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Apr 24, 2018

6 Tips for Minimizing Distractions from Your Smartphone

I'm a firm believer that tools are like personal strengths: the user's attitude determines the outcome. You can take a neutral tool and channel it for good or evil; a candlestick can class up a dining room table, or it can kill Professor Plum in the billiard room. Not only that, but the more power a tool holds, the more care you have to take with it. (It's like the main takeaway from Spider-Man: with great power comes great responsibility.)

The smartphone is a prime example. Sometimes when it's better to leave it off, like we suggested in our article on filling downtime without staring at your phone. But lest you label me a Luddite, let me admit that I use my phone all day: emailing, listening to music (currently: Spotify app, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers), shooting and editing photos, keeping in touch with overseas family on Facebook, professional networking on Instagram and LinkedIn, mobile banking, making note of future ManMadeDIY articles, and so much more.

In fact, I use my phone so much that I need to give myself guidelines to help keep me from staring into it all day. Here are some of those tips.

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May 16, 2017

The 7 Best Apps for Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, and Other Outdoor Adventures

Most of the time, the whole point of going on a hike or camping trip is to get away from technology. We couldn't agree more. But the truth is, most of us still carry our smart phones for emergency calls, wayfinding, and camera possibilities, all in a single package. Our vote? Turn off the email and the Twitter alerts, and take advantage of the way your phone can enhance your trip. Just make sure your protect it from the weather. 

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Aug 01, 2016

How to: Charge Your Phone with a 9-Volt Battery

This is real MacGyver territory. I've been stuck in a handful of urban survival situations and the inevitably dying phone battery is by far one of the more pressing issues. Most important will of course be immediate safety, shelter, water and food, etc., but it's likely that the use of a phone will help you secure those things. And when the power is knocked out it can be a real challenge.   

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Feb 02, 2016

How to: Make a Wooden Bedside Phone Rest

created at: 11/16/2014

Don't you hate it when you're ready to plug in your phone for the night and the dang cable has fallen off your night stand and into the void between your bed and the wall? Yea, so did I until I invented this lovely walnut Phone Throne!    

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Apr 02, 2012

If Dogs Could Send Text Messages...

created at: 04/02/2012

I'm not a pet owner. A lifetime full of extreme allergies to nearly anything that moves eliminates it as an option. But I think the idea of a dog trying to communicate through the already truncated format of text messages is likely the funniest thing I'll see today.

created at: 04/02/2012   

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Feb 20, 2012

How to: Take Amazing Photos with Your Smart Phone

created at: 02/20/2012

These days, with the large storage spaces, cloud syncing, and incredible quality of smartphone cameras, there's every reason to use your phone to capture ideas and memories. And if you're anything like me, that means all the tasty food your making at home, creating with friends, or finding when you're out on the town.

Chicago-based food photographer Stephen Hamilton offers some great video tips for getting the best images possible with your smart phone, and making sure they look great, and become as blog/Facebook/Twitter/Flickr/Pinterest/Instagram worthy as possible.  

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Jul 28, 2011

The 15 Best of Damn You Auto Correct!

Damnyouautocorrect.com is a website that catalogs all those funny, irreverant, and often embrassing things that happen when you send someone a message on the iPhone, and it corrects your spelling or word choice into...well, something you definitely didn't intend.

The editors of the site have rounded up the fifteen most popular from their archives. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of conversations with Moms.

   

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Jun 06, 2011

The World's Best iPhone Photography

created at: 06/06/2011I carry my iPhone with me wherever I go, and often, my DSLR and at least two lenses. I often use my phone's camera for taking notes, quick photos to send to Twitter, etc, but I still like having the dials, controls, and depth-of-field provided my actual camera...

My heavy, bulky, likely unnecessary camera.

At least, so says Objective Scenes, a "a group blog dedicated to the art of mobile photography. All pictures are shot and edited exclusively on mobile devices (iPhones, Android, etc)."   

created at: 06/06/2011

   

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Nov 05, 2010

I Can't Find My Phone

created at: 11/05/2010

I'd seen this make the blog rounds last week, and I wasn't gonna post about it. But, wouldn't you know it...this morning, on my way out to a meeting, I couldn't find my phone, which contained a text message of the address where I was supposed to be.

So - take it from first person experience. It's simple, it works, and the site looks pretty cool as well. Provided you can hear the vibrations of your phone.

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May 14, 2010

Smartphone-Powered Lego Robot Can Solve Rubik's Cube Faster than Anyone*

*Well, almost anyone, as the current record holder can solve one in under 20 seconds.

Motorola Droid Lego Robot Solves A Rubik's Cube Faster Than You CanBUT, this Motorola Droid-power Lego robot can solve on in 25 seconds, which is less time than it takes me to remember how to SPELL Rubik's Cube (Hint: there's no C...)

"he Mindstorms robot was programmed using a Motorola Droid, which runs on an Arm A8 processor clocked at 550MHz, to show the speed of their chips. A specially-built app takes a photo of the cube's side facing the camera, with the commands being sent to the Mindstorms robot over Bluetooth."

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May 10, 2010

The iRetrofone

iRetrofone Base-Black

The iRetrofone is a functioning iPhone dock with a working handset receiver. It's quite fun, and I think I'd actually use it, though it costs twice as much as an 8GB iPhone 3G itself at $195.

Does anyone know if picking up the reciever answers the phone, or do you still have to do the finger slide?

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Jan 08, 2010

How To: Add an SLR Lens to Your Camera Phone

How, you say? It starts like most good projects - with cardboard and duct tape. "I wanted to try something that required the minimum amount of disassembly of expensive components (i.e. no warranty voiding!), as well as being cheap and relatively easy to assemble...I already had the lenses and phone, so the project cost me less than US$10."

Phone-O-Scope: 50mm attached

But then WHY, you'll say. A couple of reasons stand out. One, the effect is pretty cool. It allows for the depth of field of 35mm lenses, as well as some crazy colors and lens distortion, and sometimes some Holga-like vingettes.

Phone-O-Scope: montage

Also, I think the likelihood of being able to do this on the cheap is

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