From The Tips Box: Powdered Drinks, iPhone Shortcuts, Laundry Detergent

Lifehacker readers offer their best tips for making powdered drinks, using the Shortcuts feature in iOS, and avoiding a soapy disaster with your laundry.

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.

Avoid Clumps in Powdered Drinks by Pouring Slowly

Jupiterthunder shares the key to perfect powdered drinks:

Here's a simple but effective method for avoiding the clumping when you use those "just add to bottled water" packets of Gatorade and the like. Pour slowly. When I rush and just dump it in, it always clumps. And when it happens it's usually at the bottleneck making it a real challenge to properly shake so it dissolves thoroughly. If you pour slowly you avoid the clumping almost completely. I say almost because not all of these drink mixes are created equal. The ones that are harder to dissolve will likely be harder to avoid clumping with in its entirety. All this said, the mix can just settle to the bottom and clump there, so you might mix in a little, give it a swirl, then mix in some more. Either way, it's easier than the alternative I've described.

Bonus tip that I read right off the bottle. Take a sip or two before adding the mix. If it does clump, it won't be in the bottleneck and shaking will be easier. And you avoid the mess of getting concentrated, wet mix all over the mouth of the bottle (and in my case, the lid and my finger as well).

Use Text Expansion in iOS for Usernames and Passwords

CJ Miyake gives us a good text expansion snippet for our iPhones and iPads:

The Shortcuts feature in the iPhone keyboard settings is a great place to store frequently used user data for login forms or sign up pages. Just add a new shortcut and make the phrase section what you want to fill out with a corresponding shortcut.

For example, I use "em" as my email shortcut so on any form I fill out I just have to type "em" and it drops my email in.

I also have "pw" set up for a password and use "addy" for my street address.

For more info on the Shortcuts feature in iOS, check out our list of essential snippets.

Keep Detergent Bottles Off Your Washing Machine to Avoid Spills

Craig Lloyd shares his experience with exploding detergent:

So I get home and head to the bathroom and this is what I see: laundry detergent all over the floor and walls.. It turns out the detergent bottle fell off from the top of the dryer (it's one of those stacked units). It must have just inched closer and closer to the edge during all of those vibrations and then just fell off. So here's my Lifehacker tip: DON'T SET LAUNDRY DETERGENT ON TOP OF STACKED WASHER/DRYER UNITS. Bad things will happen.

This sounds like common sense after you hear it, but many of us do it without even realising.

Use a Plain Black Image to "Turn Off" Mobile Wallpaper

Moon shares an alternative to super-customised devices:

This will definitely be old old news to anyone who has owned PMPs or mobile phones for a long time. I have to tread carefully and mind the geeks.

MY new Sony Walkman doesn't have a "no wallpaper" option. So I used a program to create a new empty image coloured black, at 640x480, gave it a jpg extension, sent it to the player, and set *that* as wallpaper. Much better, I think.

If anyone wants to do this, the details are really going to vary. I used IrfanView on Win7 to create the image, but anything will surely do for the same task. And of course, it's going to vary one whole 888 of a lot on the player itself. I have the NWZ-E465 player. Anything else in that series ought to let you use the Option button to bring up a mini context menu when you're viewing a pic, and an entry to set that pic as wallpaper.

Obviously, this works on any device, just change the dimensions to fit your screen.


    Like the black background idea for iPhone. Very simple to do. Turn off flash, cover lens with finger & take picture with phone, then set it as the background

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