Productivity

From The Tips Box: Slim Charging Stations, IKEA Shopping Tips, Multiple Monitors

Readers offer their best tips for charging all your gadgets, choosing well in the the really cheap stuff at IKEA, and avoiding multiple monitor annoyances.

Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites. Got a tip of your own to share? Add it in the comments or send it using the contact tab on the right.

Use a Letter Sorter As A Slim Charging Station

David James finds a great way to charge his larger gadgets:

My wife and I have a couple of laptops and an iPad, and with our small townhouse and our 2-year-old twins, we really don’t have an option for a dedicated desk space that we could use to charge our gadgets. We do have a small built-in hutch in the main living area of our home, but couldn’t give up too much of that space either, so I found a three-slot letter sorter that works perfectly for keeping our larger devices charged, accessible, and safely out of the way. Since the sorter is a leather weave, it doesn’t mar the casing of anything we’re charging in it either.

Avoid Items in the “As-Is” Department at IKEA

Ehed shares a clever IKEA shopping tip:

When shopping at IKEA, swing by the “As-Is” department (usually just before checkout) before you pay. Aside from the obvious “treasure hunting” you can do to get stuff at a discount, if any of the items you have in your cart are “over-represented” in this area, you may want to reconsider buying those items. I discovered a rack full of one item I was considering purchasing, being sold “for parts” after they had all broken in the same fashion.

Quit Apps Before Disconnecting Your Laptop’s Second Monitor

Greg kills one of his dual-monitor annoyances:

I use my MacBook Pro with an external monitor, and it always bugs me that when I disconnect it, all of my windows consolidate to the one laptop monitor — and then when I plug it back in, they all appear on the main monitor. I have to then drag things like my Twitter client and Spotify back over to my secondary monitor where I keep them.

I figured out a little trick to make these windows behave: quit them before you disconnect the monitor. If you aren’t going to use those apps when you’re out and about (which I usually don’t, in the case of my second-monitor apps), you can plug your laptop back in, start those apps back up,a nd they’ll appear where you last left them — on the secondary monitor — without ever knowing you unplugged it.

I don’t currently have a Windows laptop to test this on, but Windows users might be able to use this too. It definitely works on a Mac. Try it out and let us know! Photo by Peter Hellberg.

Use Google Apps Groups For Shared Accounts

Jingoges makes email notifications more useful for him and his wife:

When signing up for an account I intend to share (Amazon Prime, Groupon/LivingSocial, bank notifications, Mint, online news subscriptions, etc.), I use a group in my Google Apps account that only contains two members, myself & my wife. It’s great because whenever notifications come through we both get them, without ever having to forward each other things.

If you’re on a regular Google account, you could make a filter for these things that forwards them to your partner upon receipt.