Like a famed race horse or a classic book, you don't just throw away a laptop because it's banged up a little. Even if it seems outdated and underpowered, most any laptop is still small, quiet, and relatively low on power consumption, making it a seriously valuable spare to keep handy—even without a working screen. With some free software, a little know-how and some creative thinking about your home network, nearly any old laptop can find its second wind, and today I'll run through some of the best ways to get it there.Photo by daveynin.
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Fix stuck pixels on your LCD monitor with web site Killdeadpixel. Like previously mentioned JScreenFix, Killdeadpixel unsticks pixels by displaying a quickly changing, high-contrast graphic over the pixel—but Killdeadpixel does it with a neat little draggable graphic, so you can just place the unobtrusive graphic over your stuck pixel and let it do its work. Despite the site's name (which is a misnomer), a stuck pixel is normally stuck showing red, green, blue, or a combination of those colors, and that is what this site can help with. A dead pixel, on the other hand, will display only black. Luckily dead pixels can be fixed with another method. Killdeadpixel
Sizing up a new monitor or television these days involves balancing way more than just inch counts—there are widescreen models, display ratios, and other factors that make simple size comparisons difficult. Enter Display Wars, a free web utility that lets you compare display sizes for televisions, monitors, and projection units in simple coloured rectangles and mathematical comparisons. You'll have to know a little bit about the units you're comparing, most importantly the aspect ratio, and it won't tell you much about resolutions and densities, but it's a good way point on the path to a better view.
If you've received a new laptop or LCD monitor recently (or might get one later this week), there's a good chance you received a "glossy" or "anti-reflective" screen with it—and a better chance it'll be pretty smudged by this weekend. Luckily, ZDNet's The Apple Core blog has a few tips on restoring a glossy screen's luster that apply to any system. Along with letting the monitor cool off and choosing a microfiber cloth, you should:Clean in small sections ... Dividing the display into small areas and then polishing until the entire screen is streak-free will work better than broad swipes with the cloth.Of course, your standard LCD cleaning rules apply to any screen. How do you keep your new glossy display from looking like an elementary school tech lab system? Offer up some wisdom in the comments. Photo by gepat.
Keep your cool when cleaning a glossy-screen Mac
If you're using a Linux-powered laptop with limited battery life, or you just want to darken your laptop screen for whatever reason, Tombuntu has a tip for you. To turn the monitor off and have it wake up at the touch of a mouse or key, create a shortcut using this command, or type it into a terminal:sleep 1 && xset dpms force off(Note: The "sleep 1 && " portion is only necessary for terminal commands). Any laptop can be set to darken its monitor after a certain amount of time, but even the quickest setting—15 minutes on mine—uses precious battery life if you need to look away. Adding this shortcut to a panel button or menu could come in handy.
Create a Virtual Monitor Power Button