Spring Cleaning your Tech (Part 1)
During the winter our iPads, smart-TVs, e-Readers, laptops and desktop computers put in some hard service keeping us cozy and entertained. Now that the warm glow of Spring is streaming through your window, it’s high time for a deep-tech cleanse (I recommend a large cup of coffee, or two, to go along).
Time Required: 1-3 hours (depending)
Spring cleaning for hardware:
1) Clean your keyboard, mouse and other peripherals
Break out the compressed air, isopropyl rubbing alcohol, e-clothes, and q-tips! Make sure to power down, unplug cables and remove batteries before cleaning your devices. Keyboards can benefit from a gentle but substantial inverted shake (dislodging larger crumbs and dust-bunnies) before you attack with the compressed air. Depending on the keyboard you can go so far as to remove the keys, but you’ll probably want to use a key-removal tool if you’re going to do this regularly.
Use caution! Read the manufacturer’s documentation on cleaning (give it a Google or a Duck Duck Go, a manual is probably available online… Apple has a pretty comprehensive cleaning guide here). If you’re not going to resell a device (or debug it sans-internet) you could recycle the user’s manual and old packaging at the same time.
Don’t directly apply liquids of any kind to an electronic device (for crevices, lightly moisten your e-cloth or q-tips with isopropyl rubbing alcohol separately from the device). Clean screens only as recommended by the manufacturer to avoid removing or damaging special coatings.
2) Get rid of all those weird cables in your junk-drawer (or tupperware box-o-cords)
This is a great way to declutter! If you don’t recognize an adapter or dongle now there’s a good chance you never will. You’ll often end up with multiples of the same types of cable, so keep only the best one or two as a spare.
Damaged electronics can be a major fire hazard, so take a hard look at the cables and connectors you’re using now. Cables and dongles with frayed, bent, or otherwise damaged parts should be replaced and discarded as soon as possible.
Best Buy, Home Depot and other retail companies accept cords, cables and other electronics for recycling
3) Definitely recycle those AOL CDs
There are still quite a lot of these things. AOL made so many CDs that for several weeks in 1998 they claimed to have used ALL of the world’s CD production for their version 4.0. release. Weirdly, they are now collectible, at least according to The Smithsonian.
Similarly, you should assess any stowed packaging, manuals, spare doo-dads, CDs, and software samples for discard. If you haven’t looked at it in over a year, it can probably go too.
Stay tuned for round 2 of our `Spring Cleaning your Tech`, next week!