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26 votes

Can I shut off my laptop's keyboard without turning off my computer?

Most operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) have some means of manually locking the screen. This will engage the screen saver (if you have one set) and require password entry before the system will ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 9,792
23 votes

What do I do with a desk whose varnish has worn away, and doesn't allow my mouse to work smoothly?

A mousepad may be an option :) Alternatively, in one case, I just took a single sheet of 8x12" white paper, and taped it to the desk... It worked perfectly. Every few months or so (depending on ...
Ditto's user avatar
  • 331
22 votes

Can I shut off my laptop's keyboard without turning off my computer?

BabySmash was created to allow a baby to smash away at a keyboard without doing any harm to the computer. It also draws nice patterns to keep baby amused. It may not amuse your cat but it should ...
PaulBBO's user avatar
  • 321
14 votes
Accepted

Physical Text To Digital Text

Use an android phone and the "Google Lens." feature recently added to the photos app and the camera photo review scrwwn. OCR via Google Lens is pretty amazing and accurate beyond any OCR software I'...
hlecuanda's user avatar
  • 529
14 votes

What do I do with a desk whose varnish has worn away, and doesn't allow my mouse to work smoothly?

If you don't mind your desk being covered, and you want to keep the large useful mouse area (so that a mouse pad is not enough), a large desk mat sounds like an option. These are essentially ultra-...
Neinstein's user avatar
  • 2,075
13 votes

How can I remove a stuck ethernet cable?

Dismantling the laptop would not work. Just get a small flat head screwdriver (the kind you'd use for spectacles) and pop it in along the plastic tab. It will push it further down than you may be able ...
Rory Alsop's user avatar
  • 1,195
13 votes

Is there any way to restore faded receipts?

Scan the receipt with a computer scanner, or even photograph it in a very even light with a cell phone, then use image editing software to enhance the contrast of the image. With this workflow, I ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 9,792
11 votes
Accepted

Avoiding headache while using screen for the whole day

Your work posture, lack of lighting and too-long workday are major health risks. Change your habits before it's too late. Too little light is a possible cause of headaches. To work comfortably on a ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 6,304
11 votes

How to prevent plugs from falling out of a wall socket?

Replace the receptacle. It's starting to fail. Learn what "break off tabs" are, and look for them. The receptacles should be able to hold a small wall-wart. If it can't, then the thing falling ...
Harper - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
11 votes

What to do with old contacts on phone that aren't used anymore?

Although it would take time, you could prefix all your older contacts with the word "OLD". For example: First name "OLD Joe" Last name "Blow" That way, you would keep the old contacts, but they ...
BrettFromLA's user avatar
  • 11.5k
11 votes

Finding primary keyboard keys in the dark - alternative to purchasing adhesive dots

Most ordinary (cheap or expensive) keyboards have a little bump on the home keys. A lot of keys can be found by dead reckoning from there, and the function keys, Esc, etc. on a full sized keyboard ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 404
10 votes

How can I safely destroy a hard disk?

TL;DR probably you don't need to, unless you want visual, physical proof of data loss. Chances are that what you really want to do is "be sure it cannot be read". Now you've probably heard that ...
LSerni's user avatar
  • 281
10 votes

How can I keep a USB mini 2.0 (or other) cable from tearing?

The connection between the wire and the connector is a very high-stress area, so the degree of flex the wire experiences at that point is substantial. Better-quality cables will typically include a ...
Robert Cartaino's user avatar
10 votes

I lost my equals key. now what?

Normally, the keys just pop out with a gentle lift. Find a key that you rarely use, pop it out and click it in place of your equals key. If you want, you can tape a piece of paper over the printed ...
Lefty's user avatar
  • 3,177
10 votes

Can I shut off my laptop's keyboard without turning off my computer?

On Linux, Ctrl+Alt+F2 to switch to a text console is pretty bulletproof. Only way back to the VC where you're logged in is Ctrl+Alt+F1 or F7, or alt+←/→. Or if your cat knows your password and can ...
Peter Cordes's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

What can I buy cheaply that is dense enough to hold this down?

Find or buy a rectangle of wood that is wide and long but not very thick. You may even be able to find a scrap piece at a lumber yard or around your home. Lay that down on your work table. It will act ...
BrettFromLA's user avatar
  • 11.5k
8 votes
Accepted

How can I safely destroy a hard disk?

I drive a 4" nail through the casing, near the motor. With a hammer and a bit of wood under the drive, it's easy. No need to open the case. If you have a nail gun, it is perfectly capable of driving ...
NL_Derek's user avatar
  • 294
8 votes

How to keep my phone number private, when I have to provide a way for students to contact me?

Set up a throw-away e-mail address (gmail, yahoo, aol, etc.). Then set up automatic forwarding on the server to your cell phone's text message address. If the server doesn't support this, a mail ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 9,792
8 votes

How would one digitize a thick book into a PDF version in the most time-efficient way, using only a camera and a computer?

You can convert your book to a PDF in about as much time as it will take you to read it through, maybe a bit longer. You will need a sheet of glass to hold the book, spread open, facing downward. ...
Stan's user avatar
  • 14.2k
8 votes

How to remove the broken part of the tip inside of the stylus of Sony Digital Paper DPT-RP1?

Maybe it would work if you heat a thin needle to the point where it melts the plastic the tip is made of, stick it into the stuck part, wait till it cools and solidifies, then pull the needle? Could ...
Headcrab's user avatar
  • 312
8 votes

How to prevent cables getting intertwined

Firstly, yes there is a cosmic law that covers cable entanglement... or at least there are papers that propose one. Such papers do concentrate on cables under a desk becoming spontaneously entangled....
Chenmunka's user avatar
  • 1,855
8 votes

Could I remove the back-light from an LCD screen and let sunlight illuminate it from behind?

You could do that; but, it's much simpler to make a laptop sun shade from a cardboard box. Open the flaps and put the box on its side. Put the laptop inside the box and the shadow will allow you to ...
Stan's user avatar
  • 14.2k
8 votes

How can I verify that I am talking to who he says he is?

The classic method for this, going back long before digital signing and public keys, never mind official documents, was to ask the other person a question only the two of you know the answer to. &...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 9,792
8 votes

Finding primary keyboard keys in the dark - alternative to purchasing adhesive dots

Sometimes, a good hack is a proper solution. Just buy a keyboard with lit keys. You can find plenty of them even at very low prices. If the keyboard is a laptop keyboard (you did not mention) then one ...
virolino's user avatar
  • 2,640
7 votes

How can I organize Micro SD Cards?

The credit card microSD card holder suggested by mattdm inspired me to make this. It's part of a foam insert from a cheap cell phone case. A lot of different products come with this common packaging ...
chicken260's user avatar
7 votes

How to straighten out an electrical cord without damaging it?

I've read you should warm them up a bit (in the sun for instance). I think you should combine this with hanging the cable with some weight attached to them (not too much weight that causes to stretch ...
Jeroen Bouman's user avatar
7 votes

How can I safely destroy a hard disk?

There are a few reasonable ways to do this. Destroying the platters Hard drives work by using magnetized platters. The easiest way to destroy these would be to simply open the hard drive casing (...
Connor Bell's user avatar
7 votes

How do I avoid the huge amounts of dust that collect around my computer?

Dust collects not due to static, but due to the computer fans drawing in air. The only way to avoid this, is to buy a computer that doesn't need fans (passive cooling). For now: don't place your ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 6,304
7 votes
Accepted

How do I childproof the power button on my computer without making it hard for me to get to?

The function of the power button is entirely defined by software. BIOS This can be a BIOS setting in the power management section. By default the power button (PWR) is set to always power off after a ...
Takkat's user avatar
  • 4,726
7 votes

Can I shut off my laptop's keyboard without turning off my computer?

Simple workaround: Open up a program like MS Paint. Maximize that window to take up the whole screen. Now those randomly pressed keys will just be ignored. If Shorty uses the track pad to move the ...
BrettFromLA's user avatar
  • 11.5k

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