Former Valleywag consigliere Paul Boutin offers up a handful of great, low-tech fixes to your high-tech gadget issues. One of them involves getting your mobile phone away from your warm pocket to boost its battery life. If you're planning to be away from your charger for a stretch, Boutin finds evidence that keeping your phone on a belt clip, away from your body oven, or in a hotel fridge overnight, can actually get you a bit more juice.
"Cellphone batteries do indeed last a bit longer if kept cool," says Isidor Buchanan, editor of the Battery University Web site. The 98.6-degree body heat of a human, transmitted through a cloth pocket to a mobile phone inside, is enough to speed up chemical processes inside the phone's battery. That makes it run down faster. To keep the phone cooler, carry it in your purse or on your belt.
One other (relatively) new and notable technique the article suggests for getting more ink out of wasteful cartridges is using a hair dryer:
"The heat from the hair dryer heats the thick ink, and helps it to flow through the tiny nozzles in the cartridge," says Alex Cox, a software engineer in Seattle. "When the cartridge is almost dead, those nozzles are often nearly clogged with dried ink, so helping the ink to flow will let more ink out of the nozzles." The hair dryer trick can squeeze a few more pages out of a cartridge after the printer declares it is empty.
The article makes for a great forward or print-out for family and friends always hitting you up for a little gadget triage. Got a favourite low-tech save for seemingly Ph. D problems? Share it in the comments. Photo by hsiqueira.