Readers offer their best tips for storing secure data, dealing with stolen gadgets, and holding probe thermometers while cooking.
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 Password Manager to Store Sensitive, Non-Password Data
TheFu keeps us secure by using a password manager for more than just passwords:
Use a password manager to store all sorts of important pieces of data.
- You already know it is secure.
- You already mirror/copy it to lots of places, so it is backed up.
- It has a pretty good search facility built-in.
- You'll never have to recall that data again. You probably will never need to type any passwords again either.
- It is cross-platform - as good as your password manager is.
What sorts of data can/should you store in your password manager database?
- Computer, website passwords, duh.
- Truecrypt volume keys
- x.509 or gpg keys
- Website SSL keys
- WiFi network keys (WPA-PSK)
- Bank Accounts, pins, lost/stolen phone numbers
- Any data you want with you pretty much anywhere ... especially when traveling
- Credit card numbers, pins, 800 numbers
- Insurance policy numbers, claims, emergency numbers
- Emergency Contacts
- Passport numbers
- Frequent Flier numbers / phone numbers
- Scans of marriage licenses
- Scans children's birth certificates
- Scans of Immunization records
You get the idea. Password managers aren't just for passwords anymore. I even keep a copy of the US Constitution and Declaration on Independence in KeePassX, but I'm weird in that way.
There are a few dangers - sorta the chicken and egg problem. If you use a web-based password manager to store your WiFi keys and you are offline ... uh ... you'll figure out why that is bad, hopefully, BEFORE you need to know those keys.
Find a Stolen iOS Device's Serial Number
Photo by Titanas
Unionhawk discovers a repository for iOS device serial numbers on his computer:
My brother's iPod was stolen earlier today (set his bag down and left it unwatched for 2 seconds, came back and it was gone). We didn't have the serial number, however, I was able to find where iTunes stores every serial number of every iPod that has ever been synced with that iPod. Just go to ~AppDataLocalApple ComputeriTunesiPodDevices.xml, and it lists all serial numbers. Then you can check each serial number here to ascertain which one you're looking for based on the model.
Hold Food Thermometers in Place with a Binder Clip
KayDat shares another clever use for our favourite office object:
Yet another use for bulldog clips: holding probe thermometers.
Digital probe thermometers are only a few dollars off eBay, and are great for using around the kitchen, but they lack one thing compared to "candy" thermometers: a clip to hold it to the side of the pot. I didn't want to stand there holding the thermometer for half an hour white stirring, so I grabbed a clip, gave it a good wash and clipped it to the side of a pot.
Measure Water for Cooking with Seconds, not Cups
Photo by Jamie.
When I make macaroni, the directions call for 6 cups of water. I never bother to measure it out, but eyeballing it yields mixed results. So I came up with this idea for more accurate measuring. Just turn your faucet on full and stick a measuring cup under it. Count how many seconds it takes until it reaches the 1 cup mark, in my case, about 2.5 seconds (I used a 2-cup measuring cup so I divided by two). Then, in the future you can just let the faucet run for a designated amount of time (for instance, 15 seconds for my macaroni).