From The Tips Box: TV Remotes, Quiet Phone Calls, MP3 Tags

Lifehacker readers offer their best tips for troubleshooting remote controls, hearing better on the phone, and copying tags from multiple MP3s.

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.

Give Better Remote Support with a Few Photos

Ingmar Wittaku shares a quick tip for helping out your remote-challenged friends and family:

I found a good way to help my parents (who are not at all into tech) with their HDTV and Blu-Ray player. I took photos of the remote controls and put those in my Dropbox. So wherever I am, if my parents call me desperately needing to know how to change a subtitle or something else, I can look at the photo and tell them which buttons to try.

It's much less stressful than asking them to try every damn button on the remote.

Photo by Clive Darra.

If You're Having Trouble Hearing on the Phone, Switch Ears

MsCassLopez discovers she's right-eared:

I have a Bluetooth earpiece I use while driving, cooking etc. Because of the way I wear my hair I put the earpiece in my left ear. I've been putting it in my right ear the last couple of days and I think there's a left brain right brain thing going on here. Hard to put my finger on it but I think my cognitive ability is improved wearing it in the right ear. I find it easier to understand and conduct a conversation if I'm doing another task with the thing in the right ear as opposed to the left ear. I wonder if anyone else has noticed they have a right and a wrong ear. I'm right-handed if that makes a difference.

There does seem to be some research supporting the idea of "ear preferences.". It's worth a shot at any rate. Photo by

Copy Multiple MP3 Tags at a Time

David finds a faster way to replace MP3s in his library:

I recently replaced a few old, low-quality albums in my music library with higher-quality versions. But, I didn't want to have to go through and redo all the tags for every album. I found that MP3Tag actually lets you copy and paste multiple tags at once — just select one album, press Ctrl+C, then select the new album, press Ctrl+V, and you're done! You've copied over multiple tags for multiple files in just a few seconds. It made things a lot faster when replacing all those old albums.

Put Your Computer to Sleep Faster with a Batch Script

Moon shares one of his many useful Windows scripts:

Normally I use hybrid sleep in all my power plans. That is, standby + hibernation. Usually, this is the best way to operate but I'm not too patient lately and want a faster sleep routine.

So in comes this batch file, I call it standby.bat:

@echo off

powercfg -h off

rundll32 powrprof.dll,SetSuspendState


It will temporarily flip hibernation off, sleep (and subsequent sleeps) will happen faster, as will waking up.

But when I decide I'm going to do something like take the notebook out on errands with me, running this in a Command Prompt will reinstate hybrid mode:

powercfg -h on

A reboot or logoff should do the same thing.

The script's real use is just me (a geek) wanting finer control, because it's there. Maybe someone else will have an even stronger case for using it.


    People use tags?

    I thought that was just Windows' wishful thinking...

      How else do you organise your music? If you did it by folders/file system then you'd have to -manually- launch each song. And how would you make a playlist?!

        The old fashioned way?

        I label them correctly - it's possible we are talking about two different things here - there's an option on Windows with every file to add tags to documents which are related to what the document is.

        If I had a picture of a cat in a castle, titled: "Cat in a Castle", the tags I could put in to search for it at a later date could be: "kitty, royal, knight, pussy, funny, lol..."etc.

        What I think you might be referring to is just giving them a title...? Which I am very anal about, so every track in my playlist has all the information (except for the lyrics) about the track and a rating.

          Windows allows for mp3 files' ID3 tags to be edited directly from explorer.exe itself in an interface at the bottom of the window (by default). So it's not Windows' tags that it sounds like you're editing, but the actually inherent tags in the mp3 files, which is the same as what I do...

          I use Windows Media Player 12 to organise and utilise my library of music; it allows for all sorts of searches of the tags of your music files. The 'manual' method I was referring to was an imagined method whereby those tags are all empty or random, so to play some Dream Theatre, you go into "X:\Music\Metal\Dream Theatre\Metropolis Part 2 - Scenes From A Memory" using explorer and then manually push all the files there to some media player.

          You can see why I don't expect anyone to do it that way, right? :P

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