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From the Tips Box: iPad as Digital Picture Frame, CD Spindle Cable Wrangling, and URL Opening in MS Apps

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It’s time to dig into the tips box and share this week’s reader tips. Today we’re looking at the iPad as a digital picture frame, recycling media spindles as cable caddies, and CTRL+Click to open links in MS applications.

Turn Your iPad into a Picture Frame in One Click

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How-To Geek reader Mark shares a tip on making your iPad useful while it’s sitting around charging:

I’ve had an iPad for a few months now and every day when I’d plug it in to charge and sync I’d just leave it propped up on its little stand, lock screen staring at me. One day I noticed (why I had never noticed this before I have no idea!) a little flower icon right next to the unlock band on the bottom of the screen. I tapped it to see what would happen and suddenly the iPad was a digital picture frame, displaying all the photos in the media folder. I feel like a total idiot for both not knowing the iPad had this feature and for not even noticing the little flower icon before now. When I plug my iPad in to charge now, I can see slideshows of my favorite photos instead of a static lock screen wallpaper!

It is a nice touch, we agree. Don’t feel too terrible about not noticing it right away, we’ll admit to having been so caught up in all the other neat stuff the iPad did that it was a few weeks before we were like “Oh hey, what’s this little flower icon about?”. It sounds like Mark only has pictures on his iPad that he’d like to see in his slideshow, if you commonly save screenshots, take pictures in games and apps, and other things that clutter up your media folder with photos that aren’t really slide show material, make sure to hop over to Settings –> Picture Frame and then specify which albums you want to appear in the slideshow.

If the iPad stand in the above photo caught your eye, you can grab one for yourself here.

CD Spindles as Cable Caddies

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Reader Kristina writes in with a simple but effective cable wrangling solution:

I work in a small IT department and we’re up to our necks in cables of all sorts. We’ve tried various solutions over the years but all of them have been lacking: wrapping cables like Indiana Jones was fun and geeky but a bit of a time waster, putting them in plastic bags was tedious and wasteful, and using wire tires was just a pain in the ass. Somebody in our group had the idea to start recycling the piles of CD spindles we were tossing out every month as cable caddies. They’re perfect for the job. You just open the case, coil the cable inside, and close it. They’re clear, they’re sturdy and stack well, and they contain the cables without wrapping them too tight and stressing the connections and wires.

The sturdiness and visibility sold us, now we just have to figure out where we’re going to get our hands on lots of spindles.

CTRL+Click to Open Links in MS Applications

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Reader Margaret writes in with a classic tip:

I have just discovered that to open a link in a Word document I can hold down CTRL and click the link. Is this something new in Windows 7 or am I just behind the eight ball?

It’s not new to Windows 7 but it is one of those little tips that you can use a computer for a long while without stumbling across; it’s worth reprinting here just for the sake of the people who haven’t heard of it. The CTRL+Click URL trick works across just about every Microsoft application—not just those in the Office suite.


Have a great tip to share? Shoot us an email at tips@howtogeek.com and we’ll do our best to get it on the front page.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/21/11

Comments (7)

  1. Carlos Ferrari

    I learned this CTRL+Click using Outlook a few years back.
    And since we’re at this subject: It may sound silly to most, but I was surprised to see how many people doesn’t know this: it doesn’t matter which system you’re running – Windows, OSX, Linux, Solaris, whatever – always use the same keyboard shortcuts you’re already used to (like the ones to copy/paste, undo, etc) in all the apps you have and use. You’ll be amazed to see that much of those shortcuts are universal through all your apps.
    Same goes to drag-and-drop, I always surprise myself to see what I can do with that. :)
    Also:
    http://lifehacker.com/#!5794060/from-the-tips-box-temporary-downloads-windows-save-dialogs-and-vertical-browser-space/gallery/2
    .

  2. MJ

    I know I was keeping those spindles for something!!! Great!

  3. Blarg

    CD spindles are infinitely useful.

  4. Lady Fitzgerald

    Anyone want to share those spindles? I’ve been try to find some for years. I can’t even BUY the darned things.

  5. David

    In MS OneNote a single left click will open a link.

  6. Gian-Luigi Valle

    How about a spindle as a bagle lunch box??

  7. Ushindi

    Great (and appreciated) tip about the spindles – something that never occurred to me. I have empty spindles and various cables and didn’t think to put them together. Thanks.

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