Frustrated by your user experience with gadgets?
We’re always on the lookout for ideas that simplify the not-fun aspects of gadgetry. Most of our gadget frustration comes from managing battery life, but we’ve failed in other ways with gadgets, too. We like and currently use these five easy ideas to improve your relationship with gadgets:
1. Install a USB port car charger. While newer cars generally have a USB port, our vehicle is older. Putting one of these in the console power source was first a game-changer for us on lengthy road trips; now we just keep one plugged in all the time. The new dual port models (like this one – aff link) are even more nifty!
2. If you’re charging by cord, get multiples and leave them plugged in the places you generally recharge. Out of our element during our European trip, we lost track of at least two iPhone cords. This doesn’t happen at home, because we DO NOT MOVE the cords. Cords stay plugged into the outlet on the kitchen counter where devices habitually accumulate. Have a cord that stays in your briefcase or pack. Keep another one in the car. In your day-to-day life, you should not have to remember to bring a cord from home.
3. Stop the mouse battery madness! Switch to inductive or wireless charging. Who else has a baggie filled with used batteries in the kitchen junk drawer? And yes, we tried the rechargeable kind with big fail results. What a pain if your local recycling system has special requirements (and ours does)! On my last trip to the local center, I was told, “Sistah, take to Lihue, not here!” Well, Lihue happens to be on the other side of our island! Ick! Then we found this beautiful thing (aff link) at the Apple Store in Munich. Oh. Em. Gee. I love my little Magic Mouse charging pad! No more baggies full of AA’s! Yes, there’s a Microsoft solution, too: here’s a mouse (aff link) that lasts for 8 months without needing a charge. Seriously! Get one of these if your old style mouse batteries poop out all the time.
4. Keep Facebook and other apps from eating your charge. Here’s the Full Monty on what Facebook does to your iPhone battery. (Quick fix if you’re out of juice: switch to Airplane mode and recharge in no time). Vampire apps are those that run in the background sucking battery life from Androids and iPhones alike. Look under the hood in your settings and disable these hungry monsters!
Oh, and do you still believe you should let your phone’s battery drain completely every once in a while to prolong its life? Wrong! Gizmodo explains How to Take Care of Your Smartphone Battery. (Note: they do not recommend wireless/induction charging for your phone or tablet).
5. Ditch the extra gadgetry completely. Reassess your need for any or all of the following: bedside alarm, digital music player, GPS unit, USB thumb drives, camera, camcorder. Your smartphone can do all of this. Still using a desktop computer? Even if you don’t get rid of your desktop completely, we’ll bet your usage patterns have changed with the advent of smart mobile technology. While it’s comforting to keep using technology that you’re familiar with, there is also a tipping point somewhere between stationary and mobile devices for just about everyone. Keep track and you may be surprised.
We’re by no means cutting edge with technology; far from it. We dispensed with a box full of cords, chargers, outdated devices, sure. Yet, we keep an old flip phone with an extra line so we can play the “upgrade transfer game” with our wireless carrier. But our daily experience has improved since we’ve implemented these five ideas to simplify your life with gadgets. Hope these ideas suggest improvements for you, too!