Tech Talk #201–April 1, 2023
Most people have a few old smartphones or even flip phones lying around. So even if you’re too smart to fall for the ‘you need a new phone every year’ ads, phones die, the camera stops working, or something else happened, and now you’ve got a few old phones in a drawer somewhere.
How can you do it safely and responsibly if you decide to get rid of your old phones?
The first thing to do is a ‘factory reset’ on your phone/ Factory reset completely wipes all your information from your device and puts it back to how it came out of the box. Since this is an old phone, wiping all your data from it is okay. All Android and iPhone models have a factory reset option in the Settings menu. Next, use your favorite search engine to find your phone’s factory reset steps.
Now that your phone doesn’t know anything about you anymore, there are three principal ways to get rid of it; sell, donate, or recycle it.
If your smartphone still works just fine, many phones have value on the resale market. You can check sites like Swappa (https://swappa.com/) and Gazelle (https://www.gazelle.com/) to see the current value of your old phone. You may get some cash in your pocket when you get rid of your old phone.
Again, if your phone still works, consider donating it. Here are some excellent donation programs:
Goodwill (https://www.goodwill.org/) Goodwill can refurbish and resell your old phone at a low cost.
911 Cell Phone Bank (https://www.911cellphonebank.org/) phones go to people who need emergency calling capabilities
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (https://ncadv.org/donate-a-phone) Gives recycled phones to domestic abuse victims.
If your phone doesn’t work anymore, you won’t be able to sell it or donate it, and recycling may be your only option.
If the phone has a cracked screen, try doing a factory reset before recycling your phone. Once your phone is factory reset, the Tehachapi landfill has a dedicated electronics recycling area. If you can’t factory reset your phone, Best Buy will take your phone (and many other electronics) for recycling. Look for the recycle bins near the entrance to the store. Basically for destruction, not refurbishment and resell.
Sell, donate, or recycle your old phone, but don’t just dump it in the trash. There are some toxic metals and dangerous batteries in that old phone, so get rid of it responsibly. Or, you could just leave it in that drawer, I suppose.
Have you ever opened Task Manager and noticed all the open chrome.exe tasks running? It’s not uncommon for chrome.exe to have 20 or more running instances, even though you only have one copy of Chrome open. So what’s up with that?
The short version is, Chrome automatically creates multiple processes to reduce crashes and isolate your open tabs from each other, making Chrome more reliable and secure than running on just one process. This multi-threading takes advantage of computer processors that can run multiple processes simultaneously. In addition, Chrome has a separate task manager, and you can press Shift+Esc to see the running processes and what each one is doing.
A relatable example of variability
I’ve set up a meeting with the guy that invented the progress bar that shows up when you’re copying or downloading files. He’s going to be here in 2 hours and 13 minutes.
Update: Okay, he’s stuck in traffic and will be here in 6 hours and 54 minutes.
Update 2: Well, he’s making better progress than I thought. He’ll be here in 12 minutes.
Update 3: Apparently, it will take him five days to get here.
Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has provided Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at email@example.com.