Sunday, March 30, 2008

Low-Tech answers to high-tech problems

Go to Yahoo original
Sometimes the answer is not to go out and buy another gizmo or gadget. Here are some new uses for everyday things that can help you get out of a jam.

Wet phone?
The toilet, the sink, a puddle, the laundry… it's so easy for your phone to wind up soaked through and through. Everyone has an opinion on how best to dry out a wet cell phone, but the technique I like best is to remove the battery and place the phone in a bowl of uncooked white rice. The rice wicks the water from the phone. (If your phone uses a SIM card, remove it too. At least you'll have your data.)

Drying out a wet phone with a hair dryer is often a first impulse, but heat can damage the phone even more. For more ideas on drying, from using silica gel to halogen lamps, see Wikihow.

Sleep through the alarm clock?

OK, this one will cost you a cheap wineglass. Break the stem and put your phone inside. The glass amplifies the sound. This one (and photo) come courtesy of Lifehacker.

Need a filter for your camera flash?

Cell phones demand that you get up close and personal when you take a photo, and often the flash will wash the color right out of your subject. To diffuse the flash, use a white coffee filter to make an impromptu filter. I tear the bottom off the cone and put the ruffles around my phone like one of those doggie flea collars.

Taming cords

There are plenty of products you can buy to help keep your gadgets' cords together, but the tube at the end of the toilet paper roll gives you the same results. Real Simple ran this photo in a recent issue.

DVDs with scratches
A lengthy discussion at Lifehacker compared techniques for getting through a movie when your DVD is scratched. The consensus called for either furniture polish or car wax. Apparently the wax fills the scratch and you can watch the movie without missing a scene.

Just put a gob of the stuff right on the disk and wipe. The secret involves using a cloth like an eyeglass cleaner (not a napkin or tissue) to wipe the wax in.

Floss your keyboard with sticky tape
This one reminds me of Garrison Keillor's running duct tape saga, but sticky tape is pretty handy when it comes to removing the crumbs that get embedded in your keyboard. (You would never think of eating at the keyboard, would you?) Seriously, hold the tape in your hands and do a flossing-like thing between the keys. Hey, get the lint off your pants while you're at it.

Flash drive trees
Somehow flash drives multiply in our house like amoebas. Now don't laugh, but those inexpensive earring trees have a second life as a flash drive sorter. With your flash drives all hanging from the tree, you can pick the one that coordinates best with your wardrobe each day.

Got a favorite low-tech tip to share?

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