lumia 900 windows phone

7 Things You Can Do With Your Old Smartphone

Consumers have several options for what to do with their old phone when they upgrade to a new one,  something that is happening more often than ever with programs like T-Mobile JUMP!  that encourages customers to upgrade their smartphone as often as every six months with a credit for up to half of the old phone’s original cost.  The other big mobile operators in the U.S. have similar programs having followed T-Mobile’s lead.

  1. Sell it to an end user consumer on EbaySwappa, or other used phone websites/marketplaces. If your phone is still in good condition,  fully functional with a clean ESN and ready for activation you can get a decent price. For a Nokia Lumia 900, if your phone meets all their selling criteria, the avg selling price on Swappa for June is listed at $55. If your phone is damaged or broken, you can try and salvage something by selling it on the Swappa Boneyard.
  2. Sell it to a used phone dealer/business. Trade it in at a mobile operator store or operator website  for a promotion card good for buying more stuff from the operator,  or get a credit to your mobile phone bill. Or sell it to Gazelle. You’re going to get a lot less money this way. See the screenshots below.
  3. Pass it on to a (junior) family member
  4. Destroy  it with a hammer or back over it with a car (or whatever your preferred demolition method) so that it’s unusable/won’t power on, and then take it to an electronics recycler. It’s better to destroy it before recycling to ensure that your personal data on the device won’t fall into the wrong hands.
  5. Throw it in the trash. But that wouldn’t be very environmentally friendly now would it.
  6. Put it in a drawer and forget about it.
  7. Extend its useful life with a utility/tools type app, such as a security camera, music player, or a flashlight.

With options 1-2 there is the risk of not properly wiping your phone (specifically, doing a factory reset which you would think would be enough but isn’t – on Android devices, you also need to turn on encryption) and thus leaving your data (pictures, emails, text messages, address book, and so on) vulnerable to hacking.  With option 2. there is also the question of how much money you’ll get. In the case of the Lumia 900 according to the AT&T Device Trade-In Appraisal tool, the absolute most it’s worth in good/normal use condition is $10 in the form of store or website credit. At Verizon, their maximum price is $11.

used smartphone, lumia 900

Used Lumia 900 maximum price AT&T will pay

At Gazelle, it’s worth $0 with a cracked screen (as shown in the featured image at the top of this blog post). On the plus side, they do provide a link to recycling resources.

Lumia, Windows Phone, motion detection camera

Lumia 900 w/cracked screen worth nothing to Gazelle

 

If you’re not comfortable with the data vulnerability issue or can’t get the price you want via 1. or 2. and don’t have a suitable family member to give your old phone to, option 7. is not a bad one. Certainly better than 4., 5., or  6., one would think.  Especially if it’s got a cracked screen, a not uncommon ailment of used phones.

See the cracked-screen Lumia 900 reborn as a Gotya security camera! Even though the screen is cracked, it functions perfectly well as a motion detection camera.

motion detection camera, lumia 900, windows phone

Lumia 900 w/cracked screen gets new lease on life as a motion detection camera

If you’ve recently upgraded your phone, let us know in the comments what you’ve done or plan to do with your old one.

Advertisements

No WiFi? No problem! Detect motion and capture pictures anyway!

Video surveillance cameras from DropcamHomeMonitor, and others don’t work without a WiFi connection. This is because these devices have no ability to store media (video or pictures) locally to the device.

This means that if a bad guy intruder unplugs or smashes your WiFi router, or if your WiFi connection drops for any other reason (power outage, network outage, WiFi router failure), and you’re using either of those two apps above, then your video camera will no longer be able to record, and anything that happens after that is “off the record”.

Gotya, on the other hand, works without WiFi in three different ways:

1) When you set Gotya camera to save images to local. No network connection of any kind is required to detect motion, automatically take pictures, and save them locally to the device (pictures are saved to the Gotya album on Android, Saved Pictures album on Windows Phone,  and Gallery on Symbian).

motion detector, motion detection camera app

Gotya for Android – camera settings

Note: You can also set Android to auto-backup your pictures to Google+,  and Windows Phone and Symbian  to OneDrive. So even if you’re saving Gotya pictures locally, you can take advantage of these cloud services to have an automatic backup of all your Gotya pictures. This of course requires a network connection.

2) If the smartphone or tablet you’re using as the Gotya camera has a SIM card with cellular data service, then it will revert to cellular data (2G/3G/4G) if the WiFi connection drops.

3) If the smartphone or tablet you’re using as the Gotya camera has no SIM card or cellular data service and is WiFi only and you’ve got the camera set to save images to the Gotya Cloud, when the WiFi connection drops, Gotya automatically switches to saves pictures locally to the device ,and then as soon as the WiFi connection is restored, automatically uploads those pictures to the Gotya Cloud. The sequence of three pictures below illustrates this scenario. Note the network connection status in the lower right hand corner of the screen. The red dot at top center of the screen indicates motion detection is active.

motion detector, motion detection camera, motion detection app

WiFi connected, pictures auto-uploaded to Gotya Cloud (normal operation).

 

motion detection camera, motion detector, motion detection app

WiFi connection drops, Gotya automatically switches to save pictures locally.

motion detection app, motion detector, motion detection camera

WiFi connection restored, Gotya now automatically uploads pictures that were saved locally, to the Gotya cloud

 

So whether you have no network connection, a slow network connection, or a high-speed WiFi connection, Gotya works in all of those scenarios. Try it for yourself.

camera calibration

How to remote calibrate your Gotya motion detection camera

Calibrating your Gotya camera is an important step to ensure that motion detection is executing  in the area of the camera viewfinder that you want, as well as detecting the right minimum object size. Setting the “active window” size and location determines where Gotya detects motion within the camera viewfinder. Setting the minimum object size enables you to filter out smaller objects and reduces false alerts. For example, if you want to detect a human size object, you can set the object size accordingly and therefore the movement of smaller objects (such as small animals, or tree branches blowing in the wind) will be filtered out.

You can calibrate the camera two different ways:

1) directly on the device you’re using as the camera by tapping on the calibration icon from the Gotya camera menu.

2) from the device you’re using as the camera remote controller using remote calibration

In some use cases, the placement/positioning of the smartphone that you’re using as the Gotya camera makes it difficult or impossible to see the camera viewfinder and to access the touch screen with your fingers to adjust the calibration settings. This happens when the phone is mounted against a wall or other barrier, is placed high up out of reach , or is otherwise difficult or impossible to reach. This is when remote calibration comes in very handy. Note: regardless of whether you calibrate the camera directly on the device or remotely, the calibration user interface/ user experience (UI/UX) is identical so you only have to learn one way to do it.

To remotely calibrate your Gotya camera, follow these steps (note: the camera and the remote controller must be connected to the Gotya Cloud Service. You connect to the Gotya Cloud Service by tapping on Service Account from the main menu, then logging in with your email address and password from the login screen).

1) Mount the device you’re using as the camera and take your best guess at aiming/orienting it to capture the area that you want to detect motion in.

camera setup

2) Take a remote snapshot from the device you’re using as the remote controller to see if you’ve got the camera aimed correctly. Repeat 1) and 2) until you have the camera aimed correctly.

remote snapshot

3) From the remote controller, tap on calibration.

 

camera calibration

 

4) You will see the calibration main menu.  From here you can set the active window and the minimum object size as explained in the on-screen instructions.

 

motion detection camera

5) In this example I’ve set the active window to detect motion of a person walking up the  path, and filtering out motion that occurs above the active window in the viewfinder.

motion detection

6) Next I set the minimum object size to roughly the size of a person, thereby filtering out smaller moving objects.

motion detection camera

 

Now that I have the camera aimed and calibrated as I want, I can go ahead and start the camera and start motion detection, picture capture, and alerting when somebody walks on the path.

video surveillance, photo surveillance, home monitoring, security camera

Photo vs Video Surveillance App Costs [INFOGRAPHIC]

Video surveillance apps like Dropcam are great. They have awesome features (720p HD video, live streaming, night vision, 2-way audio, digital zoom, wide angle lens, motion and sound-triggered alerts).  And kudos to Dropcam for having such an awesome feature set and enabling folks to set up their own home video surveillance/monitoring system that they can control from their smartphone,  bypassing the big incumbent security companies with their $50 for 36-month (that’s $1,800) monitoring contracts and $99-$300 for installation charges.

However, even though Dropcam eliminates those expensive “professional” installation charges and monitoring contracts from companies like ADT Pulse,  those awesome video surveillance features listed in the opening paragraph above come at a correspondingly awesome (translation: high) price.

Total cost of ownership (TCO) to the consumer for an independent (aka Over-The-Top) smartphone based photo or video surveillance app and cloud service can be broken out into three main categories:

1) Camera

2) Cloud Service for monitoring, alerts, and picture storage or video recording

3) Upstream Internet connection

In the case of Dropcam video surveillance, continuous (up)streaming of video is required for motion detection (which is done in the Dropcam cloud) and video recording. So if you want any record or evidence (i.e. recording) of what happened, you’ll need to sign up for the Dropcam Cloud Recording (CVR) service. You can get motion alerts and view live video without the service, but to save any video footage you’ll need the CVR service.

The Infographic below compares these three cost categories and feature sets for  a  photo surveillance app (Gotya) and a video surveillance app (Dropcam). If you can afford the camera and monthly service fees and have access to affordable high-speed Internet, it’s clear that video surveillance offers a richer feature set than photo surveillance.

However, if you’re on a tight budget, don’t have high-speed WiFi at home (or it’s very expensive) or only have 3G Internet access, and are looking for a way to build your own low-cost security/surveillance system, you might want to take a look at Gotya.

(Note: Internet access charges are based on $110/month for a 50Mbps/down and 5Mbps/up Internet connection in Sao Paulo).

Check out the Infographic below for a comparison of the costs and features of photo (Gotya) vs video (Dropcam) surveillance apps.

photo surveillance, video surveillance, app, security camera, home monitoring

 

 

 

 

 

dog under video surveillance

Surveillance Use Case Series: Home Alone Rule Breaking Dog

This is a great use case for surveillance in general: does your dog obey the rules you set (like staying off the bed) when you’re not at home? Can you trust your dog? Do you need to implement stronger preventative measures to ensure compliance when you leave your house? You can’t depend on your cat to enforce the rules as you’ll see…

Gotya would alert you the moment your dog hopped up on the bed and send you the picture evidence, using one of your old smartphones as the motion detecting surveillance camera instead of an expensive video camera.

See the home alone rule breaking dog in action!

Setting up a Spycam

You can make your own hidden or camouflaged Gotya camera (aka spycam)  to capture pictures of people snooping around stuff they shouldn’t be, or to take pictures of what people are doing in a certain area, without them knowing. A classic way to do this is to use a box with a small hole cut out to enable the camera lens to see out.

If you suspect somebody is up to no good, Gotya plus your own creativity in the form of a DIY spycam enables you to satisfy your curiosity about what they’re really doing.

In the two pictures below, I’ve shown my office desk with a camouflaged Gotya camera. It’s the light blue Nokia Lumia 900 in the darker blue beer cozy on the left hand side. Somebody coming into my office would in all likelihood not give a second thought to the beer cozy with a phone in it. To them, it just looks like a spare phone stored there, especially with the other two phones stacked up in front of it.

gotya spycam

The setup – camouflaged Gotya cam in beer cozy on office desk shelf

spycam

The setup – Gotya spycam (Lumia 900) camouflaged in blue beer cozy (closer up shot)

The sequence of pictures captured by Gotya is shown below, taken when somebody who wasn’t supposed to be there comes into my office and takes my stapler! My Gotya spycam captured it all!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oh, and by the way – even if the culprit had taken the Lumia 900 that I was using  as my Gotya spycam,  all of the pictures are auto-saved to the Gotya cloud for evidence, so I would still know what happened.

Let us know in the comments if you have set up your own Gotya spycam.