How-To Geek

From the Tips Box: Waterproof Boomboxes, Quick Access Laptop Stats, and Stockpiling Free Free Apps and Books


Once a week we round up some great reader tips and share them with everyone. This week we’re looking at building a waterproof boombox, quick access to laptop stats in Windows 7, and how to stockpile free apps and books at Amazon.

DIY Waterproof Boombox

Tim writes in with the follow summer-centric tip:

I’ve been slowly working on a waterproof boombox. I got the idea from a sweet build I found on Instructables, but I’m trying to scavenge as many parts as I can (as their build would cost me like $1000 if I bought all the premo parts they used). Still, the design itself and the way they packed everything in is really clever.

That is a pretty sweet build but after reading the comments on the tutorial and seeing how much the other tinkers were pricing the build out at, we don’t blame you for trying to scrounge up parts! Thanks for sharing!

Check Your Laptop Stats with Windows Mobility Center


Nicole writes in with the following tip:

I use my laptop for presentations and around the office all the time, so it’s important to be able to quickly check on various laptop-specific settings (like display configuration, battery left, wireless status, etc.). Sure, you can dig through various menus or check individual icons to see the status of those things, but Windows 7 has a pretty neat built-in tool called Windows Mobility Center. On laptops you can press Windows Key+X and it pops up to show you laptop-specific stats.

Well we certainly know a keyboard shortcut we’re going to be getting more use out of. Thanks for sharing!

Stockpiling Free Apps and Books Courtesy of Amazon


Sean writes in with the following free-loot tip:

I was messing around on my aging Android phone the other day and I discovered that you can grab free apps from the Amazon App Store even if you can’t use them on your phone (because it’s too slow or too old or whatever). Since I know I’m going to be upgrading my phone eventually, I just grab the apps anyway knowing I’ll be able to install them later. I do the same thing with books, actually. I’ve got the Amazon Cloud Reader and I send all the cool free Kindle books I find to the cloud reader, knowing that when I get a Kindle I can just shuttle them over.

That’s a clever way to secure your digital loot for the future; we often use our Cloud Reader to park free books we’d like to read in the future but don’t want to send immediately to one of our Kindles. Nice tip!

Have a tip or trick to share? Shoot us an email at and look for it on the front page.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/28/12

Comments (2)

  1. Anybodysguess

    Just checked the mobility center thing, it works in vista too.

  2. Anonymous

    Regarding the Waterproof Boombox: I see stuff like this all the time and I have to admit it sure looks cool. But it doesn’t really look all that portable. Does it?! I also have to wonder if these builders are aware of their own financial investment or even consider other ready-made solutions. For example, just looking around Walmart’s web page I was able to find at least 3 new boomboxes for under $25. And that has me wondering just what might be available at a garage sale or flea market! Furthermore, if you prepare just a little you can probably stock up on batteries for under $20 (maybe way under) too. That’s still less that $50 and you probably won’t be quite as upset when it all gets lost or destroyed.

    And another thing! Just how well do you think your neighbors are going to think of you when you start blasting them out with your music? (How do you like it when someone does it to you?!)

    My advice: Keep stuff like that in your car/truck/van or home where it belongs. Buy an iPod if you really want your tunes on the go. You’ll probably still save money.

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