Readers offer their best tips for creating a collapsible standing desk, keeping contact lens solution from leaking when you travel, and attaching things to Google Calendar events.
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.
Build A Collapsible Standing Desk With IKEA Parts
Brian Miller shows off his standing desk hack:
Here’s my new standing workstation. Due to the limited floor space that typical “Action Office II” workers like me have (the original name Herman Miller marketed cubicles under in 1967), it folds close to the wall to conserve space.
I wanted to stand throughout the day in short frequent periods (10-30 minutes) to break up the day, so it’s sized smaller than a permanent surface used for longer periods would ideally be. It fastens to the cubicle wall using the shelf standards built into a Steelcase cubicle, so there’s no drilling or alteration of the cubicle (my employer appreciates that part). It can be removed in about a minute. And, because of this attachment method it can be set to any height in 1″ increments.
Between the attachment method and the support arm it is very sturdy and stable. It takes about 10# of pressure at the corner to get it to twist even 1/4″. By folding it also keeps me from backing up my chair into it when working seated. I particularly like the fact that it faces opposite my normal sitting direction and gives me a complete change of scenery so that when I sit down again my surroundings are different. This is something you don’t get with the workstations that just raise and lower in place.
It assembles or folds down in literally a couple of seconds. Just lift the hinged surface and swing the support arm under and a pin locks it in place. The monitor shelf uses shelf standards to attach also and both are fastened to where they can’t be bumped and come loose from the shelf standard through the use of additional inverted shelf standards. Since the monitor shelf is in place full time with a secondary monitor, I cut the corners at 45 degrees to minimise the chance of bumping into a corner. The monitor cables run down between the twin shelf standards to further prevent knocking the monitor off accidentally. A 15′ monitor power cable from a popular rainforest vendor lets me avoid the use of an extension cord which are no-no’s with my employer.
It’s all based on a (life!)hack of a NORBO wall table from IKEA, so clever DIY-ers could make their own. You could downsize it to nicely fit a laptop and mousepad, and even use the extra wood to make the shelf, besides the attachment scheme.
Keep Contact Lens Bottles From Leaking Fluid
CaptainSuperFail shares a tip for travelling with contacts.
To avoid leaks when you travel with contact solution bottles, squeeze out the excess air from the bottle before closing the lid. No air to expand + extra container stretching room = no leak.
Our own Walter Glenn shares another method:
Unscrew the lid, place a bit of plastic wrap over the opening, and screw the lid back down. This usually works pretty well for me, though I also put them in a ziploc just in case.
Photo by Ryan Hyde.
Attach Gmail Messages To Google Calendar
x68507 discovers a handy workaround for Google Calendar:
Gmail doesn’t offer a good way to attach an email to a Calendar event. You can click “More” and “Create an event”, but the contents of the message are copied over in plain text, and you lose formatting and images.
If you are looking for a quick way of attaching the original Gmail message, print the Gmail to a .pdf (Chrome provides a “Save As” option when printing a webpage), upload it to Google Drive, and then use the “Add Attachment” link under the descriptions box. You lose the ability to search the text of the event, so if you really want the best of both worlds, use the “More” and “Create an event” option AND a .pdf version of your Gmail.
I just booked a 2 week vacation in Australia and I know that all my information is now in one, central location rather than searching through hundreds of recent emails.
Convert Push Notifications To SMS Messages For Better Battery Life
MsCassLopez saves a bit of extra battery on her Android phone:
For those on older Androids trying to extend battery life, you can turn off push email in Gmail and enable forwarding to SMS in settings so you still get new mail notifications. Most of us have email push enabled, and a lot of us have unlimited text messaging; SMS messages are pushed anyway so why have two battery consumers?
The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans
Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.