Tag Archives: new

Out with the old…iPhones? 4 ways to reuse, resell, recycle

Each year, Apple dazzles its devoted fans with faster, sleeker, more powerful iPhones with better cameras and a bevy of bells and whistles.

So, what’s to become of last year’s model?

Instead of sentencing it to a lonely existence in a desk drawer, there are plenty of ways to reuse, recycle or resell older phones. Here are a few:

• DONATE TO CHARITY

Several charities accept old phones for donation, though it’s worth remembering that these groups probably won’t physically give your old phones to people in need. Rather, they work with phone recyclers and sell your donated phones to them.

A nonprofit group called Cell Phones for Soldiers will take your “gently used” phone and sell it to a recycling company. It will then use the proceeds to buy international calling cards for soldiers so they can talk to their loved ones back home.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence works in a similar manner. About 60 percent of the phones it collects are refurbished and resold. The money goes toward supporting the coalition. The remaining 40 percent of the phones are recycled, according to the group’s website. It pays for shipping if you are mailing three or more phones. The group also accepts other electronics such as laptops, video game systems and digital cameras.

• $ELL FOR $OME CA$H

You can always join the eBay hordes and sell your phone on the site for a few hundred bucks, if you are lucky. There will likely be a flood of the gadgets soon after people start getting their new phones, so it might make sense to wait a little.

There are also plenty of other options.  A company called Gazelle will make an offer for your old phone based on its condition, your phone carrier and other information. For example, a 64 gigabyte iPhone 6 on AT&T in good condition (no cracks, major scratches or scuffs, turns on and makes calls), would get you $305 this week. The same phone on Sprint, meanwhile, would rake in $220.

Glyde.com also offers to help you resell your old phone. A recent check showed the same iPhone, with charger included, getting you $376.10 — provided there is a buyer.

• TRADE IN FOR SOMETHING ELSE

Apple will give you store credit for old devices that you can then use for new gadgets. You can do this in a retail store or online, where you’ll get an estimate before mailing in your phone. An online check for the phone above yielded an estimated $325 Apple Store gift card this week.

The video game retailer GameStop, meanwhile, offers cash or store credit for old iPhones (along with iPods and iPads).

• REUSE, REPURPOSE

Even without cellular service, you old phone will be able to get on Wi-Fi, so you can use it to stream music, post on Facebook or do pretty much anything else you want provided you are in Wi-Fi range. Keep it for yourself, or load it up with kid-friendly apps and games and hand it down to your children.

New music | Jill Scott, the Bird and the Bee, Titus Andronicus, Benjamin Clementine


Jill Scott :: ‘Woman’

The talented R&B vocalist Jill Scott has taken a long, roundabout path to her fifth studio album, Woman. But it is worth the wait. Never content with the grooves of conventional R&B, she smooths things out on “Fool’s Gold,” digs deep into gospel wailing on “You Don’t Know,” and explores Prince-influenced territory on the slinky “Beautiful Love.” “Closure” gets irrepressibly funky, a kiss off to a former love. If there is a thread that holds the entire album together, it is the exploration of love and sex in all its forms. Jill Scott is wise and experienced, and her voice is a treasure.

The Bird and the Bee :: ‘Recreational Love’

The Bird and the Bee first gained attention for sophisticated hipster pop influenced by classic ‘60s bachelor pad music. Their most recent album was a recreation of classic Hall and Oates songs. Fortunately, on their fourth studio outing, they return to original work. The more elegant side of ‘80s pop is an obvious touch point, on perky upbeat tunes like “Will You Dance?” and “Jenny,” but with a resonant, contemporary sheen. This just might be one of your favorite soundtracks for summer 2015.

Titus Andronicus :: ‘The Most Lamentable Tragedy’

I was first introduced to this New Jersey punk band after they released their 2010 album The Monitor. The music was deeply intellectual, fueled by raw instrumental energy. This time, their sprawling 90-minute extravaganza seems a few steps too far. The Most Lamentable Tragedy is a journey into the heart and manic-depressive mind of bandleader Patrick Stickles a la the Who’s Quadrophenia or Hüsker Dü’s Zen Arcade. Like those, the work pivots between enthralling and infuriating. Listening to The Most Lamentable Tragedy is a feat of endurance not enjoyment, as the band veers off at times into hymns, drone and indecipherable self-indulgence. Some of the songs are top-level punk and garage rock, but too much borders on unlistenable.

Benjamin Clementine :: ‘At Least For Now’

Song titles like “Winston Churchill’s Boy,” “Then I Heard a Bachelor’s Cry,” and “St. Clementine-On-Tea-and Croissant” might make listeners to At Least For Now believe they’re in for a challenging, pretentious listening experience. And that’s a fair criticism. But Benjamin Clementine’s voice demands to be heard. He has been praised by the likes of Paul McCartney and Bjork, and compared to luminaries like Nina Simone. The album could use greater attention to detail in its production — the incessant piano pounding is especially trying — but it is clear a promising talent has come to fruition in one of the most intriguing debuts of the year.

From quirky to revolutionary, the CES show has them all

Sure, the International CES show was chock full of connected cars, smart home sensors, music gear and computer gadgets, as you’d expect.

There were even drones buzzing the 160,000-plus people that tromped across the 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space along the Las Vegas Strip. But if you didn’t get to see some of these goodies, well, you just haven’t lived.

Of the tons of products on display, here are a few that inspired, brought a chuckle, or made you just say, hmmm, yeah, I definitely need that. (Wink.)

STOP, OR I’LL TAKE OUT MY IPAD

The gun holsters of old-timey detectives, hidden under an arm and concealed under a coat, have inspired a holder of something else entirely.

Tech Slinger’s holster features a pocket large enough for a tablet on one side and a smartphone and accessories on the other. When worn, devices hang below each arm. Think of it as a storage device for Inspector Gadget.

The company says the holster will prevent people from leaving their devices in a cab or the seat-back pocket of a plane. The devices stay with you but won’t weigh on a shoulder like a backpack or satchel might.

This year, Tech Slinger introduced a new “side order” sling to go around a person’s waist — great for restaurant staffers who carry tablets to take orders.

The company sells the holsters for $70 to $75.

FLATBREAD FIX

The smell of baking flatbread wafted through the air as a Silicon Valley startup demonstrated a robotic kitchen device.

The Rotimatic uses sensors, software and electric motors to make the Indian staple “roti,” or unleavened flatbread, at about one per minute — faster than the half-hour or more it takes to mix, knead and cook by hand. Just add flour, water and oil. The Rotimatic measures the ingredients, kneads and flattens the dough. It even adjusts the dough and cooking temperature for any spices or herbs added for variety.

What to pay for something that makes only one kind of bread? $599.

ABLE TO WALK AGAIN

One touching moment came when Shane Mosko stood up and walked with the aid of a robotic exoskeleton.

Mosko, who has partial leg paralysis from a spinal cord injury, usually needs a wheelchair. The robotic aide from Ekso Bionic now allows him to walk about 500 steps before tiring. The system includes mechanized leg braces, a battery backpack and a walking cane with controls to operate the system. Software and weight sensors are used to adjust the mechanized gait to the ability of each user.

“I think half of what this brings to the table is the psychological aspect of looking people in the eyes,” says Mosko. “You don’t think about it, but being in a wheelchair, you are down low, you’re in your own world.”

Ekso cofounder Russ Angold said the Ekso GT has been used by about 3,500 patients recovering from stroke and spinal injuries since it was first sold in 2012.

“It gives you so much hope that spinal cord injuries are going to be a thing of the past someday,” says Mosko.

BIKERS BEWARE

Volvo wants cyclists to know when a car is coming.

In partnership with Ericsson and sports gear maker POC, Volvo demonstrated how its car would get a signal from a nearby cyclist’s phone GPS. Meanwhile, the cyclist’s helmet would flash a series of lights and vibrate if that person’s phone senses that a Volvo is nearby and on a collision course.

Volvo says the connected helmet still needs more testing before it can be sold.

LOOK SEGWAY, NO HANDS

Zipping around as if he were floating, hands in his pockets, Kazar Beilerian of Montebello did effortless circles, literally, around the journalists walking from one press conference to the next.

He was riding his company’s IO Hawk. The forward-facing auto-balancing board just needed a little pressure from the toes to start moving.

Leaning forward too much, though, could sometimes send a person backward.

The device costs $1,800 and has a rival: Inventist’s Hovertrax.

HIGH-TECH SEWING

Cameras aren’t limited to smartphones anymore. A new sewing machine from Brother has one — and a scanner, too. You can scan a pattern and edit it on the sewing machine’s LCD screen. The machine will then embroider the pattern for you (though you can’t step away for long, as you need to manually change spools of thread to change colors).

As for that camera? Sorry, it’s not for selfies. The camera works with lasers to ensure you’re sewing straight.

The Dream Machine sells for $15,000.

ILLUMINATED SONGS

Sony’s Symphonic Light Speaker looks like a clear cylinder of glass that surrounds an LED light bulb. The glass itself vibrates imperceptibly to act as a speaker to play music from a smartphone or other device.

“It fills your room with music while obviously lighting up your daily life,” says Sony Corp. CEO Kazuo Hirai.

Perhaps totally unnecessary, yet cool.

Sony didn’t announce a price or release date.

TOMORROW’S GADGETS

A new smartwatch from Samsung has a glass interface to appear transparent, while a new phone has a hologram interface with fingerprint security. There’s also a Bluetooth earpiece with a metallic frame for combat-ready durability.

Where can you buy them? Sorry, they exist only in Hollywood. They were custom-made by Samsung for the upcoming “Avengers” movie from Marvel. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The props were on display at a private event at CES. There are no current plans to make even fake versions for fans.

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Hear (and watch) women roar on new fall TV shows

“The Good Wife,” “Homeland,” “Scandal,” “Nurse Jackie” and, well, “Girls” are just a few current shows that put women front and center.

And this fall, even more women are stepping up.

As if TV programmers were in a classroom cribbing off one another’s exams, a few common themes emerge. One prevalent theme: the fantasy world of comic books and sci-fi, courtesy of newcomers “The Flash” (CW), “Gotham” (Fox), “Constantine” (NBC) and “Forever” (ABC). Spies and anti-terrorism also remain big in our heebie-jeebie era, with “Scorpion” (CBS) as well as a couple of the shows below.

But strong females are the dominant trend – and dominate in prime time this fall.

– “MADAM SECRETARY” (CBS, Sept. 21). Elizabeth McCord is a loving wife and mother and a brilliant former CIA analyst who is abruptly drawn back into public life as U.S. secretary of state after the incumbent’s suspicious death. Tea Leoni plays a woman who has it all – including growing concerns that she, too, may be on the endangered list.

– “THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA” (NBC; Sept. 24). Detective Laura Diamond doesn’t flinch, whether it’s flouting regulations to nab a bad guy or cooking up a scheme to get her twin boys into a private school. She’s always in a frenzy, forever creating waves, and mostly getting what she wants through sheer force of will. She is played by Debra Messing.

– “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” (ABC; Sept. 25). She is a thunderous presence in the classroom as she teaches law students how to spring their clients, whatever it takes. And in her law practice, she is a Machiavellian figure leading a team of top-flight students to help her tackle tough cases. As Annalise Keating, series star Viola Davis is powerful and often disturbing, never to be overlooked nor underestimated.

– “BAD JUDGE” (NBC; Oct. 2). Kate Walsh plays a woman who, in the courtroom, makes Judge Judy look like a pushover, then, after-hours, makes Snooki look like a wallflower. This is a woman who doesn’t hesitate to announce from the bench her relief that her pregnancy test has come up negative. The only way she could create more of a stir is if she were appointed to the Supreme Court (maybe Season 2?).

– “CRISTELA” (ABC, Oct. 10). This sitcom’s young heroine is working multiple jobs to fund her dream of becoming a lawyer. And when she gets slammed by her family for taking so long in law school, or for drinking the last beer in the fridge, she can return their salvos with equivalent gusto.

– “JANE THE VIRGIN” (CW, Oct. 13). Jane Villanueva is a radiant and ambitious young woman whose future is abruptly complicated when she learns that, despite her decision to wait, her virgin status has been compromised through an accidental sperm insemination. Now she faces yet another, very unexpected challenge – pregnancy – necessitating hard choices that will affect not only her life but also many others’ around her.

– “STATE OF AFFAIRS” (NBC, Nov. 17). CIA analyst Charleston Tucker is joining such past and present CIA heroines as Elizabeth McCord (“Madam Secretary”) and “Homeland” stalwart Carrie Mathison, but with her own specialty: compiling and delivering to the Oval Office the president’s Daily Briefing every morning. But Charleston’s bond with the chief executive is even tighter than this, since she used to be engaged to the president’s son – that is, until he was killed by a terrorist attack. And wouldn’t you know it: the president is a woman, too!

Coming from Apple in the fall …

Apple’s Mac operating system will have easier ways to share and search, while the iOS software for iPhones and iPads is getting new features for keeping tabs on your health and controlling home devices.

Apple executive Craig Federighi said data from various fitness-related devices now live in silos, so you can’t get a comprehensive picture of your health. He said that will change with HealthKit in iOS 8. Apple is also working with the Mayo Clinic to make sure your weight, calorie intake and other health metrics are within healthy ranges.

Apple is also making it easier for various devices to work together, even though the Mac and mobile systems are separate. You can share songs, movies and books you purchase with your entire family, and you can sync photos more easily across several devices. Macs and mobile gadgets will share more features, and you can exchange files between the two more easily and even make phone calls from your Mac.

The free updates will come this fall, though app developers get a test version Monday as the company opened its 25th annual developers conference in San Francisco.

Here are the highlights:

CHANGES TO MAC COMPUTERS:

– The next Mac system will be called Yosemite, after the national park, now that Apple is naming it after California locales rather than cats.

– You’ll be able to search for content on the computer and on the Internet at once, similar to a feature available with Microsoft’s Windows 8.

– Apple is expanding its iCloud storage service so that you can store and sync files of any type, not just the ones designed specifically for iCloud. It’s similar to how other services such as Dropbox let you work with the same files on multiple devices more easily.

– A Mail Drop feature will make it easier to send large files. Instead of pushing the entire file by email and overloading mail servers, the Mac will create a link that the recipient can click for the full file.

– The Mac’s Safari Web browser will have more privacy controls and ways to share links more easily.

CHANGES TO IPHONES AND IPADS:

– Like the new Mac OS, the iOS 8 system will have a universal search tool to cover both your device and the Internet. It will also get the iCloud Drive service.

– The new software will sport interactive notifications, so you can respond to a message without having to leave another app. It will have new gestures, such as double tapping to see a list of frequent contacts.

– A QuickType keyboard promises predictive typing suggestions. For example, if you start typing, “Do you want to go to,” the phone will suggest “dinner” or “movie” as the next word. Currently, the suggestions are limited to spelling corrections.

– IOS 8 will have a built-in health-management tool to help people track their vital signs, diet and sleeping habits. Apple’s chief rival, Samsung Electronics Co., incorporated fitness-related features in its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S5, and announced plans last week for similar management tools.

– Apple announced new technology for controlling garage doors, thermostats and other home systems, although the company didn’t say how all the pieces will be linked together through what it calls HomeKit.

– For developers, Apple announced the ability to sell app bundles at discounted prices. The fingerprint security system on the iPhone 5s also will be accessible to apps written by outside parties, not just Apple functions such as unlocking the phone and verifying iTunes purchases.

WORKING TOGETHER:

– Apple’s AirDrop feature, which has let you share files with other devices of the same type, will now let iPhones and Macs share directly with each other.

– A new Handoff feature will let you switch devices more easily, so you can start writing an email on a phone and finish on a Mac. And when your iPhone gets a call, you can answer it using the Mac as a speakerphone.

– The iMessage chat service will be broadened to work better with Android and other competing phones.

ANNOUNCED EARLIER:

– Last week, Apple announced a deal to pay $3 billion for Beats Electronics, a headphone and music streaming specialist. The deal brings rapper Dr. Dre and recording impresario Jimmy Iovine to undetermined roles at Apple. During a demo Monday, Federighi placed a call to Dr. Dre to welcome him to Apple.

COMING SOON:

– Apple typically announces new iPhones in September and new iPads soon after that. Many analysts also believe the company will release an Internet-connected watch as part of Apple’s expansion into wearable technology.

SILENT:

– Despite speculation, Apple didn’t say anything about a long-awaited digital wallet that enables Apple to process payments on iPhones and iPads.

– Apple didn’t provide an update on CarPlay, its project for embedding automobiles with some of the iPhone’s main applications. But Apple did say it’ll be possible to tap the Siri virtual assistant without pressing a button. Cars with built-in CarPlay services and radios that are compatible with CarPlay are both expected this year.

New social network targets gay men

Fabulis, an online social network for gay men, is getting a new name, new features, and significant new funding.

The new name is Fab and the company that runs it recently raised $1.75 million in new funding. Investors include the initial backer, the Washington Post Co.

The new funding is in addition to an earlier $1.25 million in angel financing.

The social network claims to have 112,000 members. New features include an index of gay-friendly places with accompanying rankings, reviews, tips and photo uploads, complementing the site’s interactive profiles and database of gay-relevant events.

Fab.com also offers an iPhone app, which includes the ability to check in, identify your current location, rate places, name the people you’re with, upload images and more.

The company was founded earlier this year by Jason Goldberg, the former CEO of Jobster who started Socialmedian. Goldberg says Fab is adding 5,000 new users a week and that he has been “thrilled” by the reception so far.

The startup says 40 percent of its members log in at least 10 times per month, while 25 percent visit more than 50 times per month.

WiG tried the site but was unable to gain access, even going through Facebook as required.