From The Tips Box: BlackBerry Trackballs, Tab Navigation, iOS 4 Bluetooth Volume

Readers offer their best tips for fixing BlackBerry trackballs, navigating tabs in Firefox, and using Bluetooth headphones with the iPhone.

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. Got a tip of your own to share? Email it to tips at

Get Your BlackBerry Trackball Working Again with Plain White Paper

William shares a blog post from BlackBerry user Sam on how to fix malfunctioning trackballs:

A friend of mine had a couple Bolds with trackball issues, we went as far as taking one of them apart and attempting to clean the trackball mechanism with no luck. I finally came across this method on a forum and we were amazed by the results – so amazed that we recorded the process on the second Bold with an HD Flip.

Navigate Firefox Tabs with the Arrow Keys

Prairie Moon shows us another way to navigate Firefox tabs with the keyboard:

This might be handy for some. In particular, for Firefox users. Others may have noticed it before I did. You can navigate tabs with the arrow keys.

I press F6, CTRL+L, or ALT-D to get to the location bar, then press the TAB button. The tab bar is now in focus. When it is, the arrow keys let me go back and forth among the tabs.

Depending on your style of keyboarding, that can look like more trouble than just using CTRL+TAB or CTRL+SHIFT+TAB. I happen to prefer the cursor keys for tab hopping, even though it seems to require a stopover at the location bar first.

If you have other toolbars visible, more TAB presses may be needed, in order to put the tab bar in focus. I use the location bar as a kind of (landmark); I can always tell when the location bar has the focus, unlike other elements of the Firefox UI, which don't make that part apparent enough for my eyes to see.

So I use the location bar as a jumping-off point for one more tab press. As I said, you may have other toolbars enabled, requiring more TAB presses to reach the tab bar. Because I have the tab row immediately beneath the address bar, one more tap on the TAB key is all it takes.

It reads as being a lot more involved than what it really is. Try it and you might find it as useful as I do.

Control Bluetooth Headphone Volume in iOS 4

Photo by Graham Stanley.

CamJM points out a new iOS feature:

A new feature in iOS4 that seems to be going unnoticed for the most part is that you can finally contol the volume of bluetooth devices. (Which I admit I found out totally by accident while using my sony erricson hbh-is800, I forgot that I had them in my ears and changed the volume and to my surprise it worked.)

Use Two Laptops with Skype instead of Two Mirrors

Tproku tells us how he cuts his own hair:

I have a laptop and a netbook. Instead of struggling with two mirrors I position the netbook in front of me and the laptop behind me. Then I start a Skype video call between both machines. This way I can see easily when cutting around difficult areas, like the back of the neck or around the ears. You just have to be careful not to get hair in the keyboards!


    I think the person with the two laptops tip has way too much time on his hands.

      Totally agree!

      Also enough money to have a laptop dedicated to watching himself cut his hair.

      I think it's fantastic, but surely one laptop with a USB webcam and a USB extension lead would be more effective.

      Imagine the problems he'd encounter when skype lags.

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