If you thought you were already using technology in ways that best fit your life and usage habits, the content of this list may surprise you. Keep reading to get six quick tips for harnessing tech so it enriches your life more than ever. Most of these suggestions can be attempted with supplies you probably already have around the house.
1. Amplify an iPhone Speaker with a Toilet Paper Roll
Before you toss out the next empty toilet paper roll, consider it could be a cheap but effective way to make your iPhone’s speaker output louder. Just cut a hole into the side of an empty roll while being careful not to bend it too much. Then, slide your iPhone inside. The result probably isn’t good enough for making the sound cut through the atmosphere at a loud party, but it’s sufficient when listening to tunes in your room.
2. Stabilize Camera Shots with a DIY Gadget
If many of your snapshots are blurry, improve them by getting a ¼-inch bolt, a piece of string that’s a little taller than you are, and a washer. Attach the bolt to one end of the string and the washer to the other.
Screw the bolt into the tripod mount on your camera. When taking a picture, step onto the washer and pull the camera up until the string is taut. Body weight is the natural key to keeping your hands steadier when you click the shutter.
3. Use Your Smartphone as a Mini Seatback DVD Player
The next time you find yourself stuck on a long flight that doesn’t have a video screen on the seat in front of you, make your own using nothing more than a clear zip-closure sandwich bag and your smartphone.
Just slide your phone into it sideways and then hang the bag from the top by using the clip from your tray table to hold it in place. Because the bag is transparent, you should expect a decent hands-free viewing experience.
4. Replace Broken Keyboard Feet with Binder Clips
When they work properly, the little feet on the underside of computer keyboards angle the typing surface so it’s easily accessible. When one of them is broken, it becomes much harder to type because the keyboard won’t stay level, but there’s no need to go out and buy a new keyboard.
Fix the issue by dismantling a binder clip by pushing the base of the silver part (where it attaches to the black metal) together. Once you have removed that piece, insert it into the two holes that once accommodated the keyboard foot. After you turn the keyboard over as normal, the silver metal parts of binder clips function as new feet.
5. Reduce the Load on Your High-Tech Air Conditioner
Today’s air conditioners are engineered to last over a decade when they’re well maintained. Besides getting an energy-efficient air conditioner, there are many ways you can improve your home so it stays cool in ways that are better for the environment.
For example, you can get home energy audits to discover where energy is being wasted, or even install solar panels so some of your power comes from sunlight. Furthermore, awnings can help relieve some dependency on the feature-rich air conditioner in your home, meaning it might last even longer. Awnings shield sun during the hottest part of the year, but allow for passive solar heating in the summer since the sun’s position is lower.
6. Protect Cords with Pen Springs
Thin cords, such as the ones that come with many Macintosh products, look sleek and are perhaps more portable than bulkier counterparts, but they’re also prone to fraying and breakage.
Problems are especially likely at the ends where the cord plugs into a device. Take a proactive step to extend the lifespan of your cords by disassembling a retractable ballpoint pen to remove the spring inside. Then, thread the spring onto a cord similarly to how you’d slide a key onto a key ring. That bit of reinforcement may not seem like much, but it can offer a useful and cheap safeguard against wear and tear.
Hopefully these simple and inexpensive ways will encourage you to make your great technology even better, even if you don’t think you’re very creative.
Photo credit: Christian Spanring
Kayla Mathews is a writer and blogger with a passion for technology and gadgets. Follow her on Google+ and Twitter to get updates on all of her latest posts.