"Life hacks" are addictive. Maybe you fixed a running toilet with a paperclip. Or you turned a ruddy old door into a makeshift coffee table. You looked at your invention with pride, because you foraged in the garage and jerry-rigged something together that worked. There are many “tech hacks” that offer simple solutions to everyday digital setbacks. Here’s a list of some of my favorite tech hacks. Most are easy and immediate, but there’s one to embrace your inner MacGyver that should take you a few hours.
Be sure to watch the video demonstrations too. You won’t miss a step that way.
Amplify your phone’s speakers
Smartphone speakers aren’t very powerful, which is why most people connect the phone to ear buds or Bluetooth stereo gear to really enjoy their music and podcasts. (If you have Apple Airpods, click here for clever ways not to lose them.)
But if you’re in a pinch for sound, place your phone into a dry cup or bowl. Aim the speakers downward, and you’ll be astonished how much louder your audio will sound. The hack only takes a second to set up. Just remember to use clean cups!
Want to hear how much better it sounds? Click here to see my video demonstration.
Create DIY speakers from household items
Wasn’t that fun? Let’s take it to the next level: You can make your own speakers. All you need is an empty cylinder, such as the cardboard tube you find in the middle of wrapping paper, a Pringles sleeve or a two-liter soda bottle.
Cut out a hole or add a notch that fits your smartphone’s body. Make sure you’re affixing the phone so that the speakers are facing into the tube. The sound will resonate inside the vacuum, and the increased volume and higher quality will surprise you. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can use pretty much any building material, including PVC pipe.
Remember, each material and shape will affect sound in different ways. Click here for a slideshow showing what these ersatz speakers look like.