From the Tips Box: Instantly Cool a Hot Car, Google Synonym Search, and Extended Android Keyboards

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By Jason Fitzpatrick on July 21st, 2011

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Once a week we dip into the tips box and pulls out some clever tips to share. This week we’re looking at how to instantly cool your hot car down,  improve your Google search results with automatic synonyms, and extending your Android keyboard.

Cool a Hot Car Down by Pumping the Door Open and Closed

Mark writes in with this cool down technique:

I know cooling down your car is not exactly a technological tip and probably not your bag (so I don’t mind if you don’t post this) but it’s been so freaking hot I had to send it in. I found this video browsing Reddit the other day and tried it out on my own car. It worked so well! Here’s the trick: when your car is hot from being in the sun you can cool it down by rolling down one window and then, on the opposite side, open and close the car door around a half-dozen times. It pumps cooler air in from outside the car like a big set of bellows. It’s awesome. I couldn’t believe how fast it cooled the car down.

We’re totally comfortable making an exception in light of how insanely hot it has been. The dew point has risen so high in the Midwest US this week that in some parts of Minnesota it’s as humid and damp as the Amazon. Anything people can do to cool off in the heat wave is worth sharing! Thanks Mark!

Search Google with Synonyms

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Steve writes in with a clever search trick:

Lots of people know that you can modify your Google search with operators like the + and – symbol to force Google to search for or remove a specific word from the query. Did you know that you can search for synonyms? If you put a tilde (the ~ symbol) in front of a search term it will tell Google to also search for synonyms. The query ~cheap shoes for example gives results as though you had searched for cheap shoes, inexpensive shoes, affordable shoes, etc. It’s really handy when you want to broaden your search results without getting too far away from your original search.

Great tip, Steve! We thought we were Google ninjas around here but the tilde to force synonym searching was a trick we’d never used before. Nice find.

Swipe Up for More Android Keyboard Space

2011-07-21_160232Angela writes in with a handy way to work faster on an Android keyboard. She writes:

I found this by accident while typing furiously on my phone the other day. On my Android phone if I swipe up while using the keyboard the keyboard automatically extends two rows and makes the punctuation and numbers visible. It chews up a little screen space but it makes typing so much easier!

Not many people are aware of this feature Angela. If you have Android 2.2 or above and are using the default keyboard then a simple swipe gives you a spacious keyboard to work with. Thanks for writing in!


Have a tip or trick to share? Shoot us an email at tips@howtogeek.com and you might just see your tip on the front page.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/21/11
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