Tips And Tricks

What's here:  Here I will identify some of the simple Tips & Tricks I use for some of the electronic components I own and use.

Media Cards, Thumb Drives and External Hard Drives.

Media cards and thumb drives are great to have and use.  You can put a large amount of data on them and move that data from computer to computer.  Sometimes this information can be crucial to your work or private life.  If you loose one, however, how do you ever have a chance to get it back?

I have added a file named "! OWNER.TXT" to the root directory of each of my thumb drives.  This file contains information on how people can contact me and help me get the lost card/drive back.  When a person inserts/connects the to their computer they can see what's on the drive/card.  Putting an exclaimation point in front of the name to put the file at or near the top of the directory.

A new use for old (or smaller capacity) SD data cards.

The SD cards can be used in many electronic gadgets like digital cameras, PDA's, MP3 players, Cell phones, etc... and are for storing data that these devices use.  When people make their initial purchases of these devices, the largest capacity SD cards available at that time may have only been 256MB or 512MB, so they buy multiple SD cards to meet their needs.  After a while, they realize they need more SD cards so they can take more pictures, or store more data or MP3's.  Now that 1GB, 2GB, (and higher capacity) cards are available, these people can purchase the larger capacity card and reduce or eliminate "swapping" the cards.  The question is, "What do you do with the older/smaller capacity SD cards?"

The answer is to turn them into a useable flash/thumb drives.  You can purchase a simple SD card reader on eBay for less than $8.00 (including shipping) that has a cap that covers the SD card.  Give this to the kid in high school or college so they can easily transport their book reports between home and school.  A 32MB data card is the equivalent of 22 floppy disks.  Or, if you know someone who likes tinkering with computers, set one up for them as a gift, or a thank you for the computer work they have done for you.  This gives them a cheap way to setup a bootable thumb drive as a tool to help them fix your computer. 

Note: The SD reader shown above is a nice "all-in-one" unit, but it's larger than the typical USB thumb drive.  For computers that have a limited ammount of space around the USB port, you may want to pick up a short extension cable to go along with this adapter.  There are "slimmer" units available, but the SD card usually hangs out the side of the device, and the SD card is not covered.

Screen Protectors.

Most people who use PDA's add clear self adhesive layer of plastic over their PDA screen to protect it from scratches during use. 

Why not add a screen protector to other electronic devices you have, like a digital camera.  The screens on some of these devices are made of plastic and are vulnerable to being scratched thru normal use, or even while removing or returning to it's case.  Mine got scratched while it was in my pants pocket.  You can purchase screen protectors at your local office supply store for just a few bucks.  Just cut it to size, peel off the backing, and apply it to the screen.  When the protector gets scratched up, just carefully peel off the old sheet and apply a new sheet.

NOTE: Use an appropriate case to store your electronic devices, when not in use, to help keep them protected.  These screen protectors will protect the screen from scratches and wear, but they cannot protect the screen from being crushed.

Cell Phones Contact List.

Move contact entries, on your cell phone, to the top of the list by adding a space in front of the contact name.

Laptop Batteries

Battery University is great source for information on keeping your laptop battery in top shape.