From The Tips Box: Taking Notes, Slippery Keyboards, Lint Rollers

Readers offer their best tips for taking (and saving) notes in class, stopping your keyboards from sliding, and making your own large, cheap lint roller.

About the Tips Box: Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons—maybe they're a bit too niche, maybe we couldn't find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn't fit it in—the tip didn't make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favourites for your buffet-style consumption. Got a tip of your own to share? Add it in the comments or email it to tips at

Taking Notes with Netbooks

Photo by tomasz przechlewski.

Jonathan gives us some tips on using netbooks in class:

I have an HP Mini 1000 netbook, and like most people with these small buggers, I only get around 600 pixels of vertical space which means a lot of scrolling. I've used OneNote in the past but I've found it to take a lot more screen space than I'd like so I stick with POW (Plain- ole-Word).

Theres a cool feature from word 2003 which is buried in 2007 for true fullscreen viewing. You can get the button by going to the Word Orb > Word Options > customise > look under "All commands" and select "Toggle Full Screen View"

I realised you can save a ton of battery life by dimming the screen, and taking notes with a black background and a white/gray font colour, the contrast is much better.

I also use Windows Live Sync to keep my essential notes synced and backed in two locations at once, and as a backup, For redundancy, just in case I really screwed up (irreversible changes because I didn't have a shadow copy) or the file is corrupted, I just right click the essential files like term papers and save it to my USB stick. I used to use Syncback to do this, it worked really well.

Keep Your Keyboard from Sliding Around

Jacob helps us keep our keyboards in place on slippery surfaces:

My keyboard is constantly sliding away from me as I pound on the keys. I came up with a nice little hack to keep the thing in place. I took those fingertip things that help you flip through pages easily and slipped them over the feet. Saves me a lot of frustration.

DIY Lint Roller from Tape and a Soda Bottle

mvttbar000 gives us another option for cleaning pet hair:

A DIY tape roller cleaner. Just take a used 2L soda bottle and some masking or packing tape. Start by taping half-way around the bottle, begging from the top, then twist and turn the tape around 180deg. Continue on towards the bottom. Leave some space at the end to turn the tape around again and finish off the job.

Pros: Larger roller cleaner, you can use stronger adhesive tape, cheap/free


    I'm biased of course, but I find OneNote works really well on these small machines. Use F11 (or the little button to the right of the help menu) to get the lightweight note taking view perfect for screens with not much vertical space. There is just a single row of toolbar buttons - just the ones you need for taking quick notes.

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