From the Tips Box: Automatic Headphone Volume Adjustment, Compact Windows ReadyBoost, and Secure Phone Charging

By Jason Fitzpatrick on August 18th, 2011

Tips-How-To-Geek-TemplateOnce a week we dip into the tips box and share some of the great reader tips that come our way. This week we’re looking at protecting your ears with automatic volume adjustment in Android, a compact way to take advantage of Windows ReadyBoost, and secure phone charging on the go.

Automatically Adjust the Media Volume for Headphone Use on Android Devices

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Javier writes in with the following tip to save you from blasting your ears whenever you switch to headphones:

I frequently use headphones with my Android phone while commuting on the train and sitting at my desk. It’s super annoying to have the discrepancy in volume between the phone’s speaker and the headphones be so high that it startles you and/or hurts your ears. For awhile I would just turn the media volume all the way down, then plug in the headphones, then adjust it back up… but that’s a waste of time! I found this great app, Hearing Saver, to do the work for me. You install it, run it once, and adjust the volume to your comfort level with the headphones plugged in. You can even set it to mute the ringer and notification sounds, as well as adjust the volume to a certain level when you unplug the headphones. It’s a little thing, I know, but it saves me a few minutes of fiddling a day.

Nice find Javier; we’re big fans of simple applications that solve nagging problems. This one looks like it nails the speaker/headphone differential problem. Thanks for writing in!

Use Your Computers SD Card Slot for Windows ReadyBoost

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Tony writes in with the following tip about getting more mileage out of an under-utilized SD card slot:

I never use the SD card slot on my Windows 7-based laptop. I’d been experimenting with Windows ReadyBoost and I found that it actually helped out. The only problem was that I hated having a big USB drive sticking out of the side of my laptop. A few days ago it dawned on me that I never used the built in SD card reader which is really just a skinny USB drive, when you think about it. I grabbed a cheap and decent sized SD card from Amazon and now I’ve got the boost without the bulk!

The SD slot on a laptop practically begs for this. For readers unfamiliar with ReadyBoost but interested in giving their laptops a boost make sure to check out our previous guide to Boosting Your Netbook Speed with an SD Card & ReadyBoost.

Securely Charge Your Phone While Travelling

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Bill, a frequently traveler, writes in with his tips for keeping your smartphone charged and secure:

I fly all over the country for my job and put some serious miles on my smartphone. I need to top up the battery frequently but I’m paranoid about losing my phone and/or exposing it to security risks. Here’s my two-part strategy:

I always have a small wall charger that accepts the battery for the phone. This way I can plug in the primary or secondary battery into the wall without having to leave the phone tethered to the outlet. Nobody is going to steal a non-descript battery plugged into an out of the way outlet at the airport… where as they would definitely steal a nice smart phone.

I also keep a power-only USB cord with me. Maybe I’m paranoid but I don’t like plugging my phone into those USB charging stations that are popping up around airports. Sure the port is probably just a power port with no data connection… but I’m sure we’ll here about machines that push malicious software to the smartphones attached to them at some point in the future. By using a power-only cable (the cable only has the wires for power, not for data), I never have to worry about that.

Great tips Bill, we especially like the wall-charger idea. We’re way more comfortable with a single battery left plugged in and not the whole smartphone.


Have a tip to share? Shoot us an email at tips@howtogeek.com and you just might 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 08/18/11
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