From The Tips Box: Remote Stands, Android Speed

Readers offer their best tips for storing remote controls, creating ZIP files that extract themselves, and making your Android phone run a little smoother.

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

Store Small Remote Controls on Your Wall with Push Pins

Danny shows us a quick trick for hanging small remote controls for your gadgets:

This obviously only works for pretty small remotes, but here’s a pretty simple idea I’m using to store my iHome remote. I just stick a few push pins in the wall! (Of course, if you don’t want to put holes in your wall, a bulletin board will work too).

Use IExpress to Create Self-Extracting ZIP Files for Less Tech-Savvy Friends

Java-Princess unearths an old Windows tool that proves quite handy:

Windows 7 still has IExpress as part of its software complement. This ancient program from Windows 95 and now at version 2 lets you easily create self extracting zip files which will unzip to a prechosen location and will then optionally run an included script, exe, or run a program on the recipient’s computer to do something with the zipped files; in essence very much like an installer package. The program is wizard-driven and has extremely self-explanatory instructions on each page of the wizard. This is an excellent tool for sending stuff to your less than literate mum/granddad etc. One example is to send a bunch of photos which will extract themselves automatically to your mum’s My Pictures folder then run a slideshow immediately afterwards. Simply type iexpress.exe into your Start Menu search box to get going.

Smooth Out Android Transitions By Turning Off Wallpaper Scrolling

Nick shares an Android tip for those with laggy phones:

I was looking over all your tips for speeding up old Android phones, and I found one you didn’t mention. I disabled wallpaper scrolling, which makes the wallpaper stay stationary and only your home screen icons move (kind of like iOS). This makes everything a tad smoother, and also lets you use a lot more wallpapers since they don’t have to be square! I’m sure a lot of launchers have this option, but I found it in LauncherPro, under Preferences > Appearance > Disable Wallpaper Scrolling.

Quickly Re-Seal Leaking Toilets with Vaseline

Photo by Ishikawa Ken.

Andrew shares his MacGyver-y solution for his leaking toilet:

Every year or so, my toilet likes to start running. I usually first notice it when the quarterly water bill arrives and its 1/3 higher than normal. Sometimes I notice the sound of it leaking and then running for a second or two as I’m disturbed from my sleep. Obviously, the solution is to replace the rubber flap-thingy as they tend to stiffen out and no longer provide a proper seal. But if that’s not a solution a little petroleum jelly is. Simply smear a nice thick gob of it on the inside part of the flap that makes contact with the toilet bowl. It will form a new seal and is water proof and will actually last quite a few weeks or months… plenty of time to go spend the $US5 on a new flap. Of course, if you have one of those off-brand, non-standard toilets and you can’t just buy a new flap at the local hardware store, then applying fresh petroleum jelly to it every few weeks might be a more cost effective solution.

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