Readers offer their best tips for using USB speakers without a computer, setting GPS presets while avoiding thieves, and taking personal notes with Facebook.
About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, 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. Got a tip of your own to share? Add it in the comments or email it to tips at lifehacker.com.au.
Use USB Speakers Without a Computer
Jake shows us how he uses his USB speakers with other devices:
I bought a pair of external speakers a couple months ago that draw their power from my computer's USB port. One day, I wanted to listen to my music, but was too lazy to turn on my computer and wait for it to boot up. So I plugged my new speakers into my iPod, but still needed a source of power. Luckily I had my iPod wall charger lying around (the kind that has a plug on one side and a USB port on the other for the iPod cord). I wasn't sure what would happen if I plugged my speakers into the iPod charger, but they actually worked! Now I can take my USB speakers anywhere, and I don't need to keep them tethered to my laptop. Freedom!
Note: In the picture, the charger is plugged into a plug adaptor (I live abroad).
Use Nearby Home GPS Presets to Avoid Thieves
Photo by D'Arcy Norman.
crikerat keeps himself safe by tweaking his GPS presets:
It may seem somewhat paranoid, but if you need a shortcut for 'Home' on any GPS, set it to a nearby landmark, not your house.
I know there is an e-mail floating around about a stolen GPS and the thief using the 'navigate home' option to go to the victim's house and rob it. While it might seem like a scam, I served on a grand jury for 18 weeks this year and we had not one, but two cases where this ACTUALLY happened.
Again, may seem paranoid, but I set my 'Home' to be the doughnut shop near by.
Plus, this way, you have an excuse to stop for doughnuts. "The GPS lady told me to!"
Access Saved Maps in Maps for iPhone
Anton Shuster tips us off to how to access a missing feature in the iPhone's Maps app:
Do you want access to your saved Google maps on your iPhone but you don't want to use the Google Earth app?
1. Load your Google map in your browser on your computer. 2. Click "Link" in the toolbar above the map. 3. Take the link that's provided for pasting in email or IM and append "&output=nl" to it. 4. Send this appended link to your iPhone somehow (I used email). 5. On your iPhone, copy (do not open) the link. You can do this by holding your finger on the link in Mail. 6. Paste it into the search field of the Maps app and hit Go.
Now you should see all the places that were marked in your saved map show up as pushpins.
Use Facebook For Personal Note Taking
Andy uses Facebook instead of Evernote (or similar apps) to keep his app switching limited:
For all the negative's of Facebook's new controls, I found one major highlight – the ability to customise the settings to make things visible to Only Me.
With this setting, I could essentially do all my web note taking using Facebook. I could gather links, draft blog posts, and pretty much anything else in Facebook, set it so only I can view it, and stash it in Facebook. It is like Evernote except there is no limit on the amount of stuff you can store there.
You can read Andy's original post here.