Eight low-tech ways to revive broken gadgets

2. Old printer ink

Linda Bleck
Rice for wet phones. Hair dryers for old printer ink. Freezers for (some) iPod.

Blow-dryers may fry phones, but they can rejuvenate aging ink cartridges. Even when your printer insists that the well is dry, there can still be some ink encrusted inside or clogging up the nozzles.

Eject the cartridge, then warm it for a couple minutes, holding the hair dryer about two inches away. The heat will loosen up any dried ink. This only works once or twice per cartridge, but you should be able to eke out a few more pages.

3. Keeping PCs awake

Thanks to Hulu and Netflix streaming video, PCs increasingly stand in as TVs. But the new role isn't a perfect fit. A lot of computers tend to doze off partway through a movie, putting up a screen saver after 10 or 15 minutes.

To avoid having to jostle your mouse every few scenes, try placing an analog watch under it, where its laser sensor is. The ticking hands should be enough movement to keep your computer alert through a feature film.

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