Readers offer their best tips for avoiding blinding phone screens in the dark, downloading blocked Android apps, and improving the isolation of your headphones.
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.
Use Your Notifications Menu to Dim Bright Phone Screens
Dennizvu shares a very clever trick for avoiding phone-induced blindness:
I love my phone's display, its colours are vibrant, its blacks are deep, but even at low brightness at night, the whites are blinding. To relieve my eyes, I just swipe for the notification pull-down when I know my screen's going to turn white (like when I'm loading a web page). Most pull-downs I've seen (Android, iOS) are dark coloured, so they aren't as bright in a dim lit room. On my phone running ICS, the notification pull-down is transparent as well, so you know when you can dismiss the pull-down and resume content browsing.
APK Downloader Gets Android Apps from the Market, Even If They're Blocked
SarcasmSiempre discovers a handy Chrome extension for downloading blocked Android apps:
This Chrome extension allows you to download APK files straight from the web-based Android Market, instead of starting the download on your phone. This could be useful if you pay for an app that ends up getting pulled from the Market later (it only downloads paid APKs if you pay for them in the Market, it's not a piracy tool).
You'll have to do some extra work to get it up and running, but it's pretty useful if there isn't another place you can download the APK (like the app's home page or Google Code page).
Use an Extra Pair of Ear Pads for Better Headphone Isolation
KBS shows us a simple headphone mod for better sound isolation:
I just bought Sennheiser HD202 which sounds great if I give it some push covering with my hands. Its noise isolation is very poor and my right ear touches the inner speaker even after wearing it in reverse way i.e. right on left ear and left on right ear. Looks like outer configuration of each ear are slightly different as well. So I had this way low budget headphone with large ear cups and changed them with HD 202 but they were too loose. Then I thought why not put the big one on the top of the HD 202 default ear cups. Without gluing them together, I put them together into my ear and boom. It sounded better than what I explained before. I think the reason is because now it gives like a outer cone structure thereby amplifying and/or spreading the sound around the ears with completely way better isolation.
But I am short on ideas about gluing them together so that I don't have to keep on adjusting them in my ear. Any help is appreciated!
I wouldn't recommend this to you budding audiophiles out there, as this can drastically change the sound of your headphones, but it's a nice little trick.