From The Tips Box: Smartphone Stands, Cable Coiling, Oily Skin

From The Tips Box: Smartphone Stands, Cable Coiling, Oily Skin

Readers offer their best tips for watching movies on your smartphone when travelling, coiling cables in repurposed packaging, and keeping kids from accidentally hitting touch screen buttons.

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

Turn a Gift Card Into an Aeroplane Smartphone Stand

Tim shows us another clever use for old gift cards:

In addition to the cable management, you can use a gift card (or hotel room key in this case) as a smartphone stand for airline tray tables. It works pretty well through turbulence.


Coil Cables in Cupholder Gum Containers

Lensflare shares another example of repurposed packaging for cable coiling:

The new Trident Splash containers are pretty cool for storing cables. The top can be popped open as well as screwed off completely, and there’s a small hole at the top that you can feed the end of the cable through. I cut a rectangular opening on the side for the other end of the cable.

You probably don’t want to put your nicest cables in it though, as the stress of staying coiled will shorten the life of the cable.


Blot Oily Skin with Coffee Filters

Lee lets us know of a more economical way to deal with oily skin:

I read your article on using coffee filters to clean LCDscreens. Just wanted to say that they are great for absorbing excess oil from the skin as well. Much cheaper than getting, say, these commercial absorbing sheets from Walgreens.


Protect Touchsccreens from Kids’ Fingers with Plexiglass

Levismith shares a cool DIY solution to keep little kids happy with their touch screen devices:

We like to use an iPod/iPhone to let our toddler watch videos while travelling, but she always wants to touch the screen or hit the button. Any parent knows this turns into an endless and frustrating cycle. I looked into covers, but the only thing that would work was too bulky and more than $US30. Time for an alternative.

I got a small piece of plexiglass from a home improvement store for a few bucks, outlined the iPod on it with a permanent marker, cut it to size (any thin/fine tooth blade saw will do) and rounded off the corners with sand paper.

Now, when she’s watching a video, we just put the plexiglass on top, wrap a couple of thick rubberbands on each side to attach and everyone is happy.

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