5 Tips to Extend the Lifespan of Your Daily Devices
I believe we’re past the point of debate whether we, as civilized human beings, rely on technology too much or not. We just do (most of us at least). They’ve wiggled their way into our lives and we coddle them with the same love we give to our pets. So to make that love last a little longer, here are 5 tips to have those machines, devices, and things in your life keep growing old with you.
(TL;DR towards the end)
1) Slack, Wrap and Snap…Take Care of Your Power Cords and Cables
Your chargers will always love you. They may seem like an item that lasts forever, bending to your every will as you command it to feed your device the power it needs. But I’ve seen chargers go through hell.
I mean, from backpacks, cars, the office, or to the wall socket at home, chargers must endure the conditions you throw them into. Imagine a life sized charger throwing your body into the car, without arranging your limbs and extremities properly…it’s not a pretty sight, nor would it be comfortable.
PROBLEM: The problem is, you need them more than they need you. You twist, turn, bend, drop, and stuff them while they ask nothing more than some tender, loving care. Whether you jam them into your backpack, pull the plug out of sockets from the middle of the cord (cause that extra foot is just so, so far away to reach), or bunch the cables up as though you’re making a rubberband-ball, the wires within that protective coat can get damaged. You may think you don’t fall into the category, but tell that to the poor cord that you rolled over with your computer chair’s wheels. I thought a friend of mine had a custom design on his charger, turns out it was just the exposed wiring from within.
SOLUTION: If time is of the essence, you may still be swift about being gentle and packing your cords. I will use the Apple MacBook Pro charger as an example.
Slack - Give your cord some slack. Extra tension on the cord when wrapping around the block leads to weakened connections and eventual tears
Wrap - Wrap your cords but don’t pull them against the wings. You may let them fall into an organized manner which still maintains security, without tugging tightly against the flaps.
Snap - Use the clip at the end of the cord to fasten the cord securely so the magnetic connector doesn’t swing around letting loose all the perfectly wrapped cord you just seconds ago, gently put together.
For phone chargers or cords of any sort, let gravity be your guide when rolling up the cord. Try not to wrap it around your hand, or perform the fold and bend technique which it doesn’t like (they have feelings). Tuck the tips of your charger nicely around the ring you’ve made and they should sit pretty until the next time you need them.
BONUS: Add click-pen springs to the ends of your cables to prevent fraying (as pictured). If you'd like to do so, here's how you can.
2) No Liquids Rule
Let’s face it, spilling any sort of liquid on our devices is an unpleasant feeling.
PROBLEM: Spilling on our devices. Oh, spilling on our devices. It’s a painful roller coaster of emotions because we all dread searching for our warranties, waiting out the drying period, and the worrisome first time you power the device back on (did press it too soon? Should I wait longer? I pressed it too soon). It’s amazing to think that in the short seconds that follow a spill, you’re able to let out a curse, grab the device (hopefully powering it off as soon as possible), wipe off excess, and let it dry. You rarely move that quickly in your life, but for the sake of your device, you’ll move mountains at lightning speed.
SOLUTION: No Liquids. No liquids in, near or around any of your devices. But what about “my spot” at the local café where I do all my thing-things, you ask? Sure, place your laptop (or phone, etc…) atop the table, but get that drink as far away as you can on the table; that’s lid or no lid! But when you want to take a sip of that frothy goodness, never sip over the device. Always drink hovering over the floor, to your side, over your lap or the person next to you, anywhere but your device! Trust me guys. You might say, “Oh I never spill.” But imagine that you can have 364 days of not spilling anything, anywhere; but it takes day 365 to ruin it all. Really, better safe than sorry.
Another tip is if you pour something into a glass but it’s sort of in the vicinity of a device, two words…pour away. Simply pour towards the opposite direction of the device (hence, pour away). This way, if you DO spill, it’ll be so far away from your device that you’ll laugh in life’s face and mock, “not today device gods, not today!!!” (But probably tomorrow, so watch it!)
I’ve just seen too many avoidable situations (including my own) which became a great teacher. So just do it for me. Do it for you. Do it for your country? Whatever your reasons, save yourself the headache, that bowl of uncooked rice, or the two-day delivery of . (Good thing you’re a prime member!) 200 gel silica packs from Amazon
3) Manage Battery Life
Being economic with our batteries may extend the lives of our devices.
PROBLEM: Most of our devices’ batteries have a charging cycle count that usually degrades as they approach their limits (as most things can and will). For further information, check Windows(8) or Mac. It’s not to say you should reduce the amount of your usage, but it’s easy to run through a charge, hook up your charger, and get some juice. And you can’t cheat the system by charging back to 100% from, say, 50%. If you follow that up with another charge from, say, 30% to 100%, if I did that correctly, you’ll have gone through 1.2 charge cycles (50% + 70% + I hate math = cycle counts, easy!)
SOLUTION: To begin with, follow these tips for PC and Mac. For phones, they run a bit similar. Turn off Wifi when you know you don’t need it, reduce brightness when you can, and for the love of all holy things, try to avoid the flashing, blinking, alerts that go off when someone calls or texts. But if you fancy that, you may find the steps to do so here.
Also, most newer models’ batteries will cease charging if you leave the charger connected and have already reached 100% (whereas in the days of yesteryear, that would burn the battery up, real good). This saves on the charge cycle from counting; however, it’s recommended that you do a complete drain and recharge a couple to several times a month. But try not to leave it connected 24/7. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing, right?
For me, I do a sort of once a week/sometimes kind of cycle as I do with restarts or shutdowns. Hey, hey, my scheduling isn’t perfect, but yours can be! Also, when in sleep mode, disconnect your charger.
4) You Know I’m All About That Bass
Although most speakers nowadays can handle that bass thumping you’re bumping too, maxing your speakers may result in damaged speakers more quickly.
PROBLEM: Your Altima’s speakers can only handle so much Drake on full blast. Yes, you can put it on maximum volume, but a prolonged period of time at max ( let’s say for nostalgia’s sake, Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint”  full album on repeat driving cross country) can lead to the less than crisp, less than clear sound that we’ve heard before (probably your friend’s car who’s done this exact thing).
SOLUTION: Have no fear, putting less stress on those puppies will do you some good. For your laptops, hook up some headphones or an external bluetooth device if you have a party (unless you’re at a silent disco, then you'd better have a decent pair of headphones). For your cars, lower the bass a notch or two and bring the volume to a couple clicks below max. Trust me and cars pulling up next to you…they’re loud enough. Sidenote: for those with custom sub/amp installations, carry on. Rock this world because you can.
5) Don’t Touch That Dial, No, Touch It, But Gently
Speaking of notches, and dials, and whozits and whatzits galore…give your dials a soft touch. Some appliances, vehicle models, and tech need not apply. But for those who still have some form of knobs or dials in your daily lives because you are (and I am) a little bit behind in upgrading your tech, or simply lovers of antiquity, relax with that eager kung fu grip, dials don’t fight back.
PROBLEM: Have you ever had a knob in your car (most likely the volume control) that turns and turns and spins and spins seventeen times just to get the volume level from 24 to 22. Most of us want instant gratification. Voice command is great (sometimes…just ask siri), but for those unlucky enough to have a car or device before the advent of voice command, we just fidget our fingers in and around knobs and buttons as though we were messing with our older cousin’s new DJ equipment. Yes, you should immediately lower the bass bumping volume of that Kanye song when you see the po-lice approaching, but easy on the knobs…the mechanism isn’t indestructible.
SOLUTION: Learn to feel how your dials respond to your touch. Learn how much pressure is actually needed to make the changes you want. For example, to lower volume, most of us will tend to turn the dial really low, really quickly, and climb back up to the desired level. Instead, just drop it a couple notches and you’re done, no extra motions and less stress on the rotating mechanism.
1) Slack, Wrap, and Snap - No tugging or extra tension on your cords, they will last much longer. *Bonus* attach click-pen springs to the ends of your cords to prevent fraying!
2) No Liquids - Save time and the hassle of babysitting your drenched device by removing the factor from the equation to begin with - No Liquids! And if you keep liquids around, at least follow the "pour away" method!
3) Battery Economy - Monitor your battery charging habits and adjust accordingly. You’ll extend the life of your battery and thus the life of you device with a few tweaks to your normal routine.
4) Don’t Max Your Speakers Too Much - You’ll damage the integrity of the speakers with overuse at a maximum level. You can go loud, but not for too long. Moderation is key (as in all things). If you have custom subs/amps, permission granted to sounding off those car alarms as you pass by (hey, you bought them)!
5) Easy On the Dials - Turn your dials/knobs consistently and appropriately. It’s infuriating to turn a knob infinity amount of times to lower or raise the volume.