Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Smart Fact: Hibernating your PC saves as much energy as turning it off

is a tip to help save everyone time and energy. Rather than turning off your PC after every use, putting it in hibernate or standby mode will save just as much energy—using only 2.3 watts, which is essentially the same as if the computer is off. These modes also allow you to leave applications and documents open and pick up your work at a later time and ultimately help you save time by avoiding long start-up times. I would recommend hibernation rather than standby because it creates an image on your hard-drive of your current desktop and open applications so your work will still be there when you return. Stand-by is similar but it does not create an image, but rather turns off power to all peripherals except for the memory. Current applications should still be running when you bring the computer out of standby, but hibernation offers more security and reliability with the backup image.

Please visit Microsoft's overview page on PC hibernation and standby for more information.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Alternative Cat Toys

Category: Pets
Solution: Use everyday items to entertain your cats. For my cats, their favorite toys are not ones bought at Petsmart, but things like hair ties, milk rings, ping pong balls, and Q-Tips.
Alternative product cost: Minimal
Result: Highly entertained cats and less trips to the Petsmart to buy replacement toys.
Duration: As long as you want.
Original Options: Buy cat toys.
Origin of AU (Alternative Usage): My cats love regular cat toys, but they would rather play with hair ties, milk rings, and ping pong balls.







Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Smart Fact: A Warning About Duct Tape

Duct tape may be good for almost everything, but for one particular usage—bandage substitution—people need to be cautious. Since Duct tape is manufactured in factories that do not comply to certain health and safety standards for their products, Duct tape can pose a threat of infection if applied directly to a wound. The same thing goes for super glue. This is why medical tape and glue exist for consumer use. It is ok though to bandage up a wound with Duct tape if a gauze pad is placed between the tape and the wound.

Kickstand Can

Category: Motorcycles
Solution: Use a pop can to rest your kickstand on when parking on a penetrable surface (like hot asphalt or gravel).
Alternative product used and cost: Minimal
Result: Instead of having your bike's kickstand sinking into the hot asphalt or gravel, the pop can will provide a larger support surface for the kickstand to rest on. Thus, the bike will stay upright and not tip over.
Duration: As long as you want.
Original Options: Either parking your bike in a different place with a more solid surface or buying a motorcycle kickstand coaster/pad.
Origin of AU (Alternative Usage): Two classmates of mine ride motorcycles and use this trick.


Fix Holey Walls with Toothpaste

Category: House Maintenance
Solution: Use plain white toothpaste to fill in small holes in drywall.
Alternative product used and cost: Minimal
Result: If your walls are white, you'll have a clean patch of the wall and no noticeable holes.
Duration: Temporary (usually done before a moving out inspection)
Original Options: Buy Spackle
Origin of AU (Alternative Usage): The same classmate of mine that provided the stripped screw-hole fix.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Stripped Screw-hole

Category: Multipurpose
Solution: When a screw-hole has become stripped, instead of re-drilling the hole, insert a small and thin object (a match stick for a wooden hole or a piece of solder for a metal hole) and screw back in the screw. This will carve threads into the inserted object.
Alternative product used and cost: Minimal
Result: Creates a tight seal without having to re-drill the hole.
Duration: Permanent if the screw will not need to be taken out again. If the screw needs to be removed later on, the inserted object may need to be replaced.
Original Options: Buy a tap or a drill and new screws and re-drill the hole.
Origin of AU (Alternative Usage): A classmate of mine has used this trick for many reasons, like attaching a wooden door to a hinge.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Battery cables do not have a good connection with battery terminals OR battery terminals are corroding

Category: Automotive > Under the Hood > Battery Terminal Connection
Solution: Rub Vaseline on battery terminals.
Alternative product used and cost: Vaseline (< $1).
Result: A good, tight, and clean electrical connection (no corrosion) between the battery terminals and the cables.
Duration: Tends to wear off every eight months.
Original Options: Buy new tightening clips (> $15) or dielectric grease (> $10).
Origin of AU (Alternative Usage): A co-worker of mine said he has been doing this for a long time and says it is quick, easy, and effective.