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Smartphones & gadgets

6 tech hacks you can’t live without

“Hacks” aren’t just for computer programmers. They can also be clever but simple ways to improve your life.

When it comes to technology, there are many hidden tricks that will come in handy if you take them to heart.

Whether you’re battling annoying website notifications, trying to organize your charging cables, or looking to speed up the chore of typing on your phone, we’ve got some great tech hacks for you.

1. Block annoying website notifications

You’re surfing the internet, checking in on your favorite news sources, looking at cute cat pictures, or maybe doing a little shopping. You’re minding your own business, but some of these websites just won’t leave you alone. A little window pops up in the corner of your Chrome browser saying the website wants permission to send you notifications.

You can choose to block these requests every time, but it’s easier to just stop them in their tracks in the first place.

For Chrome, open up your settings, choose “Advanced,” and then open up the Content Settings. The “Notifications” setting is probably set to “Ask before sending (recommended).”

Click on this to set it to “blocked” instead and enjoy your internet adventures with fewer interruptions. If you find some use in receiving notifications from certain sites, you can always choose to block or allow individual websites. You can find the list of sites and change the settings in the Notifications section.

Make browsing a breeze with these handy Google Chrome extensions.

2. Protect your MacBook cord from fraying

Your power cord is your lifeline when it comes to your MacBook. Protect this part of your investment with a clever hack using the spring from a retractable ballpoint pen. Disassemble the pen, pull out the long spring, and wrap it around the cord near the end.

This reinforcement will help keep stress and strain off the cord and prevent it from fraying. This same trick can be used for other thin power cords, or you can pick up bigger springs at the hardware store.

YouTube user myoldreteacher offers up a simple tutorial video for this tech hack.

3. Scroll up and down using your keyboard

Are you still wearing out your fingers using your mouse to scroll up and down on long webpages? It’s time to let your fingertips take over that chore with one of the most useful and often-overlooked keyboard shortcuts of all:

Hit the spacebar to scroll down and use the combination of the spacebar and shift key to scroll back up. Even better, this trick works with almost every web browser. Your joints will thank you.

4. Organize your cords with Lego figures

Meet one of the cutest tech hacks ever created. It turns out that the hands of Lego minifigures are the perfect size to hold many electronic charging cables, especially for cellphones and other portable gadgets.

You can just tuck the cord right in there for safe-keeping. Set up multiple toys to organize a group of cables, or use just one to keep the cord from falling behind your desk when not in use. You can even build more elaborate Lego structures and anchor the minifigures to them if you want to get extra creative.

Get to know these three easy ways to stop your gadgets from spying on you.

5. Learn the spacebar double-tap trick

Here’s a time-saving smartphone tip that will also help save your sanity when you’re typing text messages or emails on that small screen. Double-tap the spacebar on the keyboard when you reach the end of a sentence to automatically get a period and a space.

It will also capitalize the next letter you type to get the following sentence started right. This is a simple move, but many people don’t know it even exists. It’s especially satisfying for people who strive for good grammar, even in text messages.

6. Charge up your phone faster

Here’s a tip for those times when you need to squeeze as much juice into your phone in as little time as possible. Turn on airplane mode when you plug into the charger. Airplane mode shuts off your phone’s wireless connections, so it reduces its energy demands.

This can shave some valuable minutes off your charging time. Just remember that charging times can vary quite a bit with the type of phone and charger you’re using. Using this trick also means you won’t be able to make or receive calls while the phone is in airplane mode.

But when every minute counts, this setting can come in handy.

Can’t get enough tech hacks?

We’ve got ways to amplify your phone’s speakers, re-purpose your old tablet, and test the batteries in your remote controls.

Click here for six more tech hacks you need in your life.

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