How to Make Black Ink Cartridges Last Longer

It’s a question that has puzzled many a mind since the rise of personal computers, and in turn, personal printers: why are ink cartridges so insanely expensive?

The question that inevitably follows is, “how can I make my ink cartridge last longer?” The answer is simpler than you might imagine. 

Taking From One Hand to Give to The Other

The simple answer for why ink is so expensive is that it’s because printers are so cheap. Rather than require consumers to pay more upfront, manufacturers sell printers at cost with the knowledge that they’ll wind up making significantly more in ink cartridge profits long term. 

So how can you side step the endless expense of buying new black ink? Well, you can’t completely, but you can make it a less frequent necessity. 

Tricks of The Trade

Though there’s no way around using black ink completely, there are some handy ways to cut down on the amount that you go through:

Reduce print quality. When you preview a document, you should have the option to print it in draft quality. This will cut down on the amount of ink you use. 

Change the font. Blocky or bulky fonts will obviously use more ink than thinner ones, so cut back on font size and choose a thin type whenever possible. 

Pick an alternate color. For some documents, a dark blue may be acceptable in place of black; even a charcoal gray will require less ink. 

Ignore low ink warnings. Printers generate these warnings when ink is low, not empty, so you can continue printing past the warnings. Even if your ink doesn’t appear to be working, check the nozzle before you spring for a new cartridge. 

Printing is still a daily occurrence for most in this increasingly paperless world; don’t fall victim to painfully steep ink prices if you don’t have to.

How to Find Lower Prices When Booking Flights and Hotels Online

Travel is one of the greatest gifts that the modern, connected world has afforded society, but it’s also one of the most expensive.

Don’t get excited and book the first flight and hotel you find when planning a trip; take a step back and utilize these money-saving hacks. 

Beware Price Gouging

The average domestic flight from Los Angeles costs more than $330, and that number increases significantly when you begin to look at international destinations. Airfare is infamously volatile, always bobbing up and down, so don’t get caught in a price gouging trap. 

Instead, be wary when booking flights and hotels, and be certain to use thrifty tools compiled by years of shrewd travelers. 

Book Smarter

A little Internet digging will uncover all sorts of trade secrets for getting you the best possible prices on flights and hotels. This includes things like:

  • Browsing incognito or clearing your history before going back to book
  • Comparison shopping with different budget friendly sites
  • Being as flexible as possible with your dates
  • Trying to book well in advance or cashing in on last minute deals  

Browse flights on sites like Skyscanner and Kiwi, but utilize ones like Kayak for hotels. Don’t be afraid to negotiate on price with the hotel directly, as they’re often receptive to this kind of bargaining. 

If you can help it, don’t get hung up on a specific airline, hotel, or even date—the more flexible you are on the details, the better your chances of cutting out extra costs.

Travel can be thrilling and enriching, but it doesn’t have to be costly—think before you book online and make the most of your experience for the least amount of money.

How to Charge Your Smartphone Faster

Time never seems to pass quite as slowly as when you’re waiting for your phone to charge.

Rather than watching the seconds tick by, take control of the situation and utilize some of these simple steps to make your smartphone charge faster.

A Time Consuming Necessity

Unfortunately, charging your smartphone completely can take up to 3 hours, and most people just don’t have that kind of time to sit still and let their devices charge in the day. 

Rather than sitting around and twiddling your thumbs for hours while your phone regains power, take stock of these simple tips to get your smartphone back up to full charge faster. 

Hands Off, Charge On

Most of the best ways to get your phone charged faster are common sense tips, still most everyone could use a little refresher on these practices. 

Try to charge your phone while you sleep. This will keep you from wanting to check it as it charges, which greatly reduces the effectiveness of the charge. 

Turn your phone off, or put it in airplane mode. Suspending your phone’s cellular activity while it charges will speed the process up considerably.

Invest in a quality charger. All sorts of new tech is available to make charging quick and painless. 

Avoid USB and car charging. A good, old fashioned wall charger is going to be the most efficient option for charging your phone, but the other methods will certainly work in a pinch.

Try to keep it cool. When your phone is hot, it has to exert energy on cooling down. Charging your phone in a cool environment will render this function unnecessary. 

No one has time to wait around while their phone slowly charges, so maximize your charging efforts by using these simple habits.

How to Turn Your Old Phone Into A Dash Cam for Your Car

If an accident occurs without witnesses, the ordeal can degrade into a bitter battle of he-said-she-said; the same goes for a speeding ticket, or any other traffic violation.

The best way to protect yourself is with a dash cam to record your driving, but what if you don’t have the time or resources to purchase a dedicated camera?

Crashes Are Costly and Common

Well over 2 million people are injured in car crashes every year; this comes with a host of associated expenses, particularly if victims aren’t able to verify the offenders’ liability to insurance companies. 

You always hope that nothing like a serious car crash will happen to you, but why not be prepared for the worst? Most people have an old phone collecting dust in a drawer, and you can put that phone to use as a makeshift dash cam. 

Fashioning Your Phone as A Camera

You don’t need many things to turn an old phone into a dash cam, as far as hardware goes: just a phone, some sort of dash or windshield mount, and a charging cable that can reach from you mounted phone to your car’s outlet. 

An old phone is preferable because you don’t run the risk of receiving a call or some other notification that could interrupt the camera feed. 

Once you have these items, you can select a dash cam app. An app is preferable for several reasons: it won’t require you to continuously clear out the storage on your phone from recording directly, you can set preferences for how long you want to keep the footage stored. 

These simple steps may prove critical to proving your innocence in an accident, or verifying your claims with insurance companies. In any case, you’ll be glad to have had a dash cam.

How to Reinstall Windows Without Deleting Your Files, Settings, and Software

There are quite a number of reasons that could lead to the need for reinstalling Windows on your computer.

You could have been the victim of malware that corrupted your operating system, or you could just be an unlucky person who was burdened with a glitchy Windows installation.

Whatever your reason for needing to reinstall your operating system, one major thing you typically want to avoid is losing all of the data you have on your computer – especially if you’ve had your computer for a while and have very important data on it. However, there is a way to reinstall Windows and keep all of your data without pulling all of your hair out in the process.

A Backup Plan

Backing up all of your important files and writing down software programs that you have to have is a wise decision. While there is a very easy way to reinstall Windows 10 without losing your data, it is never a bad idea to be prepared in case of an accidental full wipe. Additionally, if you’ve already done this step and you end up having to do a full wipe, that is less you have to prepare. You can easily save practically any file or document on a USB flash drive. You can also choose to use the flash drive you backup your data on to keep an updated backup file of your important documents.

Reinstalling Safely

Windows 10 has had many updates since it was originally released, and the most recent update to the computer recovery options is wonderful and very user-friendly. You will want to adhere to the following process. Open your Settings panel and find Update and Security. On the left side of the new screen, choose Recovery. After, you will select the Get Started option that is located under Reset this PC. The next screen will give you a Keep My Files option. Select it. Be very careful to not accidentally click Remove Everything – this will result in a total wipe of the entire computer.

See how to perform this process here: 

Once you’ve chosen to keep your files, you’ll be shown a list of apps that will be erased during the reinstallation. This is a minor inconvenience; just write down any that you know you definitely want to download as soon as you can. As a last ditch security measure, your computer screen will ask you if you want to continue with the reinstallation. Only click the Reset button when you are absolutely ready to start the process because you cannot stop it once it starts

Personalizing Your Computer…Again

Now that you’ve successfully reinstalled your operating system without losing your data, you can continue with business as usual. Be sure you take some time to set your computer back to how it was before you restored it, and good luck with the new Windows 10 OS!

How to Increase the Startup Speed of Your Windows Computer

Waiting for what seems like forever for your computer to start up when you turn it in is incredibly frustrating, especially when you are in a hurry or need to just quickly do something.

If it takes longer for your computer to boot up than it does for you to complete the task you turned it on for, is your computer running at its full potential? The answer is simple – no, it is not.

In the rare case that your computer is actually a dinosaur and was bought 10 years ago, then maybe your issue is that you need a new computer. However, the case is often that not many people know how to maximize the startup speed of a computer. Well, here are some ways to increase your computer’s startup speed that anyone can understand!

How to Lessen Your Computer’s Boot Up Time 

There are a variety of tasks you can perform to make your computer startup faster, and some are more beneficial than others, depending on your computer. It’s a good rule of thumb to do most of the clean-up tasks listed in this article periodically to keep your computer running as smoothly as possible.

Run the Performance Troubleshooter. This particular troubleshooter checks for issues within your computer and fixes them automatically. It’s like letting someone into your house, watching them pick up all of your trash, and then watching them throw it all out and leave. You find the Performance Troubleshooter in the System and Security section of the Control Panel. Simply go into the security section and click Check for Performance Issues. The troubleshooter does everything else.

Clean-up the programs that start running when you turn your computer on. Technically, a computer does not need ANY program to start running when it does. For those of you who feel more comfortable with always having a security measure running, having your antivirus software boot up with your computer may help you feel more secure. In truth, it is far quicker to have your computer start with no other programs running with it and open the programs you want to use when your computer is ready to go – which is very quickly since there is nothing to bog down its startup.

Take care of your hard disk drive. Computers are machines, and all machines need maintenance. You can run Disk Cleanup to rid your computer of any unnecessary clutter it’s holding onto (like that full Recycle Bin). You can use the Disk Defragmenter program to organize all of the data in your computer, so it can run more smoothly. Think of the defragmenter program as a Good Samaritan that directs traffic when the traffic lights go out – the data is usually chaos until the defragmenter steps in.

See how to increase your computer startup speed here: 

Fully shut down and restart your computer often. Just like humans need to rest, so do computers. The longer they are up and running between shut down and restart cycles, the more processes and memory and programs work together to slow the entire machine down. More often than not, the first step any computer user takes to fix a slow computer is to restart it. Shutting down or restarting your computer allows it to completely stop every single action that it is taking and rest. It is suggested to restart your computer at least once a week, but some people swear by shutting down their computers after each use. It’s up to you!

Run scans to search for malicious software. There are countless viruses and adware that attempt to attack your computer every day, and some of them eventually do get through whatever precautions you take to keep them out. Run a virus scan if you notice that your computer is randomly taking a much longer time to start up than it normally does. If there is a notable difference in boot up speed with no warning, your computer may be infected. It is a safe bet to use both a real-time antivirus program that is different from the one you were using initially and another on-demand virus scan program of your choosing. Both types can be found online for free.

When All Else Fails

These tips are just a few of the most common and easiest ways to increase your computer’s startup speed. If these do not work, there are some other things you can try, and you also have the option of springing for a new computer if you own an older computer that may not be able to provide the performance needed by a computer today. However, these tips will definitely help you on your journey to a quicker power up time!

7 Hidden iPhone Camera Features that Every Photographer Should Know How to Use

Throughout the years, smartphones have replaced many everyday items, like traditional land-line phones, alarm clocks, calculators, and digital music players.

It’s really no surprise that they have also replaced cameras, and some of the newest smartphone models boast cameras that take better pictures than some actual cameras on the market today.

With all that convenience right in the palm of your hand, it’s a shame not to learn how to use it to its maximum potential. So, to make sure you’re properly using your iPhone camera, here are 7 hidden iPhone camera features that every photographer should know how to use. (Everyone else, too)

7 Must-Know iPhone Camera Features

Have you ever had an iPhone for a really long time and then you find out something totally obscure that completely changes how you use your phone? Stranger things have happened. Smartphones are full of secrets and tricks. Here are 7 things you need to know about your iPhone camera.

  • You can open the camera feature by just swiping left. Yes, you read that right. There is no tap-tap-tap involved or scrolling through all your pages of apps. Simply unlock your phone and swipe left. Your camera is instantly ready to take that amazing photo!
  • Set your camera’s focus with your finger. Another simple finger trick! To take control of your iPhone camera’s focus yourself, just tap on the screen to adjust it. 
  • Adjust your camera’s exposure with (you guessed it) your finger! Tap on your phone screen and move your finger up and down to change the exposure.
  • Set your preferred focus and exposure to stay like you placed it. After tapping your screen, hold your finger down a few moments until AE/AF LOCK pops up. Once those words appear, your settings are locked.
  • Use Burst Mode to make sure you get the perfect shot. There aren’t many feelings worse than the feeling of JUST missing the perfect photo. This is where Burst Mode comes in. Typically, it will take photos until you stop it. Then, you can look through the photos and find the best one.
  • Use the Volume buttons to take a picture. Seriously. Either Volume button will snap a picture when the camera is open on your iPhone. Who knew?
  • Take a secret picture with your earbuds. This little trick can make you a regular James Bond. All you do is open your camera and, when you have your shot ready, press either volume button located on your earbuds

Watch the 7 camera tips for iPhone here: 

Get to Snapping!

Now that you know these camera tricks, you can easily learn how to always have your camera ready for the perfect shot. And, if it isn’t ready, it can be ready to capture a memory in seconds. While you’re mastering these tricks, keep your eyes open – you never know what other helpful tricks you will find.

5 Awesome New Technology Gadgets You Can Buy Now

It is no secret that society has become heavily dependent upon technology, but can you really blame it? The past few decades have seen faster technological advancements than ever before in history.

In fact, most 30 to 40 years old have lived and seen all of these advancements firsthand, being the first generation to experience both dial-up internet and the birth of Wifi, the first to use both landline phones that were limited by cords and smartphones, and the first ones to visit libraries for books as children and then hold entire libraries in the palm of one hand as adults.

This is not a trend that is slowing down, either. Technology continues to improve every single day. Because of this, there is never a shortage of new fun tech gadgets to spoil yourself with. Here is a list of five awesome technology gadgets you can buy right now!

Give me the Gadgets

You’ve waited long enough – here is the list of amazing gadgets you don’t want to miss!

TILE MATE ITEM FINDER  – $22 for 1 tile, multi-packs available

The little gadget is the “key” to never losing your keys again! You can attach the small tile to anything that you lose often or don’t want to chance losing, and then you just use the Tile companion app on your smartphone to locate it no matter where it is! The Tile Mate Item Finder also has modes like vibrating and ringing to find your items without even having to use the companion app. How’s THAT for innovation?

TAOTRONICS BLUETOOTH IN-EAR HEADPHONES –  $46 for one pair, comes with charging case

Wireless and small, but very mighty, these headphones offer an amazing alternative to other wireless headphones like Airpods that cost $159 a pair. Taotronics Bluetooth in-ear headphones can last over 3 hours on just one change, and they come with their own charging case for easy and fast charging anywhere. The charging case can power over 40 recharges of the headphones before needs to be charged itself. That’s real power!

AMIR CLIP-ON SMARTPHONE CAMERA LENSES – $13 for a set of 3 different lens types

For a price tag of under $15, you cannot get a better deal for legitimate photography options! This set of lenses includes 3 different lenses – a fisheye lens, a super wide-angle lens, and a macro zoom lens (for when you need a proper close-up shot). Amir Clip-on Smartphone Camera Lenses are perfect if you want to add more variety to your smartphone’s camera or if you fancy yourself an up-and-coming photographer but cannot currently afford much equipment. The clip-on lenses are made from aluminum and glass that are both water and dust resistant, so you can expect your lenses to last for a long time! (If you think you’re going to lose them – connect them to a Tile Mate Item Finder!)

See 50 gadgets for under $50 here:


You may find yourself often using your smartphone or tablet for work-related tasks, and you may be yearning for something that is more comfortable to type with than a flat screen when you aren’t limited to 140 characters. Enter Jelly Comb Folding Bluetooth Keyboard. This folding keyboard can fit into bigger pockets (think – cargo shorts) and many purses and bags. The keyboard, which can fold down to about the size of a current large smartphone, gives the user a Bluetooth-compatible QWERTY keyboard that even includes a touchpad – for only $30. 


If you’ve been wanting to splurge on a tech-y fitness tracker, but you just don’t care for the ones you’ve seen – well, this is one fitness tracker you probably haven’t looked at! The Bellabeat Leaf health tracker is a fitness companion that can track steps, calories, sleep quality, stress levels, and even menstrual cycles! It has a beautiful and functional design that not only allows it to connect with both Android and IOS devices but also allows it to be worn as a necklace or bracelet – and it looks like jewelry! This health tracker is geared more toward women, but there are other Bellabeat fitness trackers available as well. With an affordable cost of only $100, it’s a perfect gift idea!

Are You Shopping Yet?

Have you loaded your online shopping cart with these items yet? Did you find even more cool gadgets to treat yourself with while shopping? There is an incredible amount of technology that we have all around us, and gadgets are the best way to enjoy advancing tech while making your life a little bit easier.

How to Build the Ultimate Smartphone Projector

Smartphones are like little entertainment centers for our pockets and purses that we can amuse ourselves with at any given time.

Their only downfall is their small size. However, you will be happy to know that there is not only one way, but there are multiple ways to create amazing DIY projectors for your smartphone that allow you to show everyone your favorite movies and more!

Get Your DIY Game Face Out

Making the ultimate projector for your smartphone will be an exciting project for you and your kids – or even you and some friends. Before grabbing materials and getting to work, you should look into the different types of DIY smartphone projectors that have been already designed. You may find one design you prefer over another. You may find a projector plan that you can even improve on yourself. In this article, you will see what research and multiple comparisons have dubbed The Ultimate Smartphone Projector.

The Ultimate Smartphone Projector

This DIY smartphone design is truly innovative! It makes other homemade smartphone projectors look like grade-school projects. Not only do you get a larger projected picture than other designs with this build, but you also get an easy right-side up picture that doesn’t leave you fussing with your phone to make its display compatible with projecting right-side up images.

See how to build the Ultimate Smartphone Projector here: 

What You Will Need: a box with an end large enough to support your phone laying in the middle with room left over, a box cutter or craft knife, thick card material, paper or construction paper, 4 drinking straws, superglue, duct tape or other strong tape, 4 thin dowels (thing enough to fit inside of a regular sized drinking straw and about 48 inches long), a small mirror, and a magnifying glass lens.

Follow these steps:

  • Take your box, and sit it on its end. If needed, cut the box to adjust its height to about 4 to 5 inches high. Cut a hole in one of the longer sides. This will be your lens, the spot your phone will project its images out of, so make sure it is not too small and that it is fixed in the center of the side of the box.
  • Glue the straws into the four corners of the box, making sure they are fully attached to the corners and standing up over the edges. Cut holes in the bottom of the box corners to match the straws. You can reinforce the straws with duct tape if you want to. However, make sure that no glue or tape obstructs the holes.
  • Place your thin dowels into the straws. These dowels are extremely important to the entire structure of the projector – they are the legs to balance it and the way the projected image gets focused, by moving the projector box up and down.
  • Glue the small mirror into place in a 45 degree angle right at the lens. (Remember that the lens is the hole cut into the side of the box.)
  • Cut the thick plastic card to fit perfectly on top of the 4 dowel ends at the top of the structure. Cut a rectangle directly in the middle of the thick card for your phone to project through – it cannot be the same size or the phone will fall through, so make your rectangle slightly smaller than your phone.
  • Use superglue to attach the thick card to the ends of the dowels.
  • Next, take your paper and fold the pieces to resemble accordions, making each fold no larger than an inch. Dark printer paper or construction paper would be great for this part of the structure. Use your tape to attach the ends of the folded papers together and wrap them around the entire height of your projector. Make sure the accordion folds are placed vertically, or up and down, so you can secure them in place on the box at the bottom and the card at the top. The pages need to be able to move up and down to allow for the box at the bottom to adjust for focusing.
  • Congratulations! You have your own homemade smartphone projector!

But How Does it Work?

While the building of this projector was quite in-depth for a DIY project, using it is an absolute breeze! You just place your phone with whatever you are projecting face down on the thick card at the top of the project. Point the lens of the projector to the projection target. Look at the image projected on the wall  (or whatever you’re projecting onto). If it is out of focus, you can slide the box on the bottom up and down to adjust the focus of the projection. 

The image from the phone reaches the mirror in the box at the bottom. The mirror turns the image around and reflects it through the lens hole. And, voila! You have an instant movie night!

Caring for Your Projector

Since this is a homemade projector, it may suffer structure issues or need repairs at times. Giving it regular TLC will help it last longer. One tip for holding up the bottom box if it keeps falling during movie nights is to put small binder clips underneath the box at each corner. One thing is for sure, though. You will have many fun nights with your little DIY projector!

How to Make a Hologram with a Smartphone

A hologram is a rather fantastic thing; it can create a ripple of gasps throughout a room with it’s spectacular 3D images.

By definition, a hologram is a three-dimensional image that is formed by the interference of light beams from a laser or other coherent light source.

Holograms have been featured in science fiction films for years and they were even featured in Marvel’s Captain Marvel. The mystery surrounding how they are made has been challenged, though! You can now make these super futuristic holograms with your smartphone.

Prepare to Do-It-Yourself

When you see the list of items needed to transform your phone into a hologram generator, you’re probably going to wonder if you’re doing something that will be absolutely amazing or if you’re packing a backpack to head to school. The items needed to make your own hologram generator are graph paper or plain paper, a CD case, a permanent marker, a pen, a pencil, a pair of scissors, clear tape, superglue, a craft knife of glass cutter, and (of course) your smartphone!

See how to make your hologram generator here: 

Making the Hologram Generator

There is a method behind this madness! The process for making a hologram generator is not at all as hard as the movies make it seem. To build your generator, follow these steps:

  • Make sure the CD case is completely empty. Separate the plastic side that does not have any markings on it from the rest of the case.
  • Trace an isosceles trapezium on your paper. This is where you need to focus. First, you should know that a trapezium is a trapezoid that has two non-parallel equal sides. The dimensions you need for your trapezium are: a 3.5 cm height between a 1 cm parallel side and  a 6 cm parallel side. Connect both parallel sides on both ends, forming the two equal non-parallel sides. 
  • Once your trapezium is drawn, cut it from the paper.
  • Place the trapezium shape on the CD case plastic. Trace the shape with the permanent marker onto the plastic.
  • Rotate the shape around and trace 3 more trapeziums on the plastic. Make sure that none of them overlap.
  • Use the craft knife or glass cutter to cut through the marker lines to make 4 plastic trapeziums.
  • Make a plateau prism with the trapezium pieces. Plateau prism is just a fancy name for “pyramid with the top chopped off.” Then, place the longer parallel sides on the bottom and the short parallel sides on the top, then lean the trapeziums into each other. Place tape where the non-parallel sides meet. Then, apply your superglue to the non-parallel edges.
  • Place your smartphone face-up on a flat surface, and find a holographic video on Youtube.
  • Place your hologram generator small-side down on the phone, and play the video.
  • Enjoy your holographic experience!

Smartphone Holograms

Smartphone holograms are an amazing way to show fun and exciting technology to your kids. Seeing something that they’ve only seen in the movies in real life – even if it’s on a smaller scale – will absolutely blow their minds! You’d be the coolest parent on the block with this trick. And let’s admit it – you’d be pretty popular with a smartphone hologram generator as a single adult with only adult friends as well!