Making your laptop last longer & Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Posted: October 8, 2010 in hardware, technology
Tags: , , , , , ,

Something that always bothers me is the amount of technology that ends up in the dumpster. Sometimes it’s because it is old and outdated, but more often than not it is broken and instead of fixing it, it ends up being trashed.  Also, in our throw-away society, often the cost to fix is close to the replacement cost, so for many it becomes a no-brainer. Ditch the old and get new. But what do you do with the old?

More than that though, what can be done to extend the life of your cherished technology to begin with?

Laptops & Portable Computers:

Care for your Battery.

Batteries are better than they ever were, but you still need to treat them correctly to ensure a long life. Most manufacturers recommend letting the battery run down to the point of shutting off the laptop or it going into sleep mode once a month which resets the battery and extends it’s life. This is often referred to as Battery conditioning.

Elevate to reduce heat.

Don’t use your laptop on a blanket or pillow or other soft surface, unless of course you are in an igloo, then the ambient temp might just keep it cool enough to keep it working. For those of us in the rest of the world especially in the warmer climes use your portable computer on a hard surface so the built in feet can do their job and keep the bottom elevated enough to allow airflow around it.

Maintenance.

Check your hard drive and other components. SMARTReporter is a good way for Mac users to ensure your HD is still functioning properly and hopefully give you ample warning of any issues so you have time to replace it (it’ll even send you an email if it finds a problem), but you should go the extra mile and run a program like TechTool Pro to check your hardware once in a while. Part of maintenance should be little things like defragging your hard drive. Defragging is more important with windows systems than Macs, and it all depends upon how often your add and delete files from your drive. If you are constantly installing and uninstalling programs you will fragment your drive very quickly.

Upgrade.

This is one I typically do with every laptop I purchase after about a year to a year and a half. Up the ram to the max and swap out the hard-drive for a larger faster one. Doing so may just make your computer feel like a new model and let you extend its usable life. The same is true of desktop computers, but not so easy to do with most Netbooks.

What to do when its time to retire your Tech:

You could hollow it out and make a fish tank out of your old monitor or tv, but unless you are living in a dorm your significant other is not going to appreciate the novelty of it for long. This website (Macquarium)has many images of converted mac aquariums to inspire you if you want to try and get away with it though.

Check your municipality or city’s website, many of them have a link to the companies or organizations that can help you recycle and be environmentally friendly, or maybe offer up locations where your tech can be repurposed or refurbished for reuse. Many communities have programs that take old tech and with a little TLC fix it up enough for use in schools.  A few minutes of searching and a short drive for you, could make a big change in the life of an individual or school. Many of which rely on donated old-tech for classroom computers.

In Toronto for example, check out Toronto Recycling Inc’s E-waste.  In London (Ontario that is – not the famous one over the pond), check out the city’s electronics recycling page at http://www.london.ca/…. Electronics_Recycling.htm there is also information there about donating your usable electronics.

Regardless of what you do with it, don’t let them go into a landfill. We, as a society, need to be more responsible for our waste, and practicing the 3 R’s – Reduce, reuse, recycle – with your old-tech is a good place to start.

If you know of other places to donate or recycle  in specific areas, drop me a comment on this blog so others can benefit from it, which in turn means we all do.

tcg

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