From The Tips Box: Workday Rituals, Low-RAM Machines

Readers offer their best tips for signing out of IM accounts remotely, getting more vertical space out of Firefox, and getting through long articles on the web.

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

Give Your Workspace a Quick Cleaning Each Morning for the Right Mindset

Photo by Debs (ò‿ó)♪.

Mrjeremiahross shares his motivation-boosting morning routine:

This “brainhack” borders between ritual and OCD… but helps me to get right to work in the morning (I work from home mostly).

I once read an interview with a guitar player who said that, before he sat down to practice, he would wipe his guitar and then wash his hands well… this was his way of saying; “yes, it is time for me to sit down and play now.”

Once I shower and dress (as if I was going into the office) I come downstairs and wipe down my laptop, mouse, phone, and remove any residual from the remaining day. I then make my coffee while my PC and apps boot, wash my hands well, and say “now I am going to begin my work day”

It may sound silly, but it helps me to begin my day with my space wiped, my papers files, and my desk empty I can then sit down knowing “now I am going to start my work day”

I tend to repeat at lunch, and in my evening break.

Remove Heat Spots on Wood with an Iron

Photo by MIKI Yoshihito.

Njefferson discovers a clever way to clean up seemingly ruined wood:

I tried this recently after ruining my wife’s new table… surprisingly, heat and steam from an iron will remove the white heat spots that can form on wood. It’s detailed in this post at TipNut, and I can affirm that it works in as least my case. I rubbed olive oil on the wood afterwards, since it looked dried out (as suggested on another site I saw while panicking) .

Java-Princess recommends a less scary option:

For those whose wife won’t let them put anything hot and steamy on their polished tables try rubbing toothpaste with a lint free cloth over the marks

Get Rid of Your Wallpaper to Free Up RAM

Dark Reality tells us a good way to free up a bit of RAM on old systems:

If you’re on an old, underpowered computer, disable the wallpaper to free up a little RAM. It can really make a difference on an older machine, especially if you’re running a modern browser. If it’s not your computer and you’re using PortableApps, you can make a 1×1 BMP, call it portableapps_wallpaper.bmp, and drop it in your pictures directory. Make it black, or a colour, it doesn’t matter at all.

Or, if you want a relatively pretty wallpaper, make a super-tiny BMP and make a gradient. Mine is 4×1, and it’s green, blue, blue, light blue, so it sort of follows the default WinXP taskbar. This on a P4-3GHz with 1GB DDR2 RAM… it’s not a poor machine, but I can feel the difference.

Cook Better Ramen by Separating the Ingredients

Photo by Francis Storr.

Ramen rustler jupiterthunder shares his discoveries for making yourself some quality lunch:

Tips for Ramen, food of the God’s [illegitimate son’s cousin, twice removed, who sleeps in his parents basement] .

Tip one: Instead of making the broth with the starchy water, pour it off and replace it with water that has been heated separately.

Tip two: To avoid those potential pockets where the flavor packet doesn’t distribute evenly and dissolve completely, mix the packet in with the freshly heated water from step on and add the noodles to the broth.


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