From The Tips Box: iPhone Wallpapers, Formatting Hard Drives

Readers offer their best tips for keeping track of your classes at school, using photos as wallpapers on your iPhone, and formatting hard drives when Windows is tempermental.

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

Tape Your Class Schedule to Your Student ID Card for Easy Reference

Photo by Karl Baron.

Mikepatt77 lets us know a good way to keep your schedule always on hand:

If you have a swipable card (i.e. school or workplace ID) that you use to constantly get in someplace or if you just constantly use your wallet, then write your schedule on a mini sticky note and put it inside the wallet with the card. That way whenever you go and swipe somewhere you’ll have to look at your schedule too.

Use Photos as iOS Wallpapers Without Covering Them Up

Johannah shares a clever home screen layout that lets her see her iPhone’s wallpaper:

I love iOS 4’s wallpaper feature, because I got to see a picture of my husband and I every time I turned on my phone. However, the icons kept cluttering everything up. Since I put everything in folders anyway, I just fit the picture to have some space along the top and voila! Now you can see your wallpaper and access your apps along the top of the screen.

This certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you are a wallpaper fanatic like many of us are, it’s a nice trick. Of course, if you have a ton of apps, it’s probably not a good idea, and folders make it much more bearable.

Format Drives Using an Xbox 360 When Windows Fails

Photo by Jamie McCall.

Dark Reality shares another way to format that external hard drive:

Want to format a hard drive FAT32, but Windows won’t let you? Connect it to an Xbox 360 and “configure” it. You can delete the “Xbox360” folder if you want, it’s just a 16GB virtual memory unit you can use. (Never mind the warning, it pops up on all hard drives, even ones that are faster than its own.) Maybe there are easier ways, but I just got a 500GB WD MyPassport, and I knew Windows wasn’t gonna let me, so I just had the Xbox do it. With FAT32 my drive can now be read by the 360, my DVD player, and somebody with a Mac or running Linux. I know Linux can read NTFS now, but I hear it’s limited. And I rock PortableApps at work, and it’s creepy coming home and seeing that the work computer has “ownership” over files on the drive. AFAICT FAT32 doesn’t have that attribute.

Lastly, I know you can Google for a command prompt hack, but why am I gonna do that when I can just make my 360 format the drive? I may or may not use it as a virtual memory unit (though, why not, I still have 484GB, and I have a ton of Rockband songs I can use it to carry around) but it’s faster than Googling a hack.

I usually use an Ubuntu live CD if Windows doesn’t cooperate, but this is pretty quick and easy, especially if you don’t have a live CD on hand.

Use Wasp and Bee Sprays to Kill Other Insects

KamWrex shares another household multitasker:

Have a spider you want to kill but want to keep your distance (I find that most spiders scurry away if you get close enough to mash it)? Most “long-shot” sprays that are used to kill wasps or bees also work very well on spiders.

Some may think this one’s a no-brainer, but many of us would also just not make the connection between bee spray and spiders, so it’s good to know.

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