Quick and Easy Tech Hacks

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You certainly do not have to be a nerd in order to own and use your tech gadgets like a boss.  The Nerds from Nerds on Call are here to share a few tech hacks that can change the way you use your technology, which might just help make your life a little bit easier, and much much cooler.  These tech hacks are simple, and can be done by just about anybody.

One of the quickest yet useful tech hacks is the cup or bowl speaker.  Simply place your phone or iPod speakers down into a cup or bowl, and the sound will be magnified significantly.  Try out different size cups or bowls, and different materials to see which one your phone works best in.  This one of the most used tech hacks, because it is great at parties in case of a speaker emergency.  This hack can also be used in your car’s cupholder  if your auxiliary cable breaks, or you forget your headphones.

easy speaker hack

Next we have a couple simple tech hacks for organization.  Most of us have a few things that we need to plug in at the bedside, so we use a powerstrip to support our phone chargers, lamps, clocks, and our fans during the summer.  Consider moving your powerstrip into your nightstand drawer, this will eliminate the clutter of wires around the bed, which is certainly a fire hazard.  Your nightstand may even have a hole in the back to run wires already, but you can always make one if it doesn’t.

Our next tech hacks involve a favorite childhood toy, Legos.  Try attaching a lego brick to your desk or nightstand, and put a Lego man on it.  Most wires fit into the hand of Lego men, and it makes for a neat little organization tool.  You can also attach a small Lego piece to your keychain, and one to your wall or dresser to create a key holder.  These are just small tech hacks that might add a bit of color or uniqueness to your daily routine.

lego ideas hack

A couple of the most useful tech hacks are ones that people  have probably never thought about.  Cords and cables are some of the most used pieces of tech in the home or office, and some people have been wrapping their cords all wrong, and putting pressure on the weakest points.  The connector points are the weakest spots on a cable, and people often bend and break these areas when trying to wrap their cords or wires too tightly.  You can see examples of the proper way to wrap cords in the video at the top of the page.

The last few tech hacks the Nerds recommend are simple and useful to almost every family.  iPhone users can use the volume up button on apple headphones to take selfies.  When in a rush to get a charge on your cellphone, try putting it in airplane mode, it will likely charge faster.  One of the most useful tech hacks is to always wait to fill in the “to” subject of an email until you have completed and proofread your message.  This avoids any awkward or premature message sending to the wrong person.


About The Author: Andrea Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.

Video Transcript

Mark: The nerds on call with more, two nerds, two nerds.

Cody: This guy’s got some knowledge in his head he wants to share with us. Ryan what you got for us, man?

Ryan: So these are simple tech hacks that everybody can do, that maybe you’d use your technology a little differently, maybe stop from hurting your technology in some ways too.

So let’s talk party. Let’s say we are having a party and we’re just kind of dancing and chilling, and we need a little bit of tunes going on, and it’s kind of a cool trick, and you were talking about you do this already is, if I’m listening to a song, that’s pretty good, but if I put it in a bowl, it gets a lot louder. That’s kinda cool. I do this in my cup holder in my car, I gotta turn that off. I do that in the cup holder of my car just to amplify the volume so I don’t have to hook it up to the stereo, just kind of a cool little tech hack.

Cody: I do that when I’m brushing my teeth.

Ryan: Another cool thing is, we were talking to one of the guys today about cords along the side of the bed. We plug in our phone, if we’re old, our alarm clock or we have a lamp and all kinds of stuff, and there’s only one plug back there, and so we put a power strip and when we walk into our bed at night, we got this huge power strip on the side of our bed with cords everywhere.

So here’s kind of a cool hack, is you put the charging cables and your power strip inside your drawer. You can either mount it on the side with just a couple of little screws, mount it on the back, and you can just run the cord through the back or cut a little hole here, so it can stay in your drawer, keeps everything nice and pretty. Who uses their bedside table drawer for anything other than junk anyway?

Cody: That’s a good point.

Ryan: And you can put all of your devices in there and just leave your phone out.

Cody: You may have extended my marriage by 20 years, right there with that buddy.

Ryan: So here’s a cool one, this is Legos, I’m super excited about Legos, I got two little kids, they love Legos. So use Legos as cord management. So their little hands happen to be big enough to hold a cord. So you glue this to the side of your table or your desk, and then you put your little guy on there and he can hold your cords for you.

Cody: That’s hilarious.

Ryan: You can also just use a little stand like this and glue that to there and he can also hold your cords for your desk at work. So that’s kind of cool.

Cody: That is fantastic.

Ryan: Add a little Lego to a key chain and now you can have your key chain held right there on a Lego thing.

Cody: I love it, love it.

Ryan: And everyone will think you are the coolest ever.

Cody: That’s right.

Ryan: So let’s talk about cord management with headphones. I hate these things. We try so hard, but most people don’t know how to really do it, so they just kinda stuff them in their pocket, and they’re un-wadding it as they are trying to talk on the phone.

So here’s a cool trick. Pinch it with two fingers and just wrap it like this, wrap it, wrap it, and un… pull it off your hand and then wrap it again, like this, and you get a nice cool bundle that’s easy to undo. Of course now it didn’t work.

Cody: Okay we got 30 seconds.

Ryan: So here’s just two other quick things. We’ll do this one first.

Let’s say you got your phone on your cool selfie stick, and you gotta set the timer so you can take a picture. Well the cool part about these headphones is that if you use the plus button on your headphones when they’re plugged in, it will take your picture for you.

Cody: No.

Ryan: Yes! You don’t have to hold it like this and have that big arm sticking out of your pictures. You can just plug this in on your selfie stick and it’ll be super cool like that.

Cody: I feel like I just stepped through the wardrobe to Narnia there.

Ryan: Bonus tip, we’re gonna give you a bonus tip.

So let’s say you’ve got your iPhone and you’re trying to charge it at night, and you’re going, “Oh, but I just need to make a few more calls or I need to do a few more things,” one of the cool things you can do is set it to airplane mode while you’re charging it, it’ll super-boost your charging time.

Cody: Oh really.

Ryan: Yeah so just hit, airplane mode, boom, it will charge so much faster than if you don’t do that. Cool little tech hacks.

Cody: That is fantastic. Fantastic. Next hour, you wanna talk a little bit about the big announcement yesterday?

Ryan: Yesterday was Christmas for all nerds, so we’re gonna talk about Apple and everything that came out. What’s good, what’s bad, whether you want to buy it, whether you want to avoid it, all that good stuff.

Cody: Cool. Thank man. All right, back to you guys.

Ken: That’ll work. Thank you, thank you.

Mark: No matter what he says, I want an iPad Pro.

Ken: Just go ahead and put it in there right now. 

Video Transcript

Jeff Maher: And we’ve got our insider, Ryan Eldridge with Nerds On Call. Good to see you.

Ryan: Good to see you.

Jeff Maher: Thank you for coming in again.

Ryan: Hey, you’re welcome.

Jeff Maher: This is the second time that we’ve had you and…

Ryan: He likes holding my hand. I don’t understand it.

Jeff Maher: I just want to make it really awkward, the most awkward handshake ever.

Ryan: I’m like trying to let go and he just won’t let me.

Jeff Maher: So, we’re talking about tech gadgets and tech hacks.

Ryan: These are tech hacks. This is with stuff you’ve already got around your house. This is cool stuff. So first, let’s say you’re having a party over at your house and we’re just hanging out but our cell phones just sounds terrible. Just that little speaker on our phones [Inaudible 00:00:31]. But what we can do is put it inside a bowl.

Jeff Maher: That’s the party right there?

Ryan: Put it inside a bowl and it gets much louder.

Jeff Maher: That’s incredible!

Ryan: Isn’t that cool?

Jeff Maher: I never thought of that.

Ryan: You can also put this in your cup holder in your car and you’ll be able to get…let me turn that off there. Put it in the cup holder in your car. You can make it a lot louder if you don’t have the auxiliary jack in your car if you’re in an older car or something like that.

Jeff Maher: Yeah. Right.

Ryan: So this is a cool little tech hack.

Jeff Maher: So I was just thinking if you have a pet at home, a dog, you just empty their food dish and then put the phone in there. Like, “Sorry, Fido, you don’t get fed today but we’re going to party! We’re going to party!”

Ryan: That’s exactly right.

Jeff Maher: Yeah.

Ryan: So here’s another cool one. Now, at night time, I’m going to bed and I’ve got my phone and my alarm clock and a bunch of other cords and cables and stuff all next to my bed, and my wife kicks it under the bed all the time and I’m fishing the cords out. It’s kind of a pain.

Jeff Maher: Right.

Ryan: So you take your power strip, your normal power strip, and you actually attach that to the inside drawer of your night table. And then all your cords just come out the drawer. Isn’t that a lot easier?

Jeff Maher: That is a lot easier.

Ryan: And then you don’t have to worry about it. So you put it on the backside. I wish I had a drawer here to show you, but you either put it on the backside of the drawer or the inside of the drawer and then just run this cable out the back. And then all your cables are just stuck inside your bedside table. Isn’t that cool?

Jeff Maher: You don’t have to worry about tripping over them, huh?

Ryan: So let’s talk about toys because you love toys.

Jeff Maher: I love toys. I love Spiderman.

Ryan: So let’s say you’ve got a bunch of Legos laying around the house, and they’re good for more than just walking on in the middle of the night. This you can use. What’s kind of cool about the hands of these guys is they’re great for holding cords.

Jeff Maher: Did you figure this out on your own time?

Ryan: My son, he just can’t stand that I stole all his Legos. But you can basically glue this on to your desk and then you got something to hold your cords so you don’t have to fish around behind it. Or if you got a little Chewbacca, you can also attach one to your keychain like this. See if I can get it right there. There we go. Attach it to your keychain and then you just attach this to the wall, and you’ve got a cool way to manage your keys…

Jeff Maher: Wow.

Ryan: …and your cords with little Chewbacca there.

Jeff Maher: That is definitely a nerd hack. I wonder what you’re going to do with Lincoln Logs.

Ryan: Yeah. So let’s talk about headphones. We all have our headphones. We put them in a big pile. We put them in our pocket. You could just wrap them like this by holding them like this. I’ll go as fast as I can. And then when you’re done wrapping it around just two fingers, then you wrap it around like this and it makes a nice easy to manage bundle in your pocket.

Jeff Maher: That’s something that just the average person doesn’t do. I just throw it in my gym bag. It gets wrapped up with other stuff. So it just takes a couple extra seconds.

Ryan: You’re a big fan of the selfie. Here’s another thing that a lot of people don’t realize. When you’re taking a selfie, and you’re like “Oh, look at this cool …” You got your arm in the picture. The up button on your microphone will actually take the selfie for you. So you could just stand there and look normal instead of looking like some kind of crazy person.

Jeff Maher: The up button?

Ryan: The volume up button on your headphones, if you have Apple headphones, will take the selfie for you.

Jeff Maher: That takes the picture?

Ryan: Yeah!

Jeff Maher: I did not know that.

Ryan: It’s so much cooler

Jeff Maher: And, lastly, we’ve got this.

Ryan: Okay. So the weakest point on any kind of cord is where it connects to that. So you take a straw, cut it in half, and there you go. You protect that part of the cord. So when you wrap it you don’t have to worry about damaging the cord.

Jeff Maher: Wow.

Ryan: Isn’t that cool?

Jeff Maher: This is really cool stuff. Ryan Eldridge with Nerds On Call. Thank you again.

Ryan: Hey, you’re welcome.

Jeff Maher: The website is?

Ryan: Callnerds.com. You can just go there and go to callnerds.com/blog. It’s got tips for all of this stuff plus all kinds of other stuff.

Jeff Maher: Great stuff. Can we close out with some music to keep the party going?

Ryan: Oh yeah. Let’s do it.

Jeff Maher: Yeah. The dog bowl party right here on Wake Up with CW.

Ryan: That’s a nerd dance.

Jeff Maher: That is a nerd dance.

Woman: Go Ryan! Go Ryan! Go Ryan! He has his nerd dance going on. We love having Ryan in the studio. He’s so much fun. He’s smart too. 

Video Transcript

Stefanie: A new show to kick start your work week into high gear. Starting with, if there’s something weird, and it doesn’t look good, who you gonna call? No, not Ghostbusters, you’re going to call Nerds on Call, because you don’t have to be a nerd to own your tech gadgets like a boss. All you need is an insider to help share some secret tips and some simple tricks to make your stuff work better. And luckily, we have just that, our resident nerd, Ryan Eldridge. He’s co-founder of the company Nerds on Call, and he’s here to share some of his favorite life hacks. Ryan, thanks for being here!

Ryan: Hey, you’re welcome!

Stefanie: First of all, Nerds on Call. Great business idea.

Ryan: Thank you!

Stefanie: So, we can call you 24/7?

Ryan: Well, not 24/7, but we’re open until 8 o’clock every night, we’re open at seven in the morning every morning. So most of the time when you need us, we’re going to be there. These are just some of the cool stuff we showcase on our blog. Just different little things you can do with your computers and different fun stuff you can do, and a lot of people don’t know some of the basics that we’re going to show today. And these are kind of cool because we’re going to play with Legos.

Stefanie: Well, I love Legos! And they’re simple, Ryan, that’s what I like. We like simple.

Ryan: Yes. So let’s start out with music. Let’s say you’re at home and you’re just kind of hanging out and you don’t want to put your headphones in, but you don’t like the little tinny speakers on your phone. And you’re like, “I want to hear something with a little more noise.” So here’s kind of a cool thing you can use a bowl or a cup. Let’s see if I can get a cool song here to play.

Stefanie: I wish it was Ghostbusters. We should have thought ahead.

Ryan: Any second here. Is it going to play? And then it’s not going to work. There it goes! Okay, so we’re listening to a cool song, we’re just chilling with this…

Stefanie: Just cruising.

Ryan: But you put it in the bowl and it gets quite a bit louder. Of course, it’s just one note. I didn’t get a very good song. But anyway, you can do this in your car when you’re listening to music in your car and you don’t have a headset to put in and you put it in your cupholder in your car, and it just amplifies that volume. So a bowl or a cup works great.

Stefanie: And why is that? It just…

Ryan: It just bounces the sound. All of the speakers are on the bottom, and so we often are turning our phones like this, or cupping it like that, well the bowl or a cup works exactly the same way.

Stefanie: I do that in the car all the time. So that’s one hack I actually knew.

Ryan: Okay, so let’s talk about Legos because Legos are a lot of fun. I’ll hold them up here so we can see them. The cool thing about Legos is that you can do all kinds of different things with them. First of all, you can attach a Lego to a keychain and use it to store your keys and just glue this next to your door. And you can just store all your keys right there on the Lego. But a lot of people don’t know this, is their little hands also work great as holders for your cords. So you can take one of these little guys and attach it to your desk or your nightside table and glue it down and then they can hold your cords for you. So you can have your cords hanging out all over the place.

Stefanie: You know, that’s probably why they were made.

Ryan: Well, I think, unfortunately, Lego has been around a lot longer than our cords have, at least for our phones anyway. So, that’s kind of a cool thing with Legos. Here’s another cool thing, and I’ve got a big drawer to show you.

Stefanie: Oh goodness, we all have those.

Ryan: So you have a drawer. In my bedside table, I’ve got an alarm clock, I’ve got my phone, I’ve got cords everywhere, and I’m kicking them under the bed all the time, and it’s just a mess. Well, here’s the cool thing about a drawer like this, is you can just take a regular drawer, take your power strip that you have on the side of your bed, and mount it to the back of your drawer, and have this cord coming over the back. And almost every drawer there’s a little extra space there so you can have your cords come out, and all your cords and everything are stuffed inside the drawer, rather than hanging out on the top of your nightside table.

Stefanie: So, this comes out on the back.

Ryan: Yeah just comes right out the back. If you need to cut a little notch hole in the end, it’s very easy to hack through a little hole, and that will go there and lay nice and flat, and all your stuff will stay in there, and you can run your cords out on top of the table without having them all over the place.

Stefanie: Easy life hack. Speaking of cords, every single time, it seems like they get tangled up.

Ryan: Yes, so here are headphones. And these, you stick them in your pocket, and you’re trying to listen to them, and you pull them out in this big munchy mess.

Stefanie: Story of my life.

Ryan: So, the best way to do it is just to take two fingers, take the two earbuds and put them on one side of the finger, and you just wrap it like this, as fast as we can on air, and then once you slide it off your fingers, you just wrap that bundle, and you make a nice figure eight bundle, and everything is nice and easy. And then you just kind of tuck it in there and it goes right in there and it’s not a mess and it’s very easy to undo.

Stefanie: And then undo it real fast. Here we go, we just want to listen to some music, tangle free.

Ryan: Tangle free. Right there, I’m ready to go. Is that cool without a big mess? Here’s another cool about headphones while we’re talking about headphones, is the little up button where you can turn up the volume, if you plug that into your camera phone, you can take a picture.

Stefanie: You told me: so, this makes better selfie?

Ryan: Yeah, it makes a better selfie. And also, in low light photography, you’re shaking your camera a little bit, you’re taking pictures of your kids, Christmas time or something and you don’t have a lot of light, and the camera shakes a little bit. If you get a little tripod like this or just set it up against a cup or something, you can press the up button and it will take a good picture.

Stefanie: See, I had no idea. So the up button means…

Ryan: Yup, shutter release! Just like people use on the really expensive photos or cameras. You can do it right here.

Stefanie: That is such a cool life hack.

Ryan: Yes. Here’s another cool thing. When you’re doing e-mail, for example, we often put it “To,” and then we write out our e-mail. Sometimes, you’re in the middle of a draft and you press send or we press enter at the wrong time. And then, we sent this e-mail to our boss that we didn’t mean to go, because we were just venting a little bit. The hack there is, don’t put anything in the To field. Just leave it blank until you’re done with the e-mail composition, and then you can add the people to your To field.

Stefanie: I like that.

Ryan: Is that cool?

Stefanie: Better safe than sorry.

Ryan: And here’s the last one that I’ve got. So, the weakest part of any cord is right here, where it connects to the main thing, and then we start wrapping it and it breaks, and we’ve got all these frayed cords that don’t work. So, you take a straw and you cut it in half and then slide it, cut it down the middle, and you can slide it onto the end of these cords, and it will protect that part of the cord when you wrap it. Isn’t that cool?

Stefanie: Wow, Ryan, that is fascinating.

Ryan: Yeah, that’s a little Pinterest kick.

Stefanie: A little Pinterest? Did your wife show you that one?

Ryan: Yeah, she did. I thought it was super cool, because I’m always looping an extra loop on my cord, so that way that one part doesn’t get hurt, and she says, “Well, why don’t you just put a straw on there?”

Stefanie: I think all of us can relate, though. Right there, it starts getting frayed, and now you just put your little kid’s straw right here. Saves you 40 bucks.

Ryan: Yes, easily, yes.

Stefanie: That is wonderful. Well, these are just so cool, especially the Lego bit. I think that is just precious, and hopefully our viewers will take some of these home. But, don’t go anywhere because Ryan’s sticking around. We’ve got more excellent advice, including how to avoid the worst mistakes on social media. You don’t want to miss that.

Ryan: No. Not at all.