From The Tips Box: Concise Email, Pinned Tabs

Readers offer their best tips for keeping your emails short, navigating to other pages in pinned tabs, and mounting USB ports in your desk.

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? Add it in the comments or email it to tips at

Type Out Emails on Your Smartphone to Keep Them Concise

Mrjeremiahross lets us know how he keeps his emails short and sweet:

I churn out emails from the desktop, but sometimes, in correspondence with others, I will deliberately use my phone. Logic is as follows:

Staring at that small screen actually forces me to consider the shortest way to deliver the information correctly. It is a good way to remind myself to keep it simple and direct.

Obviously this is only pragmatic for some email types.

Open Pop-Out Windows to Avoid Navigating Away from Pinned Tabs

Ted Copeland shares a very clever solution to a pinned tabs annoyance:

I’ve got a tiny hack here: I keep Gmail up as a pinned tab all day, and I get aggravated if I accidentally click a bookmark and navigate away from it. To prevent this, I’ve started popping out a window (typically Tasks) and minimising it. That way, if I ever fall prey to the stray click, I’m prompted to see if I want to navigate away from the page, thus closing my popped-out window. Saves me from one of the little annoyances of my day.

Mount a USB Port in Your Desk

Brent shares his quick and dirty DIY USB desk mount:

I’ve always hated getting to the ports in the back of my iMac and I think every USB hub on the face of this earth is ugly. So I bought a cheap USB male to female extension cable, ran it from the back of my iMac through the back of my desk and mounted it on the front of my desk. It turned out to be a really elegant and subtle solution!

I didn’t have a dremel so I just used a drill and kept making holes until it was big enough but it turned out surprisingly nice! Just mounted it with a bracket (Duane Reader members card) and some epoxy!

Obviously there are better ways to do this that don’t ruin your desk, but if it’s a particularly old desk, you may not care. You might also consider putting the port on the underside of the desk, which lets you use it but doesn’t let anyone see that you’ve bored a big hole through the wood.

Shorten Tagged Names in Facebook Posts

Raj Nagra discovers a new tweak to Facebook’s tagging feature:

I just noticed this behaviour in Facebook when you’re mentioning a friend in a comment or status on Facebook and you tag them in the comment. You can delete their surname and the tag is still maintained, which is a lot more friendly looking. e.g. “Joe Bloggs is an awesome brother” becomes “Joe is an awesome brother”.

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