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Eco Living

  • Glowing smart cycle lanes pitched to UK

    cycleWhen Cat's Eyes were invented in pre-war Britain, their value was instant. But despite the clear benefits of reflective guides, cycle lanes have remained conspicuously absent from this field of illumination. 

    We may have waited the best part of 3/4 of a century for the next phase of cool travel-orientated inventions, and it could be here in the form of smart cycle lanes.

    Bottom line, we're looking at glow-in-the-dark highways for cycles. The initiative has already been rolled out in the Netherlands - the European home of the commuter bicycle with the planned December 2014 opening of the first cycle highway - the Van Gogh-Roosegaarde Light Emitting Bicycle Path in Nuenen.

    China and India have also put requests to project designer and artist, Daan Roosegaarde's company for large-scale projects in locations where cycling is common, accident rates are high but electric power for street lighting is not possible.

    Designed to make cycling and driving safer in many different environments, the smart paint used is "charged" by daylight and shines subtly but clearly through the night.

    Artist and co-creator Daan Roosegaarde said, 

    "The glowing lines are a little ... Daft Punk look-alike but they are to do with safety. The three lines merge into one and you feel that it guides you. With fog, you see them more than with standard light. There is much less energy used."

    Working alongside civil engineer Hans Goris, Roosegaarde hopes the UK will be one of the nationals looking to install his invention over the coming years.

    For more on this, head to BBC Tech.
  • Three extends free data roaming to France, Israel, Switzerland, Norway and Finland

    thai toas holidayData roaming still tends to hit home as one of those slightly dubious and misunderstood sides to smartphone ownership, especially if you don't travel on a regular basis. And free data roaming is the Holy Grail of foreign travel!

    What is free Data Roaming?

    Data roaming is how your phone connects to an available service provider when outside the reach of your normal service provider. It's typically a pretty expensive service and has come under fire in recent years because of the opaque nature of data roaming charges. Forget to turn off data roaming and head to Oman for two weeks - massive bill.

    Let's say you're out of the area of your normal service provider - abroad perhaps - and you still want to use your smartphone to make calls, send texts and connect to the internet. Enabling data roaming means you're giving your smart device permission to look for alternative available service providers (its' why you get that text to say "Welcome to France blah blah" when you step off the plane in Paris) Free data roaming is when your device connects to a local service provider without the hefty extra charges. Bliss.

    Three announced the addition of five new countries to its free data roaming service - France, Switzerland, Finland, Norway and Israel.

    Head over to Engadget for the full story.
  • CompareMyMobile Crown Stratford-upon-Avon as the UK Town Most Likely to Recycle Their Old Electronics

    Mobile phone and gadget recycling has seen a huge boost over the last few years. With advertising campaigns, and organisations, pushing for consumer attitudes to become more than environmentally-friendly - we all know we should be a bit greener, and that we have the means to do this.

    Old electronics in landfill can leak toxic chemicals into our land, which could even be harmful to our health. So it seems logical that these gadgets would be much better off being recycled – to go on and have a second life in the UK, or abroad offering a means of communication in a developing country.

    But, a new study from gadget recycling comparison engine, CompareMyMobile, shows Continue reading →

  • Rare Materials Could Push Up the Cost of Gadgets

    broken_phoneOne of the reasons we do what we do is that we hate waste. Why not help you sell used mobile phones and gadgets to a) make you a bit of cash to upgrade, and b) prolong the life of your unwanted but fully working electronics.

    And it seems we're not alone. According to scientists at University College London, the global tech market is too reliant on freshly unearthed rare materials like the precious metals inside every smartphone. There may only be trace amounts needed, but those small measures add up!

    A recent article from BBC Tech warned the cost of new gadgets could creep up as rare material supplies run low. But that's pretty good news for you because it means your used iPhone could be worth even more in the future!

  • The Toxic Cost of Your Abandoned Phone

    Our delightful buddies over at CompareMyMobile have treated us to an infographic all about how the toxic makeup of your mobile phone affects the environment.

    So, you sell your mobile to us - less harmful impact on the environment - simple!

  • NASA Discovers Two Water-Covered (and Potentially Habitable!) New Planets

    Okay, so it's not strictly about helping you sell mobile devices, but we do love a good space story here at Money4Machines! And our buddies over at NASA recently released some very exciting info about the potential of two newly discovered planets to support life.

    Stephen Hawking has said the human race won't survive another thousand years on Earth because there are too many people who over-fill their kettle, desolate landscapes in the quest to gobble natural resources and pretty much make a mess of the place. Bottom line - the human race need to colonise space in order to survive. (There's some stuff about how a lot of us need to die first too, but that's another story!)

    And with that sunny thought in mind we turn to NASA and their latest bit of gossip on space exploration. According to the celestially obsessed scientists, a few solar systems over, there's a pair of MASSIVE planets that are completely submerged in water with a surface landscape not dissimilar to Earth's, e.g. rocks and stuff.

    The planets orbit a star called Kepler-62 in the Lyra constellation. you can read more indepth details from our mates over at Wired.co.uk.

    Would you sell your iPhone (and the other few million devices you'd need to sell to afford the trip!) to secure a one-way ticket to a new planet? Once you're finished doing the whole sell my mobile thing on our quotes page, let us know here in our comments section.

  • 3 Weird Non-Tech Things that Might Make Your Life Easier

    Here in Money4Machines HQ, we’re big fans of stuff like apps that tell us when we need to visit the dentist, where our car keys might be and what exactly Office Cat’s particular meows are demanding.

    Contrary to popular belief, we all live lives away from the office doing things like watching telly, gardening, cycling, planning hypothetic trips around the world and cleaning up after Office Cat’s house parties.

    In the spirit of Phil Inkley, here are some non-tech-related nuggets of life advice to help us all make it through the gauntlet of daily tasks a little more easily!

    1. Newspaper murders weeds

    Our SEO girl has a nice big yard with some delightful plots picked out for bedding areas. She tried this tip a few weeks ago and, in place of triffids and strangling vines, she has a nice blank yard canvas upon which to create a garden masterpiece!

    Simply clear away as much of the weedy mess as you can and lay sheets of newspaper over the area. Then put a layer of soil on top and plant your lupins, sweetpeas or whatever else you fancy growing.  Weeds are sneaky little critters and will find any hole in plastic sheeting, but drop a bit of newspaper on them and they’re stuffed!

    "Ten more minutes on this crossword and I'm going to show those weeds the meaning of pain!"

    2. Blackboard erasers for fogged-up windscreens

    Driving to work in winter is basically awful for most people. It’s cold, it’s dull, it’s early and we’d all rather be dreaming of iPad trade-ins or kittens or sell for cash UK rates or whatever it is people who don’t work in our office dream of!

    This is such a simple and easy tip – just keep a blackboard eraser in your glove box instead of a cloth (and all the old batteries, burger wrappers and petrol receipts!)

    3. Cornmeal is death to ants

    Ants are an annoying hazard of the summer months, and getting rid of them is about as much fun as a lobotomy. If you’ve got pets and kids to think about, laying a load of ant poison might not seem like the brightest idea!

    Leaving a few piles of cornmeal close to whatever cracks in the wall they’re disappearing into makes an attractive food source for the little beasts. They’ll carry heaps of the stuff back to the nest to feed the rest of the colony. But joke’s on you, ants! They can’t digest cornmeal and it’ll kill them. It may take a week or so for it to work, but it’ll keep your home toxin-free!

  • Cool Stuff to Do With Broken Tech

    Back in December, Bear Grylls covered the enthralling topic of how to turn your mobile phone into a survival tool. So, while we were helping you sell your iPad through our iPad trade in UK service, Bear was out in the wilds showing viewers of his acclaimed show, Man vs. Wild some clever things to do with a waterlogged mobile phone!

    The Mobile Phone Fire Starter

    It’s actually pretty easy to put an otherwise useless iPhone or old 2G to good use in a survival situation. You can watch the video of how he did it here (it’s really, really simple!)

    The Hard Drive Clock

    We’re not the best folks for explaining exactly how to do this, especially when someone else has already done it better! Sell laptops and working gadgets to us, but put that derelict PC to good use and copy this creative clock chap!

    Monitor Fish Tank

    One of our SEO guys is literally the last person in the Money4Machines family to own an old fashioned TV. It’s the old style ‘fat back’ type of TV, and we reckon it would make a rockin’ fish tank! We’ve got some great examples on our Pinterest page in the on the “Make Do and Mend” board. For step-by-step instructions, we reckon these are the best!

  • Make Reducing e-Waste a Priority

    The internet is full of facts and figures, enough as to make it pretty easy to substantiate any claim with a little creative interpretation.

    “One of the companies that focuses on collecting mobile wireless devices reported that it handled more than 550,000 device trade-ins during March 2012. That was a 300% increase over the volume it handled in March 2011.”

    Thank you ZDNet.com! That’s not about us, but we love a bit of a proof that services like our sell for cash deals are helping the environment with every “sell my iPad” search that hits Google!

    “More than 17 million devices worth a total of £762 million are needlessly binned each year.”

    And a big round of applause for the Independent’s Gadget & Tech section! We need more folks to use in our sell for cash service, reducing e-waste and pumping some valuable income back into the economy.

    Whatever the figures say, e-waste is certainly an important consideration for all of us. Here in the U.K the easiest way to sell computers, old iPads or whatever else you’ve got lying around is via companies like us online. But what about your less-than-net-savvy uncle Geoff and his unused satnav? Mum’s old Kindle? All those unused smartphones lying around in HR?

    We believe society needs to do more to encourage e-waste recycling and the unwanted gadgets sell for cash market. It might be a bit much to quote Gandhi with his whole “be the change you wish to see in the world” thing, but the fact that, as a global community, we all need to shape up and change our perception of electronic gadgets disposability is indisputable.

  • What is e-Waste and How Can You Help Manage It Safely?

    What do you do when your old Kindle finally turns the final page of its life, or that old iPad 1st generation gives up the ghost with a sullen fizz? We buy laptops and most other unwanted gadgets that are in working order, but what happens to those odds and ends we can’t currently run through our sell for cash service? (We’re working on rectifying that, by the way!)

    Most folks do the same thing – sling old gadgets on the landfill. But the U.K’s dumps are filling up fast, WAY faster than the e-waste in them is degrading.

    Environmental Anxiety

    You know that knot in your stomach that means you’re right on the brink of not being able to handle worry or shock? Well that’s a pretty good representation of how the earth probably feels about e-waste. For the moment we’re all adding to the rubbish tip with toxic materials and other things that shouldn’t be left to their own devices in fragile ecosystems. The U.K may seem pretty boring, but the ecosystems around our landfills are finely balanced and being wiped out by toxins and poor material disposal. Lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium are just a few of the viciously insidious substances old electronics bring to the landfill party, causing horrific and irreversible damage to surrounding ecosystems.

    Cadmium is typically present in laptop batteries and other rechargeable power sources. It has been linked with kidney damage and bone degradation in humans. Lead is found is most computer monitors and TVs. It can cause serious damage to human reproductive systems, causing birth defects and nervous system disorders. Mercury is another flat screen material that’s been infallibly linked with central nervous system damage and brain development disorders, particularly in the young. How all these substances affect the fragility of the landscapes they’re dumped in is a sobering thought.

    Take the example of something like plastic, which is estimated to have a degradation life of around one thousand years. Oh, that’s one thousand years before it STARTS to degrade. But in the most scientific words possible, nobody REALLY knows for sure how long plastics take to break down. Every gadget we buy has at least a little plastic in it, meaning if we turfed out all the old iPads, smartphones, cameras and laptops we buy and instead sent them to the tip, THOUSANDS of devices would be added to the U.K’s already bursting dumps.

    What Can You Do?

    Minimising e-waste is pretty simple if you’ve got working electronics like old Kindles, smartphones or anything else we buy. But what about the stuff that’s broken? Your local council is required to run e-waste recycling initiatives that comply with European WEEE directives. Aside from getting in touch with The Powers That Be, private companies will either buy your crappy old TV or accept donations. We recommend a nice afternoon with Google to find the best options in your area.

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