We are surrounded by technology, but how well do we understand it? It’s no secret that knowing the full features of any device is a complex and time consuming process. There could be many features even in your smartphone that you may not have used, or rather, you weren’t aware of their presence. Thousands of new devices sporting thousands of new features arrive on the market every week, with manufacturers bringing new, innovative and peculiar features in their devices.

The question is, how important is for us to be aware of those little known features? How will it impact our daily lives? Not only that it will save us a lot of time and trouble but it may also spare us from buying a separate device for a task that could easily be done with our existing collection of gadgets.

Read memory cards with your printer

If you have bought a printer in the last 2-3 years, chances are it may have some dedicated slot for reading SD cards. It is there to give you a slot to read and print photos coming from your camera. But, it works fine as a regular memory reader as well. Also, if you happen to have a USB dongle, it may also facilitate that feature.

print_camera_photo_4

Charge smartphones from your TV

Running out of sockets to charge your smartphone? How about plugging it onto your TV? Most TVs bought these days come with a USB port. With that USB port you can play media files on your TV from any Flash drive or even gigantic external hard drives. It is just like a regular USB port that comes inbuilt in your laptop, so just like you can charge your gadgets from your laptop, same can be done through your TV.

Charing mobile from TV

Turning your Webcam into a CCTV system

Want to fortify the security system of your house and office? Have a spare webcam lying around eating dust? How about putting that vetoed piece of gadgetry to some use. Yet another web cam software (Yawcam) is a nice tool that detects your webcam and uses it as a CCTV system.

It does hold good at both capturing images as well as recording videos, additionally there is a timestamp imprinted on every image, and there is an option to get email alerts as soon as something moves in front of the camera.

Yawcam screenshot sample

Control your computer with your smartphone

Controlling your system from your smartphoneEver found yourself drowned in the laziness to move to your computer to change the movie, or just to shut the system down, or maybe to wake it up? Well, we may have good news for you. If you happen to have a smartphone (more specifically, if it is running Android OS or iOS), there are many apps which will let you perform various operations on your computer right from your smartphone.

One that we really liked is Unified Remote. With Unified Remote you can not only access and control your media players, but also browsers, and almost any app. If you purchase the full version, you can also make voice commands, support for NFC will be there and also widgets will become available.

If for some reason you want to jabber around your mobile through your system, for may be transferring files, installing or deleting applications, AirDroid is a great solution.

Transform your old computer into a media server

If you have an old computer lying around your house, which has a VGA out and a 3.5mm audio jack, you would be surprised to see how a great media server it could build out to be. A great utility named Plex will guide you all the required plugins and provide the environment that will make your system run as a media server.

One very common problem with old computers is that they can’t hold up much system resource usage, for that, you should not hesitate to try any Linux based operating system, one of our all time favorites is Ubuntu.

Check your pulse with your smartphone

instant heart rate

Yes, you read it right. Are you feeling uneasy? Would you want to check your pulse rate and other things? Well, there is an app for that! The Instant Heart Rate app available for both Android and iOS uses the camera of your device that detects your pulse.

Noteworthy mentions

Using a laptop or tablet as a second monitor: If you have either of these device at home and you are doing nothing much with it, you could always use it as a second monitor. ZoneScreen is a freeware which once installed on both computers, lets you use that spare device as the second screen.

Connecting your tablet and laptop to your TV: Ever wondered what HDMI port is doing on your TV? Every TV these days comes with a HDMI port, through which you can connect your laptop or tablet to watch movies and other things on the big screen.

You don’t need any software for that, just bridge your laptop and TV with the HDMI cable. Depending on your manufacturer, there is an HDMI cable input for your tablet as well, again, you don’t need to run any software in the background, the TV will automatically detect and replicate your tablet ongoing activities.

Creating a Wi-Fi spot from your smartphone: You will be surprised to know the number of people who still don’t know their Android and iPhone and iPad devices can be used to create a Wi-Fi spot so as to make data available for other devices to connect to the internet.

Depending on your mobile carrier and its data policy, tethering can be enabled in Android phone by going to the Settings > Wireless& Networks > Tethering & Portable hotspot. iPhone and iPad users are supposed to go to the Settings > Personal hotspot (and slide it on)

Using your phone as an emergency torch: Light’s gone, no backup? Don’t worry, take out your Android phone, and download Tiny Flashlight, it will use the flash light of your phone as the torch. Apple users needs to download this free app called Light – LED Flashlight.

Light LED

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is pursuing a bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering. When he isn't busy reading and watching tech podcasts, he hunts horcruxes. Also, he checks his feedreader before Whatsapp notifications - that will give you an idea how addicted he is to tech.