Readers offer their best tips for securely locking your Android phone, speeding up iTunes, and staying safe when open Wi-Fi networks are about.
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 lifehacker.com.au.
Hide Finger Smudges Caused by Android Lock Patterns
Dubyaferg lets us know how to hide those insecure finger smudges on your phone's screen:
Have a pattern to unlock your Droid and worry about revealing the pattern because of finger smudges? Once you have submitted your pattern, move your finger randomly around the dots of your pattern. Once a dot has been used, running your finger over it again will not count and your pattern sequence can not be recreated!
We've featured a similar tip before, but it turns out this same strategy works for Android's built-in lock patterns — not just CyanogenMod gestures.
Use the iPhone's Sleep iPod Function as a Reverse Alarm
Benkhicks shows us a clever use for the iPhone's Sleep iPod Feature:
Sometimes it's nice to use the iphone's sleep ipod function on the alarm when you need a reminder but won't have immediate access to turn it off. I use it in the morning to keep myself from taking too long a shower: put some tunes on and set the alarm before I get in. When the music stops, I know it's time to get out.
This is pretty darn clever: an alarm that notifies you without making an obnoxious alarm noise that you can't turn off.
Fix iTunes Slowdowns by Cleaning MP3 Tags
Laser712 shares his experience with a slow iTunes:
To anyone who may be having problems after the last iTunes update: my wife's 11 year-old cousin was having problems with iTunes freezing as it booted up (Windows).
After reading numerous forums and replacing/deleting the library database files, reinstalling, and everything else I could think of, I was getting ready to give up. I installed Media Monkey and was preparing to explain to her how to use it. Instead, I noticed that Media Monkey was going through all of her mp3's and repairing/retagging them.
Afterwards, iTunes booted fine, without a hitch. I guess it was a bad mp3 (or a few) that was causing the hiccup...so if anyone else has similar issues, it may be worth a shot!
I've never had this happen personally, but I've seen more than my fair share of tagging issues that confuse iTunes, so it's definitely a good idea to clean up your tags if you haven't done so in awhile.
Use Vacuum Cleaners to Itch Through Casts
Photo by Dennis Crowley.
Reaper shares a humorous, but useful tip for those wearing splints:
I recently broke my hand. So obviously I have to wear a cast (actually a splint wrapped in gauze) around my hand until it's completely healed.
Now, the most annoying thing besides not being able to use both hands, is how hot and itchy it can get inside the cast. Many try using pencils and coat hangers to scratch beneath the cast, I found that using a regular vacuum cleaner works wonders. Simply hold the nozzle against the cast, making the air flow into the cast through the extremities. This provides an awesome feeling of relief, while helping with some of the itch, as well.
This tip only works over breathable material such as fiberglass and gauze. I guess I got lucky with the gauze otherwise I wouldn't be able to do this over the plaster splint.
Hope this can bring some relief to others wearing casts/splints.