There’s nothing inherently wrong with a product you buy off the shelf, but there’s definitely something awesome about hacking it to make it better. This weekend, throw your warranties aside and bring something new to the things you already own.
Hack Your Computers
Your computers are prime targets for a few great upgrades. For starters, you can boost your speed by overclocking your processor. This is even useful with low-powered processors like the Intel Atom. You can overclock your video card, too.
If you’re working with PC hardware, you can turn it into a hackintosh. (Although possible with a laptop, you probably want to avoid hackintoshing it. Netbooks, on the other hand, tend to work a bit better.)
While upgrading to a solid-state drive (SSD) isn’t always going to void your warranty, it will if you remove your MacBook’s optical drive to add it. (It’s also one of the best upgrades for an older computer, anyway.)
If you’re dealing with older machinery, there are plenty of ways to repurpose the computer for pretty much any room in the house. One of my favourites is turning an old laptop or netbook into a touchscreen tablet. Another favourite is turning it into a network-attached storage device and an internet PVR.
Hack Your Smartphones
The two most obvious smartphone hacks are rooting (for Android) and jailbreaking (for iPhone), but what do you do after that? For starters, check out some of our favourite Android apps that require root access and our favorite jailbreak apps and tweaks for iOS 5. For those of you on an iDevice, jailbroken or not, you’ll also want to check out how you can get the most out of Notification Center for some specific tips and apps to add more functionality. Personally, my favourite thing to do with either platform is turn your device into a retro game arcade.
But what about the actual hardware? There are plenty of ways to modify your smartphone or even your regular mobile, plus accessories you can make yourself. Our favourite is this binder clip car mount. iPhone owners have loads of customisation options such as a carbon fibre, metal, or wooden back plate. You can even design a custom glass panel if you want.
Hack Your Other Stuff
Computers and smartphones are easy to categorise, but some of the greatest warranty-voiding hacks come in the form of more niche (or at least less-popular and more specific) stuff. Here are some of our favorites:
- Create a wireless internet radio out of a router.
- Turn an old router into a home automation server.
- Turn a Pogoplug into a fully-functional Linux-based web server.
- Hack your Wii for homebrew games.
- Upgrade your Xbox 360 in several ways.
- Turn your $US30 headphones into a $US300 pair.
- Install headphones in your hoodie.
- Install XBMC on your Apple TV 2.
- Hack your monitor for better privacy.
- Charge an iPad with an IKEA solar lamp.
- Hack a stereo jack into a Bluetooth headset for wireless streaming.
For more options, check out our top 10 warranty-voiding hacks. Have a great weekend!