Water-damaged phone? Frayed charger cord? Get some useful tips for your trusty electronic devices to save you both money and headaches.
Hack 1: More Battery Juice
You’ve just realized your cell phone’s battery is about to die, but you’re at work and don’t have your charger. Get a little more talk time by detaching the battery and placing it in your workplace’s freezer, then allowing it to come back up to room temperature before you use it. The cold will keep your battery from losing a single drop of juice before you use it.
Hack 2: Fuzzy TV Signal?
If the picture on your television isn’t crystal clear, it may be caused by interference. Place a sheet of aluminum foil between any electronics (like your DVD player, cable box, or TV) that are stacked on top of each other and those wavy lines will be history.
Hack 3: Make Ink Last
You’re trying to print out a document, but you just ran out of ink! This solution will save you a trip to the store: Take out the ink cartridge, then blow hot air on it with a hair dryer. Once it’s warm, put it back in the printer. The heat loosens the ink that is stuck to the side of the cartridge, often giving you enough to finish the job.
Hack 4: Proactive Electronics Protection
You probably know that leaving electronics in a hot car can hurt them, but did you know that extreme cold can harm them, too? The freezing temperatures cause their tiny components to become brittle, making them much easier to break. If you live in a cold area, make sure to bring your electronics inside during winter!
Hack 5: A New Purpose for the TV
One of the most frustrating things you can do is to forget your phone chargers when you’re traveling. From experience, we’ve learned that most televisions in hotels have small USB ports on their sides. If you have a USB cord but no wall socket, you can often just plug your phone into the TV and watch it charge. Problem solved!
Hack 6: Silica Gel Packet Driers
Here’s a great tip using those oh-so-helpful silica gel packets that come in things like boxes of shoes. Keep your gadgets dry while traveling by tossing a few packets into a Ziploc bag. If any of your techie devices accidentally get wet, stick them in the bag and allow the silica gel to work its moisture-fighting magic. Drop your cell phone or camera in water? First remove the battery, then place the device in the Ziploc bag and leave it overnight. With any luck, your electronics will be in working order come morning. Just be aware that silica gel is harmful if swallowed, so keep away from kids and pets!
Hack 7: Keyboard Props
Binder clips can make your workplace more efficient and comfortable, too. Some computer keyboards have tiny legs that prop them at a comfy angle for easy typing—however, if yours does not, simply remove the metal crooks from a binder clip and use them as makeshift props.
Hack 8: Keep Cords and Wires in Shape
Thanks to gravity and lots of use, electrical cords tend to fray and break off around their plug ends. (Anyone with a Mac-brand laptop has experience with frayed charger wires.) Not only is this irritating, but the exposed wiring can be dangerous. To prevent damaged and frayed cords, we’ve found this nifty trick to be very effective: Dismantle a pen and grab the tiny metal spring inside. Wrap the spring around the end of your cord—this will hold it straight and keep the wire’s covering from bending and breaking.