Posts tagged "ecoTEAM"

If You’re a Consumer, the Unlocking Cell Phones Bill is Excellent

by Randal Erman

Welcome to the brave new world of unlocked phones, America!  

On July 25th, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. Bill S. 517 was signed into law by President Obama on Friday, August 1, 2014.

This is a big win for consumers as it allows people to take their paid for cell phone from one carrier to another. This helps competition and reduces the cost barrier of switching carriers, as people no longer have to purchase a phone to work on that new carrier’s network. Of course, the cell phone has to support that new carrier’s network (GSM, CDMA, LTE for those technically savvy readers), but it eliminates the need to buy a new phone whenever they want to switch. All cell phones will hold more value for a longer amount of time.

From the ecoATM side, we see this law helping the refurbishing aspect of what we do, which is currently 75 percent of our business.  Phones that are deposited safely and securely in our kiosks are eventually sold to a new owner or are responsibly recycled. Clearly, a mobile phone which stays in use for the longest amount of time possible is the most impactful way to help reduce the resources we consume for mobile phones. By allowing consumers to unlock phones, businesses that find phones a second life have more options for prospective users of these phones, both domestically and internationally.

To recap, this law is exciting for a lot of reasons: 

It’s great to see Congress taking a step in this greener direction. Again: Welcome to a brave new world, America.

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Contrary to popular belief, we’re not all robots here at ecoATM HQ. We’re actual humans, here to make it fast, easy and convenient to recycle your old phones, MP3 players and tablets for cash. Take a minute to sneak a peek behind the kiosk and get to know our team!

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Name: Lisa Ann Cassidy

Title: Location Development Manager

Stuff you do inside the ecoATM office:

I find new locations for ecoATM machines, negotiate the contracts and then manage the accounts after install.

Stuff you do outside the ecoATM office:

Oh boy…I love to salsa dance. I’m big on traveling, hanging at the beach, line dancing, trivia nights, going out with friends, indoor rock climbing, motorcycle rides, yoga sculpt, concerts and reading. I’m finally applying to get my motorcycle license this week, so excited! I failed last time by one (one!) lousy point.

Did you ever own a phone that you’d be embarrassed to carry around now?

I wouldn’t say embarrassed exactly. I loved the two Helio phones I had. They flipped up both ways and had two keyboards! I thought I was THE coolest kid in history. Loved those phones up until the day I recycled them. Helio doesn’t even exist anymore!

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If you could pick one robot from pop culture history to hang out with, which one would you pick?

WALL-E! He’s such an adorable creation with great morals - I would just to hug him and squeeze him all day. Hope that’s not coming off as creepy!

Other than recycling your gadgets, what else do you do to help the environment?

I’ve done beach clean-ups and I have a natural tendency to pick up trash around the beaches (something instilled in me by my mom). And I have tons of reusable bags for grocery shopping! I also encourage everyone to look into the non-profit I used to work for call Nature & Culture International. They conserve endangered rainforests.

Describe one of your favorite days at ecoATM.

One of my favorite days at ecoATM was when we celebrated recycling our one millionth device. Engineering tricked our CEO at the time into thinking we had hit it way sooner by fudging the numbers (it was April Fools Day - had to be done)! He was quite annoyed when he found out, but we ended up hitting the milestone later that day. 

If you could move anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

Great question! I haven’t traveled as much as my colleague Josie Markee but I am taking a trip to Paris in a few months. I’ve always loved the idea of seeing life through rose-colored glasses, so I would think that Paris, in all its renowned beauty, wouldn’t disappoint as a place to live! I loved Costa Rica when I visited this year. Everywhere in that country is gorgeous, but it’s a little slower-paced than I could live with.

Name one thing people might be surprised to know about you.

That I love the American version of Top Gear. I like cars and I’m super into motorcycles and muscle cars - I come from a motorcycle family. Also, I have a taco purse named Taco Belle.

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Favorite quote?

I’ve got one all-time favorite: “Go out into the world and do well. But more importantly, go out into the world and do good.” My recent favorite is a little quote by Rev Run: “Don’t wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect.”

Go-to karaoke song?

Britney Spears, “Oops, I Did It Again!” My friends and I are currently learning the choreography so we can perform it specifically for karaoke nights.

Favorite pizza topping.

Cheese, cheese, cheese! Pancetta runs a close second though.

Thinking about joining our team? Check out our current open positions here.

6 Gadgets That Will Make This Your Best Summer Ever

By Randal Erman

You will have to excuse me for being a little bit scatterbrained this time of the year. It is summer after all, and summer means movement, activities and fun times (perhaps only Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh would disagree). The ecoATM marketing team recently started tracking our summer activities with our Fitbit gadgets and we’ve been having a good ol’ competition the see who can get out and be the most active. It got me thinking about technology as it relates to summer and how technology has improved this already sweet season. Here’s my round-up of cool tech for a hot summer:

  1. Bluetooth Speakers/iOS Boom Boxes. Nothing says summer like being at the beach and playing your favorite tunes with the latest and greatest speaker system. However, your music library may be stored on your mobile device, so finding speakers that connect wirelessly is key. If you are looking for something wireless AND waterproof, check out the ecoXBT which can be connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth. I prefer this one because it is waterproof and it has “eco” in its name, naturally.
  2. Zip Buds. Maybe these aren’t technology per se, but file it under “Cool Products.” I use these things all the time while I’m out running and getting my step count up on my Fitbit.  
  3. The Celestrong NexStar SE. Summer months tend to bring clear skies, so why not look deep into space and appreciate the wonders of the universe with this monster of a telescope? Telescopes in general have improved by leaps and bounds over the last 15 years, but the latest SkyAlign technology clearly delivers on bringing the night sky to any amateur astronomer.
  4. Kindle. No one in San Diego can go to a beach without seeing someone reading on a Kindle or Kindle Fire. The ability to read on the screen in bright daylight is the key value add for this device.
  5. Solar Power Packs and Energy Chargers. Remember when you went camping and didn’t have a way to power or charge anything? Well those days have been over for some time, and with solar power becoming more efficient and affordable, I present to you Solar Power Packs. Kids no longer have to worry about being bored while out camping because they can plug their Nintendo DS straight into the charger, go fishing, watch the stars and then beat a Koopa Brother to save the princess before going to bed. 
  6. GoPro. Who knew strapping a camera to your head and answering the question, “I wonder what happens if I do this?” could be so much fun! GoPro and its ability to record and share video has helped motivate countless people to go outside and do things they never would have (and sometimes probably shouldn’t have). GoPro allows people to bike down a cliff without breaking a bone and gives them evidence when someone calls their bluff afterwards.

If you see some cool new tech while out and about that has altered your summer, let me know!

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Contrary to popular belief, we’re not all robots here at ecoATM HQ. We’re actual humans, here to make it fast, easy and convenient to recycle your old phones, MP3 players and tablets for cash. Take a minute to sneak a peek behind the kiosk and get to know our team!

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Name: Josie Markee

Title: Associate Product Manager

Stuff you do inside the ecoATM office:

I was recently promoted into a product management role, which includes working with various departments to create functional specs that improve their tools, as well as seeing these projects through development and implementation. Previously, I was working in logistics and primarily in charge of the coordination of deploying new ecoATM kiosks.

Stuff you do outside the ecoATM office:

I have quite the travel bug, so any time off I can get is spent outside the US. I’ve been to all 50 states and about 40 different countries. I also love snowboarding, soccer and really anything outdoors.

Did you ever own a phone that you’d be embarrassed to carry around now?

I used to love my bright red LG Chocolate. I thought it was the coolest phone ever.

If you could pick one robot from pop culture history to hang out with, which one would you pick?

Definitely one of the transformers. Preferably one that could fly and take me somewhere. My husband would say the terminator in a heartbeat though!

Other than recycling your gadgets, what else do you do to help the environment?

I make sure to recycle at home. I also attend ecoATM volunteering events, including beach cleanups. 

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What’s your favorite thing about living in San Diego?

That we have the best of both worlds. We are right on the ocean, but only a few hours away from the mountains. So many activities!

Whats the one piece of tech that you couldn’t live without?

My iPhone - it’s permanently attached to me.

Go-to karaoke song?

Yikes…I can’t sing to save my life, so I try to avoid any and all karaoke.

Favorite pizza topping.

Pineapple!

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Thinking about joining our team? Check out our current open positions here.

Contrary to popular belief, we’re not all robots here at ecoATM HQ. We’re actual humans, here to make it fast, easy and convenient to recycle your old phones, MP3 players, and tablets for cash. Take a minute to sneak a peek behind the kiosk and get to know our team!

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Name: Jeff Ploetner

Title: Manager of Software Engineering

Stuff you do inside the ecoATM office:

My primary responsibility is developing and maintaining the visual and robotic subsystems of ecoATM kiosks, including visual identification and inspection of devices. I often say that I get to do all the fun stuff that is the “magic” inside an ecoATM, like writing the computer vision software that allows the kiosk to “see” devices and recognize what they are. 

I also work heavily with our factory and tech support team to ensure that our kiosks are being built properly, are operating smoothly, and are running all the latest and greatest software. I work with a great group of very talented people, and it is very rewarding to build software that delights our customers and provides a great experience.

Stuff you do outside the ecoATM office:

My main hobby outside of work is flying remote controlled airplanes, helicopters and quadcopters. I have quite a few planes and find it really enjoyable to get out of the office, breathe some fresh air, and work on my flying skills. Of course, it can be stressful if I ever crash (which happens more than I’d like), but the technology is getting so cheap these days that it’s easy and fun to do the repairs. 

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My garage is starting to fill up:

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Did you ever own a phone that you’d be embarrassed to carry around now?

Yes, an old Qualcomm QCP-2700 from 1997. It’s actually sitting in ecoATM’s Phone Museum right now. I had a whopping 70 voice minutes per month and 0 data usage back then!

If you could pick one robot from pop culture history to hang out with, which one would you pick?

Johnny 5 from Short Circuit and Short Circuit 2. I loved that movie when I was growing up and it in part inspired me to go into engineering. Johnny had so many funny phrases like “NO DISASSEMBLE!” 

Describe one of your favorite days at ecoATM.

It’s hard to pick just one as we’ve had so many, but two particular days stand out:

  • Several years ago, I pulled an all-nighter to bring up each robotic subsystem for the “Third Generation” ecoATM kiosk – the first kiosk that was going to be fully automated. Though it was a very long day/night, everything came together for an important demo the next day, and it was very rewarding to see the first kiosk come to life!
  • The day it was announced that we were being acquired by Outerwall. ecoATM was such an exciting startup to work for, and when that announcement came, I knew that all that hard work was finally going to pay off.

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Is your team currently looking to hire? If so, for what positions?

We have been hiring a lot of people into the Engineering department lately, but we but we still have some positions open: 

  • Software Engineer - Kiosk - C#
  • SQL Server DBA           
  • Software Quality Assurance Engineer

You can more about job opportunities on our Careers page. 

Are you iOS or Android?

iOS, but I don’t have a strong opinion, it’s just a personal preference.

Favorite quote.

I don’t really have one. but I strongly believe in the power of positive thinking. You should never stop learning and growing, and you should always keep improving yourself (and your software!).

To promote National Bike Month and the environmental benefits that come with this form of transportation, we interviewed ecoATM employees to see why they love to ride. 

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Meet Alex!

1. Why do you ride, or what motivates you the most? (Commute, for fun, for exercise, etc.) 

I ride road bikes primarily for fun. However, knowing that it’s good for my health and the environment are added benefits. 

The part I enjoy most about riding is the connection I have with a bike and knowing that what I get out of it is directly attributable to the energy I put into each pedal stroke. 

In addition to riding, I also collect bikes. Each one is unique, and I have come to appreciate the beauty in each bike’s design and quality.

2. Describe a bike trip you took that really sticks out in your mind. What made it special?  

I haven’t taken any exotic trips, but my favorite event is Bike the Drive in Chicago. Each year during Memorial Day weekend, the city closes the street so cyclists can ride up and down Lake Shore Drive. To have the Chicago skyline on one side of the street and the serenity of the lake on the other results in stunning scenery. It’s open to everyone, and it’s fun to see the different types of riders and their bikes.

3. How do you keep safe on the roads?

I keep my bikes well maintained. This includes checking and pumping up the tires, as well as the brake pads, before every ride. 

While riding, I always wear a helmet. In traffic, I assume that motorists do not see me, and I stay aware of my surroundings in case I need to swerve or hit the brakes. I use hand signals when turning or leaving the bike lane so motorists behind me know what to expect.  I also try to stay visible by using lights and wearing reflective materials when it’s dark out. 

Finally, I carry a kit that includes:

  • Identification and emergency contact information
  • Cash
  • Tube patch kit
  • Spare tube
  • Tire boot
  • Tire levers
  • Hand pump
  • Spare chain pins
  • Multi-tool

4. What advice would you give to new riders? 

  • Get a bike you enjoy riding. This means getting a bike that fits not only your body dimensions, but also the type of riding you want to do. A good shop can help you with this. Make sure you visit multiple stores so you can see different makes and models. Finding and developing a relationship with a shop can also come in handy down the road if you want to make upgrades.
  • Find bike buddies. While cycling can often times be an individual activity, riding in a group can open up new friendships and routes for you to enjoy.
  • Be safe!

If you could bike anywhere in the world right this second, where would you go? 

The Pyrenees. The ride is set in the mountains with steep climbs, but the roads are isolated with beautiful views.

Hope you had a wonderful Bike Month!

To promote National Bike Month and the environmental benefits that come with this form of transportation, we interviewed ecoATM employees to see why they love to ride. 

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Meet Ahron! 

1. Why do you ride, or what motivates you the most? (Commute, for fun, for exercise, etc.)

I mostly mountain bike and ride trails. When you ride off road, you have to stay in the zone and focus on the terrain and obstacles or you’re guaranteed to crash. There isn’t time to think about work, life or anything else but what you are doing in that moment.

2. Describe a bike trip you took that really sticks out in your mind. What made it special?  

A few weeks ago, my wife and two boys (ages 5 and 7) went on vacation in Maui. We rented bikes to ride in Haleakalā National Park. We were dropped at the summit and rode downhill for 23 miles. It was an amazing ride.

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3. How do you keep safe on the roads?

Like I said, I mostly ride off road, but I always have:

  • A helmet
  • CamelBak
  • A few energy bars
  • Spare tire
  • Tire pump
  • Bike Multi-Tool

4. What advice would you give to new riders?

Get a bike that’s the right size for you and a quality bike rack for your car so you can explore and ride in new locations.

5. If you could bike anywhere in the world right this second, where would you go?

I would love the ride through Chile. There is a 1000km unpaved trail encompassing some of Chile’s most stunning terrain, including mountains, lakes and glaciers.

Read more about bike riding and how it can help the planet.

To promote National Bike Month and the environmental benefits that come with this form of transportation, we interviewed ecoATM employees to see why they love to ride. 

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Meet Raul! (The guy who took this beautiful photo)

1. Why do you ride, or what motivates you the most? (Commute, for fun, for exercise, etc.)

I love bike riding. I do it for fun, but for exercise too. I only commute to work on Fridays because it’s the only day that I can go back home without any hurry - I can just relax after. It’s a challenging distance of about 32 miles both ways.

2. Describe a bike trip you took that really sticks out in your mind. What made it special?  

The last really motivating ride I did was in Spain, riding about 500 miles in nine days from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain, known as “Camino de Santiago.” People normally walk this route, but it takes too long and I only had a few days. It was a great experience.

3. How do you keep safe on the roads?

I try to respect all the regulations - many roads have a special lane for bikes. I suggest getting a map from the city you’re in and confirm that bikes are permitted. Also, I try to ride with someone or a group.

Always wear colorful clothes or shoes, and bring a light so drivers and pedestrians can see you, as well as a little tool kit for emergencies (besides your cell phone and ID, etc.).

4. What advice would you give to new riders?

Make sure that you really like this activity so you have the chance to purchase the right bike for you. There are a lot of choices for all budgets, skills and interests. Speak with an experienced rider and ask questions.

5. If you could bike anywhere in the world right this second, where would you go?

I would be really interested in biking from Canada to Patagonia. Some people have done this ride, and it sounds pretty interesting.

Read more about bike riding and how it can help the planet.

Contrary to popular belief, we’re not all robots here at ecoATM HQ. We’re actual humans, here to make it fast, easy and convenient to recycle your old phones, MP3 players, and tablets for cash. Take a minute to sneak a peek behind the kiosk and get to know our team!

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Name: Leon Harris

Title: Senior Technical Recruiter

Stuff you do inside the ecoATM office:

I find the engineers that bring life to our machines, the technicians that keep them running and the processors that help recycle the devices we receive. 

Stuff you do outside the ecoATM office:

I have two daughters that play club volleyball - I am in the middle of their season and that takes up much of my time. Once the season ends, I am back on the beach or surf fishing.

Did you ever own a phone that you’d be embarrassed to carry around now?

I only recently made the switch to a smartphone, but I had no problem carrying my “Dumb Phone” around as long as it made and received calls.

If you could pick one robot from pop culture history to hang out with, which one would you pick?

Lore, Data’s evil twin from Star Trek. We could tear up the Gaslamp District on a pub crawl

What do you love most about your job at ecoATM?

I am part of a team that is committed to giving back to our community.

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What jobs are you currently looking to fill?

My current “Hot Jobs” include:

  • Dev Ops Engineer
  • Software Engineer - C#
  • SQL Server DBA

Other positions can be found here. You can also join our Talent Network

What’s your one piece of advice for job seekers?

If the job you are looking for is not currently posted, it soon may be. We are growing very fast over the next year and members of our Talent Network will be the first to be notified when a new opening pops up. Also, it’s important to note that Outerwall and ecoATM are committed to hiring veterans.

To promote National Bike Month and the environmental benefits that come with this form of transportation, we interviewed ecoATM employees to see why they love to ride. 

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Meet Peter! (Pictured in the middle of the photo above)

1. Why do you ride, or what motivates you the most? (Commute, for fun, for exercise, etc.)

I initially started riding to stay fit. I have stayed riding because it is very social and an opportunity to spend time with great friends while doing something that is healthy and outdoors. 

2. Describe a bike trip you took that really sticks out in your mind. What made it special? 

Solana Beach to Mt. Palomar and back (this picture was taken on that trip). It was 130 miles, and half of it was uphill - a fun challenge with close friends. 

3. How do you keep safe on the roads? 

I use lots of blinking lights, and I ride with a group as much as possible. I’m also very courteous to cars, and I obey all road rules.

4. What advice would you give to new riders?

It takes time to build endurance. Ride with good friends who support your goals. And remember, there is always someone faster and stronger than you. Enjoy what you can do, not what you can’t. 

5. If you could bike anywhere in the world right this second, where would you go?

Alp d’Huez!

Read more about bike riding and how it can help the planet.