Nobody likes an operating system that's full of unnecessary stray files, 20 annoying apps that start up when you fire up your computer, and other crap that slows down your system, makes your desktop feel disorganized, or gives you a headache whenever you're trying to work (or game). Thankfully, there are a number of free apps that can help you clean your Windows PC.
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Can you remember the last time you cleaned your desktop PC? I don't mean wiping some guacamole off the the side of the case during a burrito binge. I'm talking about going in there and really getting all the accumulated dust out of your expensive parts (and fans). Spring cleaning your system isn't hard to do, but it's critical to your system's longevity -- and helps your computer look a lot less gross.
Whacking a pomegranate with a spoon is a pretty easy way to get to the delicious ruby-coloured treats inside, but it can still be a little messy. The above video shows you how to de-seed the infamously messy fruit without the red splatters.
Nothing spoils the thrill of a new gadget or CD/DVD like the fingernail torture of trying to get glued-on labels and stickers off it. The Gomestic blog suggests a remedy using peanut butter, that great pacifier of kids (and adult cravings). Massage a little dab onto and around the area that's gunky, and you'll eventually wipe off a clean surface. One Dumb Little Man guest-blogger claims to have tested the method, and the Gomestic post suggests that the gooey stuff also helps with glue spills in general. Don't have a jar handy? Try using a standard pink eraser. 10 Amazing Uses for Peanut Butter
You can head down to your local stereo store and get fleeced for about $150 (or more) to buy a good pair of noise reduction headphones; or you can watch this video demonstration from Metacafe on how to hack your very own noise reducing headphone set for around $20. You can find the headphones that the video talks about at any home improvement store—all together, this simple DIY project takes about five minutes (not counting your visit to the store). Definitely worth a try, especially since these things are so dang expensive.
Headphone Hack! Make You Own Noise Eliminating Headset! Video
If you've been following the evolution of the One Laptop Per Child campaign, you know that along with working to bring cheap computers to kids in developing countries, they've also developed an awesome rugged laptop with an indoor/outdoor screen, no moving breakable parts, which requires no external power source, and has mesh networking capabilities. Very cool.
Prototypes of the OLPC have been passed around at various geek conferences in Australia recently, but now they're opening up a limited "Give 1 Get 1" program so you can fund a laptop for a child in the developing world, and get one for yourself or your own child:
"Starting November 12, One Laptop Per Child will be offering a Give 1 Get 1 Program for a brief window of time. For $US399, you will be purchasing two XO laptopsâ€”one that will be sent to empower a child to learn in a developing nation, and one that will be sent to your child at home."
Sounds like an awesome way to do some good, and get your hands on an awesome piece of technology. I suspect I know what a few altruistic geeks will be finding under their Christmas tree this year.
Popular web-based instant messaging service Meebo now supports file transfer, meaning you can share files with your contacts over Meebo IM on the web—whether your contacts are using Meebo or not. You'll need to have registered with Meebo (a free and painless process) in order to send files from their web interface, but anyone can receive files. Unreliable IM file transfer has always plagued me, so I'm happy to report that my transfer tests with Meebo went swimmingly.
If you prefer managing your calendar on the desktop with iCal but you really wish you could take advantage of SMS reminders like Google Calendar offers, reader Colby Pash suggests a simple, smart tip for creating SMS reminders with iCal:
As you know, text message inboxes have email addresses—for instance, [email protected] (for Verizon users). If you add your phone's email address as an emailing option in your Address Book vCard, you can choose it as an option to email a reminder. Set the date, time and reminder and, Bam—you have a cell phone reminder.While this idea isn't a breakthrough (we've covered sending SMS messages from email before), it is a smart and clever application of email-to-text capabilities. Just make sure your computer's on when you need it. Thanks Colby!
The blog instant fundas offers a guide to installing any Linux distro directly from hard disk - saving you from using CD/DVD media. Obviously this will only work if you're running a Windows/Linux dual booting system (something I'm seriously considering after I wasted my Sunday trying unsuccessfully to get my Vista box onto my wireless network).
I liked this tip because I hate wasting CDs/DVDs - both because it's a waste of money, and because it's adding to landfill. (That reminds me, I should stock up on some rewritable disks). :)