From The Tips Box: Charging Gadgets, Tracking Shipments, Content Filters

From The Tips Box: Charging Gadgets, Tracking Shipments, Content Filters

Readers offer their best tips for making your own charging stations, tracking shipments on the web and securely generating random passwords.

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. Email it to tips at

Use Outlet Timers with Quick-Charging Gadgets

Photo by Karl Baron.

David235 shares a tip for charging all your gadgets and gizmos overnight:

I find it helpful to have a dedicated power strip for my various chargers, and this power strip has one of those outlet timers (like the ones you use with a lamp to have it turn on and off while you’re away) between it and the power socket. I set the timer to only allow the devices to charge during the night—during non-peak hours—and that provides plenty of time for my devices to charge.

This is especially nice for phone chargers and other direct current units that, otherwise, will constantly draw power from your wall unecessarily. After all, it only takes your phone a few hours to charge anyway — no sense in leaving it plugged in all night.


Add Shipment Tracking Links to Read it Later for Quick, Cross-Platform Tracking

Curare shares an interesting way to keep track of shipments:

I track my shipments like a hawk. To make the tracking easier on multiple devices/browsers/computers, I add the tracking page to my Read It Later list. It serves as a temporary bookmark until I receive my shipment.


Remove Furniture Indentations in Carpet with an Iron

Mishawn tells us how to remove furniture indentations from carpet:

I just discovered another one: You can remove furniture indentations from a carpet by putting an old towel over it and running a steam iron over it for about a minute. You’ll have to do this more than once for a less fluffy carpet, though.


Use Smartphone Apps Instead of Websites to Avoid Content Blockers

Platypus Man reminds us that smartphone apps aren’t often blocked by content filters:

I know this usually isn’t worth it, but if you have Wifi and a smartphone, you may be able to bypass work content filters by using a website-specific app instead of the browser app.

For instance, use a Wikipedia app to look at a restricted Wikipedia page since the filter probably won’t recognise the app’s traffic or understand how to block it. True, if you have a smartphone you could just switch to 3G (or whatever) and do whatever you want to your heart’s content, but I thought this would be a valid tip to share.

Especially useful if you don’t get good 3G reception in your office, or if the Wi-Fi is noticeably faster.


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