Thursday, March 08, 2007


toothpasteMaybe everyone in the world knows this trick except me, but, just in case, I have to share.

The other night I was trying to set up my old laptop computer as a "ripping" station for my MP3 player. Basically, I wanted to use it to convert the contents of audio CD's into computer files which could then be saved on my portable audio player. In order to do this, though, I had to install the software that came with the MP3 player.

I dug through my files of installation disks and finally located the one I needed. When I tried to load the software, though, it failed. Nothing specific, but it just started spewing messages that it couldn't load this library and then the next library and then... Well, you get the idea. I fiddled around with the computer with no good results. Finally I took the disk out and turned it over. Somehow, the back of the disk had a huge scratch in it. Curses!

So, I went online to the manufacturer's site (Creative), to see if I could download the software from them. Nope. If I wanted it, I had to purchase a replacement CD. Drat! I'm constitutionally against spending money unnecessarily. So, I looked around to see what it would cost to purchase a CD repair kit. If it was cheaper than a new disk then I had my solution. In my researches, I came across the answer...


It turns out that you can use toothpaste to fix those minor scratches on the backs of CD's. Toothpaste is a mild abrasive and will smooth those scratches to the point that the reader can read past them again. The trick is to rub across the grooves in stright lines from the center to the edge and back, never in circles.

A few minutes later, after scrubbing the back of the recalcitrant CD, I had the software loaded and running on my laptop.

And everything was minty-fresh!

So, what's the strangest home technology remedy you've ever heard?

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