OLED Vs. QLED: Which is Better for You
When shopping for a new TV or monitor, there's a barrage of technical terms and specs to wade through. Terms like resolution and refresh rate can sometimes make the process feel more like a math lesson than a shopping experience.
Yet, even before diving into those specific metrics, it's vital to grasp the foundational technology that underpins them.
OLED and QLED displays, while often found side by side on store shelves, utilize fundamentally different mechanisms for video display and backlighting. These differences not only influence the visual quality but also the size, weight, and overall experience of your display.
QLED vs. OLED, which is the better choice for you? Read on as we delve into the strengths and limitations of each technology to help you make an informed decision.
What is OLED?
OLED, or Organic Light-Emitting Diodes, is a display technology utilizing organic (carbon-based) materials that emit light when electrified. Unlike traditional LCD/LED displays that require a backlight, each pixel in an OLED display produces its own light, enabling true black levels, a high contrast ratio, thinner designs, and potential for flexibility. However, they are susceptible to burn-in when static images remain displayed for extended periods.
What is QLED?
QLED, which stands for Quantum Dot LED, is an LCD (liquid crystal display) that employs quantum dots with an LED backlight to produce brighter, more vibrant colors than traditional LCD/LED displays. Both QLEDs and traditional LEDs are based on LCD technology. The difference is that QLEDs and LEDs have newer backlight technologies than the LCD. With QLEDs having the latest tech.
Now that we've covered the basics, let's dive deeper into the distinct characteristics of each.
OLED vs. QLED
The technology and picture quality
A common misconception is that QLEDs are a type of OLED. While they share some similarities, they are fundamentally distinct technologies. OLED differs from conventional LED displays in that they utilize organic LEDs to create the displayed images, eliminating the need for the traditional light-emitting diode (LED) technology. Each pixel of an OLED display emits its own light, negating the need for a backlight. Whereas the QLED display utilizes quantum dots to enhance the brightness and color of traditional LED LCDs. When hit by light from the LED backlight, these quantum dots emit their own differently colored light, producing vibrant and dynamic images.
Aesthetics-wise, what does this all mean? To help you better understand, we will break down the viewing experience into four categories and explain how they are impacted by OLED or QLED technology:
1. Black Level and Contrast
* OLED: Since OLEDs are self-emissive (each pixel produces its own light), they can achieve true black levels by turning off individual pixels completely. This results in an infinite contrast ratio.
* QLED: QLEDs are based on LCD technology that uses a backlight. While QLEDs utilize quantum dots to enhance color and brightness, they can't turn off individual pixels like OLEDs. However, high-end QLEDs use local dimming to darken specific areas of the screen, improving contrast, but it doesn't match the "true black" of OLEDs.
* OLED: Brightness levels in OLEDs are generally lower than those of QLEDs. While they can produce brilliant HDR highlights, their overall screen brightness can be outpaced by QLED displays.
* QLED: Capable of achieving higher levels of brightness. This can be particularly beneficial in brightly lit rooms or for HDR content.
3. Color Accuracy
* OLED: Provides excellent color accuracy at various brightness levels.
* QLED: Thanks to the quantum dots, QLEDs can achieve outstanding color accuracy and can also cover a significant portion of the color spectrum, especially at high brightness levels where OLEDs might struggle.
4. Uniformity and Viewing Angles
* OLED: Offers excellent viewing angles due to its individual pixel light emission. The self-emitting pixels ensure consistent light, color, and contrast across the screen, allowing for a near 180-degree viewing angle.
* QLED: Traditionally, QLEDs suffered from limited viewing angles, meaning colors and brightness could shift when viewed off-axis. However, newer QLED models have started to address this issue with improved viewing angles.
Burn-in and lifespan
For those unfamiliar with the term burn-in, it refers to a permanent display defect caused by prolonged static content being displayed on a screen. Over time, if static images (like channel logos, news tickers, or user interface elements) stay on the screen for long periods without change, they can "burn in" and leave a ghostly residue or faint image even when the display is showing other content.
OLED screens, which rely on organic compounds to emit light, are particularly susceptible to burn-in. Over time, as these organic compounds degrade, if certain pixels consistently display the same static image, they can degrade faster than surrounding pixels, leading to uneven wear and, ultimately, burn-in. This can manifest as faint but permanent imprints of channel logos, user interface elements, or other static content.
Luckily, for the average user, burn-in issues with OLED screens shouldn't be a significant concern as long as static images aren't displayed for prolonged periods, and the screen is given resting intervals. For a better understanding of how burn-ins on OLED screens can happen, check out RTINGS.com’s 9000-hour test on OLED screens.
On the other hand, QLED screens are a type of LED/LCD display enhanced with a layer of quantum dots to boost color and brightness. Since QLEDs are based on traditional LCD technology and use a backlight, they don't have the same burn-in risks as OLEDs.
When considering lifespan, the organic compounds in OLEDs can degrade over time, potentially reducing their overall lifespan, whereas the inorganic nature of quantum dots in QLEDs offers a more consistent performance over time and may imply a longer overall lifespan.
In terms of design, OLEDs are thinner than QLEDs. Traditional LCD displays, including QLEDs, require a backlight to shine light through the display to create an image. QLEDs use quantum dots to enhance the color and brightness of this light, but they still rely on the backlight. This backlight system adds to the overall thickness of the display. Since OLED pixels emit their own light, the number of layers required in the display stack is reduced.
Additionally, the organic materials used in OLEDs are not only thinner but also more flexible than the materials in QLEDs. This has led to innovations like curved, foldable, or rollable OLED displays.
Generally, OLED displays, which use organic light-emitting materials, have been pricier due to production complexities. In contrast, QLED displays utilize quantum dots to boost LCD performance and come in a broader price range. While lower-end QLED models can be more affordable than OLEDs, high-end QLEDs can match or even exceed OLED prices. Prices for both technologies have been competitive, influenced by brand, features, and marketing dynamics.
OLED vs. QLED: Which is the better choice for you?
The decision between OLED and QLED largely depends on your preferences, viewing habits, and budget. Both have their advantages and potential drawbacks. However, before purchasing, you should consider some essential decision points:
* Budget: If you're price-sensitive, you might get a larger or better-featured QLED for the price of an OLED.
* Viewing Environment: For bright rooms, a QLED might be preferable due to its high brightness. For dark rooms where a cinematic experience is desired, OLED might be the choice.
* Usage: If you plan to use it as a computer monitor or for games/content with static images for prolonged periods, QLED might be safer due to the risk of burn-in with OLEDs.
* Aesthetics: If a super-thin design is a priority, OLEDs have the edge.
Ultimately, both technologies offer excellent viewing experiences, and you can't go wrong with either. It's about weighing what aspects are most important to you.
However, if you are interested in purchasing an OLED product, Acer has a line of OLED devices from laptops, monitors, and gaming TVs.
Computer Basics for Kids: What to Teach and Why?
Tech is all around us. From computers to smartphones, digital advertisements, and game stations, tech seems present in almost all aspects of modern life. Kids today are so-called digital natives, growing up with technology around them. In fact, most kids will not remember a time when computers and tech did not dominate our world. Alongside dance, sports, and band practice, it is important for children to learn how to use computers to remain competitive in a world that seems to introduce new tech products daily.
Why teach children about computers?
Learning about computers is no longer an option — it is necessary to keep up with our modern way of living. Here are some more reasons why computer classes for kids are beneficial.
1. To become digitally literate
Digital literacy helps kids become fluent in using the internet, social media, and other tech, which is now integrated into our modern-day society. Although it does not mean that children should know everything there is to know about computers, they should at least have basic skills to help them survive in a tech-heavy world.
As children grow into adults, they will have to handle an increasing amount of life admin online. As such, becoming digitally literate at a young age will help them thrive in later life. Unlike older generations of so-called digital immigrants, kids have the added benefit of growing up in a tech-based environment, making becoming digitally literate more manageable.
2. To prepare them for school
Chromebooks and other tech devices are being introduced into schools from very young ages, so basic computer skills are required for children to keep up in class. Computers, tablets, and other tech devices are not just exclusively used in computer science or IT classes, meaning kids should be able to grasp technology from the get-go. In fact, 79% of US teachers in a recent survey said that students are able to achieve more by using technology, emphasizing its importance in contemporary classrooms.
3. To create online safety
Social media and other technology are not inherently bad, but they can be dangerous and leave kids exposed to predators if they are unaware of how to protect themselves. Teaching children about the dangers of the internet, cyberbullying, and mental health issues arising from technology may help them identify and overcome such situations before it is too late. Additionally, computer classes for kids can help them become more self-disciplined, understand healthy amounts of tech usage, and be aware of the downsides of tech addiction.
4. To foster cognitive development
Problem-solving skills are an important factor in cognitive development. Interactive computer activities or learning coding skills through games like Minecraft can help cultivate strong cognitive skills. Moreover, computers also nurture creative and critical thinking and allow children to express themselves through music, drawing, or coding applications.
5. To prepare them for future tech-based careers
Currently, over 92% of jobs require computer skills and digital literacy, which may increase as we become increasingly reliant on tech. Encouraging early exposure to computers through coding or computer science classes can spark a passion for tech-related career choices in later life. Moreover, allowing children to dismantle and analyze computer parts can also help shape future careers. In short, a child’s first laptop experience could be the first step toward a promising career in tech.
At what age should children start using computers?
There is some discussion about which age children should start using computers. It can seem like a catch-22 — starting too early risks tech addiction but starting too late risks missing out on cultivating important skills in their early years. The US Government Office of Education Technology recommends that screen time should be avoided for children under two years old, reminding us that technology should not be used for the sake of it. However, this age group may benefit from actively using technology, such as chiming in on video calls to talk with relatives.
Children aged between two and five should have limited screen time to no more than an hour per day. This includes tech usage at home and in educational settings. Similarly, children aged six and above should have no more than two hours of screen time daily.
The specific age at which a child is ready to start using a computer will vary depending on the child's individual development and interest. It also depends on the type of screen time and the conditions under which it is used. Screen time that is more like a stand-in babysitter may be convenient for parents but unstimulating for the child, whereas educationally beneficial apps could complement real-world interactions. Generally speaking, kids above six years old can begin using the internet, allowing them to explore and become young content creators. At this age, children will also start using the internet for school and homework.
Computer basics: what to teach?
Jumping straight to coding or computer science classes may be too overwhelming for children of a young age. So, what are the most suitable basic computer skills to teach kids?
1. Basic computer operations
How does a computer work? How can we safely switch a computer off and on? Although they may be second nature now, we all had to learn these things in the past. Children are no different, and it is crucial to explain basics, like why a computer should be safely shut down instead of simply pulling the plug out. Additionally, this would be a good time to teach children how to use a keyboard and mouse, including left, right, and double clicks, and how to launch applications. It may also be possible to teach them the fundamentals of file management.
2. Internet skills
Once kids have grasped the basics, they can start to learn how to use search engines to find answers to specific search terms. They can also learn about online communication tools like email, investigating how to effectively open, read, and reply to emails. It is also possible to teach them how to use social media at this point.
Just like real-life safety talks include learning how to cross the road and not to talk to strangers, children should also be taught how to use the internet wisely. They should be educated about potential online dangers such as predators, cyberbullying, and sharing personal information. Kids should also learn how to recognize unsafe websites and the importance of strong and unique passwords.
Introducing kids to basic programming concepts through games like Minecraft Education is a great way to stimulate young minds in an exciting way. It encourages collaboration with peers and a creative approach to learning, cultivating communication skills. There are hundreds of classroom-friendly games available to supplement classes and help kids boost their confidence in coding.
5. Hardware basics
Aside from learning coding to communicate with computers, it is also crucial to teach kids about the primary components of a computer. Knowing what CPU, RAM, and hard drives do and how they interact forms an understanding of how computers work and may ignite an interest in a future tech-related career.
Kids are digital natives and have the advantage of growing up in a tech-dominant environment. As such, they should learn computer basics at a young age to give them a competitive advantage at school and in their future careers. Learning about computers helps cognitive development by encouraging creative and problem-solving skills and can benefit them in all areas of life. By teaching children about the dangers of the internet, they can be aware of potential risks and learn how to protect themselves. Moreover, learning to code through applications like Minecraft encourages communication with peers and helps them develop a creative flair. As long as the content they are exposed to is age-appropriate, teaching kids basic computer skills helps pave the way to understanding how technology works.
DisplayPort 2.1 vs. HDMI 2.1: Which is Better for PC Gaming?
The gaming world is filled with debates: PC vs. console, keyboard vs. controller, and, of course, DisplayPort vs. HDMI. While some debates might boil down to personal preference, the battle between HDMI and DisplayPort hinges on cold, hard facts.
Before we jump into the debate, let us cover the basics of DisplayPort and HDMI.
What is DisplayPort?
DisplayPort, developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), is a digital interface designed primarily for transmitting video from PCs to monitors, although it can also carry audio and data. Since its debut in 2006, there have been multiple versions, with DisplayPort 1.4, a feature-based upgrade, being the most prevalent in modern devices.
The standard DisplayPort connector has a 20-pin design with a lock for secure connection, but there's also a Mini DisplayPort variant without this feature. Recently, Mini DisplayPort has given way to USB-C, which can deliver DisplayPort capabilities via DisplayPort Alt Mode. DisplayPort 2.1 is currently the most advanced version, supporting exceptionally high resolutions and refresh rates.
What is HDMI?
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), introduced in 2022, is a digital interface that transmits video and audio signals from a source device to displays, like TVs and monitors. With over 10 billion devices sold, HDMI is widely used in home entertainment systems and computers, HDMI cables combine audio and video into one cable, simplifying connections and ensuring high-quality signal transmission.
The common types of HDMI you will encounter are Type A (Standard), Type C (Mini), and Type D (Micro).
Over the years, various versions of HDMI have been released, each offering improvements in resolution, audio capabilities, and other features. HDMI 2.1 is the latest iteration of this connector.
DisplayPort 2.1 vs. HDMI 2.1: Which is better for PC gaming?
In PC gaming, every component, from the graphics card to the cable, is crucial in delivering an optimal experience. Among the pivotal decisions gamers face is choosing the right display interface. HDMI and DisplayPort, two of the foremost contenders in this arena, often go head-to-head in discussions about visual performance, refresh rates, and audio quality.
At this point, you are probably wondering, “Is DisplayPort better than HDMI, or is HDMI better than DisplayPort?”
To successfully answer the DisplayPort Vs. HDMI question, you must look at four important features of the connectors that play a big impact on PC gaming. These four features are are follows: bandwidth and resolution support, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Multi-Stream Transport (MST), and latency.
1. Bandwidth and Resolution Support
Bandwidth dictates the maximum data transfer rate, affecting how quickly and smoothly game visuals and audio are transmitted to your display. Resolution support determines the clarity and detail of game graphics, with higher resolutions offering crisper and more immersive visuals. Thus, higher bandwidth and resolution support directly elevate the fidelity and responsiveness of your PC gaming experience.
DisplayPort and HDMI versions dictate the maximum resolution and refresh rate capabilities. Commonly, monitors and computers support DisplayPort 1.2 or 1.4 and HDMI 1.4 or 2.0.
DisplayPort 2.0 and 2.1, boasting nearly three times the bandwidth of DisplayPort 1.4, offer the potential for up to 16K resolutions using compression or high refresh rates at lower resolutions. HDMI 2.1 only offers up to 10k, so based on numbers alone, DP 2.1 beats out HDMI 2.1.
However, in the current gaming market, DisplayPort 2.0 and 2.1 have limited support with GPUs from both Nvidia and AMD. As of September 2023, only the AMD Radeon™ RX 7800 XT with AMD RDNA™ 3 architecture supports DisplayPort 2.0 and 2.1. Nvidia GPUs, at the time of the posting, do not support DisplayPort 2.1 or 2.0.
Considering G-SYNCS's rapport with DisplayPort, it is very likely that Nvidia will follow suit and eventually announce support for Display Port 2.0 and 2.1.
In comparison, both HDMI 2.1 and 2.0 are currently supported by both Nvidia and AMD.
Winner: HDMI 2.1 (but not for long)
2. Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) is a technology that allows a display to dynamically adjust its refresh rate to match the frame rate output of a content source, like a gaming console or PC. By synchronizing these rates, VRR reduces visual artifacts like screen tearing and stutter, providing a smoother visual experience. This technology is especially beneficial for gaming, where frame rates can fluctuate frequently.
Two primary VRR technologies dominate the market: FreeSync and G-SYNC. For users with an AMD graphics card, FreeSync is the go-to choice, and it's compatible with both HDMI and DisplayPort connectors. On the other hand, if you're using NVIDIA's graphics solutions, you'll want G-SYNC, which currently only supports DisplayPort. Thus, NVIDIA users should prioritize a DisplayPort connection.
Winner: DisplayPort 2.1
3. Multi-Stream Transport (MST)
MST is a technology incorporated into the DisplayPort 1.2 standard and later versions. Its primary purpose is to allow a single DisplayPort connection on your computer to handle multiple video outputs simultaneously; this official term is called Daisy Chain. This technology can allow for expansive game views or simultaneous multitasking, such as gaming on one screen while monitoring streams or chats on another. MST's efficient bandwidth use ensures that each connected display delivers optimal gaming visuals without compromising performance.
MST theoretically supports linking up to 60+ displays from that single connection. You can achieve this by 'daisy-chaining' monitors directly or using an external hub. Though HDMI doesn't inherently support MST, a DisplayPort to HDMI hub can simulate this function, provided the source device has a DisplayPort output.
Winner: DisplayPort 2.1
Latency denotes the delay between sending a signal from a source device and its display on a target device. Measured in milliseconds, it impacts synchronization and real-time interactions, especially in gaming. Lower latency means faster response and smoother experiences.
The latency of HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2.1 is quite similar (0.01 milliseconds). However, some factors can affect the latency, such as the length of the cable, the quality of the cable, and the specific devices that are being used.
In general, the latency of HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2.1 is low enough that it is not noticeable for most gamers.
While HDMI 2.1 has its merits and is a versatile connector found in various entertainment setups, when it comes to PC gaming performance, DisplayPort 2.1 edges out as the champion. Its superior bandwidth and resolution support, exclusive compatibility with NVIDIA's G-SYNC, and the daisy-chaining capabilities of MST offer gamers a higher tier of immersion and flexibility. Unfortunately, DisplayPort 2.1 and 2.0 have limited support with Nvidia and AMD GPUs, which means that in terms of resolution, HDMI 2.1 is still king. However, when DisplayPort finally gets full support from both AMD and Nvidia, those seeking the pinnacle of PC gaming experiences should look towards the benefits of DisplayPort.
A Preview of Payday 3
When the Payday franchise began in 2011, it was a treasure chest for their developer Starbreeze. Though the bank heist has been a common theme in film for several decades, there were few video game adaptations of it until Payday came along. The thrill of being able to play the villain appealed to a lot of gamers and the game’s success brought a wave of prosperity to the game’s developer.
After Payday 2 (2013) was released, however, Starbreeze’s luck seemed to have run out. The studio was close to going bankrupt after the release of Overkill’s The Walking Dead due to a higher than expected share of sales in countries where the game carried a lower price tag, such as China and Russia.
Rumors of insider training even led to a police raid at their company headquarters in downtown Stockholm. Though the charges were later dropped, it took some time for the studio to recover from its financial and legal woes.
Ten years after the release of Payday 2, the Payday 3 game is finally coming out! Whether you’re a newbie or a longtime fan, keep reading to learn about Payday 3’s release date and platforms, its graphics and design engine, and the Payday franchise as a whole.
The Payday franchise
Payday is a franchise developed by Starbreeze Studios that is well known for its action and flexibility, allowing players to choose whether they want to do a heist in stealth mode or go in guns blazing (literally). The first installment, Payday: The Heist, was released in 2011 with four original characters: Dallas, Hoxton, Chains, and Wolf.
This criminal quartet, infamous for their creepy clown masks, started their professional careers at the First World Bank, where they got away with stealing a ton of cash by using thermite attached to a photocopier to enter the vault. The seven different missions in the first game provide a certain level of randomness that make the game a high-octane joyride.
The second game, titled simply Payday 2, featured the four main characters terrorizing Washington D.C. with the help of two new characters, Pearl and Joy. Since the game was released in 2013, a slew of updates have increased its replayability and allowed the franchise to attract and maintain a steady fanbase. Though the release of Payday 3 comes an entire decade after its predecessor, there are still active communities of players looking forward to the launch.
Payday 3: Graphics, design, and gameplay mechanics
Now that we’ve talked a bit about the Payday franchise, let’s get into some specifics about Payday 3, including its graphics, design, and mechanics.
The game takes place in New York. It features the same characters from Payday 2, that is, Dallas, Hoxton, Chains, Wolf, Pearl, and Joy. As with the previous games, the game is focused primarily on pulling off bank heists through any means necessary.
As to which engine the game is being released on, the studio will release the game on Unreal Engine 4 but plans to update to Unreal Engine 5 sometime after launch. When this switch will take place and what impact this could have on game specs is still an open question.
In terms of actual gameplay, Payday 3 will have four different difficulty modes. While players will face the same enemies, SWAT and Heavy SWAT units, the number, accuracy, and damage of enemies will increase as the difficulty level goes up. However, enemy health will stay consistent across each difficulty level.
Although Payday 3 offers both single-player and multiplayer modes, the game will require Internet access to run. In multiplayer mode you can team up with others either locally or online. Luckily, Payday 3’s multiplayer mode is cross-platform, so you can play with any of your friends no matter which device they’re using.
There is also the option to choose an AI companion, but according to preliminary reviews, the AI characters aren’t very helpful and it’s best to choose human teammates.
Payday 3: Release date, platforms, and pricing
Payday 3 is set to come out on September 21st, 2023 with early access on September 18th for those who purchase a Silver, Gold, or Collector’s edition. It will be available for PC, Playstation 5, and Xbox Series X. Because it was designed using the Unreal Engine, the game will be identical on PC and consoles, so PC users need not worry about having a second-rate gaming experience.
The launch price will be $39.99 USD for the standard version, while Silver, Gold, and Collector’s editions will also be available at an additional cost. Xbox Game Pass subscribers, however, will be able to play the game at no extra cost.
Starbreeze also has announced their plans to release “four additional heists, four tailor packs, and four weapon packs” of DLC (downloadable content) within one year of the game’s launch, which should add to the game’s replayability and overall appeal. In addition to the standard version of Payday 3, Silver, Gold, and Collector’s editions will also be available.
Both the Silver and Gold editions are digital only. The Silver edition includes 3 days of early access, 6 months of the season pass and a special Dark Sterling mask. The Gold edition increases the length of your season pass to 12 months, throws in a Skull of Liberty mask and Gold Slate gloves and also includes everything else from the Silver edition. The Silver edition is available for $69.99 while the Gold edition is $20 more expensive at $89.99.
The Collector’s edition is the only one to include physical items. In addition to everything from the Gold edition, you’ll also receive the Collector’s Mask, a custom deck of cards, stickers, and a membership letter to the Collector’s Club. The Collector’s edition will set you back $129.99.
If you don’t need any of the extras, you can enjoy Payday 3’s pandemonium with an Xbox Game Pass, which comes free with the purchase of any Acer gaming laptop. So, if you’re looking for a quality gaming experience using top-notch technology, check out the Nitro 50 Gaming Desktop or the Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop to ensure you’re getting the most out of Payday 3 upon release at no additional cost!
Though Starbreeze, the game’s developer, struggled for some years, the Payday 3 trailer shown at the recent Xbox Games Showcase promises a strong return to all of the antics, fun, and pure chaos that Payday is famous for. Though the differences between Payday 3 and its predecessors may not be huge, the fresh setting of what the developers call an “enormous, living New York” combined with the revamped characters and scenarios should be a treat for fans of the co-op shooter genre.
How to Upcycle Old Tech Products
Most of us know recycling our old plastics and packaging is good for the environment and can help reduce the need for landfills. The recycling process destroys disused paper, plastic, metals, and glass and turns it into something new and usable. Similarly, upcycling is a process by which our old products are taken in their current state and then modified, repurposed, or readapted to create a new and improved product.
Upcycling is hugely beneficial in industries such as fashion, where discarding used clothing contributes to the 92 million tonnes of clothing that end up in landfills each year. Upcycled clothing reduces the environmental burden and saves water and energy, which are used to excess during the production process. Likewise, upcycling is also becoming more and more popular in the tech industry, helping to reduce the annual 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste produced globally.
What is e-waste?
Electronic waste, known as e-waste, describes electronics nearing the end of their useful life that are discarded, donated, recycled, or upcycled. Laptops, cellphones, gaming consoles, home devices, or anything with a cable or cord is regarded as e-waste. Disposing of e-waste is not always convenient, causing many people to simply throw it away with their regular trash. Doing so can leak harmful chemicals and contaminants into the soil, which can end up in our food supplies and water sources via groundwater.
Why is upcycling and recycling important?
From fast fashion to trendy tech, there is no denying that we live in a world of excess. Upcycling and recycling provide savvy ways to use what we already have, reducing the burden of producing new products on our planet. Moreover, upcycling and recycling teach us how to value and get the most out of our beloved items without giving up on them entirely.
Upcycling vs recycling
Recycling breaks used products like plastic into its raw or base materials. In other words, recycled products go back into production and are transformed into completely different items. This process is repeatable, too, meaning items can be recycled again and again. While recycling is a great habit to get into, the process takes time, and we often do not see the direct results of our efforts.
On the other hand, upcycling lets us get creative with our devices. From wood and containers to picture frames or old clothes, upcycling lets us recreate old goods any way we want. It is a smart way to give dated products a breath of fresh air while turning trash into treasure.
Types of recoverable e-waste
Electronic goods are largely made up of plastic and metal parts. They also include hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and liquids like ink or coolant. E-waste materials all get recycled in different ways, and some are even recoverable.
Ferrous metals: Around 40% of e-waste comprises steel, a ferrous metal that forms the casing or chassis of electronic items. Recovered steel can be smelted and used to make new electronic items, vehicles, machinery, and even food containers.
Non-ferrous metals: Unlike ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals such as aluminum and copper do not contain iron. Aluminum is popular for use in electronics due to its durability and high thermal conductivity. It is largely used in the structural areas of electronics like flat-screen TVs and motor casings. Aluminum can be reused and recycled, so it is important to ensure it remains out of landfill sites. In fact, making aluminum is so energy-intensive that recycling it takes only 5% of the energy required to make it from scratch.
Copper is an excellent heat conductor and can be found in electronics that require thermal conductivity. This includes radiators, compressors, and copper wires used in electric motors and circuit boards. Like aluminum, copper is a valuable metal that can be recycled again and again.
How can you upcycle old tech?
Recycling and upcycling sound good in theory, but how can old electronic products like an old computer or laptop be upcycled? Here are some ideas for your next upcycling projects.
1. Use it as back-up
Nowadays, people take so many photos and videos that it is impossible to store everything on one device. How about using an old laptop or computer as a backup? That way, tired but still functioning devices can still be put to good use by safeguarding surplus files, photos, and videos.
2. Use it as an additional monitor
Working from home, gaming, or keeping track of the latest stocks and shares — it can be tiring to stare at one screen for an extended time. Old screens can be reused as an additional monitor, helping to streamline your workflow and boost productivity. Working across two screens minimizes the need to click between tabs and applications, making it easier to compare and analyze data.
3. Build a DIY Chromebook
Turning an old laptop into a Chromebook may be easier than you think. Chromebooks use a simple operating system and do not require aspects such as driver management and regular system updates, making it a viable option if you want to access the web browser or cloud-based programs. Just make sure your old laptop meets the required specifications to get started.
4. Create a Minecraft server
Put your old laptop to use by inspiring young minds! By creating a Minecraft server, kids can learn how to code in a fun and exciting way. The game is not hardware-intensive so most old laptops or computers should be able to handle it. Minecraft provides a safe gaming option for young users and teaches kids problem-solving and communication skills.
5. Make a retro gaming computer
Those looking for a bit of game nostalgia can consider turning old laptops or computers into retro gaming machines. By downloading and installing emulation software for the gaming platform, you can kill two birds with one stone by reliving your old gaming memories and putting an unused computer to use. Gamers looking to take a walk down memory lane should be mindful that while using and downloading emulators is legal, downloading Roms, i.e. games to play on the emulator, is not.
6. If you can't upcycle it, recycle it
If these options aren’t for you, why not recycle old electronics instead? Acer offers multiple recycling programs that help you get rid of old devices, batteries, and accessories responsibly. Each US state has different recycling rules, so US-based customers should check the guidelines for their respective states beforehand. Do your bit to help the planet and clear out old electronic clutter with Acer recycling.
Electronic waste contains substances like metals, glass, plastics, and chemicals, making it more troublesome to dispose of than household waste. But there are options. Upcycling old electronics by making a second screen or even creating a new Chromebook are fantastic ways to put old devices to good use. Moreover, donating tired electronics to schools or local charities means that they can even be used to inspire future generations. Moreover, Acer’s recycling program also lets users get rid of their old devices without harming the planet.
Why Browser Extensions Could Contain Malware
The Internet is an essential tool for many parts of life in the modern world, but it also implies a wide range of challenges and security threats. Browser extensions are no exception. Though a browser extension may appear to be harmless, it can sometimes contain malware that compromises your personal information and does damage to your devices.
Even browser extensions that improve our browsing experience can contain malware lurking beneath the surface. In a digital world where risks are present at every corner, how can we protect ourselves? What are some guidelines for safe use of browser extensions so that we can take advantage of their strengths while also protecting ourselves? Read on to learn some actions you can take today to strengthen your cybersecurity approach as it relates to browser extensions.
What is a browser extension?
A browser extension is a piece of software that modifies the existing capabilities of a web browser. They extend the capabilities of our browser through unique functions that aren’t supported by the browser itself. This means they perform a lot of useful functions: ad blockers prevent pesky ads from cluttering our browsers, while a translator extension like Google Translate can translate any web page as you navigate.
Browser extensions range from commonplace to very niche. For example, language lovers can use Toucan to translate a certain amount of words on each webpage into their target language and learn while browsing. Browser extensions can be used on various browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
Are browser extensions safe?
Though browser extensions perform a lot of useful functions, malicious browser extensions can infect your computer with browser malware without your knowledge. Google removed 30 malicious extensions from the Google Play Store, all of them with legitimate functionality. One of the removed extensions, AutoSkip for YouTube, works in the way it advertises, but has harmful code written within it.
The difficult part about detecting a malicious browser extension, however, is that you can’t always tell immediately, or at all, whether or not it’s harmful. While some extensions may steal personal data directly after installation, others appear innocent and conceal their activity in such a way that you don’t realize your data is at risk. They can do this by monitoring your keystrokes, obtaining valuable personal information such as credit card numbers and passwords along the way.
This doesn’t mean that all browser extensions contain malware, though - many browser extensions are legitimate and well-intentioned. The problem lies in being able to tell the difference. Let’s take a look at some ways that computer users can protect themselves from malicious browser extensions.
How can I protect myself from malicious browser extensions?
Though you can’t take all of the inherent risk out of using browser extensions, you can take certain steps to minimize your exposure. That way, you can continue to block ads and optimize your browsing experience with peace of mind. Check out the list below:
1. Download from reputable sources
Before you download a browser extension, you should always take a look at the developer’s information. If they’re legitimate, they should have a website or social media presence. Make sure that the information presented on the app store matches the information you find on their other public profiles.
In addition to the developer, you should trust the marketplace you’re downloading from. It’s safest to use an official store, like the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. You can also download an extension directly from the developer’s website, like the popular browser extension Grammarly.
2. Review browser permissions
Another factor you should take into consideration is the browser permissions that the application requests. These permissions should always make sense according to the functionality of the extension. An ad blocker, for example, should not need to access files on your device. If you see anything that is suspicious or seems unrelated to the extension’s apparent purpose, don’t take the risk of downloading it.
3. Read reviews
Reviews are a great way to see what experiences others have had with the extension. Besides usability and interface design, you should also take a look at what others say regarding the legitimacy of the app. Previous reviews can warn you if an extension contains dangerous malware that you should steer clear of.
4. Limit the number of extensions
Limiting the number of extensions on your browser reduces your risk purely due to the rules of chance: the more extensions you download, the higher the chance is that one of them contains malware. Erring on the side of caution is the best mindset when deciding which browser extensions to download. Instead of downloading any browser extension that could potentially be useful, you should only download those which you find to be essential.
If you need to download an extension, you should first go to the Chrome Web Store. On the homepage, you’ll see a variety of extensions available for download. If you have a specific extension in mind, navigate to the search bar and type in the name of the extension you’d like to install. Before you click “Add to Chrome,” don’t forget to review the browser permissions and read the user reviews.
5. Update your extensions & your browser
Another step you can take to protect yourself against malicious browser extensions is to update your extensions and your browser. With each browser update, browsers improve in their ability to recognize and combat malware, so it’s important to keep your software up to date.
Updating your extensions, on the other hand, refers not simply to updating to the latest software version, but reevaluating which extensions you have installed. Ironically, to discover which of your extensions have malware, you might need a separate extension to tell you which are malicious.
Once you find out which, if any, of your browser extensions contain malware, you can remove those malware extensions from Chrome or a different browser. By disabling and deleting those browser extensions, you won’t be exposed to malicious software any longer.
To do this on Chrome, click on the puzzle piece in the upper right hand corner of the browser window, next to the star. Then, navigate to the bottom of the list where you’ll find the option “Manage extensions.” From there, you’ll find a list of all the extensions you have installed, and you can remove any of the extensions by clicking on the “Remove” button.
Though the use of the Internet implies various risks, with knowledge of these risks and containment strategies, we can benefit from the Internet with peace of mind. Because cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, it’s imperative to stay informed and update your knowledge. Whether you’re worried about the impact of AI on your children or IT challenges in education, adopting a growth mindset towards cybersecurity protection can protect you and your family in the long term.