Part of Operation: A Place For Everything is finding a use for it. If I have no use then the place it goes is away. To that end I’ve been deciding the best use for these devices: my old tablet (which I did an unboxing and later a review for and is since old and has terrible storage for modern needs plus some apps won’t run on it), my old smartphone (with storage also no longer big enough to the point where I had to get a new phone just to be able to update anything), and my dad’s unused smartphone (never send a smartphone to someone in their 70s, phone companies) that I’ve been using as a sort of “mini-tablet”. I wanted to come up with definite uses for these devices, and that was this week’s project.

Not in this picture is my current smartphone which I used to take the pictures because obviously the other devices were busy being photographed. Luckily I do have uses for all of these devices, though I really don’t need another one outside of maybe replacing the tablet someday, maybe with a Windows tablet instead of an Android device like the others. That’s going to be a long wait but what I have will serve my current needs.

The tablet was the one I struggled with a bit. At first I figured it would be good to have by my bedside, to serve as a sort of in-room TV since I don’t have room for one even if I had one to spare. It’s a decent screen and if I’m watching a livestream on YouTube this keyboard would be much better than trying to type on a smartphone’s virtual keyboard. I really don’t like using those things. However it’s still too big for my nightstand, can’t run all of the video apps I want to put on there, and there’s that storage issue, even with an SD card.

So I’ve instead converted it into a sort of alternate mobile workstation. I put a teleprompter program on there for working with videos, and frankly that larger screen will be better for this anyway. I can also work on a few other things with Google’s writing programs and I could put something better on there if I need to in the future. There may be just enough room for that. The only entertainment programs are the Google games app that comes with every Android, Angry Birds Seasons because the app is so old I can’t even find it on the Google Play store outside of my library, and the VuDu app that also comes with it. Plus of course YouTube, which also comes standard. I even put an art program called Ibis Paint on there that’s compatible with Clip Studio Paint but I’m going to have to fool around with that a bit. It’s for fun and emergencies, not a regular art program like CSP or even Paint Shop Pro. I think this is the best function for this tablet.

So the “mini-tablet” now takes on the duty of being my bedside “TV”. My dad got an impact case for it before giving up on a device he couldn’t figure out. I can’t use it as a phone either, but that’s because it’s with a different service. So I put on various ad-sponsored free streaming apps (not only do I not have the money for subscription services but I’m getting annoyed by some of their original offerings, but that’s best left for my other website) on there so I can watch things on Pluto TV, Tubi, Retrocrush (a retro anime service), and a few others. Yes, including YouTube, which has been something of an experiment for me.

My natural sounds machine is having issues with the volume control know so that the volume sometimes goes too high or there’s no sound at all, and since it’s also the on/off switch I have to hit the thing to get it to work. It doesn’t help that the cordless phone is right next to it so every time it checks in with the base unit downstairs the speaker on the natural sounds machine buzzes. It’s rather annoying. So I’ve been using this to go to YouTube and use some sleep aid livestreams to go to sleep. If you like just natural sounds I recommend The Relaxed Guy while if you prefer music something like Lofi Girl may work more for you. These aren’t the only streams like this but they’re the ones I used in the experiment. (I also use Lofi Girl for background instrumental music when I’m writing, as there’s a separate stream for study, which is what the channel started out with. Again, there are plenty of options there so look around. I found one today that uses lofi jazz.) This has worked out well, though I do keep it plugged in at night, which means this can double as a charging spot for my other devices without bringing out one of the cables every time. So this worked out really well.

I think I’ve mentioned what I’m doing with the old phone above. The storage is terrible, but the camera is pretty good. When I learned there were apps to turn the phone into a webcam, it came at just the right time. My old webcam’s working is spotty to not at all, so this was a good idea for a replacement. I got a cheap holder, put it on a mini-tripod, and there you go. I did a whole set of v-logs for a podcasting challenge in November called Art Soundoff and I had no technical issues once I figured the app out, a program called Iriun webcam. I also have it on the “mini-tablet” along with other programs I can use because it is still my backup tablet, but this phone is really only good as a webcam and maybe recording device. I may put some other stuff on there as my backup recorder but due to the limited storage space (I put the SD card into my current phone) it won’t be much. I also have to every now and then de-update apps on this and the regular tablet and then re-update because for some reason stuff from the previous updates may still be on there and that’s one of the reasons I lose room fast. It’s an Android issue that I hope has been fixed by now.

Finally there’s my current smartphone, which of course I needed the mini-tablet to take a picture of it and the case. This has much better storage, and I don’t even use a lot to begin with. It may have more than I need but when I can’t update the darn thing like with the old phone I didn’t have much choice. I have apps on there for when I’m out for a walk or if I’m waiting somewhere but I don’t need a whole lot here. I’m not going to be watching a lot of videos when I’m out because I don’t have a data plan. I have music, some podcasts, and some old radio dramas but mostly it’s for making calls, using the GPS, and keeping important info I may need to share at the doctor’s office or a store. For example I have a few store apps, a list of my medications which I also keep in my wallet but I like having options, and of course important numbers to call when I’m out. I only have the phone on when I’m away from home, especially now that I have the “mini-tablet” when I’m home or just the regular computer and laptop, plus now the back-up work station tablet.

I’m also showing off the cool shell-type phone case. I have a leather one that I got for the old phone and while the new one fits in there without the extra stuff on there the leather is coming off a bit and putting it on/taking it off when I’m getting in and out of the car (in the driver’s seat the seat belt and phone case are not comfortable to have on together for me) it’s a pain to get off because of how good the clip is. If I’m in a hurry, like running into the store real quick, it’s a fight I don’t need. The clip on the shell is easier to remove and still stays on when I want it to. Additionally the phone comes off the holder and I can leave the holder on my belt. Then there’s the additional protection of the shell itself and the rubber case that together protect the phones from falls (plus I have a screen protector on it). Blue is my favorite color but the black of the shell and the blue impact case didn’t look as good together as the black and red, and I didn’t want a graphic on there drawing attention to my phone. I’m happy with my choice and if I do have to get a phone again I hope it fits in there. I can take the shell stuff off if I want to use the leather case at some dressing up affair but I’m not sure I really need to. It blends in, which was the point. The red inner case will help me find it if it falls under the bed or something, and both the shell and belt holder have built-in stands if I do watch some video while sitting at a restaurant by myself or something.

Outside of replacing the tablet for an updated, possibly Windows-based tablet I really don’t need any extra devices. These serve my needs along with the computer and laptop. Now I just need to start using them. My body is healed (finally) so I need to start putting my life together. These devices will be of use to me in personal and creative goals and that’s what matters. I just hope nothing breaks or becomes so obsolete as to be worthless because I can’t afford to replace any of this now.