20 Tech Habits to Improve Your Life

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16. Get Your TV and Music Fix Online

Forget basic cable--there's plenty of free TV available to watch online. If you don't want to catch your favorite shows at the networks' own Web sites, hit up sites such as Hulu, Joost, and Comcast's Fancast to get your full-episode TV fix. Also: Stream music for free to your computer from Last.fm, Pandora (both available on the iPhone), Deezer, or Slacker.

If you're on the road and missing your TiVo, use a place-shifting device such as the Sling Media Slingbox or Sony LocationFree to watch your own DVR content online.

More: The Best TV on the Web

17. Reach Favorite Sites and Searches Faster With Firefox Keywords

You probably hit the same Web sites and search engines several times a day. Why not get to those pages as quickly as possible? Instead of typing out long URLs by hand or hunting down the right search box, use Firefox keyword bookmarks to navigate to your favorite Web haunts instantly (here's how to set them up).

To search Wikipedia for George Washington, for example, you could key up to Firefox's address bar (Ctrl-L), type w George Washington, and press Enter to go directly to that topic page. You can use the same technique for Web pages that don't involve searches, too--for example, try setting the compose keyword to open a new Gmail message. To associate a keyword to a bookmark, enter a short, easy-to-remember keyword in the bookmark's Properties dialog box. Once you've set up a few keywords, you can use your Firefox address bar as a powerful, customized command line.

Bonus tip: Sync your Firefox bookmarks from home to the office to the laptop using the Foxmarks extension; it will keep your keyword vocabulary up-to-date wherever you're working.

More: 15 Undocumented Firefox Tips

18. Tweak, Monitor, and Extend Your Wi-Fi Network With a Firmware Upgrade (or Aluminum Foil)

Extend your router's signal, throttle your bandwidth, review usage charts, and more with an open-source router-firmware upgrade. The free DD-WRT and Tomato firmware each offer advanced features for managing your wireless network, including bandwidth monitors, quality-of-service graphs, and even router overclocking to extend your signal.

Want to make your Wi-Fi router's signal reach the attic and the basement the low-tech way? Some sites say they've achieved gains by fashioning a foil "windsurfer" parabola and attaching it to the router antenna.

19. Master Search Techniques to Pinpoint Files or Web Sites

Drill down through millions of search results for popular Google search terms by mastering advanced search operators. Enclose phrases and proper names in quotes (as in "Don't tase me bro" or "Michael Phelps") to get exact-phrase matches. Use the + and - signs to specify meaning, especially for words that have more than one definition (for example, salsa -dance), and use the filetype: operator to find certain kinds of documents (as in budget filetype:xls).

You can even search for all the ingredients in your fridge with the word recipe to figure out what to have for dinner tonight.

Then, take your search chops to your desktop, where organizing files in an elaborate folder scheme is no longer necessary. Use Windows Vista's Saved Search folders to build a dynamic store of all the files that contain the term "NYC," for instance, or all the digital photos taken on your birthday.

Gmail's built-in e-mail search capabilities are also killer. Use the from:, to:, and subject: operators to find specific messages, as in from:"Bill Gates" subject:"dinner date".

More: Advanced Google: Search Faster, Find More

20. Print Smart to Reduce Costs

You've already paid an arm and a leg to refill your home printer, so get into some smart printing habits to save money on ink and paper. Wherever possible, preview your document before you print, and shrink the selection down to fewer pages, or print only the pages you need in the document. Set your printer to the lowest quality (draft mode) when possible, and opt for double-sided printing or print several pages per physical page (when you're printing out PowerPoint slides, for example). When you're printing Web pages, use the Aardvark Firefox add-on to delete big colorful advertisements and other unwanted elements before you print. When you don't really need a hard copy, opt to print to a PDF document instead. Mac users can do this by default; Windows users can download the free CutePDF to print any document to PDF.

More: Six Savvy Ways to Get More Prints for Less Money

Gina Trapani is the lead editor of Lifehacker.com and the author of Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better (Wiley, 2008).

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