From The Tips Box: Shoe Racks, Headphone Splitters

Readers offer their best tips for keeping your muddy shoes off the ground, playing the audio from two devices in one set of speakers, and keeping small screws organised.

Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites. Got a tip of your own to share? Add it in the comments or send it using the contact tab on the right.

Turn a Curtain Hook into an Inexpensive Shoe Rack

Jvanderh finds a cheap IKEA product perfect for keeping your shoes off the floor:

A double curtain hook (IKEA has cheap ones) and two curtain rods make a passable shoe rack on a very narrow hallway. Malamute not included.

Use a Headphone Splitter to Listen to Two Devices at Once

Rkarren discovers you can use a headphone splitter in reverse:

If you take a standard stereo headphone splitter, you can use it as a quick and dirty two-input mixer. Take a male to male 3.5mm audio cord and plug it into one of the outputs, and plug the other end into your 2nd input. One of your two inputs will become attenuated if you have both going at once, but hey, it’s better than nothing by a long shot. Photo for clarification: The white cable is in the computer input; the splitter is plugged into the iPad, and headphones are the output. Both the iPad and computer’s inputs can be heard simultaneously.

Use a Refrigerator Magnet to Keep Small Screws from Running Away

Photo by Bruce Turner.

Greiss122 shares yet another way to keep tiny computer screws organized:

When taking apart a computer or any other electronic device, put the screws on a large, flipped over refrigerator magnet-they won’t get lost! Even though the magnet is not very powerful, keep it away from your device, especially when it is open.

Use Your Android’s Power Button to Turn the Flashlight On and Off

Photo by Abul Hussain.

Platypus Man finds a nice little trick to using Android flashlight apps:

So, you know those Android apps that let you use your phone’s camera’s flash as a flashlight? Well, I don’t know if this is just my phone/app or what, but I found a useful feature — if you turn the phone’s screen off, the flashlight turns off and when you turn the screen back on, even without unlocking it, the flashlight comes back on. This way, you can just use the phone’s power button as a power button for the flashlight itself, which is a lot easier than actually fumbling with the app to turn it off and on. Plus, you don’t have to worry about accidentally backing out of the app or turning the light off because you touched the wrong spot on the screen that you’re obviously not looking at.

Obviously, you wouldn’t want to do this all the time, but if you know you’re going to be using the flashlight for an extended period of time, this can help you save some battery when you aren’t actively using it.

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