Off Topic: What Do You Do With Your Old Tech?

Once upon a time, when the iPad was a new thing, I bought one. I didn't believe in it as a gaming platform, or really an anything platform. But I did believe in the App Store as a digital distribution platform, and tried to get a project off the ground reviewing apps. Fast forward, and those Gen One iPads can't do a whole lot these days. What do you do with your similarly outdated tech?

My project didn't succeed, and I lost interest in the iPad for a while. Flipboard was cool, but as a gamer, the Master Race has little need for touch devices. The odd worthy game that was made for touch held interest, but all the games trying to port console controls onto the screen, forcing me to smudge my thumb all over a circle without force feedback? Or worse, try to aim in an FPS? No, thanks.

So the iPad has actually seen more use by guests of my house than myself over the years, until this last weekend, when I wanted to dust it off for another project. Hitting the app store to grab a few apps I wanted to review, I kept coming up against messages like "IMPORTANT: Requires iPad2+ or newer", or "IMPORTANT: Requires iOS 6 or later." iOS 6 doesn't run on the first iPads, and there were more errors to come.

"Could not install because app requires a gyroscope". "Could not install because app requires a forward-facing camera". And when I finally could get a new game installed, a simple match 3, I was warned that my specs were lower than recommended and the game might run slower than intended. It did.

The funny thing is, even though it's been surpassed in hardware, software, and features, it still is quite a slick little machine, in the grand scheme of things. I have to feel like it's capable of doing more than Flipboard. There's certainly no way I'm buying another iPad, but what could this be used for, aside from the obvious option of giving it away?

Tech is now a space where re-purposing old gear has become an art. Hardware surpasses itself so quickly these days. What do we do with those old PCs that don't run new games anymore? Or old phones? What have you done?

[Computer Engineer] Image by Shutterstock


    I stockpile it all in drawers and whatnot. Eventually I'll get to the point where I can build a mighty throne of dead technology.

      Instead of an Iron Throne made of swords, a prickly chair of mobos and tablets made of conflict minerals? :P

        Joffrey constantly gets cut by his throne as he rules over the Seven Kingdoms. I'll be sitting in similar discomfort as I feed in Dota.

          I've had to build shelves because the drawers are full.

          Aerys II, actually. The Mad King.

            Both although I think it might have only happened to Joffrey in the TV show now that I think about it.

              Joffrey did cut himself in the show, methinks it was a nod to Aerys (not being able to relate whole stories in the show).

    PC parts I sell on eBay to recoup some of the money I spent on the new stuff. CPUs and GPUs sell very well.
    Smart phones I put in a drawer as back up for when the new one gets dropped and fixed under insurance.
    TV's usually get put in a spare room til they get handed on to family or via gumtree.

    When I buy a bunch of new gear my old stuff goes to my wife then her stuff goes to my spare games machine that friends use when they visit the previous games machine then gets given away to family/friends.

    Giving them away to family helps propagate the PC gaming master race.

    In an upstairs basement, pretty much stays their until I get sick of looking at it or whenever a bulk waste collection day comes up.

    My old mobile phones sit in a drawer until I get serious about cleaning and jsut throw them out. Their chargers/data cables sit in a giant box full of cables I keep on top of my pantry, which I periodically try to clean out of I'm 100% confident I don't still own the device it corresponds to. Old dead PCs go in the bin after I've removed the hard drive and performed repeated gravity-driven stress testing of it's data retention threshold. Surprisingly the tests always result in failure.

    Our old TVs have been hand-me-downs to members of my wife's family over the years, every time we've upgraded. This is the same way we plan to acquire a leather couch early next year, when my wife's aunt has paid off her bathroom renovations and catches the spending bug again.

    The iPad3 I won early last year is the first tablet I've owned. I don't know what our plans are for it. I feel like this kind of gadget goes obsolete slightly lower than other tech, so I guess theroetically we can at least use it for an increasingly limited number of apps and web browsing until it finally bricks one day. We're still using our old iPods with the exception of my wife's original 20 gig which bricked and she bid a sad farewell to it a couple of years ago. Our oldest (a 60 gig unit that was the last of the clickwheel era) is currently plugged into our car as an alternative to the terribleness of radio which seems to be 15% shit music, 1% good music, and 84% some indecipherable chatter from people who are supposed to be personalities but have none whatsoever.

    So. Yeah. I basically bin it, or I give it to someone else and I assume they eventually bin it.

    I have a CPU collection I plan to turn into a set of wind chimes.

    Hoard. Until I move and throw out what I can't be bothered moving.
    Then there's space to hoard more things, and the cycle begins anew.

    When I moved from QLD to VIC, I had to dump 10 PCs. I have no doubt I'd still have them if I was in QLD. And I still would have done nothing with them.

    A better question: what do you do with all your new tech? I have so much new stuff with not much purpose, that I quietly cry in a corner and call myself a bad man.

      I amalgamate all my regret and buyers remorse.

      I'm a couple iPads away from world domination.

    Mt old tech remains my current tech. What is this "disposal" I hear being bandied about?

    I either give it away or pull it apart and fiddle it into something else.

    sit and gather dust. generally worht not a lot on sites like ebay so dont bother.

    I use my old PC's for porn, torrents and really dodgy websites. Keeps my good machine respectable.

    This post made me really happy. :)

    I'm currently developing an iOS app, and since it's targeted mainly at iPad more than iPhone, I decided from the get-go that it'll support ALL of the iPads, including the first-gen.

    In practice, this means that it's not really possible to take advantage of many of the new features of iOS 6 or iOS 7, unless they have some kind of equivalent in iOS 5 (More often than not, there is). It also means constant testing on my trusty first-gen iPad is extremely important. Just because it runs smoothly on the iPad mini or the fourth-gen iPad doesn't mean it won't bring the first-gen to its knees (The main limiting factor is the amount of RAM the first-gen has).

    In any case, people are constantly telling me that I should ditch the first-gen support and make the app iOS 6+ exclusive. But I keep telling them that there are still plenty of people out there who are happy on their first-gen iPads and aren't thinking of upgrading any time soon still.

    And this post reaffirmed all of that.

    The first-gen iPad still isn't that old. If you bought one just before the announcement of the iPad 2, it would have ONLY just gone out of its warranty (assuming AppleCare) earlier this year. It's a bit depressing how quickly Apple deprecates its own hardware.

    Anyway, thanks a lot for the post Junglist! :)

    Last edited 08/10/13 2:01 pm

      Bless you sir! :P Yeah it's quite funny, I guess the games I would *want* to play on the iPad are different, and not the same as what I would expect on a PC. Upgrading an iPad for hardware power seems silly to me when I have the PC. But it's not all bad, I did have a decent play of Crabitron, and Freedom Fall.

      Very interesting to see the different ways of thinking between iOS devs and web devs, for whom compatibility is such a big issue. There were considerably more games on the New Releases list that I couldn't play, as opposed to those I could.

    depends. if it still works, then it gets stashed.
    it usually stays in the stash until it grows to an unmanageable size, then the whole lot gets tossed, rinse and repeat.
    i still have about 3 old old old old phones (like Nokia 6210's lol, a few of these bad boys complete with chargers. Of course I don't think any sim card even fits in them any more, and battery life is probably non-existent.
    I've also still got several ide hard drives, 20gig to 80gig, several PCI sound cards, several AGP video cards, even a couple of PCI modems and even, lol, some old school sd-ram, also old motherboards etc. I sort of have a old school computer museum ranging from the early to mid 80's to 2006 (last video card that died and was added to that collection)

    On the other hand I have 5 pc's sitting at home, all of which work and have monitors, but I only use 2 of them, one nice big gaming rig, and a low power sucker for media centre. 3 others are just sitting around unused, but they are P4's so they could certainly use a good throwing out. I like to keep one working one around, no matter it's age, just in case the media centre pc craps out, I can plug an old one in to at least have stuff playing in the background while i am fixing the usual one.

    Last edited 08/10/13 2:09 pm

    Old sticks of RAM make delightful Christmas tree ornaments.

      Or nerdy keyring things. Old SIMMs were great for that :>

    My old PC is now a media server for the family. Old iPhones either get sold off to friends or traded at EB. iPad is still around. Old consoles gather dust or get passed down to my little brother

    I usually just give old PCs or tech to family and friends when I upgrade or else it goes on hard rubbish.

    I turned old cases into planter boxes for herbs. I just filled the holes with polystyrene.
    The insides of the cases have been split between storage draws and used to upgrade family computers.

    When it's finally ready to be discarded, I either donate to a charity that will accept the item or drop it off at tech recyclers: there's a lot of elements and materials that can be salvaged from tech.

    I build whole pcs out of older parts and give them to friends with younger kids.

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