Do you need an AA battery but only have an AAA battery? Grab some foil


Don’t be jealous of these friends who really understand their technique.

You know, they always show this and that by making their knowledge of the latest smartphone or maybe a camera trick “flexible” to make them look years younger. And somehow they spent $ 200 less on the exact same TV that you have. Sigh.

Well, it’s time to turn the tables and show your own technical skills. Before claiming you don’t have one, check out a handful of “closing the front door” tips and tricks below to impress snooty friends, family, and co-workers.

From unlocking little-known computer shortcuts and secret smart speaker functions to fun ways to turn normal household items into phone accessories, all of these can be fully implemented.

And make sure to share your own tech hacks in the comment section.

Little known battery trick

Your wireless mouse died and you met the deadline. Or your child’s toy has stopped working and they are not happy.

When you run out of AA batteries, did you know that you can use a smaller AAA battery by folding a small piece of aluminum foil and inserting it at one end?

It works completely because AA and AAA batteries carry the same voltage.

Turn your iPhone into a flatbed scanner

Use your fingertip to scan a paper document in front of you and virtually sign it by launching the iPhone's Notes app.  This saves you the time and hassle of scanning, signing, and emailing a document.

Have you ever received a document in an email that you had to sign? It is a hassle as you have to print, scribble, scan and return your John Hancock to the sender.

There is a better way.

iPhone users can press and hold the Notes icon on their home screen, which will launch 3D Touch, and then tap Scan Document. Now, take a photo of any paper in front of you, tap the Share button and choose Markup.

Sign, save and send!

I’ll show you how to pull this off in a short video on Twitter.

Play a hidden “flight simulator” in Google Earth

Did you know that the free pro version of Google Earth includes a built-in flight simulator?

With Google Earth Pro, downloadable for Windows PC and Mac, you can see our beautiful planet in all its glory, but you can also virtually circumnavigate it, whether you use a joystick or a mouse and keyboard.

Once in the program, press Ctrl + Alt + A (on a PC) or ⌘ + Option + A (on a Mac) and select what type of aircraft you want to fly and from which airport You want to depart. Click Help in the simulation to see what else you can do.

Whisper to Alexa without waking your sleeping partner

If you have an Alexa or Google smart speaker on your bedside table, you know it’s great for setting alarms and listening to music, podcasts, radio stations, and white noise.

However, if you wake up your smart speaker with your voice – say “Alexa” or “OK Google” – you can also wake a sleeping partner next to you. From my own experience, this is not a good idea.

Instead, use whisper mode on your Amazon Echo smart speaker. As I show in This videoShe whispers “her” name and Alexa whispers back. True genius.

For Google Nest devices, you must first turn on night mode in your smartphone’s Home app (tap the device name> Settings> Night mode).

Your headphones can also function as a microphone

This one is crazy, but he can help you in a pinch.

Did you know that you can use any headphone as a microphone to record audio on your PC?

That’s right, just plug the headphones into the microphone jack on your desktop or laptop and start recording (maybe using free software like Audacity) or during a live zoom call.

Don’t expect it to be the same quality as a real microphone, but the sound works both ways.

Unlock the secret emoji keyboard on Windows

Just press the Windows key along with the Period (.) Key to launch Windows' hidden emoji keyboard and add a little fun and personality to your messages.  You can also enter a keyword to find an emoji to use.

Speaking of computers, you might be using emojis on your smartphone all the time, but Windows 10 has a hidden emoji keyboard that you can bring up anytime, be it for use in an email, document, or social media.

To enable emojis, just press the Windows key + period (.) And a pop-up emoji keyboard will appear. Your most used ones are at the top, and you can search for keywords, such as: B. “Martini” to celebrate the beginning of a weekend.

Hold your iPhone and type – all with one hand

You can hold your iPhone and type with the same hand, using the button on the smaller Apple keyboard that can be poked to the left or right of your phone (whether you are left or right handed).  Here we explain how to start this handy feature.

Call to all dog handlers. You can easily type a message on your iPhone with one thumb while holding the device in the same hand.

Just start a message, email or note, then press and hold the smiley emoji (bottom left) and choose a smaller right or left handed keyboard. It slides to one side for easy access to each key.

Now type in what you like and when you’re done tap and hold the smiley face icon again and expand the keyboard back to full size.

Have e-books read to you (or your children)

Here’s something paper books can’t: read the words to you.

The recently updated Google Play Books app includes several new reading tools, including the ability to listen to a book read aloud.

Whether it’s making it easier for your kids to read on their Android tablet or when you’re on the plane and want to have the next chapter of your Stephen King thriller read aloud to you on your Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel phone, just start a book, tap the three dots in the top right of the screen, and choose Read Aloud.

The spoken text is highlighted. You can also choose whether the pages are turned automatically or manually.

► Read a great book? How to synchronize seamlessly between audiobooks and e-books

Stream content from Chrome to a TV

Google's Chromecast with Google TV now includes the Apple TV app.

You probably know that you can wirelessly stream content, for example, from the YouTube app on your smartphone to a nearby Smart TV, but the Chrome browser also lets you stream content from your Windows PC, Mac, or Chromebook to a compatible TV or Smart Send speaker / display.

Just right click anywhere on a webpage and choose Cast (or Cast Media). Now select from the drop-down menu where the transfer should take place, e.g. B. Sony Android TV.

Save printer ink

The Epson Eco Tank printers are supplied with an ink supply for two years.

Save money on ink with Ecofont, a collection of downloadable font styles that are “perforated”.

While it may look the same to the naked eye, these fonts have tiny holes in the letters, numbers, and symbols and therefore can save up to 46% of your ink or toner when printing, says Ecofont. An annual license costs about $ 8.25 for a home user (more for a business).

This not only saves your wallet, but also means fewer ink cartridges in landfills.

With that in mind, consider Epson’s cartridge-free EcoTank family of all-in-one printers (starting at $ 199) that give you up to two years of ink out of the box.

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