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Solving life’s little gadget problems

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in Office Technology

Like McGyver, you probably have a trick or two that you deploy when you don’t have the exact items you need for the job.

Maintain your reputation as “the one who always finds a solution, no matter what,” by using these low-tech solutions for common gadget problems:

Make a cell phone keep its charge longer. Cell phone batteries last a little longer if they’re kept cool, so if you keep it in a coat pocket near your body, it may run down faster. Solution: Carry it in your purse or on your belt.

Tip: Away from home without a charger? Store your phone in the hotel refrigerator to keep its charge longer.

Unlock your car from across the parking lot. You need to unlock your car door, to give someone access, but your remote door opener doesn’t work from across the parking lot. Solution: Hold the metal key part of your key fob against your chin, then push the unlock button. The trick turns your head into an antenna and extends your remote’s range by a few car lengths.

Extend an ink cartridge’s life span. You’re printing an important job, when your ink cartridge runs dry. Solution: Remove the cartridge and run a hair dryer on it for two to three minutes. Then reinsert the cartridge and try to print again.

Why does it work? Dried ink clogs the tiny nozzles in the cartridge; heating the ink helps it flow.

Revive a cell phone that has dropped in the toilet. Solution: Remove the battery and dry it right away. Wipe off the phone and shove it in a jar of uncooked rice. Rice molecules have a nearly magnetic attraction for water molecules, so the moisture is absorbed into the rice.

Your cell phone camera’s flash is too bright.
Solution: Tape a small piece of paper over the flash to tone down the whiteness.

— Adapted from “Low-Tech Fixes for High-Tech Problems,” Paul Boutin, The New York Times.

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