From The Tips Box: SD Cards, Flat-Top Scanners, Kettle Stains

Readers offer their best tips for formatting SD cards, using flatbed scanners and cleaning kettles.

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 Cameras to Most Effectively Reformat SD Cards

Josh Perron shows us an easy way to avoid SD card format issues:

So you just installed the latest hottest ChromiumOS build or one of Hexxeh's custom ChromiumOS builds (or some other bootable linux distro on it like ubuntu, Mandriva Flash, Pendrivelinux, etc.) on your SD card and it didn't go over well. The next logical thing to do is to reclaim the space on your SD card, so you stick the SD card back in your windows machine and you're only able to reformat it to a fraction of its previous size or worse it's not even loading up. So by now you've come to the conclusion that you somehow manage to brick(kill) your SD or microSD card. And now you can't use it on your windows machine anymore. You can't reformat it, you can't access it, and you can't see it. All hope seemes to be lost. Well, it turns out there is a very simple fix.


You could either put it into a linux based computer and reformat it(you also could use a live bootable linux disk, or

Simply put that SD card into your digital camera. Almost any brand will work; Cannon, Panasonic, Nikon, etc. Then perform a low level format. And your SD card will now work again as usual because it has been restored to a windows readable partition format.

What happened:

It's always nice to understand what happened right? Well when you installed that linux operating system onto your removable storage device you utilise Linux style partitioning, a GUID partition table. This style of partitioning can completely prevent your Windows system from accessing and fully reformating your drive.

Use Post-It Notes to Remove Paper from Scanner Beds

Photo by _sarchi.

Stoptherobots shows us an easy way to use your scanner without getting fingerprints and scratches all over it:

Keeping my brand new scanner surface clean and my documents unbent by lifting them off the glass with a post-it note.

Use Simple Stain Remover to Deep Clean Dishes and Applicances (Without Suds Overload)

Cameronborders1 shares an interesting experience he had cleaning his electric tea kettle:

My electric tea kettle is my favourite kitchen appliance. I'm not a big fan of coffee, also a very nice friend introduced me to a wonderfully addictive recipe for tea which required me to finally use that scary tea ball thing.

At first things were going okay; everything was working great until dry tealeaves were getting stuck to the bottom of the kettle. I had tried just boiling and rinsing and to no avail. A bit would come unstuck, but large amounts remained at the bottom of the kettle.

I knew liquid soap of might bubble out everywhere. I didn't want to use harsh chemicals. I just wanted to remove the tealeaves. I recently acquired OxiClean, and found it kind of useless for most things I threw at. So what's the worse thing that could happen to my electric tea kettle?

I added a bit to the kettle, then a added as much water as the kettle allowed and set it to boil. To my amazement, once the water reached boiling point, the OxiClean seemed to disappear. I rinsed out my kettle and the majority of stuck tealeaves were rinsed right off. I tried the process again and all of the stuck tealeaves rinsed out in the sink. I did one more boil just to make sure there was no OxiClean residue left over, and the tea tasted normal after the next boil.

Power dish washing soap might work as well as the OxiClean. Liquid detergents will probably make your kettle foam at the mouth.

So, if you want to clean that kettle and get Better Stain Removal! Brighter Whites! and who could forget Brighter Colors! Try OxiClean and let me know how it works for you.

P.S. Get a better tea ball if yours is leaking tea leave mess everywhere.


    Eh? Tea leaves stuck in your kettle? Kettles are for boiling water and nothing else. You then pour the hot water into a tea pot or cup with the tea (or coffee pot etc.)

    I Found blu-tac to be more effective than a post-it.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now