A few cool tech tips that will make your life easier

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By Kim Komando, Signal Contributing Writer

Everybody loves a cool trick. No matter how well we know an app or program, there’s almost always some shortcut we never learned.

The same goes for hardware: We may use gadgets every day without knowing their helpful quirks.

Put your USB drive in the right way the first time

Plugging in a USB cable the right way feels like a no-brainer. Then why do we get it wrong on the first try so often?

Here’s the secret: Grab any USB cable sitting around your house. See that symbol on one side? It’s not just branding or decoration. That symbol will point up if you’re plugging in horizontally and if you’re plugging a cable vertically, the USB symbol will face you. Now you know.

Reopen a closed browser tab

It happens all the time. You have a dozen tabs open in your browser and accidentally close the wrong one. You could open up your browser’s history and reopen the tab from there, or you can do it with a couple of keystrokes.

Hit Ctrl+Shift+T on your PC or Command+Shift+T on your Mac to automatically reopen the tab you just closed.

Share a YouTube video at a precise point

If you see something in a YouTube video that you want to share at a particular point, you can get a link that takes people directly to that moment. Click the Share button below the video. Look for a checkbox below the link. It will automatically display the time at which you currently have the video stopped.

You can stick with this time or choose a different time. Copy the link and share it on your preferred social media or email it to a friend. When someone views the link, the YouTube video will automatically skip right to the point you chose.

Search using “Site:” to find content like a ninja

A Google search can return millions of results. Cut that down significantly by searching just a single site with Google’s Site: feature. Open Google in your browser and type “site:” and then the website you wish to search. Like this: “site:komando.com” but leave off the quotation marks.

Report junk texts and stick it to the scammers

Junk texts are downright annoying. You can block them, but it feels good to take action, too. Report texts to the GSMA’s Reporting Service with just a few clicks. Forward the message to 7726 (guess what that spells?) or just hit “Report junk” in your messaging app.

Use your voice in Google Docs

I bet you already use your phone’s speech-to-text to dictate text messages or even emails, but did you know you can do the same in Google Docs? It’s free and it works surprisingly well.

Open a new document in Google Docs, then enable Voice Typing from the Tools menu. Then start dictating. Voice Typing recognizes commands like “comma,” “period,” and “new paragraph,” as well.

For information on Kim Komando on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks, visit her at Komando.com.  

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