10 Seriously Ridiculous Hacks

Use a rubber band to hold your phone on your head? Why not? But we'd caution against stringing an extension cord to the swimming pool to power your gadgets.

A Techie's Gotta Do What a Techie's Gotta Do

Oh, no--your PC's crashing again, and you have a sneaking suspicion that it's the hardware. What to do, what to do? Should you suck it up and pay the $200 or more for a "professional" to look at it?

Or should you try to fix it yourself?

You know that PC World has all sorts of how-to guides on fixing failed electronics (such as your laptop, your MP3 player, and your other hardware), but what if you can't even get online to read our sage advice?

Eh, just do it your own way--like the crafty folks in this slide show did. Allow me to introduce you to ten of the most low-down, low-tech hardware hacks we've ever seen. We do, however, have to commend them for their creativity and hard work.

Computer Fan Repair

Bucket: Found in the trash

Dictionary: $5 at a garage sale

Leaf-blower: Wife bought it for my birthday

Look on my tech-buddies' faces when they see my sweet new fan: Priceless

Yessirree, folks, instead of following something similar to our handy little repair guide, this computer owner decided to have a go at it all by himself.

Perhaps this fix-it guru didn't have the money to spring for an extra computer fan? It appears as if he just poked around his garage until he found something that would do the trick.

And, wow, look at the size of that thing! Let this be a lesson to you, wayward computers--overheating will not be tolerated.

Photo: Courtesy of

Cheap, Waterproof, All-Phone-Compatible, Hands-Free Solution

So, you've been looking for a snazzy new Bluetooth headset, have you? Well, let me cut you a deal: I have a hands-free headset that is guaranteed to work with any and all cellular phones--whether they're Bluetooth-enabled or not.

You know what, it might even work with your regular landline phone, too. And it's so cheap, it's practically free. Don't get stuck paying $80 for a Bluetooth device that might not work with your phone--this incredible new device can be yours for only $3.49 per pack of 24!

And, if I haven't yet convinced you, here's another guarantee: Nobody will ever think you're talking to yourself on the street.

Photo: Courtesy of Xolile Myoyo

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Wireless Technology

This setup actually reminds me of the good old days, back when wireless was only a dream. My father bought a 100-foot ethernet cable and strung it from the living room, through the TV room, down the hallway, past my brother's room, into my room, and behind my desk. Looks: -10 Internet access: + 100

That was seven years ago. Now you have wireless access at your local library, at the park, on the highway--heck, probably even your dog has wireless. And the cost of five extralong LAN cables versus one cheap wireless router? Just about the same. Seems like this tech expert should check out our guide to buying home networking products. They would require a lot less masking tape.

Photo: Courtesy of

Sick of Extension Cords

It is kind of annoying to move into a new apartment and to have to arrange your furniture and home entertainment system around the electrical outlets. You've just put up some awesome shelves, for instance, but your TV cord is a few inches too short to reach the nearest outlet. The obvious solution? Put electrical outlets everywhere.

Or, um, use an extension cord.

To be fair, the electrical-outlet pattern is rather alluring. Every PC World editor who saw this photo wants this setup in his or her home office.

Just Microwavin' Files...

Imagine this: You're in the middle of a World of Warcraft mission, and you suddenly feel an intense craving for the delicious cheesiness of a well-microwaved Hot Pocket. But you can't get up, because you're the only healer in your group and your team needs you.

If only your computer doubled as a microwave. Then you could pop open the screen, throw in the delicacy, and have it cook while you battle the Lich King!

Unfortunately this microwave case mod doesn't work both ways (it works only as a PC; the oven contains the wiring). But think of the possibilities--the delicious, cheesy possibilities.

We Showed You, Verizon

Hey, sometimes you drop your cell phone before the two-year contract is up, and you really don't want to pay the unsubsidized price of $600 for a new phone.

I can understand. Apparently this LG EnV2 has gone through an impromptu fix, which--assuming the keyboard isn't unusable--looks like it might work fairly well.

This is actually a pretty good hack, considering that the EnV2 is a flip phone that opens up to a full QWERTY keyboard. This user will probably get a lot more life out of this phone, and all because he or she wasn't the type to give up on technology.

Photo: Courtesy of

Universal Remote

To be fair, whenever I've tried to set up a universal remote, I've found that every single electronic appliance (television, cable box, stereo, remote-controlled shower head, alien-viewing-platform door) works perfectly, except for one thing. Most often, it's the television volume control.

So you end up with a sweet universal remote that controls everything from your automatic coffee-generating robot to your fifteen-speaker surround-sound stereo, and one lame television remote that controls the TV volume--which, of course, totally defeats the purpose of a universal remote.

Why spend all that money to have two remotes, when you can just strap six remotes to a piece of cardboard and have your very own, makeshift "universal" remote? Exactly, my friends. Exactly.

Photo: Courtesy of

Twittering Toilet

When I first heard about hacklabTOilet, a toilet that sends out a tweet every time it's flushed, my immediate reaction was "How…banal."

But then, of course, I remembered that everything about Twitter is banal. In a world where people just don't give a you-know-what, why not a twittering toilet?

Considering what most of my tweets look like ("4:46 PM, Sept. 10 - i can't remember if i locked my car! agh!"..."1:47 PM, Sept. 17 - so bored"..."11:27 AM, September 30 - deadmau5 in LA?!"), a toilet probably has more frequent tweets, if not more interesting ones.

Pool Party Plus Electricity Equals Bad Outcome

You're Invited!

When: Saturday

Where: Jimmy's backyard

What: Classy pool party

Hey there, neighbor! Just wanted to drop you a note to say that we're having a party this weekend to celebrate our brand-new above-ground pool! It'll be tons of fun--we'll supply the drinks, food, pool, and electricity, and you supply yourself! Our new above-ground pool has an island/poolside bar and grill, so rest assured that it'll be a great time! Looking forward to seeing you and the kids!

Yes, I'm not sure what to say about this setup, either. Except that I really, really hope those electrical cords are not plugged in. And that this would be a great time to try out a waterproof camera.

Photo: Courtesy of

Pure Corrugated Power

Look at all those fancy case mods, with their snazzy lights and shiny exteriors. We don't need that high-class yuppie stuff here in America--we've got cardboard, a couple of Sharpie pens, and duct tape. (The American Way pretty much always involves duct tape.)

We'll show those snobs what we think of their pretty LEDs and spiffy chrome! Yeah--pure corrugated power! Hey, you'd better write that on the front, just so people know. Sweet. Even if you snobs think we're crazy, there's at least one thing you can't argue with: Nobody's going to steal OUR computer.

You may also enjoy:

* Hot Prototypes: We Have Designs on Tomorrow's Coolest Gadgets Today

* Tough Tech: Rugged Gear That Can Survive Almost Any Calamity

* G.I. Joystick: New Video Games Train Today's Troops

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld's Editors