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Ask Slashdot: Best Use For an Old Smartphone?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the what's-old-is-new dept.

Handhelds 301

zaba writes "The original iPhone was a dream come true for me. Phone, camera, mp3 player and data all in one device. It had more cpu and memory than my first computer! Several generations of smartphones later, my wife and I have some random smartphones (some iPhone, some Android) lying around. Between privacy concerns, bad batteries, etc. these phones are not worthy of donation. So, I ask you, Slashdot readers, have you done anything fun with an old smartphone? Any suggestions/ideas?"

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Burn them (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41104987)

Seriously, what kind of tool are you that needs to ask this on Slashdot.

Burn the mother fuckers already, and get on with your life. Ok ok, you and your wife are very cool and nerdy for having so many old phones lying around your house. Now move on!

Re:Burn them (5, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105323)

Burn the mother fuckers already, and get on with your life.

Yeah, but those of us who don't have a life can use half-dead Android phones as Arduino controllers.

  Or we could use them with AndroUAV to control our own drones. [] [] [] []

Re:Burn them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105583)

Since this loser needs to ask the question on Slashdot, clearly he is neither a builder of drones, nor a user of Arduino. To build drones, or even use Arduinos, you have to have at least a small amount of initiative, self-motivation and intelligence. The asker of the question probably has very little of any of those.

Using a shitty old Android phone for any of those applications is a temporary hack at best. Anybody who is serious about any of those things would use some sort of cheap embeddable SBC (like a Beagleboard or Raspberry Pi) over a shitty old Android phone. For drone control, a shitty old Android phone is about the worst thing I can imagine, when laptops with much larger screen, keyboard and USB ports are far more cost effective.

As for his shitty old iPhones -- drone control with a shitty old iPhone? Are you trying to be funny?

So I stand by my original position. He should send his shitty old phones into fire or sledgehammer them, and after that, he should try to develop the ability to think for himself.

Donate it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41104989)

to underpriviled inner city orphans in a homeless shelter.

Re:Donate it (5, Funny)

Macrat (638047) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105197)

to underpriviled inner city orphans in a homeless shelter.

No one underprivileged would be able to afford the AT&T iPhone plan.

Re:Donate it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105223)

Unless they're on welfare. Then it's practically REQUIRED that they have a shiny expensive smartphone while taking other people's money for doing nothing.

Will it blend? (3, Funny)

stox (131684) | more than 2 years ago | (#41104997)

For science, of course.

Replace the batteries (3, Interesting)

otuz (85014) | more than 2 years ago | (#41104999)

The batteries aren't as hard to replace as some non-techies make you believe. Buy the parts from chinese retailers, do the work yourself and the phone will perform like when it was new. There are a lot of people with worse phones, who would appreciate even an old smartphone.

Re:Replace the batteries (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105043)

non-techies? what the fuck? do you think you're some motherfucking seymour cray or william shockley? go fuck yourself in the ass, neckbeard.

Re:Replace the batteries (5, Funny)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105093)

I suspect AC throws away his TV when the remote batteries die.

Re:Replace the batteries (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105123)

Intelligent people don't even HAVE a TV.

So what does that make you, "jimmy device" ?

Other than a smart-mouthed twerp, I mean.

Re:Replace the batteries (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105329)

Intelligent people don't even HAVE a TV.

Intelligent people have a TV but don't watch what you watch. You're confusing the device for the content.

Re:Replace the batteries (3, Insightful)

Eltomato159 (2713243) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105537)

I don't think it's fair to decide somebody's intellect by the technologies they own. There are plenty of great TV shows, there's just many more horrible shows. That does not mean people that own a television are less intelligent than people without TVs.

I wonder what a beowulf cluster of these would do? (4, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105007)

Actually, for real. Has anyone considered networking a couple hundred old iPhones or Android phones together to form some sort of beowulf cluster of them?

Re:I wonder what a beowulf cluster of these would (4, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105281)

Didn't they just do that with 500,000 Android phones in China?

Re:I wonder what a beowulf cluster of these would (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105293)

fuck beowulf clusters... think an array of LCD with built-in controller and wireless communication!

Re:I wonder what a beowulf cluster of these would (2)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105687)

If you're thinking of making one giant LCD display out of them (to connect to your computer), it's a LOT harder than you think. Many people that start such a project overlook the bandwidth requirements of what-ever computer is generating the content for all the displays. Even physical links (DVI, etc) can't handle a whole lot more than an expensive computer monitor without needing a second cable to handle the additional bandwidth.

Re:I wonder what a beowulf cluster of these would (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105343)

Yes, the hot grits prevent scaling beyond exponents of n+2 without Portman compensation.

Re:I wonder what a beowulf cluster of these would (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105679)

Actually, KAAPI (I distributed memory workstealing programming framework) was ported to Iphone/Ipod touch a few years ago. It still appears on their website []
Not sure if it still run...

iPhone dream (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105013)

Phone, camera, mp3 player and data all in one device

Older Symbian s60 devices did the same for a much lower price and IIRC better battery life
It wasnt a dream come true, it was a feature phone dressed up as a smartphone

Re:iPhone dream (4, Insightful)

otuz (85014) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105263)

They really didn't do the same thing. The killer app for the iPhone was a decent touch-screen web browser and a very stable OS, neither was available on the S60 devices. It also shifted away the phone app from being the centerpiece to just being another app amongst others, which resulted in a paradigm shift. Battery life on Symbian phones was also quite awful, if you actually used any radios instead of just keeping the phone in stand-by. Symbian phones were also very crash-prone, unlike the iPhones, and you wouldn't get any major firmware updates, merely some hotfixes to some of the serious bugs.
You aren't just comparing apples to oranges, you are comparing a mid-90's low-end keypad-controlled handheld system design to a modern, touch-screen-controlled Unix-based system.

Re:iPhone dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105429)

Personally I prefer physical keypads, but that's just a personal thing, so ignore that

Symbian did have Opera Mini and mobile which were decent browsers

"You aren't just comparing apples to oranges, you are comparing a mid-90's low-end keypad-controlled handheld system design to a modern, touch-screen-controlled Unix-based system"

yet the "mid-90's low-end keypad-controlled handheld system " had a superior feature set than the "modern, touch-screen-controlled Unix-based system", though the UX was worse

Opera Mini was NOT a decent browser (-1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105599)

Symbian did have Opera Mini and mobile which were decent browsers

You have go to be joking. Those things were crap compared to the iPhones REAL browser.

The system you dote on did a few things very well, but that was the end of it. The iPhone was far better at web browsing, had far superior UI and vastly more abilities (even before the app store opened!).

Re:iPhone dream (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105733)

I've never used a phone with better battery life than S60, moreso the later models. Because it runs an OS that was designed ground up for ancient mobiles, it uses very little resources.

Always been very stable in the past. Some stuff was clunky as hell, though. But battery life, and reception was the best I've ever experienced. Great for... phoning.

Re:iPhone dream (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105317)

I remember those phones... The phrase: "Jack of all trades, master of none." was very common.

The iPhone really was a big deal, sorry.

Re:iPhone dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105471)

In that case, shouldn't you have sticked with s40 series then?

linux remotes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105025)

Try to crack them to put a new OS on there and see where that takes you.

Travel phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105027)

Well, if they still work, use them when traveling outside the US, as they can be unlocked, so you can just pop in a local sim card.

And, as a backup for your current phone, since if you break it, repairing it or replacing it outside your subsidized price window will be expensive.

Mini-me (4, Interesting)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105031)

Plug it in and use VNC to a separate session to make it a mini-head for monitoring things like email, tweets, system sensors, etc. For example, what I did with my tablet [] .

Re:Mini-me (1)

otuz (85014) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105287)

Yeah, and for the iPhones, he could use AirDisplay, which makes the device a "real" wireless display head.

Re:Mini-me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105341)

I could use some head action. Any thai lady boys in the house? :)

Use it as a server (5, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105035)

For Android phones, use it as a Web/FTP/DNLA/DNS/Email/Proxy server. []

Re:Use it as a server (5, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105103)

This package actually does a few more things as well ( DLNA, DNS, Dynamic DNS, Email, FTP(S), Proxy, SMS Gateway, Time, HTTP(S), (secure) WebDAV), and the performance seems pretty impressive for what it is. Of course, the power consumption is really low as well. I'm pretty damn impressed by the app in general.

Re:Use it as a server (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105207)

Please tell us how you installed an ethernet jack!

what's wrong with WiFi? (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105319)

For light usage it should be fine.

Re:Use it as a server (4, Interesting)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105683)

I have an old N900 lying around that I occasionally use as a small BitTorrent-server, SSH-server, for Wifi-penetration testing on-the-go and so on. Extremely handy for that.

PBX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105041)

Leave them plugged in if the batteries don't work. Have one do call forwarding to the others when the line is occupied (as opposed to call waiting? Is that possible?)

Re:PBX (2)

otuz (85014) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105141)

Call forwarding isn't a phone feature, it's a carrier feature.

wireless video intercom/cctv (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105047)

With a couple of phones that have user-facing cameras, you could set up a sweet touchscreen video intercom at your frontdoor. If you're worried about them being thieved, you could conceal all but the camera lense and make it a one-way experience only.

For that matter you could use them as wireless CCTV security and potentially check in on them from home, the office, while on holiday.

Re:wireless video intercom/cctv (2)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105399)

With a decent camera and WiFi it seems like an old smart phone could be hacked into a rather sweet nannycam. Or with GPS + WiFi you could attach it to your car to track where your teenage children are really going when they need it to go study at a friends house. Thank goodness my parents weren't into smartphone hacking ;-)

Donate To Elderly (3, Funny)

eljefe6a (2289776) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105057)

Donate the phone to the elderly [] . Oh wait, this is slashdot. Root the phone and then donate it.

Remote Controls (5, Interesting)

Falc0n (618777) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105065)

I use old phones over wifi to control my XBMC media boxes. When I build my new house in a few years, I'll probably incorporate them into home automation since I'll have around 10 lying around. Most phones in airplane mode with wifi will last at least a week, and it lets me have chargers around the house to keep them (or my current phone) plugged in most of the time.

Re:Remote Controls (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105357)

That's sort of what I did. I mounted an old Android tablet on the wall and use it as my HVAC control system. It's connected over USB to an ATMega that controls the relays on a scratch built PCB.

The fact that this headline is even possible ... (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105073)

... is vaguely mind-boggling to me.

I must be getting old.

Old iPhone? Sell it (3, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105077)

I believe I bought my iPhone 3G for $300 on launch day and I sold it about 3.5 years later to a friend for $125, which was well under the asking prices at that time, most of which were around $150-175 if memory serves. I was shocked to see that it had held its value so well, despite being two generations outdated at that point (and feeling like it too).

The scene might be a bit different these days, now that Apple has started offering older models for lower prices, but considering your phone can be purchased without needing to commit to a contract, that alone makes it more valuable than you may realize.

Re:Old iPhone? Sell it (2)

mkraft (200694) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105359)

If it's an original iPhone, it's probably worthless.

Still usable, and still worth a bit (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105617)

If it's in good shape and still works, you can still get a decent price [] for them.

It's still quite a usable device.

Re:Old iPhone? Sell it (1)

LodCrappo (705968) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105575)

The 3G launched June 9, 2008. If you sold it to your friend 3.5 years later, by my admittedly sketchy math that's december of last year.

I didn't do much research, but its easy to find that the going price for a brand new iphone *4* was $99 in december of last year, and you could get them even cheaper on sale: []

yes thats with 2 year contract, and not being tied to a contract can be a bonus in some situations. otoh you have to have service anyway and most carriers don't give a discount for bringing your own device, so in reality it often saves the typical person exactly $0. On top of that, what are the realistic chances a 3.5 year old phone with difficult to replace battery is going to last 2 more years without additional expense.

Unless I'm missing something, it sounds like you probably sold your friend a worn out 3.5 year old (and 3 generations behind current) iphone for more than the cost of a brand new one only one generation behind. Doesn't seem like a very good deal.

Re:Old iPhone? Sell it (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105689)

Looks like you posted concurrently with a correction I just posted, but yeah, I realized after the fact that I was off by an entire year. It was 2.5 years later, not 3.5. That was a brain fart on my part when doing a last minute edit before posting.

Regarding the price, I do believe that there was some other factor at play in inflating the used prices of the 3G (and the original iPhone too) at that time. I think there was something that people were able to do with the 3G that wasn't possible with later phones right then (maybe unlock it for use on other carriers?), so demand for it was being driven up. I know I sold it before the Verizon iPhone was announced, and it wasn't until much later I believe that Apple started selling unlocked phones themselves.

Also, in double-checking myself, I actually went back and re-read the e-mails where we talked about this stuff (the buyer was a friend from my hometown), and it turns out I misremembered some other stuff. The going prices on eBay at the time weren't the $150-175 I said above, but were apparently $200-300 based on our e-mails. His initial offer was $150, and he was prepared to go higher, but I managed to talk him down to $125, since I didn't think it was worth as much as he was willing to pay, and I also tossed in my rather nice case for free, since I had no need for it. I even made a joke about how bad of a bargainer I was since my price was lower than what he was offering.

As I said though, I did remember being shocked at the value it had managed to retain, since I also recall it being horribly sluggish by the time I replaced it.

Re:Old iPhone? Sell it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105757)

A $99 deal won't help you if you need to replace a broken phone halfway through the contract.

Re:Old iPhone? Sell it (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105589)

Correction: it was about 2.5 years later, not 3.5, just in case anyone actually cares. I originally had 2.5-3, thought about it some more, realized it was on the lower end of that range (bought it summer of '08, sold it winter of '10), but then brain farted and put down the wrong number. Sorry about that.

Re:Old iPhone? Sell it (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105723)

Second correction: the going price was $200-300, based on the e-mails between my friend and me.

Tonight is not a good night for my recollection...

Re:Old iPhone? Sell it (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105721)

i think you mean gamestop offering old/used models for lower prices. then again its the same issue what can you do with a end of life iphone that gets no new apps or updates other then of course use the phone part and mp3/video player

Re:Old iPhone? Sell it (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105739)

I have no idea what you're talking about with Gamestop. I was talking about Apple selling the iPhone 3GS [] for free and the iPhone 4 [] for $99...assuming you're willing to get a 2-year contract with each. Those were the older models and lower prices I was referring to.

iPod touch (2)

naringas (733106) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105079)

mp3 player, of course a good rom would permit FLAC and other formats... however you would probably need a good capacity SD card (if the cell supports it) ...just keep it in airplane mode to improve battery life.

IP Video Camera (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105095)

Plug the phone into a wall outlet and install one of the numerous free Android apps that turns the phone into a wi-fi IP video camera. Mount it on your front porch and see who stops by when you're not home. Integrate the camera into an external Zoneminder server if you want motion detection, alarms, and recording.

Re:IP Video Camera (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105219)

Why did you post an insightful comment as AC?

A home wifi phone would be very useful.

Dedicated Pandora/Spotify client (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105097)

I use my old iPhone 3g as a dedicated client or "remote control" for Pandora or Spotify around the house (coupled with Airport Express base stations in the rooms with speakers). Yes, I know I could do this with the phone in my pocket, but damnit that thing spends more time in its charging cradle than in active use.

Permanent bathroom smartphone (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105113)

Mount it near your toilet for easy access to Angry Birds or whatever when in the toilet, or set up a small speaker set in your shower room and use the smartphone to play music from online streams over WLAN or similar.

Throw it in the trash if its android. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105117)

Where it belongs.

Steam punk it (4, Interesting)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105129)

Build a cool ass steam punk enclosure for it. Make it a table top phone with a handset using a mic and headphones (hide them inside the ear and mouth piece). Keep the display but root it and get some brass typeset graphics for the number keys, etc.

If it can do Skype or video chat try that too.

Make the enclosure big and brass with lots of adjustable levers for positioning it (3 arms would do).


Make a Jukebox out of it and enclose it in something with cool speakers.

Maybe even both.

droid 1 + dock = alarm clock (1)

in_ur_face (177250) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105135)

Use my OG droid + dock as a bedside alarm clock.

Privacy? (2)

blogan (84463) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105143)

Are you unsure if you can completely wipe the phone?

Anyways, put it on craigslist. Or ask around. I'm sure someone will be willing to take them. I use Android devices as scoring devices for quiz meets, so if someone wanted to give me a pile of Android phones, I'd be happy. Or if someone wants to get into development, having a range of phones is always helpful.

Good toy for kids and grownups (2)

murder_face (2574275) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105163)

I gave one of my old android phones to my toddler so she can download games and such without harming mine or my wifes phones. I also have one loaded with stuff like faceniff, shark, wifikill, pixie, and stuff like that, basically a simple pentesting platform.

Re:Good toy for kids and grownups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105305)

I do the same thing. I have one older Android phone set up as an XBMC remote and one set up with zoodles child lock for my kids.

Touchpad/keyboard for media center computer (1)

Joshua Fan (1733100) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105177)

If you have a Mac Mini or other living room media center setup, use this Logitech app [] or a similar app to control it.

Re:Touchpad/keyboard for media center computer (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105469)

For Android I use Unified Remote [] , works well for controlling my HTPC. It's Windows only but much more full functioned than most of the competitors (there's even an API for writing custom remotes). There's another one out there that uses a Java server for the PC portion that I tried but it only did basic keyboard and mouse emulation and Google doesn't show it in my list of previously installed apps now.

I would go with... (5, Interesting)

arsemonkey (1970712) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105195)

Ebay it and buy a bottle of wine. Then drink the wine with a friend....

Alarm (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105199)

I always keep my previous Android as not only an emergency spare, but use it in a dock in the bedroom as an alarm clock and weather station.

The only thing annoying is that you can't use NTP with it, unless you are rooted... so since there is no cell connection, time will drift.

Wifi Cameras (1)

MassiveForces (991813) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105205)

There are several apps you can use to turn them into IP cameras that operate over wifi. You'd just need a plug to keep them powered and wifi, and can then use a computer to record when they detect movement, making them a handy security camera.

Compared to the price of your usual IP camera's its a bargain solution.

Put Debian on it (2)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105213)

and run it in a chroot jail. [] Then benchmark the processor with Povray 3.6:

    Debian 7.0(armhf), gcc 4.6, -mhard-float -mcpu=cortex-a9 -march=armv7 -mthumb
        -mfpu=neon -funsafe-math-optimizations
    Parse Time: 0 hours 0 minutes 4 seconds (4 seconds)
    Photon Time: 0 hours 1 minutes 30 seconds (90 seconds)
    Render Time: 1 hours 20 minutes 38 seconds (4838 seconds)
    Total Time: 1 hours 22 minutes 12 seconds (4932 seconds)

    Debian 6.0 (armel), gcc 4.4, -mfloat-abi=softfp -mcpu=cortex-a9
    Parse Time: 0 hours 0 minutes 4 seconds (4 seconds)
    Photon Time: 0 hours 1 minutes 43 seconds (103 seconds)
    Render Time: 1 hours 49 minutes 59 seconds (6599 seconds)
    Total Time: 1 hours 51 minutes 46 seconds (6706 seconds)

Here are some results compared to other processors:
Ordered by pps/GHz:
Core i5 2400S (2.5 GHz): 235.17 pps ; 94.07 pps/GHz
Athlon II x4 (2.8 GHz): 179.82 pps ; 64.22 pps/GHz
Celeron 220 (1.2 GHz): 81.15 pps ; 67.62 pps/GHz
Pentium 4m (1.5 GHz): 36.24 pps ; 24.16 pps/GHz
Exynos 4210 (1.2 GHz): 29.90 pps ; 24.91 pps/GHz (-mfloat-abi=hard)
Atom N270 (1.6 GHz): 28.96 pps ; 18.10 pps/GHz
Exynos 4210 (1.2 GHz): 21.99 pps ; 18.32 pps/GHz (-mfloat-abi=softfp)
PowerPC 750 (700 MHz): 20.47 pps ; 29.25 pps/GHz
Pentium !!! (450 MHz): 12.43 pps ; 27.62 pps/GHz

Re:Put Debian on it (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105605)

As a long lurking member of the POVRay community, you are sick and twisted.

throw them out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105217)

seeing you and the wife clearly have money out the ying yang to piss away on that many smart phones over such a short period of time that the only reasonable thing for you to do is throw them all in the trash.

Possible Re-uses (1)

archieaa (961120) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105235)

The first 2 that come to mind are Paper Weight and Skeet. There likely better re-uses than Skeet but, I doubt they are any that are more fun. First you call someone that bugs you, Your boss, your Ex, the IRS or DMV then you yell pull, and blam. That's how you drop a call.

Build a robot (1)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105245)

Robot []

You could also turn into a web cam or, with appropriate sensors, a weather station.

Time Lapse Camera (1)

macmouse (525453) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105249)

A few months ago, a co-worker had setup an improvised security camera for our by using an old iphone, a power cord, running a free app and some tape.

It was mainly to protect the room which was full of computer equipment (that was going to be deployed at a convention, for a brief time and then brought back).

It was much more amusing to see us going in and out with carts of gear then it was an effective security device, but it would could be used for a lot of fun art/photography projects.

Super easy to setup, free (if you already have the phone) and it's easy to get the pictures/video off it.

What I've done.... (1, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105261)

I upgraded from an iPhone 4 to a 4S last year The 4 is still working beautifully and I keep it up-to-date because it will be my backup phone in case my current phone is put out of commission. The way I manage this is as soon as I get home, my main phone goes on the charger and the rest of the stuff I do (email, web browsing, etc) is done on the old 4. I could flip over to the old phone in a jiff, should the unexpected occur, and not feel like I'm using a foreign device.

I have an older 3G phone that I still keep around. I will not donate it because I'm not convinced I can wipe it securely. I never got around to it but I wanted to turn it into a clock. I thought it'd be handy to have that sitting under my computer monitor so I can keep a eye on the time while I'm playing games. Bonus points for showing me email notifications .

I found a $1.00 app that takes photos at certain intervals and uploads them to an FTP space. I was going to use that as a poor-man's security system.. well really I just mean a "what does my cat actually do during the day?" cam. The only thing stopping me there is I haven't figured out how to mount it somewhere. I imagine some velcro-tape will do but I haven't taken the time to try that out yet.

On a side note: I do agree with you about NOT donating it. A friend of mine sold me his iPod Touch several years ago. He did a factory reset on it, but when I installed Pandora on it his preferences came up. I guess he had it before and I was logged in as him (For fun I ran a bunch of Britney Spears songs.. I never did find out if I succeeded in polluting his playlist.) I need to be clear that this is a first generation iPod Touch and it's possible that Apple has since fixed that. But it was enough to make me wary of handing any of my old devices over to someone else. It's also the reason why I enabled encryption on my Galaxy Tab the moment I fired it up.

I have an old WinMo phone that isn't doing anything. Is there anything useful or fun I can make it do?

Re:What I've done.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105431)

Consume you little bastard, Consume.

Re:What I've done.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105525)

envy much?

Give to aspiring developer ... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105265)

Do you have any plans to do mobile development? If so save them for debugging and testing. You may want to leave old operating systems on them for this purpose.

If you have no interest in mobile development do you have someone among your family and friends who does? Give it to them for debugging and testing.

Easy peasy (1)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105267)

Old second gen iPod touch + clearance dock for $10 equals 32 GB music system. though I have been contemplating a permanent hook up for my van.

Open source! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105275)

Give it to one of the Open Source mobile distribution developers! For example: Replicant, SHR, Debian: [] [] []

Old smartphones... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105277)

make great secondary mp3 players. For the car, for the exercise room, whatever.

Well (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105387)

Recycle it and move on....Stupid to make a big deal out of everything.

Smart Thermostat. (1)

bjwest (14070) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105405)

I have an original Motorola Droid that I'm going to see about turning into a smart thermostat. When I get the time, I'm going to try to interface an HID chip like the U421 [] with it. Once I get those two talking, it should be trivial to interface with the furnace and AC units and a few 1-Wire temperature sensors around the house.

True, that phone is probably more powerful then my first two or three computers combined (TI-99A, C=64 and a whopping Turbo (4X) XT compatible), but it's just sitting in a drawer anyway.

microwave (2)

dnorman (135330) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105417)

compare how long it takes for each old smartphone to asplode. hilarity ensues. maybe do it outside. and stand behind a lead wall.

Portable Wifi Card. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105425)

My old Droid 1 has come in handy many times with this. You tether your internet connection to your computer through USB, then have your phone connected to the WIFI. Works great. Played games through it too with little issue.

Try this: (1)

sgnn7 (2127164) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105435)

For Android, install Debian Linux in parallel using LinuxInstaller (not on the market but I'm sure you can track it down using google) and run whatever the heck you want on it.

PS: I'm working on reimplementing the functionality of that app at [] which can help you figure out how to do it manually if you can't find it.

What about old Palms? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105477)

Like Treo 680, Vx, etc.?

WiFi Android mini-tablet (1)

slk (2510) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105553)

It's like an iPod Touch; it's a pocket-sized Android tablet. They're handy for kid-entertainment (install a bunch of games), and worth little enough that eventual loss / destruction is no big deal. They don't have to be the latest and greatest; an old Droid 2 runs most games just fine. They also run Kindle really well, as a truly pocket-able e-reader (again, for kids, etc) They're particularly handy when "quick entertainment" is desired, but an iPad is really too big to carry around.

What we used to do was to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105581)

get a pleeb real drunk, shove one up his ass while on vibrate AND ring, and send him to the ER to get it xrayed.

Decoy phone to lure thieves (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105619)

(Posting anonymously since it might blacklist my username in the future...)

If I'm in the mood for some real-life trolling, I'll take an old phone, charge it up and throw in an old pre-paid SIM which I still have some credit on. I'll then leave the phone on a table or chair or some other sort of platform in public view. I'll ensure that the phone is placed a reasonable distance away from anyone else, such that it looks as though the phone was forgotten about rather than the owner being within arms-reach. I'll then observe it for a while at a distance (say around lunchtime, eating food at another table).

When someone notices, picks up the phone and decides to walk away with it (and they will, given time - generally less than 5 minutes), I'll come up to them shortly afterwards and accuse them of pinching my "friend's" phone. Most of the time they'll lie through their teeth, saying I've got the wrong person and sometimes getting angry that I've even accused them of theft. Once this happens I'll just whip out my regular phone and call the spare/decoy phone. It'll be preset with a specific annoying pop music ringtone set to maximum volume, which I'll warn the thief about that if it rings and plays such a ringtone, it's definitely my phone in question and not theirs by coincidence.

The look on their faces when they realize they've been publically caught out as a thief is priceless. Lots of apologetic "sorry, was going to find the owner" form of responses and other shit is highly entertaining. I'd never use a good phone for such a prank just in case it cannot be recovered for any reason (e.g. the thief is too physically aggressive, the phone doesn't ring for some reason, I lose sight of the thief, etc).

So yeah, good fun. But only in small bursts. :)

Make a belt out of them... (4, Funny)

billybob_jcv (967047) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105625)

Mount all of them on a belt and wear a bluetooth ear clip on each ear. Also wear Birkinstocks with socks and a t-shirt that says "Municipal Emergency Response Team" with a day-glo orange vest and a hardhat.

Chick Magnet.

Old android, new use! (1)

DarkKaplah (861495) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105659)

I've been using my old faithful G1 as a streaming music player for my stereo setup. Some other uses I've toyed with include using the android ADK board to create a poor man's AMX equivalent for home theater control, robotics projects, and even as a touch screen interface for a Rep Rap printer. These applications don't require the latest and greatest versions of the android OS, or the fastest processor. To keep the phone from slowing down I usually don't load more than just the target application I need. Also I'm running CM5 to help things along. I'm afraid I don't know what you could do with the old iphones. If you decide you don't want these devices I'm sure some makers would be happy to take them off your hands. Blanking the devices is quite easy. A quick google search for each device should give you the procedure.

To Make a 'Call' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41105727)

To the old yet still operational mainframe at the Strategic Air Command (SAC) to enable and authorize and re-purpose the minuteman missiles in California, Utah and Nevada to launch with target coordinates of the White House in Washington DC as ground zero at a time when President Obama and family and Vice President Biden and family are 'in town'.


First. 4 single M80 warhead enabled missiles will detonate high above Washington DC, an EM burst to disable all ground electronic devices.

Second. Two missiles with MERV (4 each) warhead reentry vehicles slam the Pentagon.

Third. Like Second, Eight missiles with MERVs slam Congress, Treasury, DoJ and various non-needed government oligarch buildings.

Fourth. 10 missiles with MERVs take out US Army, Navy and Air Force installations in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

Fifth. Bio-toxin enabled MERV missiles launch from Nevada to detonate, medium altitude reentry, above eastern US. A Longinus Bio-toxin enabled missile is launched with target detonation coordinates 50 meters below the White House. This is a bunker-buster and bio killer.

Sixth. Sniper teams in pre-position take out CEO, CFO and COBs of Apple, Cisco, HP, Intel, Microsoft and other targets of opportunity and the minutes progress.

Seventh. Sniper teams in pre-position take out "News" communications interests: ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, TNT and international News organizations.

Eighth. Teams pre-positioned enter and gain command and control of National and International Banks, Fund-Stock trading interest and the NYSE, NASDAC, S&P and others as needed. CEOs, CFOs, COB&Bs and other employes liquidated as needed or required. Standing order, 'Better Dead Than RED.' I.e. Kill the REDS.

Ninth. Teams pre-positioned take out States Governors, and top officials. State Legislature Members under house arrest and shoot to kill order if they protest.

Tenth. Break out the bubbly and toast to a good Coup-De-Tah and piss on the dead.



throw it in a fire (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105735)

nuff said.

Recycle it (1)

Swampash (1131503) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105785)


I got rid of my clock radio (1)

X86Daddy (446356) | more than 2 years ago | (#41105797)

I went from using a crappy CD player clock radio to using an old rooted Android phone. It's overkill, but benefits include picking whatever MP3 I want whenever I want... including pulling it over the network with ES File Manager, over wifi, from bed... checking weather, ebay, woot, random browsing, etc... The alarm settings, being software-based, are much more flexible and intelligent than most hardware clock radios... I get Monday-Friday how I want, weekends how I want, and one-off alarm changes are no problem. I can change the brightness and color of the time display that shows in screen-saver mode. It's a huge improvement over every hardware bedside clock I'd ever seen. And unlike using my production phone, I can leave this where it sits and keep my production phone in a convenient place for charging and grabbing as I leave home.

With a little effort, you can probably chain apps to do even better... make alarms trigger a Text-to-Speech app that does some RSS headline reading, email subject reading, announcing of the weather, etc...

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