With COVID-19 still lingering around, Work-From-Home (WFH) and Home-Based-Learning (HBL) arrangements are here to stay for quite a while. As part of this new normal, many of us have realised that we need sufficient technology support for effective remote work or learning.
While some of us have upgraded our technology devices, buying new I.T. products to kit out the whole family for remote work or learning can be a huge expense and may not be the soundest financial decision during this uncertain economic climate.
Besides simply borrowing spare devices from friends or relatives, here are 4 ways that you can improve your HBL and WFH experiences by reusing old technology.
#1 Connect Your Old Smartphones To External Monitors Or TVs
Instead of buying a laptop for the kids to complete their HBL homework, you can consider using your old smartphone and connecting it to a larger screen. Alternatively, this can be a great way to entertain grandma who wants to join the new digital age but doesn’t want to strain her eyes doing so.
Smartphones have more computing power than you think. They are not only capable of browsing the web and sending emails, but they can also handle video conferencing, thanks to the built-in camera. You just have to connect them to a larger screen for easy viewing.
Many TVs support a feature known as screen mirroring, which allows the screen on your smartphone to be wirelessly displayed on the TV. In the event when your TV is not equipped with the function mentioned, you can opt for a wired or wireless display adapter such as a Chromecast.
To complete the setup, simply connect an existing Bluetooth keyboard or mouse to your phone to make your setup feel more like a computer. While this setup is not for professional users who require dedicated software, it is certainly more than enough for students to complete their HBL tasks or for seniors to get started with technology.
#2 Resurrect Your Slowing Laptop
If you are mainly using your laptop for internet usage: web browsing, watching videos, word processing using Google Drive, etc., you may not need a laptop upgrade, even if you feel like your laptop is much slower than before. Before you spend the money to upgrade your laptop, consider reviving it with a new operating system (OS).
While most of us are accustomed to macOS or Windows, they tend to slow down because of software updates and unnecessary features. While Linux-based operating systems often get the perception of being complex and too niche, Chromium OS is built to be simple and swift. Based around the Google Chrome’s interface, navigating around this OS is as simple as navigating around the Chrome browser.
Switching over to a Linux-based OS such as Chromium OS can make your aging laptop work faster. On top of all, it is free!
#3 Use Your Old iPad As Your Laptop’s Display Extension
Even though your old iPad may no longer be as responsive as it used to, the screen is likely to be still functioning. Instead of allowing it to collect dust in one corner, repurpose it as your laptop’s secondary monitor for WFH.
Having a secondary monitor can benefit your WFH experience by allowing you to multitask better and view more content at the same time. This means that you will be able to do your research on the main screen and do your typing while looking at your secondary screen, saving the hassle of switching between your applications repeatedly.
While purchasing a brand-new monitor can set you back a few hundred dollars, reusing your old iPad as your secondary monitor costs nothing. All that is needed is to install the Duet App and follow the setup instructions.
#4 Go Back To Wired Internet
While Wi-Fi has become an indispensable part of our everyday life, it does have its drawbacks. From slow connections to frequent disconnections, these Wi-Fi problems can plague your WFH and your children’s HBL experience.
While not as mobile as having a Wi-Fi connection, wired internet is a good choice as it ensures a stable network connection, reducing the chances of disconnection and slow Wi-Fi speeds while working. For the cost of less than $10 for a cheap local area network (LAN) cable, you can have a fast and stable internet connection.