How to turn your electronics into cash

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Technology

If you’re like most Americans, you probably have a stockpile of old cell phones, laptops, or other electronics taking up valuable space in your home. It’s hard to know what to do with working gadgets you no longer need.
Luckily there are more options than ever for those who don’t want to fill landfills with stuff that others can use. In fact, it’s possible to earn a few extra bucks in the process.
How? A growing number of websites allow you to easily sell your old electronics for cash. They all work in the same basic way, although there are differences in details such as which products they buy, and, of course, in how much they’re willing to shell out.
Here’s how it generally works:

  • Search for the product you want to unload.
    Answer a few simple questions about its overall condition and which additional accessories you have.
    Company will calculate an offer for you.
    If you decide to sell, you can print out a pre-paid shipping label. Some will send a box for you to ship in.
    Payment options vary, but most allow you to choose between receiving a check in the mail or a credit to your PayPal account. In some cases, you can choose to donate the payment to charity.
  • Some tips before you get started:

  • Shop around to find the best prices. For an iPhone 3G, 8GB, in good condition bids ranged from $119 to $186, so it’s definitely worth the extra time it takes to visit a few websites.
    Be sure to check what the terms are if the item you send isn’t in the expected condition. Some websites will offer you the chance to change your mind and have the product sent back to you. Others will send products with no value to be responsibly recycled.
    Don’t wait too long to sell your old gadgets because the prices decrease as they get older.
    Remove your personal data before shipping out your product.
  • Below is a sampling of websites that will pay cash for your castaways.
    Gazelle buys a large assortment of products — everything from cell phones, PDAs, and MP3 players to laptops, digital cameras, gaming systems, and more. You can even sell old movies, games, and camera lenses.
    Choose between a check, credit to your PayPal account, an Amazon gift card (pays an extra 5%), or a donation to a charity (you choose from a list of organizations). If a gadget has no value, they’ll recycle it for you. Gazelle says it removes all personal data from every item it receives (you may still choose to erase data before you drop it in the mail). The company also has a program with Costco where you can receive a Costco cash card in exchange for old devices.
    You Renew buys or recycles cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, calculators, laptops, gaming devices, external drives, and tablet eReaders. If your device has no value, you can still ship it for free to YouRenew for safe recycling. As an added bonus, the company will either plant a tree or give a donation towards a domestic renewable energy product.
    NextWorth purchases iPods, iPhones, cell phones, cameras, e-Readers, laptops, video games, game console, GPS, DVD, and movies. Your choices for payment include: PayPal, check in the mail, Target gift card, or donation to the Red Cross for Haiti relief. The site tells you exactly how to remove all the data from your iPhone, which is a nice touch.
    Flipswap offers a set price for cell phones only. No questions are asked, but the company says phones need to be in “working condition.” If they don’t meet conditions, Flipswap will either pay you a portion of the money promised or they’ll recycle it.
    Payment choices include: Check or donations to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Sierra Club, or ASPCA. Several cell phones are listed as “no value,” in which case the company pays your postage to send it back for recycling. It plants a tree for every phone that’s recycled.
    Cell for Cash, as its name suggests, only buys old cell phones. They offer a set price without asking questions, but expect the phones to be in good condition. It wasn’t entirely clear in the terms and conditions how the company handles phones that don’t meet its expectations, so it’s worth checking out before you commit. Cell for Cash will send you a check in the mail.
    Just interested in recycling your old electronics?
    Search for local recycling events or visit Earth911.
    Major manufacturers will often take back their products, and some will even offer you a discount on buying a new product. Apple, for example, will give you a 10 percent discount on a new iPod when you bring in your old one to be recycled.
    Several retailers will allow you to bring in your gadgets for free recycling. And some, such as Radio Shack, allow you to trade in old devices for store credit.

    Study: Frequent password changes are useless

    Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Internet, Security, Technology

    Users hate them. They’re a massive headache to network administrators. But IT departments often mandate them nonetheless: regularly scheduled password changes — part of a policy intended to increase computer security.
    Now new research proves what you’ve probably suspected ever since your first pop-up announcing that your password has expired and you need to create a new one. This presumed security measure is little more than a big waste of time, the Boston Globe reports.
    Microsoft undertook the study to gauge how effectively frequent password changes thwart cyberattacks, and found that the advice generally doesn’t make much sense, since, as the study notes, someone who obtains your password will use it immediately, not sit on it for weeks until you have a chance to change it. “That’s about as likely as a crook lifting a house key and then waiting until the lock is changed before sticking it in the door,” the Globe says.
    On the bright side, changing your password isn’t harmful, either, unless you use overly short or obvious passwords or you’re sloppy about how you remember them. (Many users forced to change their password too frequently resort to writing them on sticky notes attached to their monitor, about the worst possible computer security behavior you can undertake.)
    Rather, frequent password changes are simply a waste of time and, therefore, money. According to the Microsoft researcher’s very rough calculations: To be economically justifiable, each minute per day that computer users spend on changing passwords (or on any security measure) should yield $16 billion in annual savings from averted harm. No one can cite a real statistic on password changes’ averted losses, but few would estimate it’s anywhere approaching $16 billion a year.
    Bottom line, IT departments: Drop the password-change mandates. You’re only creating extra work for yourselves and making the rest of us hate you.

    Facebook Preps 2-D Bar Codes That Work With Cell Phones

    Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Facebook, Social Networking, Technology

    QR codes, or 2-D bar codes that work with cell phone cameras, could change the way we use Facebook. But would you use the tech?
    QR codes—or “quick response” codes—since learning of them in a story last year about how a Texas town implemented them as part of a modernization project. QR codes have been huge in Europe and Asia for years, but the technology hasn’t gained traction in the U.S.
    Until, perhaps, now.
    QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that are read by an application for cell phones equipped with a camera. You scan the code with your cell’s camera and the browser brings you to a site with more information on the designated item. For example, that Texas town placed QR codes on landmarks; scanning the codes brought visitors to a website that described in more detail what they were looking at.
    Now, it appears that Facebook may be rolling out QR codes to profiles—there are reports that some users have already received the two features—”View QR Barcode” and “Generate status QR barcode”—but as of yet, they don’t seem to be functioning.
    If Facebook does decide to roll out the feature, it would undoubtedly send the QR code technology mainstream—and could change the way we use Facebook.
    Consider these two scenarios: You meet someone at a conference and instantly connect with them via a QR code printed on their business card. Or you pass an advertisement for a product and instantly access its Facebook fan page to learn more. Using QR codes will be another way to blur the lines between digital and physical relationships.

    Invisibility Cloak Project Becomes More Realistic

    Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Technology

    Invisibility cloak project is back on! It’s from a different team of scientists that were using silver-plated nanoparticles in water though, with these latest Harry Potter enthusiasts using photonic metamaterials to change light rays.
    The idea is to cloak an object and disguise it with the use of light rays, like a “carpet mirror”, as described in the Science publication by Tolga Ergin, a scientist from the German Karlsruhe Institute of Technology working on the project.
    Using polymer crystals with minuscule rods, Ergin found success with his “invisible cloak,” making it invisible to light wavelengths:
    “By changing the thickness of the rods, you can change the ratio of air to polymer.
    Since the refractive index of air is about one and the refractive index of the polymer is about 1.52, in principle, we can get any refractive index between those two numbers”

    Anyone looking at the object assumes the area is flat, and that there’s nothing hidden there—and it could theoretically hide any object, even a house. There are obviously limitations involved with the science, not least the length of time it takes to create the 3D cloaking structure.

    Feed Readers – Web Apps Or Desktops Apps? Which Is Better?

    Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Internet, Technology

    The debate still continues. Do you prefer using web based applications or software installed directly on your computer? In past articles we’ve covered word processors and Twitter clients. In this article I will be discussing the debate as it pertains to free feed readers.
    If you like to keep up with online content via feeds, you’re probably familiar with what a feed reader is. However, if you need more information about what feeds are all about, check out this article explaining a bit more about feeds and readers: What is a feed reader?
    There are two kinds of free feed readers out there. There are feed readers you log on and access online (web application) and there are the feed readers that you download and install directly on your computer (desktop application). Let’s take a look at the differences and discuss some of the pluses and minuses of each.
    The Web-Based Feed Reader
    Many people prefer the web-based variety of feed reader. Most of the time it is because they can log on and access their feeds from any computer connected to the Internet. These free reader programs (of which there are many) are hosted on remote servers so much of the resource load is carried by the remote servers.
    There are several popular web-based feed readers. My personal favorite is Netvibes mostly because I enjoy the interface. However, one of the most popular web-based feed readers is Google Reader which is very versatile offering many features.
    Minuses? Feeds aren’t actually downloaded for offline viewing like a desktop reader. You may also have to deal with a slower load time. Also, you need a browser window open whenever you want to keep an eye on your feeds which uses memory.
    Still, many still choose the web-based feed reader over the desktop feed reader.
    The Desktop Feed Reader
    Many people also prefer a desktop feed reader. They make this choice for many reasons, including more features and not having to have a browser open. These people also like having articles available to read offline when the Internet is not available.
    There are a few favorites that people seem to like such as FeedDemon and BlogBridge.
    Minuses? While on other computers, your feeds won’t be accessible with the same interface. Also, your own computer’s resources will be used to load your feeds, etc. This may not be that big of a deal for everyone, but it may be for some. Also, not everyone can or wants to have another program installed.
    Personal conclusion, if you choose to acknowledge it, is that it depends on each persons preferences and situation. For instance, if you jump computers a lot, a web based feed reader may be a good choice for you. If you are always on one computer and you don’t mind installing another program, then a desktop reader may be a good choice.
    You also need to look at how much access you have to the Internet. If you are always on, a web based reader will work fine for you. If access is spotty, or you travel a lot and there’s not always Internet available, a desktop reader may be more suitable.

    AdWords and iPhone apps: lessons learned

    Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: App Store, Applications, Google, Internet, iPhone

    Found this incredible article on the internet:
    via WeAreUproar
    We built Gratuitous in order to learn about developing and selling iPhone applications. We’re always looking for ways to improve our visibility in the App Store. Recently, though, we’ve been looking for ways to increase our visibility from outside the App Store into the App Store.
    AdWords to the rescue! Right? Maybe not. AdWords didn’t work out for Gratuitous, so we quickly changed course and moved on. But I’d like to share our findings with you
    Keyword Pricing
    We didn’t know anything about AdWords when we started, so we kicked it off with default settings. We typed up our ad title and body, and hit “go.” The default setting in AdWords is to optimize for impressions (how many times an ad is displayed) by automatically bidding on clicks. For our keywords (iphone tip calculator), the bid went to $2-3 per click. While that may not be bad for a lot of products, it doesn’t make sense for an iPhone app that sells for $1-2. Even if you were able to get the cost per click down to $0.50 – $1, remember that an ad click doesn’t guarantee a purchase – far from it.
    So, we switched over to manual pricing. We figured if we could get some clicks for $0.10 – $0.15, then they might be worth it. At that price, we didn’t see enough ad impressions to be worth our time. When bidding high we saw 3 clicks for 10,000 impressions. At 10 cents, the impressions went down to just a few per day. There is no way we’re going to see enough clicks to make that worth our while. If you’re selling a $10 app, then AdWords might be worth looking at.
    Copyright and “Limited” Distribution
    When we first submitted our ad, it went into review by the AdWords team because it included the word “iPhone.” It’s kind of hard to sell an iPhone app without saying “iPhone,” so we trusted that Google would see that our use of the term “iPhone” was an instance of fair use. After a few days, our ad was approved, but was marked as “Approved (limited).” Limited, to Google, means US-only. That was good enough for us, so we left it as is. If you need ad distribution outside the U.S. you can email Apple and ask them to approve your use in AdWords. Email with your AdWords account number and a nice, friendly note.
    Moving on
    It’s pretty obvious that AdWords isn’t going to work out for Gratuitous, but apps are only part of our business. “Apps for your life. Consulting for your business.” Instead of advertising Gratuitous, we’re now trying AdWords as a way to generate leads for our consulting service. This is agile business. We tried something, quickly evaluated the results, and adjusted strategy decisively.
    I resisted the temptation to spend a bunch of time becoming an expert in AdWords and going in 100%. There may be a way to make AdWords increase Gratuitous sales a bit, but it’s not worth our time. It’s clear that AdWords will not sell thousands of dollars worth of Gratuitous, so the experiment is concluded and we move on and adjust strategy. As a small business owner, I knew I needed to be quick and just test the waters. You’re going to do a lot of new things as a small business owner. Having a good sense for what to spend time on and what to do “just good enough” will be very valuable.

    Apple Releases iPad Tablet, New SDK, iBooks and iWork Apps

    Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: App Store, Apple Inc, Applications, Developer, iPad

    At today’s highly-anticipated media event, Apple announced the iPad tablet device, featuring a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 display and 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB capacities. Carrying a custom 1 GHz “Apple A4″ chip, the iPad weighs in at 1.5 pounds and is .5-inch thin. The iPad will be priced at $499, $599, and $699 for the varying capacity models without 3G, and $629, $729, and $829 with 3G. Wi-Fi only models are scheduled to ship in 60 days, with 3G-capable model shipping in 90 days. A video preview is also available.

    In terms of standard connectivity, the iPad offers Wi-Fi (802.11n) and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, with 3G models also offering cellular data connectivity. All iPad models have an accelerometer, compass, speakers, a microphone, and a 30-pin dock connector. The iPad also offers a claimed 10 hours of battery life for viewing video, with 1 month of standby battery life.
    Models with 3G will be unlocked and will be able to use GSM micro SIMs. In the U.S., AT&T will offer two data plan options ? $14.99 for up to 250 MB per month and $29.99 per month for unlimited data. No contract is required for either option, and free access to AT&T’s Wi-Fi hot spots is included. Data packages for iPad users outside of the U.S. will by in place by June.
    The iPad will have standard apps for personal information management, including an address book and calendar, along with e-mail, Safari, Google Maps, and Notes. A special version of iTunes is also on board to provide an optimized browsing experience on the device’s 9.7-inch screen.
    Accessories will also be available for the iPad, including a dock with a mechanical keyboard that will accommodate the iPad in portrait orientation and a case with a built-in stand for video viewing. Prices on these accessories were not announced. The iPad also supports Bluetooth keyboards.
    Multiple demos showed unmodified iPhone apps working on the iPad at original resolution and scaled up to take advantage of the iPad’s increased screen real estate. According to Scott Forstall during his time on stage, the iPad can run “virtually every” app without modification, with an on-screen button to scale an app’s resolution up and down as desired. iPhone users will not need to re-purchase apps to load them onto an iPad.
    The event was also rife with demos, showcasing Gameloft’s N.O.V.A., an art app called Brushes, Electronic Art’s Need for Speed Shift, and video within a Major League Baseball app.
    As expected from recent rumors about Apple’s negotiations in the past few weeks with major media publications, the New York Times was on hand to demo a dedicated New York Times app, stating they were proud to “pioneer the next generation of digital journalism.” The app offers an expanded view of the paper’s content with in-line video viewing and synchronization capability with the iPhone app.
    Jobs then unveiled the iBooks app, referencing Amazon’s Kindle and describing that they wanted to “stand on their shoulders and go a little further.” The iBooks app has a store – the iBookstore – featuring content from Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Hachette Book Group. iBooks uses the open ePub standard and offers tables of contents and intuitive page navigation on the iPad, along with the ability to read in portrait and horizontal orientations using the built-in accelerometer. Jobs highlighted True Compass by Edward M. Kennedy, describing its $14.99 price tag in the iBooks store.

    New iPad-specific versions of iWork applications also made an appearance at the event, with demos of Keynote, Pages, and Numbers by Phil Schiller on the iPad. Schiller pointed out specialized on-screen keyboards and drop-down menus to spotlight the ease of use of these apps on the iPad. The iWork apps will cost $9.99 each.
    At the end of the event, Jobs described the iPad as the company’s “most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.” He also pointed out that there are over 125 million iTunes accounts with credit cards and that using the iPad will be second-nature for the more than 75 million iPhone and iPod touch users.
    Developers can access the new iPhone SDK 3.2 today, offering tools for developing iPad applications including guidelines, sample code, and a simulator application.

    Associated Press Announces Plans for iPad Application

    Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Apple Inc, Applications, Developer, iPad

    The Associated Press today announced plans to create a new business unit known as “AP Gateway” that will focus on mobile platforms, with an application for Apple’s iPad tablet device set to serve as the launch product from the division. AP Gateway will also seek to leverage the technology behind its iPad application to assist its local news affiliates with creating packages of their own content.
    It appears likely that the application will require a paid subscription as the new organization continues its attempts to monetize mobile distribution of its content, although an AP executive suggested that it may appear as a free application at first.
    The group already has drawn up plans to charge for an application designed for the iPad, a 1.5-pound tablet computer that Apple Inc. is scheduled to release at the end of March. The price of the application has yet to be determined, although it might start free, according to Jane Seagrave, a senior vice president who becomes the AP’s chief revenue officer Monday.
    Much like the AP Mobile news product, the iPad app will show custom packages of headlines, stories, photos and video from the AP and from newspapers and broadcasters that choose to contribute their content and share the revenue. AP members also could use the same system to offer their own iPad apps that show their own content.
    Attempts to bring newspaper content to the iPad have hit a few hurdles as the device’s launch approaches with internal units of The New York Times reportedly vying for control over the distribution and disagreeing over pricing for the newspaper’s content. Newspaper and magazine publishers have also been expressing concern over revenue sharing with Apple and the company’s unwillingness to share subscriber information that publishers depend on for marketing and tailoring their content.

    Apple Claims Display Issues on 27-Inch iMac Have Been Addressed

    Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iMac, Technology

    Gizmodo reports that it has received official word from Apple that the company has addressed issues with flickering and yellow tinting on its 27-inch iMac models.
    We’ve addressed the issues that caused display flickering and yellow tint. Customers concerned that their iMac is affected should contact AppleCare.
    For its part, however, Gizmodo notes that it is still receiving reports of yellow-tinted displays from iMac purchasers, although it is encouraged by reports of at least some customers receiving machines free of the issue.
    Early reports of flickering have been addressed through a pair of firmware updates that appear to have solved the problem for existing users. More recent complaints of yellow-tinting on the iMac’s displays also surfaced, with a report claiming that Apple had at least internally acknowledged the issue and had halted production of the machines pending a fix.
    Apple quickly refuted claims that production had been halted, and pointed to high demand as the cause of ongoing shipping delays for the machines. Apple had also reportedly been offering 15% rebates to purchasers of the troubled machines, but today’s comments from Apple are the first official claim that both issues have been addressed.
    Meanwhile, availability of the 27-inch iMac models has continued to improve, drifting down to 3-5 business days for shipping windows earlier this week from 5-7 business days

    4G: Don’t get your hopes up

    Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: iPhone, Technology

    Anyone who suffered through the decade or so while U.S. cellular networks figured out how to upgrade their infrastructure from 2G to 3G — which they’re all finally running now — is probably pretty darn excited that people are already talking about rolling out 4G, the next generation of networks that, in theory at least, sounds really really fast.
    Sorry folks, put away the candles and the birthday hats: The reality is that when 4G actually arrives, it really won’t be much faster than 3G is today.
    What is 4G, anyway? The name refers to the fourth major generation of cellular technology to be developed, but as with 3G it comprises a variety of standards with acronym-heavy names that you probably have zero interest in. The bottom line is that 4G, like 3G before it, should represent a massive leap in performance over the prior generation of mobile radio technology. If historical trends continued, 4G would be 10 to 20 times faster than what we’re working with today, a huge jump that would have a massive impact on how mobile data and entertainment services are consumed.
    Well, don’t get your hopes up, folks. Analysts are warning consumers that the first 4G networks won’t be much faster than 3G — and question marks remain on upgrades down the line. While no one knows what the true actual average speeds will be when these networks launch, it’s clear they won’t begin to approach their theoretical maximum speeds, generally quoted in the range of 70 to 100Mbps.
    Rather, expect to see speeds well under 10Mbps, and probably closer to 5Mbps… not much better than the 2 to 3.5Mbps you can achieve on a 3G network with good coverage today.
    And even though some networks, led by Sprint’s WiMax efforts, are already rolling out 4G pilot projects in a variety of cities, we’ve still got years to go before 4G becomes a reality for most of the country. One network hardware vendor posits that even five years from now, 3G will still be the dominant mobile standard. The bottom line: Don’t get suckered by a hot acronym until the technology is actually proven.
    4G? More like 3.25G from the sound of it.

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