From The Tips Box: Dirty Monitors, Cast Iron Skillets, Guitar Slides

Readers offer their best tips for cleaning your dirty computer monitors, getting rust off a cast iron skillet, and putting together a makeshift guitar slide.

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. Email it to tips at

Pull Up a White Screen Before Cleaning a Dirty Monitor

Photo by The Prodigal Untitled13.

Maguslod tells us how to get the best shine from your computer screen:

I was noticing that my laptop screen was dirty, I kept seeing spots when visiting websites because the white background. Tried wiping them off but missed a few, so to see everything I opened a blank page in Firefox and pushed F11 for full screen. Nice full screen white to see all the dirt on the screen, without having to do any major changes or image swap (though I was going to have to change the desktop background to white, clean, change back).

De-Rust a Cast Iron Skillet with Vinegar

Photo by Kirk Olson.

JohnnyLongarms tells us the best way to revive a rusted cast iron skillet:

Soak a rusty cast iron pan in white vinegar for an hour, and clean with some steel wool. I put it on the stove on high to dry it. Then coat with vegetable oil and bake at 300 for an hour. Yay!

For a more detailed rundown of the steps, check out this article at eHow.

Use an Old Mobile Phone as a Makeshift Guitar Slide

Photo by David.

Isaaclyman shares a clever repurposing trick for guitar players:

For you guitarists out there who occasionally need a guitar slide but haven’t bought one…a regular plastic cell phone is just as effective, if a little crude. Just hold it lightly against the strings as you would a guitar slide for some of that good ol’ folk twang.

Of course, if you have a fancy newfangled iPhone with a rubber case, that probably won’t work.

Not that you’d really want to scrape your fancy new iPhone against your steel guitar strings anyway. But this works great in a pinch with that old dumphone collecting dust in your desk drawer.

Use a Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Adaptor on Your Linux PC

Jonathan discovers that an old Nintendo peripheral works on his Linux machine:

I just discovered that the little Buffalo-based Nintendo Wifi USB connector I got with my original grey brick DS is supported in Ubuntu—despite not working properly (for me, at least) in any version of Windows since XP. Ubuntu recognises it as another wireless adaptor and lets me connect to my wireless network through it.

Haven’t found where I hid my DS though, but when I find it I want to see if this thing can work like it use to. I’ve tried countless times to hack this thing into letting me broadcast my connection through it.

I ♥ Linux. It’s the little things like this that surprise me.

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