Christmas was good to many of you and now you’ve got all sorts of tech questions related to your holiday spoils. Come on in and we’ll clear up how to squeeze more life out of your iPad, resize all those photos, and sync massive music collections to mobile devices.
Once a week we dip into our reader mailbag and help readers solve their problems, sharing the useful solutions with you in the process. Read on to see our fixes for this week’s reader dilemmas.
Extend Your iPad’s Battery
Dear How-To Geek,
I got an iPad for Christmas (and it’s totally sweet!). I’m wondering what I can do to extend the life of the battery? Don’t get me wrong, the battery life is great for a device with such a big screen, but with intensive use it’s definitely not getting the full 10 hours everyone has been raving about. What can I do to increase the life?
The key to maximizing your battery life is to reduce the power needs of your iPad when possible. Yes you’ll burn up more battery playing a super graphics intensive game than reading your email but the real culprit is all the components sucking up power when you’re not using them. Dim the screen when you don’t need it at full brightness, turn on Airplane mode when you don’t need internet access to turn off the Wi-Fi and Cellular radios (both huge power hogs), and disable unnecessary updates and notifications.
When you compound all the energy savings from lots of little power savers you’ll likely squeeze an extra hour or more of battery life out of your iPad. Read our guide to maximizing battery life for iOS devices here.
Batch Resize Photos with XnView
Dear How-To Geek,
I took a ton of photos with my new digital camera over the Holidays and the file sizes are huge. That’s great for archiving them and what not but it’s awful for easy emailing and loading onto my phone. I don’t want to edit all these photos by hand just to email them to my Grandma and put them on my portable devices. What can I do?
Shutterbug from Cincinnati
Your dilemma allows us to highlight one of the greatest time saving tools computers have to share with us: batch processing. There are plenty of reasons to want to hand crop and tweak photos (like wanting to get the maximum wow factor for the resolution and size of a digital picture frame) but when you’re crunched for time and you’ve got a few hundred photos you want to resize you can’t beat a good batch tool. Batch processing allows you to automate a task like renaming files or cropping photos so you don’t have to sit there and click, type, and crop your way through the process.
We recommend you check out our guide to batch image processing with XnView. If you have a favorite image application you’re really comfortable with make sure to hit up Google and search for something like “FaveImageApp batch image resizing”; if your application supports batch resizing you’ll surely find a tutorial out there.
Sync Your Tunes to Android and iOS Devices
Dear How-To Geek,
My wife upgraded my old clam-shell phone to a shiny new iPhone this Christmas. Even with the massive storage available on the iPhone I can’t possibly fit all my music on it (and I’m a guy who loves his music collection). What can I do? I know it’s kind of silly to want to carry around every single song I own in my pocket at one time but it’s 2010 and I like to think I live in the future the Popular Science issues of my youth promised me. What can I do?
Jonesin’ for the Future
If there’s no chance of you fitting your music collection onto your device then you’ll need to look for solutions for outside storage. You’ve already got all that music stored at home on your home computer, presumably, so it’s not a big leap to go from having it stored at home to connecting it to your iPhone. If you want to get up and running with the minimal amount of fuss we’d suggest running a Subsonic server and using it to stream music to your phone. Even if you have a whole terabyte drive filled with tunes you can listen to all of them wherever you are. Check out our guide to setting up a Subsonic server with Android and iOS devices here.
Have a question you want to put before the How-To Geek staff? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and then keep an eye out for a solution in the Ask How-To Geek column.
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 Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 12/27/10