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Wednesday, February 16 12:00 PM ET

BBspot Labs Tech Tips

11. To protect your investment in that new DVD-/+RW, soak five or six cotton balls in alcohol (the higher the proof the better), place them in the tray and close it then hit the eject button to open it back up. Do this several times. Don't worry if you lose one of the cotton balls, just replace it with a freshly soaked one.
10. Over time, sound cards can get clogged up and start sounding muddy. It's a good idea to periodically go into the sound control panel and turn all the volume sliders to maximum. Don't forget turn the speaker volume to max, as well.
9. Computer cases, like aquariums, can become dirty and develop a layer of scum on their inside. To keep your computer scum-free, it is a good idea to buy a few snails from the local pet store and place them inside.
8. Floppy disks are meant to be floppy, the floppier they are the better they work. You should, on a regular basis, bend your floppies back and forth several times to keep them from stiffening up.
7. Every now and then check for loose hardware. Turn your PC on then pick it up and shake it as hard as possible. If something wasn't installed tight enough, it will have shaken loose and and you'll be able to hear the rattle. Dropping the PC from a few feet onto the desk surface will accomplish the same results.
6. If your computer is locking up, it's because it's tired and sleepy. Pour some fresh-brewed coffee on the motherboard to wake it up.
5. Keep that 15,000 rpm SCSI drive free of contaminants and running smoothly by squirting lighter fluid on it once it's reached operating temperature.
4. If you've made unwanted changes to a document or spreadsheet, just use the handy "reset" button to reverse the changes.
3. When using a microphone and speakers, place them as close to one another as possible to achieve the maximum desired effect.
2. Make your own wireless devices. All you need to do is install the recommended wireless card then you can cut the wires off your keyboard and mouse with a regular pair of scissors.
1. If you currently have a glass top desk for your computer desk and you're thinking of getting an optical mouse, be aware that the mouse will not work correctly on the glass top desk. You will need to paint the bottom of the mouse a solid color. Black works best.


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