Readers offer their best tips for previewing your iPad home screen from another app, troubleshooting your friends and family's computers from far away, and accessing Google Tasks in the new Gmail layout.
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 use the contact tab on the right.
Preview Your iPad's Home Screen Without Leaving The Current App
Raj Nagra shares a handy tip for iPad 2 owners:
If you want to preview your home screen on your iPad for whatever reason without actually closing your active app enable the new multitasking gestures in iOS5. Then use the new 5 finger pinch inwards but in SLO-MO. The active app will shrink and disappear revealing the home screen behind it, but as long as you're still touching the screen you can reverse the gesture and bring your app back to the forefront.
I couldn't test this, as I have a first-gen iPad, so let us know if it works for you. I imagine this would be useful for seeing if, say, you have any new emails or other unread notifications.
Aid Tech-Challenged Parents And Friends With Microsoft's Problem Steps Recorder
Java-Princess lets us know about a lesser-known Windows utility:
Here's a good use for an otherwise unknown feature of Windows 7:
Windows 7 contains the Problem Steps Recorder (PSR). Hit the Start button and Search Problem Steps Recorder, or go to Control Panel and search for Problem Steps Recorder. Stupid name for a program if you ask me, Problem Parents Recorder would be a better name.
You can use this both ways: from you to daddy or from daddy to you. If dad is proving particularly obtuse when you're trying to help him over the phone you can start PSR on your own machine, do the required problematic task and close PSR. PSR records everything you do except what you type but includes mouse clicks, programs run, menus opened etc. and it grabs a screenshot of every action. It then adds a commentary about what your action was at each step, bundles it up in an html file inside a zip file for you to send to the errant parent. The parent can then see what is supposed to be happening as you yell down the phone at him.
Conversely he can run it himself to record his feeble attempts at mastering the computer and have it automatically emailed to you for corrective action. Above all keep calm, remember: you share genes.
It's also good to have it running to keep a record yourself of what you do or steps you take to resolve your own problems — like when you change something in the registry then when you go to change it back you can't remember where the hell it was.
You could, of course, use a screen sharing program, too, but this is a nice alternative.
Access Google Tasks From The New Gmail Layout
Dathbe shares a quick tip for those still getting acquainted with Gmail:
It took me a while to figure out where my tasks went with the new Gmail layout. Click the down arrow next to the "Mail" icon (top left of the screen). It's hidden with contacts.
Sort Firefox's about:config By Previously Tweaked Settings
Geekgirlbarbie and keithb1 show us one way to navigate Firefox's
about:config when you don't remember what you've changed:
It looks like when you make a tweak in about:config in Firefox, Firefox bolds it. (Granted, I only tested this on my browser so I could be wrong.) It's an easy way to scan and see exactly what changes you've made.
Furthermore, you can actually sort those items with one click of the mouse:
Also, you can sort about:config entries by 'user set' or by 'type' or 'value'. Tapping on each of the column headers will re-sort them. FF will also let the user type True or False in the Filter field, so we can see those first in the list. It even accepts values; if you recall a value, but not the name of the tweak, type that part in (or a part of the number), and Firefox will list what it finds.