More juice from old gadgets

More juice from old gadgets
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First Published: Fri, Mar 20 2009. 09 12 AM IST

Updated: Fri, Mar 20 2009. 09 12 AM IST
1. Old computer as bare-bones typewriter: The reason why most old computers run slowly, stall and can’t handle heavy applications is because your operating system (OS) is not able to handle the load. There is nothing you can do except reinstall your OS and ensure that you choose to load and install only absolutely essential programs. While this may mean you choose Notepad over Window’s Word, your old laptop can be a saviour when your latest toy crashes, its battery drains out or it refuses to boot. The bare-bones computer can also be used to store important, although not frequently used files, folders and media. A little trick is to remove the old battery, clean all its contacts and charge it a few times to see if it works. If that fails, put it in a plastic bag and leave it overnight in your freezer. Take it out the next morning and then try again. It should work.
2. Mac dreaming: Don’t have enough yet to buy the Apple Mac? Don’t worry. You can run the prophetic Apple OS X on your existing computer. If you own an Asus Eee PC or a newer computer, you can simply load the new Apple OS on to it. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t support people using its operating system without buying hardware. In fact, it doesn’t encourage it. Most of these Mac OS X versions are available due to the diligent work of hackers, who might not be the most dependable sources of software. That said, for the more courageous, most of these versions of OS X can be found on a variety of Torrent sites. One word of caution. Ensure that your computer can handle the Mac OS requirements before you format your hard drive and lose all the important data stored within.
3. Powering up the Internet: Buying a new router to boost your Wi-Fi signal might have slipped a few priority points as of now. Yet you might not have to invest in new hardware. Instead, you can hack into your existing router and get more juice from it. Simply remove the existing firmware on your router with DD-WRT. This can be done by going to the router’s configuration page, something that is usually explained in detail in the owner’s manual. DD-WRT lets you do a number of things that your router manufacturer would rather that you not play with. With the DD-WRT, you can increase the power of your Wi-Fi signal, use different and more secure encryption standards and even get better quality Internet. Like all Linux-based solutions, DD-WRT is free.
4. Rekindle your PDA: Remember your old personal digital assistant (PDA)—the one that was forsaken for the new smartphone or netbook? You can now convert it into an eBook reader. Download Mobipocket eBook reader (Mobipocket.com) for free on your laptop. Connect the PDA to the laptop and sync it to Mobipocket. Type ‘www.manybooks.net’ into your laptop’s browser, select a book from the list and download the PDF version. Now transfer the book to your PDA through Mobipocket. The eBook will appear in your PDA’s ‘applications’ section.
5. Open up that old printer: If you have one of those old printers, you can get some cheap printing done at a much cheaper cost. Most inkjet printers have a reservoir—a holding cell for ink from cartridges. You need to open the printer to reach the reservoir and solve most of your problems. The most common problem is the accumulation of dry ink around the reservoir. Use paper towels or an old cotton rag to wipe it clean. Remove all the dust and grime stuck on the moving parts of the printer and it is up and ready for some more.
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First Published: Fri, Mar 20 2009. 09 12 AM IST