Readers offer their best tips for charging your phone during a power outage, avoid long customer service conversations, and getting the most out of your wireless peripherals.
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? Email it to tips at lifehacker.com.au.
Use a UPS to Charge Your Phone During Power Outages
Photo by Jack Zalium.
Evan Gilmore shares a good tip for using your tech when the power's out:
Emergency power tip: If you have a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) that your computer is plugged into, unplug your computer from it, and use it simply to charge your essential devices (cell phone, GPS, etc.) in case of a multiple-day blackout. It also comes in handy to power an AM/FM radio (or even lights) if you don't have a battery-operated one on hand. It should last for multiple charges.
Tell Customer Service Reps You're Leaving the Country to Avoid Long Conversations
Photo by Dailyinvention.
Mike shares a tip for getting around long customer service conversations:
Talking to over-the-phone customer service is already awkward, but when you have to cancel a subscription it can be even worse. During the past couple of months I've been cutting back on my budget and removing or reducing a lot of monthly subscription fees, such as satellite radio, cable and auto insurance. Not looking forward to the barrage of CSRs I would have to deal with, and their annoying questions, I decided to try something which has worked flawlessly so far. When the operator asks why you're cancelling just say "I'm leaving the country." They'll ask no more questions, cancel whatever service you're calling about, and you'll be off the phone in less than a minute.
Swap Keyboard and Mouse Batteries for Efficient Peripheral Power
Photo by Webhamster.
Brendanwbrown reminds us that some devices use less power than others:
Those of us who have wireless mouse & keyboard kits are always frustrated by how much sooner the mouse runs out of batteries than the keyboard. Just trade the low mouse batteries for the keyboard's and they will both run out around the same time.
For the record, this really applies to all battery-powered devices. When I was a kid, I discovered that a dead Discman could still contribute batteries to my Game Boy. Lots of devices don't run on AA batteries anymore, but it's worth checking which of yours are lower- and higher-power.
Remove Air Pressure from Toothpaste Tubes to Squeeze Out Every Last Bit
The Lansey Brothers show us how to get the most out of that confounded toothpaste tube:
Getting the last drop of toothpaste out can be a breeze if you just follow this one easy trick: Before closing the lid, squeeze all the air out of the tube. This will push the paste right up to the edge of the cap as shown in the image.
Once you get nearer to the last drops a tug both ends for about 2 seconds, that should quickly suck enough paste into the cap region to temporarily relieve any pressure and allow you to easily squeeze out some paste and re-cap in the right condition.
You can read the full blog post here. Thanks, James!