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Useful tips and tricks from Proporta...

Did you know?

If you’re like most of the team at Proporta and use your mobile phone as your alarm clock, your alarm will still work even if your phone is switched off. Goodbye midnight texts from mates who should know better. Hello snooze button.
There’s often no need to spend your money on “Simcard savers”, which back up your Smartphone, PDA or mobile cell phone data. Simply use the sync cable which came with your device, or Bluetooth if applicable, and copy it straight on to your PC.
You should keep a note of your handset’s serial (IMEI) number as it can come in handy if your device is ever lost or stolen. Either look under the battery of your device or dial *#06# as a phone number and it’ll magically appear. Write this down - If your phone gets stolen you can give this number to your service provider who will block your handset making it useless to the thief. If everyone did this it’d probably eliminate mobile phone theft.
You can call your voicemail quickly and easily by holding down the number “1” key.
If you turn off certain functionality when not needed, i.e. your Bluetooth or wireless, you could extend your battery’s life span.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation and you’re outside of your coverage area for your network, dial 112 from your handset and it’ll search any existing networks and get through to the emergency services. This number can also be dialled when your phone is locked.
Most mobile phones have a battery reserve which can be activated when your battery is very low. To activate it, key in *3370# and your mobile will restart with this reserve and show up to a 50% increase in battery.
Sending text messages to phones outside your own country can be much more expensive than you might think (check with your network operator for rates); a cheaper way to do it is to use an online service like Skype. You can even set your account up so that your text messages appear to come from your normal phone and responses come back to your normal phone.


Business users

Most newer mobile phones have a great currency converter tool which allows you to exchange any given price into your own (more understandable) currency.
If you travel a lot for business, you'll probably already know that checking in online will save you a lot of time at the airport. Also, if you are going on a short trip it's worth packing a small carry-on bag to take on the plane rather than checking your bags in as you won’t have to wait for your bags at the carousel when you reach your destination.
Traveling light is something which we all aim for, and Proporta’s very own Universal Emergency Charger - Travel Kit is priceless (not literally ;) ) when it comes to making traveling simple. The kit allows you to charge everything from your MP3 player to your PDA and comes with a range of adaptors for charging around the world and in your car. Our very own jet setter Jean Pierre can vouch for that as it ensures he never runs out of juice when he is on the go (and trust us, he’s on the go an awful lot).
The best mobile/GPRS network for coverage in the UK is O2 or Vodafone and if you are traveling to France your best bet would be Orange. Spain – Movistar, and Italy – TIM. Further a field; CSL is the best in Hong Kong, Etisalat in United Emirates, Dialog or Mobitel in Sri Lanka and AT&T in America.
If you're on the go and carrying various devices (mobile phones, iPhone, Blackberry, iPod etc.) and their cables, the Proporta Silicone Cable Tidy will keep you knot free. The Proporta Gadget Bag also provides an ideal carrying case for all of your bits and bobs.
Traveling practically is important, but traveling in style can be just as essential. Guard your much-used passport from the inevitable wear and tear of travel with the Proporta Passport Holder.


MP3 and iPod users

If you are using an iPod it’s good to know that as well as creating playlists whilst you are on iTunes, you can also create ‘on-the-go’ playlists. These playlists are easily made by holding down the centre button of the iPod whilst listening to a song. And if you've got the Genius Function on your iPod, it'll suggest the songs that it thinks goes together and do all the hard work for you.
If your iPod is having a bad day and needs resetting, you can do this by holding the centre and bottom button down which will solve common problems like iPod freezing.
You can synchronise your iPod with your e-mail enabling you to read mail on the go. To do this on a PC, install the free program K-Pod from http://k-deep.com/k-pod.htm; for Macs try PodMail from www.macupdate.com. Downloaded mail can then be viewed on the player via the Notes feature in the Extras menu.
Sick and tired of waking up to that irritating bleep of an alarm? Many iPods are compatible with iPod docks which you can set the time and an alarm on. You can then pick a song which will be played to you as an alarm (choose wisely - you may begin to dislike said song intensely).
If the Creative is your MP3 player of choice you’ll be pleased to find out that many of the Zen range come with radio capabilities.
A very useful little feature is the Creative’s expandable memory, which enables you to plug your MP3 player straight into your computer meaning that your music can be downloaded and played through the MP3 Player rather than via software.
Many MP3 players can now be used to play music through car radio speakers as many car radios can find your MP3 player via an FM Radio Transmitter or a physical connector.


GPS users
GPS is a very useful piece of kit and threatens to make map related arguments a thing of the past.

Did you know that many Satellite Navigation devices have a ‘handsfree’ option which allows you to pick up a phone call through the Sat Nav (via Bluetooth) and will continue to give you visual directions while you take the call? How considerate.
You can also store your phonebook on your GPS software so those important phone numbers are always at your finger tips and handily backed up.
If you are one of those who really enjoys driving, your GPS's ‘free roaming’ option may be of interest to you. This option allows you to drive freely (rather than instruct you on where to go), but will continue to show you routes off the road that you are cruising along (no more dead ends).
Sometimes you just want to go home, and most GPS software allows you the option to set home as a fixed destination, so wherever you may be (mid-journey or lost) your GPS will always guide you in the right direction.
Make sure you subscribe to your GPS software so that handy traffic updates can be stored in your Sat Nav’s memory box, allowing it to plan your journeys around these annoyances.
GPS can be a bit of fun, and changing the voice of your navigator (or someone else's when they're off getting petrol) is always amusing on long journeys. You can also change the image of the car guiding you on the Sat Nav system, meaning that for a split second you can go from Metro to Aston Martin.
GPS systems don't necessarily have to be pushy little devices demanding you take a certain route (and go into overload if you don't “please make a U-turn”). They're usually always happy to avoid certain roads and can point out handy little pit stops like petrol stations and restaurants if you ask them to.
And finally, it’s always best to remember to double check the route your GPS suggests as it could be leading you into a route which may look quicker on screen, but will actually take a lot longer in reality. Maybe it’s not quite time to wave goodbye to the trusty road map quite yet. ;)


General and/or mobile phone users

If you’re like most of the team at Proporta and use your mobile phone as your alarm clock, your alarm will still work even if your phone is switched off. Goodbye midnight texts from mates who should know better - hello snooze button.
There’s often no need to spend your money on “SIM card savers”, which back up your Smartphone, PDA or mobile cell phone data. Simply use the sync cable which came with your device, or Bluetooth if applicable, and copy it straight on to your PC.
You should keep a note of your handset’s serial (IMEI) number as it can come in handy if your device is ever lost or stolen. Either look under the battery of your device or dial *#06# as a phone number, and it’ll magically appear. Write this down - If your phone gets stolen you can give this number to your service provider who will block your handset making it useless to the thief. If everyone did this it’d probably eliminate mobile phone theft.
You can call your voicemail quickly and easily by holding down the number “1” key.
If you turn off certain functionality when not needed, i.e. your Bluetooth or wireless, you could extend your battery’s life span.
If you find yourself in an emergency situation and you’re outside of your coverage area for your network, dial 112 from your handset and it’ll search any existing networks and get through to the emergency services. This number can also be dialled when your phone is locked.
Most mobile phones have a battery reserve which can be activated when your battery is very low. To activate it, key in *3370# and your mobile will restart with this reserve and show up to a 50% increase in battery.


And our bit for Mother Nature…

Energy saving light bulbs have been around for years, but why everyone doesn’t use them is a mystery to us. They use less than a quarter of the electricity used by ordinary light bulbs and can last up to a whopping 15 times longer, meaning you don’t have to buy them as often (which if we’re being picky also means less trips in your car to the shop). Madness not to really.
Get your leaks fixed. Leaving a tap dripping all day will use as much water as it would take for you to fill a bath.
Turning your thermostat down by just one degree, or heating your home or office for just an hour less each day can cut as much as 10% off your heating bills per degree drop.
A mobile phone charger if left plugged in when not charging will be responsible for between 35 to 70kg C02 over the year. Always unplug your mobile phone charger when you’re not using it. Go on, have a feel… the warmth is caused by the constant consumption of electricity.
A TV, if left on standby, will be responsible for 30 kg CO2 over the year.
A staggering amount of the Nation's electricity bills is spent on standby and appliances left plugged in when not used, in excess of a whopping £230 million! By switching off at the plug when not required you could save up to 8% off your electricity bill.
Keep your mobile/cell phones, computers, and other electronics as long as possible. Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains mercury and other toxics and is a growing environmental problem.
Using rechargeable batteries can save money and reduce battery waste.
A lot of people are led to believe that if it's cold in a room you can raise the temperature by turning a thermostat up and if it's cold you can adjust the temperature by turning it down, but this does not actually affect the temperature of a room. So in future, remember that adjusting your thermostat won't make any difference to the temperature of your room, so if it's a bit chilly it might be time to cuddle up in a duvet or find a hot water bottle.
Calculate your Carbon Footprint with a Carbon Footprint Calculator. If you discover your footprint is higher than you imagined you can begin reducing the amount of energy your home consumes.
Turn down the brightness on your TV and computer monitor – it’s good to remember the little things make a big difference.
Don't keep your refrigerator and freezer too cold. Set temperature between 36-38 degrees F and freezers at 0-5 degrees.
Always run full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher and consider using the good old fashioned washing line instead of your tumble dryer.