From The Tips Box: Cable Organisation, Gigantic Clocks

Lifehacker readers show us how to organise occasionally used cables with coat hangers, and how to repurpose old monitors into gigantic, easy to read clocks.

Keep Rarely Used Cables Organised with a Coat Hanger

Christopher sent us a picture showing how he organizes his unused cables along with this note:

I came up with a way to organise any cables you don't use on a daily basis but want easy/organised access to when you do need them. All that is required is one metal/cardboard coat hanger!

Looks like all you need is a coat hanger and some tape or cable ties to keep everything neat. Our only concern is whether some of the cables with heavy adapters would get damaged from hanging like that.

Repurpose an Old Monitor into an Easy to Read Clock

Nathan solved a nightly problem in a clever way:

Like many people, I used to have a difficult time reading my clock at night. I tried out many different clocks, but none of them met my needs. I finally decided to make my own clock. I had an old computer and monitor lying around. I started by installing Ubuntu on the computer. I then installed dclock, a customisable digital clock, from the repositories. I ran dclock with the following options:

dclock -nobell -nomiltime -tails -noscroll -noblink -nofade -date "%a %b %d, %Y" -noalarm -seconds -bd "black" -bg "black" -fg "red" -led_off "black" &

I then toggled the full screen option for the window so that it covered the entire screen. The result was a large digital clock that I was able to read at night. This clock did not cost me anything to make, and it is much easier to read than all of the clocks I found at the stores. dclock also has support for setting an alarm for the times that I need it.

It's probably a bit of a waste to set up and run a computer only for the clock, but let's assume Nathan's Ubuntu clock has some other great uses we don't know about.

Curb Impulse Micro Purchases with Wishlists

Matt wrote in to tell us about how his fiancée cuts down on impulse micro purchases using a method similar to one we've mentioned before:

Every so often I see posts about making wishlists to curb impulse spending, and these are some of my favourite hacks.

I'm not sure if it ever showed up on Lifehacker, but my fiancée showed me the neat little hack that led to this one. Whenever she wants to purchase a track or album in iTunes, she drags the clips from the iTunes store to a playlist called "Wishlist." Every week or so, she checks out the playlist to see if she still wants whatever's there. $.99 (or $1.69) for a single song doesn't seem like much, but when you buy stuff without thinking about it, it really does add up. This was great for me, as I didn't know you could actually add the snippets to a playlist, and I always wondered why iTunes didn't have a wish list feature.

I use Things for OS X and am getting started with GTD, and I was trying to think of a way to integrate wishlists for other things I'd like to buy but don't necessarily need. I recently made a new project called "Wishlist," and whenever I see something I want to buy, I add it to the project as a new task with any relevant details (price, URL, reason I want it) and a due date. I typically set the due date to two weeks from the day that I add it to Things.

If it's something that I really don't need, chances are I won't think about it for a while. When it shows up for review two weeks later, I can decide if I still really want it.

I'm sure this would work with any system where you review your tasks daily or weekly. Cubicle warriors are likely to have Outlook, which allows for appointments or to-dos, and there are plenty of free solutions out there for the smart phone crowd.


    Wow how amazingly inefficient, running a whole computer + monitor just to have a digital clock.

      My thoughts exactly, moreover as someone who wears glasses, even I can see my alarm clocks time, without the aid of my glasses.

      In my opinion, inefficient and unnecessary. Each to their own though...

    clearly you are either hyperopic (far-sighted) or presbyopic -- not myopic (near-sighted), like myself (along with hundreds of millions of other people worldwide).

    also, I suffer night blindness, which is common in many people, and colour blindness (I won't go into detail, but it affects >5% of men, 0.5% of women).
    the combination of these factors makes it extraordinarily difficult to read anything in low light, particularly those with low contrast or low luminance.

    this idea would provide an effective, useful solution for me and many others, but I have to agree that it's energy, space and cost inefficient.

    taking this idea to the next level, you could buy a low end netbook for little more than a good quality branded alarm clock, with infinitely more flexibility, and of course the 10" screen. with linux' stability and SSD's low power use this would be a great alternative consuming less energy than many clocks.

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