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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Geek Peeks: Chuckle-Worthy Tech Hacks for the Savvy and the Clumsy

What is a tech hack? The word ‘hacking’ often has a negative connotation in the context of cyber security. It is defined as the misuse of computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices and networks to manipulate data to cause damage, steal personal data, or upset activities.

That is not what we are discussing today. We will be reviewing technical life hacks as strategies that are easily accessible to us via our devices and will make our personal lives easier to manage. Some of these tricks will have you rolling your eyes and saying “Aha!”

First, we’ll look at a few general tech hacks followed by a few for students, and finally, some tech hacks business owners will find useful.

General Technical Life Hacks

  • If you switch your phone to airplane mode, it will charge faster. The difference is but three minutes, but you do save some time.
  • Your phone has frozen. Now what? Plug it into the charger and watch it miraculously come back to life!
  • You want to hang a picture, but you don’t have a level. Why not use your iPhone’s measure app or Android’s “Bubble Level Meter” and voilà! You’ve just hung a perfectly level picture.
  • Try to keep some emergency cash — one or two small bills — between your phone and your phone case.
  • Laptop batteries will last longer if you charge them only to 80%. Avoid charging your laptop or any other device overnight!
  • Are you planning a vacation and are searching for flights? Before doing so, clear cookies on your device or use incognito mode to conduct your search.

Bonus: You’ve arrived at your hotel room and need to charge your phone but forgot your charger. The television set in your room may have a USB plug. Check it! If it does, you can charge your phone that way. If it doesn’t, you’re out of luck and you will have no choice but to purchase a new charger; unless of course, the hotel can provide you with one.

Tech Hacks for Students

  • Have you closed a browser in error? To re-open it, do this: While holding down the control button, type a forward slash, the letters CMD followed by the plus sign, then the word shift, followed by another plus sign, and type in a capital letter T. This will do it!
  • Save your PowerPoint presentations using PPS as its extension. This way when you open it the next time it will be in slideshow mode.
  • What if you’ve been given an assignment and you don’t know where to begin your research? Do not use Google! Your best bet is to try scholar.google.com. If you add “PDF” you can download copies of your research.
  • Are you running out of space on your computer but the Excel file you need to save is too big? Save your file as a “.XLSB” file. This will shrink your file by at least half its size; in some cases, 75%.
  • What if you have a huge document that needs printing, but your printer is running low on black ink? Change the font color in your document to #010101. This will print your document in 99% grey ink.
  • You’re concerned about a test that is coming up and you’re not so sure you’ll pass. Search “site:edu [whatever your subject is] exam. This will help you prepare.

Bonus: You have a PDF that needs to be converted to and from other formats like JPG, PPT, Word, and Excel but you don’t know how to do it. Use Smallpdf. This site will also unlock, split, and merge PDFs.

Tech Hacks for Business Owners

  • You’re a new business owner and you want to make sure your chosen domain name isn’t taken. An easy way to search across TLDs (Top Level Domains) is by searching on the website iwantmyname. This site will also tell you how much it will cost for the domain name of your choosing.
  • When composing emails, write the body of your email before you type in the name of the person you’re sending it to. This way you will avoid sending it to the wrong person.
  • Do you use your iPhone calculator app and get frustrated when you enter the wrong number? Swipe left or right to delete the last number.
  • Do you work near a stadium or any other venue that hosts public events? Set your Google alerts for that location and avoid unexpected traffic jams. This way you can get to your meetings on time.
  • You don’t want to forget important dates or appointments, do you? Create a list of those events and set it as your wallpaper.
  • Take pictures of business cards people give you so that you’ll still have that information if you lose the card.

Bonus: Use the notes app on your iPhone to scan and save documents such as insurance policies, VINs, business licenses, a photo of your driver’s license, and your car’s license plate so that you can access those documents easily when needed. If you’re using an Android device, you will need to upload a third-party app.

An Extra Tech Hack for Everybody

  • Have you forgotten where you parked your car? You can easily find it on both an iPhone and Android device. On your device, open the Google Maps app, and tap the blue dot that shows your location. Hit “Save Parking”. Your parking spot will be saved in Google Maps until you delete it.

When searching for your car, open the Google Maps app, and tap the blue pin that reads “You parked here”. Tap it then select “Directions” to find your way back to your car.

Bonus: Protect yourself from malware. There is a plethora of security suites you can choose from. Consider using a VPN to hide your IP address as an added step.

These are just a few tech hacks you can use that will help positively impact your life as you go through your day and save time for the things you enjoy doing!