From The Tips Box: Alternative Apps, Instant Previews, Spills

Readers offer their best tips for finding alternatives to popular apps, quickly toggling Google Instant Previews, and cleaning up big spills.

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? Email it to tips at

Use Google Sets to Find Alternatives to Popular Programs

The-soup shares another way to find similar programs:

If you're looking for a way to find alternatives to a program, one place to look is Google Sets. Type in the name of a program that you want to find an alternative to. If you type in alternatives to that program that you already know, that will help with relevancy.

I typed in "iTunes", "Winamp", "Songbird", and "DoubleTwist" and got results like "Quicktime", "VLC", and "Amarok". While it's not perfect, it's a good place to look.

A Keyboard and Mouse Shortcut for Google Instant Previews

Travis tells us how to quickly turn Google Instant Previews on and off:

Seems that using right/left scroll click on my mouse disables and enables the mouse over previews! If I rock right, the magnifying glasses next to each result turn blue and I see previews. If I rock left, they turn grey and the previews are hidden. You can also use the left and right arrow keys.

Use Nappies as a Super-Absorbent Spill Cleaner

Tim shows us a clever use for nappies:

When cleaning out my car, I threw an unused, but diaper in the garage trash can. I had recently changed my oil and the filter leaked all over the bottom of the can. When emptying the trash I noticed the diaper sucked up all the oil that pooled in the bottom of the can. I never really thought about how a diaper's absorbent gel is perfect for garage spills! I'm going to keep a few handy long after my son grows up!

Use Amazon PayPhrase for Password Inspiration

The-soup lets us know an alternative to built-in password generators:

When you need help thinking of a starting point for a password that isn't random numbers and letters or one that you use every time, try using the Amazon PayPhrase suggestion box. Just modify the phrase, like replacing some letters with numbers, or adding special characters. It isn't the best, but it's a way.


    Another way to find alternatives pieces of software is to use the crowd sourced website
    E.g. brings back:

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