In the past, sharing your music with the household meant turning up the living room stereo to 11—a gesture the neighbors didn’t always appreciate. In recent years, wireless digital technology has made it possible to pipe your tunes to any room, at any volume (11 is still an option, provided you’re willing to risk the neighbors’ wrath).
Whether you’re engaged in work, chores, spring cleaning, or just want to feed some gentle music into a toddler’s bedroom as the day winds down, there are plenty of easy and relatively inexpensive ways to stream music throughout your house. Here are five.
AppleTV – AppleTV is a handsome little box that lets you stream music (and other media, including video and pictures) from your iTunes account to household televisions. It’s easy to set up, it’s user-friendly, and you can rent or purchase digital movies when the mood strikes. AppleTV is compatible with Macs and PCs.
Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 – Video game consoles like the Xbox 360 and the PS3 have become major media hubs across the past few years. You can use both to wirelessly access media in other rooms of your house, though doing so with the Xbox 360 requires a wireless adaptor, sold separately (the latest model of the Xbox 360 has built-in Wi-Fi).
Sonos Multi-Room System – Sonos’ Multi-Room System pretty much delivers what it promises. Sonos is easy to set up, and you can use it to stream one song through the house—or different songs to different rooms. Sonos’ music menus can even be controlled with your iPhone following the download of a free app.
Rocketfish Wireless Speakers – Rocketfish’s speakers are an easy, cost-effective way to place your household music where you crave it the most. The speakers operate via a wireless transmitter, and plays music from almost any MP3 player.
D-Link Media Lounge – The D-Link Media Lounge is a popular streaming option thanks to its affordability (you can typically find it for under $200 USD) and performance. The Media Lounge can stream music, video, and still pictures.
For more tips on how to stream music throughout your house, read:
How to Stream Audio and Digital in Your Home at DigitalTrends
Make Your House Rock from Any Room at PCWorld
How Can I Stream Music Around my House? at PopSci
With new phones, tablets and laptops debuting every month, rapid advancements in technology can quickly turn a beloved tech device into an outdated waste of space. Bu although throwing them away is a convenient option, the impact of the billions of pounds this e-waste could have on the environment are frightening. So whether your computer has stopped to functioning or you’ve simply decided to upgrade, here’s a look at top options for how to recycle your electronics.
Greener Gadgets – Presented by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the Greener Gadgets site is designed to help you easily find areas where you can recycle your old electronics simply by entering your zip code. Greener Gadgets is part of the organization’s “eCycling” effort to facilitate the recycling of one billion pounds of electronics every year. In the first two years of service, the number of eCycling centers has grown by more than 50%, and the number of pounds collected has nearly doubled.
The Greener Gadgets site also offers lots of information on ways to cut down your consumption and educate yourself about using less power and resources. In addition to tips for “Living Green” and “Buying Green,” the site features a handy calculator that helps you figure out how much your electronics usage costs, encouraging you to cut back on your consumption. You can quickly tabulate your monthly and yearly power costs for dozens of different devices.
uSell – uSell offers a chance for consumers to make a few dollars as they put their still-functioning devices directly into the hands of buyers who are experts at refurbishing and reselling electronics. The site lets you list your cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players, tablets, game consoles and eReaders up for auction, and once a buyer is secured, you receive free mailing materials and shipping to send it along.
Goodwill – In partnership with Dell, Goodwill accepts most forms of electronics at their collection sites, regardless of brand or condition. Simply make sure you find a nearby location that accepts them, and drop your item off and receive a tax-deductible donation receipt.
Manufacturer Sites – AT&T and Verizon offer customers the chance to bring in any cell phones or other accessories to their store for recycling, with the Verizon program dedicated to providing refurbished phones to victims of domestic violence. LG’s Ecomobilize site allows you to find easy ways to either drop off or mail in your device, including the ability to request mailing info simply by texting a message to LG.
Retail Sites –Best Buy allows consumers to bring in up to two items a day per household into any of their US stores for recycling. Office Depot sells small, medium and large boxes for $5 – $15 in which you can place however many electronics you can fit and bring it back to the store for recycling. Staples offers in-store collection bins for small items, and will accept larger items such as monitors, printers and copiers, with a limit of six items per day.
Additional Electronics Recycling Resources
Earth 911 – Helps you find recycling centers for many types of goods, including electronics.
Call2Recycle – Offers a map of locations to recycle old cell phones and rechargeable batteries
eRecycle.org – A site set up specifically for California residents to find information and locations for electronics recycling