Welcome, and Learn "How to"

By Kat Hannaford on at

Learning how things work is like unlocking a secret. Know what's even better? Learning how to. One of the earliest examples of someone showing off their knowledge was way back in 1569, when English author Leonard Mascall translated a French Benedictine's tree-planting tips. While we're not going to dispense with the horticulture tips this week, we'll hopefully be sowing a few seeds in your mind for idea-growing.

In association with O2 Guru TV, our seven day-long "how to" theme week will be arming you with enough knowledge in the following areas that you should be able to nick the tips and pass them off as your own, almost flawlessly: device battery-saving; turning into a beefcake; which bank offers the best deal for you; how to learn a foreign language for free; five knots you simply must learn; the easiest way to muscle your way into the Guinness Book of World Records, oh, and how to get stock Android without rooting. Plus a whole bunch more.

In the meantime, bookmark this post, as it’ll be the easiest way to keep tabs on this week’s features. We hope you enjoy, and as ever, if you have any suggestions (or want to lend a hand), Gizmodo UK is a constantly-throbbing, organic animal — we can’t do this without you. Get in touch now.

Image Credit: Graphic from Shutterstock

10 Steps to Saving Battery Life on Any Smartphone
There’s that point around three o’clock in any office, when the call goes out. “Does anyone have a Samsung charger?” says your oblivious colleague, hunting round for a microUSB cable for his poor dying phone. But you don’t have to let it come to that. Although smartphone battery life kinda sucks, there’s a whole host of things you can do to make it last longer. Read More >

Five Weeks, Five Days, Five Reps and Five Sets to Beefcake
I hate being a man sometimes. Eat lean and often to keep trim. Gorge on your body weight in chicken to muscle up. Cardio to strip down. No cardio — you’ll cannibalise your muscle. And don’t get me started on carbs. Read More >

Debunking 30 Life Hacks That Don’t Actually Make Your Life Better
Our obsession with hacking life to become more efficient beings of human knows no end. We bookmark links that promise to make picnicking more enjoyable; we scour the internet for kitchen tricks and watch endless videos that promise anywhere from 7 to 101 life changing tips. But how often do these life hacks actually stick? 1 out of every 100? Every thousand? It's like sifting for gold. Read More >

Give Your Smartphone a Mid-Life Spruce-Up
Two year contracts, eh? They suck. They suck bad. Holding onto a smartphone for two whole years seems like an eternity in this day and age, where new flagship phones roll through seemingly every couple of months. But it's not all bad: if you're having a bit of a mid-phone crisis, here are a few tips to make it all better. Read More >

Which Bank Should You Switch Allegiance To?
If ever there was a good time to start banking with somebody else, it's now. New government-enforced rules mean that banks have to transfer your banking within seven days, including handling the transfer of your current accounts, direct debits and standing orders. Any inconvenience will also be compensated for, so there really is no excuse if you're dissatisfied with the people currently in charge of looking after your hard-earned money. Read More >

Supplements to Help Turn You From Cupcake to Beefcake
Looking to bulk up and trim down all at the same time? You'll need all the help you can get. Here's a complete supplement stack for anyone who isn't afraid of a little caffeine. Okay, a lot of caffeine. Read More >

How to Get More Out of Your Jawbone UP Using Third-Party Apps and IFTTT
So you've got a Jawbone UP. Congratulations. Now you’re rocking the dinky little fitness tracker on your wrist, you're well on the path towards healthier living. But did you know that, in addition to the standard UP app that is used to log your daily movement and sleep cycle (iOS/Android), there's a whole suite of apps to make it even more useful? Read More >

How to Decide Which Phablet’s Right For You (and How to Justify Owning One)
The phablet isn't a new phenomenon, but it's only recently taken off with Sony and HTC jumping on the obscenely-big smartphone bandwagon. Want to understand the art of the impractical Android? Phone experts Recombu have a few video tutorials you may want to watch first... Read More >

How to Learn a Foreign Language for Free
In the modern hustle-bustle of 21st century living, there's every chance that work, study or romance will take you overseas into another country. If you want to make a good impression, it doesn't hurt to bone up on your foreign language skills, and what’s more, it’s easy to do without spending a penny. Read More >

Five Essential Knots Everyone Should Know
"If you don't know knots, tie lots" is a lie. When was the last time you saw some idiot staggering around with eleven granny knots holding his tie in place, just because he never learned how to do a tie knot? At the very bare minimum, every self-respecting human being should be able to execute these five bits of cordage-wizadry. It's just common sense. Read More >

Quick ‘n Dirty Smartphone Photography Tips
Taking good photos with a smartphone is, at heart, pretty much the same as taking good photos with anything -- it's not a simple art. But that said, smartphones, with their touch interfaces and tiny little sensors have some particular quirks it's worth paying attention to. Read More >

Boost Your PC’s Crummy Built-In Soundcard With an External DAC/Headphone Amplifier
If you consider yourself an audiophile, and have a large collection of digital music, you've probably spent a large chunk of change on a pair of headphones to plug into your PC or Mac. But here's the kicker: those headphones are only as good as the soundcard installed on your computer. And if you have a crummy soundcard, your music will sound lacklustre regardless of the luxury cans you slap over your ears. Read More >

How to Get Even More Out of a Raspberry Pi
No doubt about it, the Raspberry Pi is nothing short of a homebrew phenomenon. Since its release in February 2012, the British micro-mini-computer has enabled legions of amateur inventors to develop projects both weird and wonderful. Here's a run-down of the most impressive applications, ranging from weather stations to retro arcades to a supercomputer array on a Lego rack. See if any of them inspire you to do the same. Read More >

The Realistic Guide to Learning How to Run
The astute reader might've noticed that, in contrast with the established rules of guide-writing, I have effectively started at the end. Well done; pat yourself on the back, astute reader. The best possible advice for a new runner is to try and run a mile, then two...then run a 5k, throw up and don't run again for two weeks. Congratulations, you are now a runner. Read More >

How to Get Into the Guinness World Records Book
Whether it was Cheryl Baker 20 years ago or Felix Baumgartner a few months back who introduced you to the Guinness World Records Book, there's always been something special about the record-breaking tome that's seen it retain an incredibly cool status, no matter what your age. Read More >

How to Cook Virtually Anything in a Rice Cooker
It's true! This magical device isn't just capable of cooking delicious rice; it can also be used to bake bread, make porridge, cook a mean chilli, a chunky frittata, and even chocolate cake. It's an ingenious way to prepare delicious food on a budget, with the added bonus that you won't make a huge mess in the process. Read More >

How to Get Stock Android Without Rooting
So! You've got a Galaxy S4 or a HTC One or any of the long list of Android phones that have a third-party skin loosely blu-tacked on top. And, unsurprisingly, you don't like that skin, but you're not quite so desperate as to go root-crazy quite yet. Never fear: virtually stock Android is just a few downloads away. Read More >

The Bluffer’s Guide to Alcoholic Drinks
We all love the occasional tipple in our lives, but alcohol, as the world's most widespread and highly-consumed drug, is a bit of a social minefield. Here's a quick primer for those of you who've lived life so far on a diet of Tennet's Super and Frosty Jack. Read More >

Making The Perfect Gadget-Charging Bag
Smartphone. Tablet. Laptop. Maybe an e-reader, gaming device, and camera chucked in there too. Chances are, a lot of you carting around a lot of electronics on a daily basis, and most of it has a battery. Here's how to make the perfect gadget bag, one that not only carries your crap, but keeps it perpetually perked up too. Read More >

How to Childproof Your Phones and Tablets, Without Being an Insane Control Freak
There are many ways to protect today's expensive gadgets from the inquisitive, dirty fingers of children. You can pretend they don’t exist and keep them on top of the wardrobe until they’re asleep, you can lock them down and make sure they only touch what you want them to, or you can be a good daddy and teach them the rights and wrongs of tech use. Read More >