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What can I do with this old slow phone?

Last week I bought a case for my two year old phone. It was cheap, ten dollars, at the chinatown nightmarket and it's just what I need right now. But now the question is, how much does that extend the length of time before I can replace the phone altogether? And that question started me thinking about why I would keep it. Or, more to the point, why would I replace it: it doesn't last long on a battery charge; it gets hot and sucks the battery down in certain situations; it's really slow to respond sometimes (and "sometimes" is starting to become "most of the time"). The newest Android version it is running is essentially too much for it, but that's not the only problem.
Now, let me re-orient my thinking. It's not a "phone" . It's a handheld computer. I've been using those for twenty years since I bought one of these. At the moment, I also have a 6 year old laptopand it's not done yet, although this might be an unfair comparison, I know. There's something about thinkpads that makes them last. One thing, of course, is that still a more powerful computer than my Nexus S, even if it is four years older. For the detail oriented: the T60 runs Win7 and Linux.
The other thing this has me thinking about is the operating system on the Phone. I have eagerly accepted Google's updates for my phone model but the latest one is, unfortunately part of the problem. It's just a bit too much for this phone, I"m afraid.This isn't just my imagination. The irony is that I don't think my Nexus S will get the Android 4.3 update (but I don't know for sure). The good news is I should be able to run "TRIM" sessions with my current OS. At any rate, while I'm looking at that, I'm also now looking for ways to slim down the apps and many of the heavy apps are in fact ones that come from google: Search, Now, Maps, and so on.
So what else can I do? Well, I might try this but, of course, I'll have to do a bit of homework first. The danger is that there's a meeelllion ways to hack a Nexus Sand I can easily fall into the trap of losing my stopping point.  If nothing else, I'll want to find out: is it faster? Is it easier on the battery? or at least can I control battery drain better? Do my critical apps run on it? Evernote? Locus Maps? Twitter (of some sort)?
Of course, you know what happens to the best laid plans. I could easily drop this phone somewhere where it won't recover: somewhere wet, somewhere too far from the point of impact, somewhere while at speed. I use the phone as my GPS when I'm on long bicycle rides. Even though I have a very tough case for it, it's not a guarantee.
And that brings me to: what the "phone" really is for is as a connection device: yes it's a computer, but it's a computer that's so network-oriented, it's not the same as a "computer" as we've been thinking of them. But, actually, I use my laptop that way, too,. mostly. It always seems so limited and I feel that it only does very limited things when it's not connected so the distinction is clouding. hhmmmmm. That's clearly a bigger topic for another post..... and I haven't even mentioned my Microsoft Surface RT!  In the meantime, I'll just try and make this phone run a bit faster.

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