Once a week we round up some of the great tips readers have sent into the tip box. This week we’re looking at how to enable the NumLock by default, stripping ads from iOS apps, and turning Christmas lights into audio-responsive party lights.
Enable the NumLock Key On Boot Via Registry Hack
Parthiv writes in with a handy little registry hack to enable the NumLock key on boot:
I’d been Googling around for years, ever since I was still on Windows XP, for a way to get my keyboard to turn on the NumLock key by default. I could never find an option for it in the BIOS, which most sites suggested. I finally found the answer: you need a registry tweak! You need to change change all the data titled “InitialKeyboardIndicators” to a value of 2, but only the ones in which it was some sort of number to begin with, since some of the values were directories.
It took a while to find all of the data pieces in the registry, so I wrote up a .reg file to automate the process , which I’ve attached in a 7z file. I also included a file to undo the change, which sets those values to 0 instead.
Nice work Parthiv! We always appreciate it when readers write in with solutions like this instead of keeping it to themselves—now when someone performs a Google search in the future, looking for the same solution you were looking for, they’ll find your solution right here. We’re attaching the .REG files you shared here and, for readers who would prefer to review the text first and then execute it, here’s the contents of the NumLockOnBoot.reg file:
Disable In-App Adds On iOS
Nicole writes in with the following hack for disabling ads in iOS:
Normally I’m all about allowing ads in my web browser and apps to support a developer, but something finally drove me to hack the ads out of my iPhone. I’m totally happy to pay a few bucks to buy an app I like (to upgrade from the free to the pro version to get the ads to go away) but there are a couple apps I use that don’t have a pro version. The only version is the free version with ad support. The problem is… the ads get in the way and the interface of the app leads to me constantly hitting the stupid ad banner. I’d rather just give the developer some money to get rid of the ads but there is no option to even do so!
The solution I stumbled upon is Disable iAds for iOS. You need a jail broken phone and you need to add the Kokoabim repository (http://apt.kokoabim.com/ios) because the app isn’t in the main repositories like BigBoss. All you do is search for it, install it, and the ads vanish. It’s that simple.
We’re all about supporting developers too, Nicole, but we totally understand where you’re coming from. We’ve played a few games and used a few apps over the years where the ads and interface interacted in such a way that it made it very frustrating to use the app. If you can’t easily upgrade to a pro version to ditch the ad bar it often makes the interface unusable. Nice tip!
Hack Christmas Lights into Stereo Powered Party Lights
Mark writes in with a fun post-Christmas hack:
This one is an oldie-but-goodie, but I figured I’d send it in anyway. Now is a great time to score dirty cheap Christmas lights (my local big-box store has them at 70% off). Christmas lights are so easy to hack into new projects. One of my favorite Christmas light projects involves wiring your lights into your stereo so that the pulses of electricity flowing to the speakers actually modulate the brightness of the Christmas light strand. It’s a fun way to add some visual punch to your stereo. I’ve included a link to the YouTube video where I first learned how to do it.
One of the things on our to-do list is to finish wiring the surround sound system for the basement theater. This seems like the kind of hack that would be perfect for the times we’re turning on the Party Mode. Thanks for sharing!
Have a clever computer, electronics, or DIY tip to share? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and look for your tip on the front page.