Readers offer their best tips for Fixing plugs that break off in their sockets, making air fresheners smell less like chemicals, and constantly checking your phone.
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.
Fix Broken Audio Plugs With a Nail
Kevin Dyer finds a very clever way to fix a broken audio cable:
An RCA-type plug broke off in the jack on one of my speakers. It was broken off flush with the edge so there was no easy to get hold of it and remove it. I drove a nail (a thin nail smaller than the diameter of the broken-off plug) into the end of a stick (broom handle, actually), heated the nail so that it would slide easily into the broken plug, waited until it cooled, then pulled out the nail. The nail came out along with the broken plug stuck onto it, making the jack clear and available for a new cable.
Photo by Harsh Agrawal.
Make Air Fresheners Smell Better with Tea Bags
I like my bathrooms to smell nice, but I hate the smell of those chemical blobs of gel that you get in toilet bowl fresheners. You can take out the gel from the little basket thing and discard it, rinse the basket with a solvent to remove the yuk smell, and replace it with your two of your favourite fragrant teabags. They need replacing a little more often than the gel thing but your bathroom smells a whole load more to your liking.
Keep Track of How Often You Check Your Phone
Wittyname keeps thesmartphone addiction in check:
For those who try to control how often they check their phone (or are just interested in a way to pay more attention to their phone usage frequency), I've found it useful to set a passlock on my phone after 1 hour of inactivity. Besides the safety issues, every time I go to use my phone and it asks for the password I know that "hey, it's been at least an hour since I used my phone" which I find kind of interesting/useful throughout the day.
Use File Icons for Quick Notes
James uses his desktop icons as Post-It notes:
Whenever I have a small piece of info I need to remember (passwords for particular files, codes for custom fonts that I use regularly, etc.), I create a file by right clicking in the appropriate folder. By renaming the file with whatever info I need to remember and not including a file extension, on MS Windows the file icon defaults to that ugly - but distinguishable! - white icon, which I can then easily spot and won't confuse with a regular file. It's almost like being able to put post-it notes in your folders or on your desktop.