Lifehacker readers offer their best tips for efficiently using your computer’s drive bays, getting better sound quality out of an iPad, and saving yourself some closet space.
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.
Get a USB DVD Drive and Use Those Drive Bays for Other Things
Matt discovers his least-used drive is easy to replace:
I’ve been doing some upgrades to my computer, and realised that I was frustratingly short on 5.25″ drive bays. I realised that if I got rid of my DVD drive — which I only use on very rare occasions — I’d have room for the other cool things listed in this article, and I could just get a USB DVD drive (like this cheap one from Amazon) for the one time a month that I actually use it. It plugs right into the front of my computer and sits on top. It’s a little slower, but like I said — I rarely use it, so that isn’t a huge problem. I’d much rather have something I use regularly, like a fan controller.
The lesson: If your DVD drive is wasting space in your computer, it might be time to think about how often you actually use it, and whether that space would be better served by something else.
Use your USB DAC with an iPad, via Apple’s Camera Connection Kit
Kevin hears about another use for Apple’s USB Camera Connection Kit:
I’m loving my USB DAC recommended by Lifehacker, but it only works in my computer, not in m mobile devices — since most of them won’t let you bypass the DAC. I heard on Reddit, though, that Apple’s Camera Connection Kit will let you use some USB devices with the iPad, and some USB DACs will work! A handy little hack if you’re looking to get better sound quality out of your iPad. Looks like it doesn’t work on the iPhone though, sadly.
Use Reinforced Furniture Racks to Make Up for Lost Closet Space
Rob shares a tip for those short on storage space:
My girlfriend recently moved into a closet-less apartment and purchased a garment rack from Target for about $US30. Since this was a closet substitute, it was carrying more weight than it should have been.
We left town for a few weeks and when we came back to her apartment, her closing rack was leaning over quite a lot. It collapsed the next day. Most of the plastic joints fissured.
To fix the issue, we grabbed a bag of hose clamps at home depot and reinforced each joint with two of them. The clothes are back on and it’s not leaning much (the base is still a little weak from the first time around so it’s off by bit). If you’re planning to put a lot of stuff on any similar garment or coat rack it might be a good idea to clamp it before you do so you don’t ave a similar issue.
Burn Installation Discs for Backup Purposes
I have a bit of wisdom to share for laptop users with “recovery partitions”:
Today I had an issue that would be a nightmare for most: I accidentally erased a good portion of my Mac’s hard drive. The “always back up your data” lesson notwithstanding, I also learned something else: recovery partitions are only useful until you don’t have one anymore.
If you’re a frequent triple booter or hard drive formatter, don’t trust recovery partitions to save you when something happens. Burn yourself a flash drive or DVD of the installation media, so if anything happens you have physical media to rely on. Especially if you’re using a Mac, since you can burn a Lion DVD if you don’t have Lion do to it on!