Look around your home. Do you have any older  pieces of technology you’re not using, perhaps a computer or a smartphone.  These devices may be old but they can still be useful.  Let's go over a few ideas that you may be interested in.

A desktop computer is one of those devices that gets replaced after two years but, might be still hanging around the house.  This desktop could be turned into a network attached storage device.  NAS is a device that holds data on a network that can be accessed from different computers and other devices.  You can find free software called FreeNAS which you can download.  Some of the features include file sharing, web interface and back ups.  FreeNAS software needs a 64Bit processor with 8GB of RAM.  The hard drive is going to depend on how much space you want available for storage.  

If your computer isn’t fast enough to run FreeNAS, don’t worry about it.   you can still use it to share files on the network.  Assuming it has Windows on it you just need to set up file sharing and you will be ready to go.

 

 If you could use a TV in the kitchen or you have smaller kids that love to watch Netflix now you’re in luck.  You can put that older monitor to good use.  Go purchase a Raspberry PI.  It is a low cost credit card sized computer that can be used for many things.  For example, watching your favorite shows on Netflix or playing old school games like Minecraft PI edition, Doom, Duke Nukem and many more.  The price of a Raspberry PI is around thirty dollars so you won’t break the bank.  When using an old monitor, if it doesn’t have the HDMI connection you can buy an HDMI to VGA adapter on amazon.  Also for sound, it has a stereo headphone jack that you can use to plug in speakers.  If you’re looking for more information about Raspberry PI Youtube has a lot of informative videos.

If you have a old Android phone laying around the house, you can use it as a universal remote for all types of smart devices.  Smart devices include any smart TVs, bluetooth or wifi enabled receivers, smart lights  and more.   If you don’t have a lot of smart devices in your home you can alway purchase a Roku for thirty dollars to make your TV into a smart TV.

After you do that you can download the Roku app and control all types of media content  from that phone, including services like Netflix,  Hulu and Pandora.  Another way to utilize the Roku is get a micro SD card for the phone and store movies on it.  This way when you want to watch a movie it’s in the palm of your hand and all you have to do to is stream it to the Roku.  A good app that works well for me is the “Roku TV streaming app”.  This app looks like a browser and when you go to video streaming sites it picks up the video that is playing and gives you the option to send it to the Roku.

To wrap things up, we have gone over using a desktop for a NAS device, a monitor used for a extra TV/gaming device and a smartphone for a universal remote.  All of these different devices have one thing in common…  they connect to a network.  What this means is you can use all of these devices together.  For example, if you store videos, pictures and music on the NAS, you can access them from the Roku using the built in media app and the Raspberry Pi.  Another nice feature is you can use DLNA  (Digital Living Network Alliance) by downloading an app on the smartphone and access any of your files on the NAS.  Lastly, if you purchase the Raspberry PI you can use the smartphone as a remote for it.  

Using older devices around the house can be a good way to save money, learn more about technology and reuse what you already have.  I have reviewed  three ideas on how to reuse older devices…  I hope you found this beneficial.