If you enjoy using technology to solve everyday problems, then you should be keeping a list of tech hacks and shortcuts that make your life easier. There are hundreds of them out there, and they all have their own specific purposes.
For example, it’s simple to find a quick way to figure the total cost of attending the college of your choice. Likewise, if you like having access to thousands of free books or want to know how to fix a finicky webcam, you’re in luck.
Some other problems most computer users face involve changing PNG photos to JPG format, speeding up our connections, dealing with unruly printers, avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome that can result from typing on laptop keyboards, drying out a smartphone after it’s fallen in the water, and much more.
Here are some of the most popular quick fixes for the problems that seem to bother millions of people every day.
Use an App to Calculate College Costs
There are dozens of components that make up the cost of attending college or graduate school. Of course, the key pieces of the puzzle are big-ticket items like tuition fees, room and board expenses, books, and a few others.
Every college-bound student should sit down and create a spreadsheet to figure out what their particular school-related expenses will be for the duration of the degree program.
What’s the tech shortcut? Simply download and use one of the many online calculators specially designed for figuring educational costs. Almost all the apps are free and easy to use.
You’ll be prompted to enter key pieces of data and the app will come up with an estimate of total costs. If you are wise enough to plan on taking out private student loans to cover all your education expenses, you’ll be able to hone in on the exact amount you should borrow.
In fact, private loans for education have the distinct advantage of allowing most people to borrow enough to pay for tuition, books, room, board, and associated fees.
Many government-backed loan packages can’t do that. Plus, with a private lender, you’ll have access to competitive interest rates, longish repayment periods, and no early payoff penalties.
Cam Hack for Video Meetings
Does your webcam keep cutting out during online video conferences? If you have this problem, it only seems to happen at the worst possible times. Fortunately, all you usually need to do is either refresh the connection or unplug your camera and then plug it back in after waiting a few seconds.
For most of the major video platforms, this technique delivers reliable results. If it does not work, you’ll have to dig deeper and possibly reset your cam’s preferences.
Find Copyright-Free Books
Of all the books that have ever been published in the history of the world, most of them are no longer under copyright. That’s very good news if you like to read because all you need to do is find them and download, or read them in the cloud.
It’s wise to use a separate drive for storing the books because when you begin snapping up your favorites at no cost, the demand for archive space can be brutal. Start with the search terms “free download books archive” and similar keywords. You’ll be surprised at how much high-quality content is there for the asking.
Change Photos to JPG from PNG
If you are not savvy with photo utilities, use any of the many photo applications available for free. Search terms like “resize photos” or “reformat photos” will do the trick.
You’ll be prompted to upload the picture and choose the new format you prefer. If you own a bunch of PNG photos, which can be a pain to work with, all you need to do is convert them to PNG versions with one of the free apps.
Clear the Cache
Is the speed of your internet connection erratic? There can be many reasons for this very common dilemma. A quick technique that often works and gets your speed back up to speed is to clear the cache.
Use any cache-cleaning utility, all of which you can find for free via a simple search, and run it on your computer. It might take up to a half-hour but will get rid of all kinds of junk files, potential malware, and other items that slow you down.
Disconnect the Printer
Printers are close relatives of webcams, at least in terms of how much trouble they seem to cause for users. Many PC errors are caused by faulty, out of control printers. There are two ways to deal with the situation.
First, don’t leave your printer connected unless you’re using it. Second, when you notice any print-related error or snafu, disconnect the printer for a minute and then reconnect it and start fresh.
Even if you own a high-end device, beware that most printers have a mind of their own and tend to compete with your main computer and with other devices for supremacy.
Dry a Wet Phone
If you drop your phone in water, remove it as quickly as possible. Dry the exterior with a towel and then remove the back, battery, and sim card. Set those three items aside after drying them off. Use a portable hair dryer on a low heat setting to dry the main part of the phone for about five minutes.
Leave everything out overnight to finish the job. Be sure to check the charge level after putting everything back together. Sometimes water will cause the battery to lose its power rather quickly. Recharge the device and check to see that it’s working properly.
Add a Laptop Keyboard
Do your wrists and hands ache after typing on your laptop for long periods of time? It’s possible that your keyboard is far from being ergonomically sound.
The downside is that you can’t really reconfigure it or even throw it out. But you can purchase a large keyboard that suits your hand size. Plug it into one of the USB ports and you’re good to go. Pack it in your laptop back so you always have it when you’re on the road.