This week at Lifehacker: Mod your Xbox in ten minutes. Buff out scratches on the back of your iPod. Prepare for disaster with an encrypted thumb drive. Find wifi in the sky next flight you book. Kid-proof electrical outlets with clear duct tape. Finally, build a marshmallow gun for some fun with your
Ah, my dear Xbox, why do you sell yourself so short? Live up to your potential, I say! With that big hard drive and ethernet port, you're so much more than just a gaming console, yet so pathetically underutilized. Happily, the geeky cartoon characters at TechFreaks offer instructions on how to mod your Xbox and void your warranty in ten minutes using a memory card, a copy of Splinter Cell, an internet connection and some h4x0r f1l3z, so your Xbox can BE ALL THAT IT CAN BE, good soldier that it is.
You remember how it felt, the moment you opened up the cardboard cube and plucked that virginal white and shiny silver iPod from it. You charged it up, loaded your music collection, popped in the headphones, and then you were living the dream, instantly transformed into a dark, dancing silhouette on a purple background with white wires running from your ears.
You also remember how it felt two hours later, when you noticed the back of your brand new 'pod was already sporting a gash from rubbing up against all the crap in your pocket. Fear not, my friend! A can of Brasso and some elbow grease will smooth down the back of your little status symbol quicker than Bono can sing that damnable song.
Hurricanes, tsunamis, fires, terrorists - when the next disaster strikes, will you have all your important financial documents on hand? Getchyerself an encrypted USB thumb drive, scan in those insurance papers and the deed to the house, type up all your important account information and emergency numbers, and save. Then, on the way out of the house you'll grab Spot plus the keychain drive and rest easy that night at the shelter knowing you've got everything you need to rebuild your financial life, if not your leveled home.
Speaking of terrorists, no U.S. airline offers Boeing's Connexion wireless internet service on airplanes. (Have they already won?) International airline travelers, however, are surfing the 'net and making VOIP calls at 35,000 feet from several carriers at this point. Check out our list of carriers with wifi in the sky when you book your next international flight.
Parents of toddlers with small fingers drenched in baby drool all ready to poke into live electrical outlets, you have a choice: buy those lame pre-made plastic outlet plugs, or turn to the ultimate DIY tool, duct tape. Cover up the outlets in your house with a little clear duct tape for a clean look and a happy baby who never does the "Help I'm Getting Electrocuted" dance.
What does one do when one has some left over PVC pipe and a bag of mini marshmallows? One shoots the 'mallows at anyone within a few feet, of course. Instructables has a plan for building a marshmallow gun out of PVC pipe.
Your cubemate is just asking for one of these dingers off the back of his head.
Lifehacker's Power User column appears every Wednesday on Gizmodo.