201 Chromebook for just $160, a savings of $40. The C201 is on the list of Chromebooks that will support Android apps when Google releases the update later this year. Featuring 4GB of RAM, 16GB SSD and a Rockchip 1.8 GHz processor to offer solid performance. Chromebooks are a great portable option for those who need something to browse the web, create documents, listen to streaming music and more.
This pricing is only available on the blue model, though you can get the others at a lesser discount as well. While it may not be the newest, or the best, Chromebook, it is still a great option at an even better price. Will you be picking one up? Let us know in the comments.
See at Amazon
You’re sure to stand out if you go with this color.
Looking for a little bump in sales as the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge have been out for several months now, Samsung has partnered up with Best Buy in the U.S. to launch an exclusive new “Pink Gold” color option of the phones. The new color will be available for Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T.
The color looks extremely flashy and adorns both the front and back of the phones, which may not be particularly sleek alongside the black-edged displays but then again Samsung obviously wasn’t thinking about “subtle” when it made this one. It’s also a solid departure from the more subtle looks of the black, silver and even gold colors that were available at launch for the phones.
Another bold color choice from Samsung, several months later for some reason
It’s also rather annoying to those who bought their phone in the past couple of months and may have liked a flashier color choice. Though I completely understand the need to get a little spike in sales, launching an altogether new color within a year of the original launch can sometimes rub people the wrong way. Keeping it exclusive to Best Buy goes a step further in accomplishing that annoyance for customers.
But that group of would-be potential customers will surely be overshadowed by the number of people who will walk into a Best Buy and just pick up a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge, not understanding all of the color options prior to their interest in the phones. It’s a brand new color that will definitely stand out, both in stores and out in the wild after you take it home.
If you’re going to pick up a Pink Gold Galaxy S7 from Best Buy, you’ll also get the added benefit of a $150 Best Buy gift card when you activate it in the store, which is a generous gift — plenty big enough to pick up a couple cases and a wireless charger, if you wish.
See at Best Buy
Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge
- Galaxy S7 review
- Galaxy S7 edge review
- U.S. unlocked Galaxy S7
- Should you upgrade to the Galaxy S7?
- Best SD cards for Galaxy S7
- Join our Galaxy S7 forums
Today on In Case You Missed It: Shaper’s Origin is designed to use augmented reality and an on-screen display to guide you through cutting wood pieces. And Australian National University researchers developed the most efficient solar receiver in the world.
The chopstick piano video is here and the airship crashing in what looks like slo-mo; here. As always, please share any interesting tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.
The Google app on iOS has supported 3D Touch for awhile, but that’s going, ahem, deeper. Now you can deep press on the big G at the bottom of the screen to start a new search query from anywhere within the app. Doing the same on Search and Maps results will offer previews of web pages and maps, respectively, while an even firmer press will open the links or Map. If you don’t have an iOS device that supports the feature, long pressing will net you the same results. Beyond that, version 18’s patch notes are barren aside from word that there are more Doodles and games coming in the future.
While we might not be able to agree on the correct pronunciation of “GIF” (hint: it’s the one that doesn’t sound like the peanut butter brand chosen by choosy moms), we can find some common ground on the animated image format’s utility. Giphy, the internet’s preeminent GIF repository, has dabbled with custom-GIF tools before, but its GIF Maker is a web app and is pretty basic in terms of functionality. With the latest version of Giphy Capture, the outfit is looking to streamline the creation process from any video source and add a few bits that it didn’t have prior.
Unlike GIF Brewery, GIF Capture is free. But, that price tag comes at the cost of space-saving tools like cropping, compression and custom frame-rate settings. We tested a beta of GIPHY Capture 2.0, so things might differ after wide release, but the latest revision changes the spartan app a bit and adds options for calculating output-file size, a trio of presets for framerate (high is 23 FPS, standard is 15 FPS and low is 10FPS) and social sharing buttons. It’s not as full-featured as GIF Brewery, sure, but it’s also $5 cheaper.
Using the app is fairly straightforward, too. Just drag the capture selection over the video you want to GIF, hit the record button and really, that’s about it. From there you can tag, upload to Giphy or share on your social network of choice — all without leaving the program window. you can save your creation as an MP4 file, too.
It’s a lot easier to use than my typical method of capturing a screen video with Quicktime, saving, remembering where in the hell I saved the file, opening with GIF Brewery, tweaking compression algorithm and color depth settings and then exporting. And while the toolset provided might be a little on the slim side, the app was easier for me to get the results I wanted compared to Gfycat and even Giphy’s own web tool. The only real downside is that like its predecessor, the application is available exclusively for OSX at the moment.
The first virtual reality film to feature President Obama is, not surprisingly, a love letter to some of America’s greatest treasures: its National Parks. Together with Oculus, National Geographic and the VR studio Felix & Paul, the President filmed Through the Ages, a VR experience meant to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service.
The film shows off some grand sights from Yosemite, including the El Capitan mountain range and Mariposa Grove’s sequoia trees. And we also get a chance to see President Obama exploring the sights with his family. Most importantly, it issues a strong environmental message focused on preserving the parks for future generations.
Through the Ages is available today free on the Oculus Store for Gear VR and Oculus Rift owners, as well as a 360-degree video on Facebook. As you’d expect, the film takes full advantage of VR’s immersiveness — or at least, as much as it can being a mere video recording, rather than a fully rendered environment. It was shot stereoscopically, so there’s a greater sense of depth to the images compared to most other 360-degree videos, making you feel as if you’re actually standing atop mountains or right below the tallest trees in the world. It’s also one of the sharpest virtual videos I’ve ever seen, with none of the mudiness we saw in the Olympics’ VR videos.
Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael, the founders of the VR studio producing the film, wouldn’t give up any specifics on how they shot the film, but they revealed their rig is a “custom designed body with multiple sensors” and a variety of lenses. At this point, their equipment can deliver the equivalent of “3.5K” video resolution to each eye, but of course the actual video quality is limited to the VR equipment you’re using (most recent Samsung phones use displays with 2,560 by 1,440 resolutions, while the Oculus Rift delivers 2,160 by 1,200 across both of its lenses). Still, Felix & Paul will be able to offer higher quality versions of the film as newer VR tech hits the market.
Ultimately, the film gives people who might not get a chance to visit Yosemite a way to experience brief moments of its grandeur. President Obama mentions at one point that visiting the park as a child was a life-changing experience, and his hope to preserve it feels genuine. Sure, a VR film won’t replace actually trekking to Yosemite in person, but it’s the best option you’ll have until making that trip.
The asymmetric shooter Evolve is experiencing a renaissance. Reacting to dwindling player number, developer Turtle Rock made Evolve free to play, rebalanced the gameplay and promised more additions down the line. The changes, at least so far, have been a success, and now the developer is introducing a new mode that scraps the core 4-vs-1 dynamic in favor of a more traditional co-op experience. Called “The Deepest Dark,” the mode sits alongside the other play options, rather than replacing them.
The Deepest Dark sees players face off an AI-controlled monster, hunting it down and destroying its eggs before they hatch. The monster, a Gorgon Queen, has different characteristics to the regular game’s human-controlled beasts. Rather than gaining energy from eating NPC fauna, the Gorgon extracts power from player-controlled characters. In addition to dealing with the Queen and her eggs, gamers will also find local wildlife aggressive. Gameplay is punctuated by a gravelly narrator, whose canned phrases will feel familiar to anyone that’s played the brutal Lovecraftian RPG Darkest Dungeon.
The new mode is out now on PC in open beta. As with the free-to-play switch, the developers will wait until they’ve perfected the changes before considering a console rollout. While you wait for that to happen, you can watch The Deepest Dark’s very ’80s trailer:
Source: Turtle Rock