‘Twas a few days after Christmas, and all around the world, the cold turkey was being eaten and the cracker debris swept away…”

And children of all ages were starting to play with their new toys and trying to find somewhere open that had the right kind of batteries, or wondering what other household gadgets – preferably belonging to somebody else – they could discreetly borrow some from.

In our house anyway Santa is notorious for forgetting the batteries, and also for considering whether things bought from UK retailers might well come with the wrong kind of plug on the charger in the first place – a notable hazard when shopping online, but one easily rectified by maintaining a drawer-full of both for emergencies (like days when not even Chinese Bazaars are open).

If Father Christmas was kind enough to bring you some fabulous new techy toys this year, here are a few more handy tips to help you enjoy and get the most out of them:

Don’t throw the packaging away

keep the packaging

You never know when it might be needed

If you have just got a great new gadget, it’s frustrating when it’s encased in moulded plastic and glue-welded shut for display, requiring attack with one of the Sabatier kitchen knives Santa brought earlier. But if it’s a brand-new tech device you won’t be putting through every one of its paces immediately, try to resist the temptation to let it all get swept away into the general post-Christmas recycling bag.

If there were to be any problems that required returning it, then without the box it could be much more difficult, and perhaps you will want to re-gift or even sell it one day? That’s what I always say about new phones for example, even though they usually just get absorbed by someone else in my family. I should probably charge them more generalised guilt and obligation due to my careful keeping of boxes and inserts.

If you keep the warranty inside the box, you will always know where to find that too.


Register your device

First time you start up a new piece of software or connect your device to the internet or your computer, you will probably get some nagging screen wanting you to take the time and input various details – contact information, sometimes some small print fiddly device number. Of course you just want to get the heck on and have fun with it, and why do they need this information anyway?

Well naturally some of their purpose is for marketing information but you can always opt-out of this at some point in the process. By registering your new piece of kit you can ensure your warranty is properly valid – yes, in most cases legally in Spain this won’t be a requirement and your contract is with the retailer, we have some of the best protection around for electrodomesticos purchases. But if you bought online you had better give yourself the maximum protection you can.

And product registration details are often used to offer you genuinely useful marketing information such as upgrade deals and the latest versions as they become available, whether these are paid-for or free they are worth knowing about.

Finally of course this information may be used to facilitate product recalls – such as with the Fitbit Force earlier this year. After fantastic sales of their premium new fitness tracker worldwide over Christmas, reports of a small number of users developing allergic contact dermatitis from the wristband used, and a global recall and refund service was offered with minimal delay in the new year.

The first people to hear about it and take advantage of the full refund were those who had registered their device and set up a data account with Fitbit.com – and fair play to them, everyone received pre-paid shipping materials and a 15% voucher for a replacement device valid until June 2015 – which will be plenty of time for anybody who wants to try out one of the new wristbands launching in the new year.

(And if anybody at Fitbit wants me to review them, you know how to get in touch. Just saying…)


Finally, read the instructions!

Whilst we know Real Men don’t need to read instruction manuals to get their new toys to work, you’d be amazed what you could overlook, if you lose or throw away the important ‘how to’ documentation. Yes it’s highly likely that the thick pad of densely-printed type only contains a few pages of useful instructions in your first language, outside of the waste electrical goods recycling advice and useful consumer recommendations such as not eating the battery or inserting your fingers into moving parts – but those few pages matter.

For example even the budget end of the compact camera market can do incredible things with the various functions built in, and whilst of course you can figure out how to charge the batteries and insert a memory card without reference to a manual you might well miss out on how to get the most from your new gadget. Keep the manual and the guarantee, and you will get far more out of your Christmas pressies well into the near year and beyond.

Thank you for reading Costa Connected in 2014, and if you missed any articles don’t forget you can always catch up and join in the comments at http://costaconnected.com., or on our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/groups/Costaconnected/

A very happy new year from everybody here at Casslar Consulting SL.


Costa Connected, for Costa Blanca News, September 5th 2014  ©Maya Middlemiss,  Casslar Consulting SL

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