From The Tips Box: Velcro Speakers, Saving Money, iPhone Passwords

Lifehacker readers show us how to chair-mount speakers with Velcro, verify that we can save money simply by asking, and demonstrate how to abuse our iPhones' copy and paste function.

About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox (tips at lifehacker.com.au), but for various reasons—maybe they're a bit too niche, maybe we couldn't find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn't fit it in—the tip didn't make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites for your buffet-style consumption.

Making the Best of a Small Space with Velcro

Alex wrote in to tell us about how made the best of a small space:

I have a pretty small room, but recently bought some Logitech surround sound speakers for a really great price. However, my room is laid out in a fashion that prevents me from mounting speakers behind me. So, first, I ran the speaker cables UNDER my floor mat so my chair wasn't rolling over them all the time. Then I went to the fabric store and got some $US5 industrial strength Velcro. Mounted the speakers to my desk chair, and instant surround sound

Looks like Velcro's great for more than shoes and keeping lens caps from getting lost. Have you used the material in a fun way recently?

Save Money by...Asking?

Photo by Jake Wasdin

Kep! reminds us about the simplest way to save money:

Interestingly, the one trick that so few seem to think of is to ASK for a discount. I have had to buy memberships a lot over the years (I move a lot) and have never failed to get SOMETHING knocked off by asking for it...no matter the time of month. Gym memberships are a bulk, subscription service, and their numbers are pure volume, they'd rather make ANY sale then have you walk down the street to a competitor. I'm not saying you'll get as good a deal as with some other methods...but you'll get better than the advertised price.

ALSO! ALWAYS ask if there's a student/military/retired price if you're eligible. It's stunning how often people don't take advantage of status they have earned and foolishly pay full price.

Speedy iPhone Logins Using Copy and Paste

Photo by William Hook

Andrew's note about iPhone passwords made us smile as he covered most of the warnings to consider for us already:

My tip is regarding the iPhone's ability to copy and paste now as well as the phone's (my) inability to type complex passwords on a phone keypad. I may be committing one of the cardinal sins of geekdom by having many passwords that are the same, but I found it convenient to save my multi-use password in my iPhone's copy/paste memory (or save it in my jailbroken SBS fastnotes settings) and whenever I need to input my password I just paste it in. It's pretty secure from my perspective because while the password is 'saved' it isn't visible and to erase it from memory you just have to copy something else.

This trick relies on not using the copy/paste function for anything else or risk overwriting your password, but it could be handy if you ever need to go on a spree of logging in (such as after a restore) and keep the same password over multiple sites or applications. Still, Mobile Safari's login management should probably alleviate some of this need, anyway.

Smarter Bookmarks for Quicker Keyword Searches

Sometimes it's easy to forget the simple, basic timesavers. Brian wrote in to remind us how to tweak keyword searches in Firefox for quicker customised searches—in his case, he wants to search Google with RapidShare automatically filled in as part of his query:

You can modify Firefox keyword searches pretty easily for more specific searching needs, my example being the search for "rapidshare 'yyy'" on Google.

So, I added the Google homepage search as a keyword again, this time using the key "rs."

I then went to "bookmarks" -> "Organize Bookmarks..." and found the bookmark that my search had been saved as.

If you look at the "Location" field there should be a URL there, which for a standard Google search should read: "http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=%s&aq=f&oq=&aqi=" (without the quotes, of course)

About two thirds down the URL there is a "%s," and that is where our search string goes when we use a Google search keyword in Firefox.

So, if we want to have a search that always adds "rapidshare" to the search field, we can add it either before or after this field. In my case, I changed it to read:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=%s+rapidshare&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

Now save myself a bit of typing when I do searches as a result!

The "+" symbol can be replaced with a space and still work, though in the URL the spaces will be replaced with "%20" this should work for other search engines, as well.

Brian may have his reasons for wanting to search Google instead of RapidShare directly, but we would suggest that adding a Google site search operator (e.g., site:rapidshare.com instead of the word "rapidshare" would probably yield better results.

Car Washing Tips and a Cry for Help

Photo by cjc4454- computer down

Steve wrote in with some car-wash tricks and a plea for tips:

I spent part of labor day giving my car a quick cleaning; after grabbing all the obvious trash, I vacuumed up the loose sand and dirt and was amazed by how much fine dark dirt was coming from the car—so I headed up to the car-wash to clean the worst offenders: the floormats. After two full cycles with the high pressure wand I was out of quarters and almost to the point of seeing clean mats. They dried out and went back in the car, where I immediately realised that their new-found cleanliness just made the rest of the fabric in the car look grey and dusty (which I'm sure it is).

So the question is: what are some tricks for cleaning up a dirty-old-car? Mine has carpeted floorboards which could really use a good cleaning, as well as velor seat covers which I'm sure could use some attention as well.

Here's a couple I've used for other cleanup tricks:

  • An old but good one: washing the glass using newspapers
  • Using strips of duct-tape to clean dog hair from seats/carpets
  • Hiding a box of baking soda in the car to help absorb the unpleasant odors
  • If you use Armor-all wipes (or anything similar) then make sure you let it soak / dry for a couple minutes and follow-up with a through buffing with a clean cloth—it will help prevent excess cleaner from becoming a dust-magnet

Do you use any of Steve's tricks? Do you have some suggestions for his troublesome floormats or other neat car cleaning ideas?


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