Boing Boing 

41 home improvement tips

Here's yet another list of "DIY hacks." Some are silly, such as the tip to "Use a drink dispenser if you’re tired of looking at that ugly Tide bottle."

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Prevent car windows from steaming up with cat litter and a sock

This fellow says a sock filled with silica crystal cat litter will absorb moisture inside a car and keep the windows from steaming up.

Indispensable lifehacks to thrill and amaze

"For perfectly cooked burgers every time, go to a restaurant."

"How to tell if your avocado is ripe: squeeze it, then cut it open and see if it is ripe."

" No time to boil water? You must be incredibly busy if you don’t have time for that. I think you might be overextending yourself. Take a look at your schedule and see if there are some things you could re-prioritize. You may be headed for a burn-out."

{hacks} 13 Amazing Food and Life Hacks You Need to Know Right Now

Walking for 5 min/hour prevents negative health effects of sitting


In "Effect of Prolonged Sitting and Breaks in Sitting Time on Endothelial Function," forthcoming in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers from IU Bloomington report on a study that holds out hope for anyone worried about the health effects of prolonged sitting.

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Beat your brain's stupid hyperbolic discounting

Dispassionately, we know that cheating on our diets or procrastinating on our stupid deadlines isn't worth it, but our stupid brains treat most future consequences as if they're worth nothing, while treating any present-moment benefits as though they were precious beyond riches -- so how do you get the "hyperbolic discounting" part of your brain to shut up and listen to reason?

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Habits for living a more rational life


From the Center for Applied Rationality, a "Checklist of Rationality Habits" intended to help you spot when you're tricking yourself. One of my favorites is the next-to-last: "I try not to treat myself as if I have magic free will; I try to set up influences (habits, situations, etc.) on the way I behave, not just rely on my will to make it so."

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Amazing ways to improve your fruit-preparation technique

Hull strawberries with a straw, cube a watermelon in the rind, easy-peel oranges, de-seed a pomegranate, extract a mango with a drinking glass (best in show) and peel a kiwi with a spoon.

(via Lifehacker)

Mac users: replace your dock with StatusDuck

David makes fun of me for having so many Menu Bar items. Now that I am using StatusDuck ($15, free to try), he has even more fodder. Lifehacker has the details:

Once you start StatusDuck, all your applications and folders from your dock appear in the menu bar. From there, the menu bar works exactly the same as the dock. You can launch apps, open folders, switch between apps, drag items to the trash, and whatever else. You can also hide any apps you don't want cluttering up the menu bar.

How to survive travel


Some bloody good advice: get there really early, opt out of the pornoscanner, bring a white flu mask, headphones and a set of noise-cancellers.

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How to recreate the sounds of "Forbidden Planet"

In each episode of the Gadgets podcast we recommend technology we love and use. Xeni, Jason, and Mark check out a pro-quality food dehydrator, a camera lens and eyeglass cleaning brush, a cool synthesizer kit, and more!Read the rest

Our favorite smart phone gadgets [Gadgets 007]

The editors of Boing Boing recommend technology they love and use. Xeni, Jason, and Mark check out a Bluetooth speaker, an earphone cord manager, a compact phone recharger, snap-on earpod clips, an app for insomniacs, and more.Read the rest

Cat Paint, Bike GPS, and an Audeze headphones giveaway [Gadgets 006]

In each episode of Gadgets the editors and friends of Boing Boing recommend technology they love and use. This time Xeni, Jason, and Mark talk about Cat Paint for iOS, a GPS device for bikes, ambient sound maker for human babies, a great $14 pocket knife, a wireless home security camera, plus an exclusive giveaway for a pair of Audeze LCD 2 Bamboo ($1,000 value)!Read the rest

Tiny wearable camera, rubber band loom, Picklemeister [Gadgets 005]

In each episode of Gadgets the editors and friends of Boing Boing recommend technology they love and use. This time Xeni, Jason, and Mark talk about superior shoelace replacements, a rubber band loom, a wearable camera, a krautmaker, a handheld marine VHF radio, and a fitness tracker with a 1-year battery. Plus a great website for finding free fonts.Read the rest

A question to ask yourself before you accept any invitation

Kevin Kelly told me about this trick a couple of years ago and it has helped me tremendously: "Anytime anyone invites you to do anything, ask yourself this question before you accept: Would I do it tomorrow?"

David Plotz of Slate has more on the power of this magic question.

Pizza stone, magic trick, game timer, hotel outlet adapter [Gadgets 004]

In each episode of Gadgets the editors and friends of Boing Boing recommend technology they love and use. This time Jason and Mark talk about the best chess timer for Scrabble players, a fantastic pizza stone, a compact 3-outlet adapter for hotel use, and a great magic trick for under $5. Plus, a website that converts PDFs to Kindle format.Read the rest

Email considered harmful


Clive Thompson writes about the growing body of evidence about the negative impact of electronic messaging on workplace productivity. Not only has the smartphone extended the working week to something like 75 hours for the US workers in a recent survey, but some daring experiments suggest that when limits are put on electronic messaging (for example, a ban on out-of-hours emailing), that productivity and quality of work soars -- along with the happiness and quality of life of workers (these two phenomena are related). Some businesses have banned electronic messaging altogether, requiring workers to physically traverse their workplaces and exchange vibrating air molecules in order to coordinate their activities.

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Filtered: free/open IMAP filter

Jeff writes, "Filtered is a new free/open source IMAP mail filtering application which provides automated routing of email based on per sender settings. You can train Filtered via its web UI or by dragging and dropping email to folders in your email account. Filtered can also learn from the contents of your existing folders."

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HOWTO unshrink a garment

Ever shrunk a garment in the dryer? I'm a laundry freak, and a pretty careful one, but I know I've done it (and inevitably, it ends up ruining something my wife's just bought). Turns out there's a way to unshrink clothes: soak them in baby shampoo or hair conditioner, then stretch them out (ideally, by wearing them) as they dry.

Better way to eat mandarin oranges


Back in 2010, Jewel Pie illustrated this great method for eating mandarin oranges: slice off the top and bottom, then unroll the fruit into a peel-backed strip of sections.

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Complete meal cooking with a hotel coffee-maker


Inspired by her nephew's stories of bad food at the mess hall when he was on deployment in Afghanistan, retired photographer Jody Anderson created a recipe-book of meals that could be prepared using a coffee-maker (soldiers were allowed to have coffee-makers in their rooms), and posted some online. Coffee-makers are quick to clean, and the different stages of the coffee-maker give you different, simultaneous, cooking options (grilling, poaching and steaming). All useful stuff for frequent travellers: beats the old "cooking salmon in three thicknesses of foil using the ironing-board and iron" technique.

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Opening a can without any tools

The self-described Crazy Russian Hacker of Youtube demonstrates in eye-watering detail a method for tool-free can opening: just grind down the can's rim on a handy block of concrete, then squeeze. The stunt is repeated several times, just to be sure you've absorbed the technique in all its complexity. It's all framed in post-apocalyptic terms, naturally: a kind of Russo-Survivalist Youtube version of Three Men in a Boat.

How to Open a Can without Can Opener - Zombie Survival Tips #20 (via Neatorama)

HOWTO make a bathtub-cleaning scrub-bit for your cordless drill

By attaching a lag bolt to a plastic scrubbing brush, you can make a cordless-drill-powered polishing brush for sinks and tubs. Manly Housekeeper's howto make the process look simple, and you can't argue with the sparkling results.

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Popular Mechanics: The 110 Best DIY Tips Ever

To celebrate their 110th anniversary, our friends at Popular Mechanics assembled a collection of 110 tips from their archives.

The August 1955 issue told a farsighted person to punch a pinhole in cardboard and peer through it to read small type. It still does the trick!

Unfuck your Habitat: the app


I blogged the site Unfuck Your Habitat, which offers timely, humane, simple advice for people who struggle with mess and disorganization . Today there's "MAKE YOUR BED: excuses are boring" and a brief post on getting sex stains off a comforter, though a more typical bedtime post reads:

Unfuck tomorrow morning

* Wash the dishes in your sink
*Get your outfit for tomorrow together, including accessories
*Set up coffee/tea/breakfast
*Make your lunch
*Put your keys somewhere obvious
*Wash your face and brush your teeth
*Charge your electronics
*Pour a little cleaner in the toilet bowl (if you don’t have pets or children or sleepwalking adults)
*Set your alarm
*Go to bed at a reasonable hour

All of this simple and useful stuff has been packaged into a new Android app that's simple and cute -- good advice, timers for short sprints of cleaning (along with suggestions, room by room, for said sprints), a wall commemorating your achievements, and the same friendly, understanding, compassionate approach to "terrifying motivation for lazy people with messy homes."

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Video of illustrators drawing in the Hobonichi Techo day planner

In September I wrote about the Hobonichi Techo, a cult-favorite Japanese day planner that will soon be made in an English version. Here's a fun video (with happy music) that shows illustrators drawing in copies of the planner.

32 helpful everyday tips

I'm not sure if these 32 tips really work, but I'm going to give them a try. Here are four:

  • Stop: Stop: Play. Skip advertisements in movies and go straight to the movie.
  • When receiving a call from a solicitor, simply press 9; the call will be dropped and your phone number is then put on the companies do not call list. 95% of companies support this feature.
  • If you are speeding and suddenly up ahead see a cop that clearly just tagged you, slow down and wave to him/her. Your odds of being pulled over are quite a bit reduced.
  • Get the WiFi password for many establishments by checking the comments section of FourSquare.

32 Real Life Cheat Codes That Will Change Your Life

A beloved Japanese day planner goes global

I'd not heard of the Hobonichi Techo day planner until I read this interview with the publisher. An English version is coming out soon and I want one.

[I]n Japan there is one planner that for some years has been gathering a huge following. The Hobonichi Techo. (Techo — pronounced “tetch-oh” — means “handbook”.) One thing that makes it unique is that it is produced by the web media site Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun (or Hobonichi), but more than anything it is the sense of affection and camaraderie it has created amongst its users that has lifted it above the rest: “I use a Hobonichi Techo.” “So do I.” “Me too!” So the conversation goes.

And now, from this autumn, the English version of the Techo, the Hobonichi Planner, is due to go on sale worldwide. Tom Vincent sat down with the editor-in-chief of Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun and the person who created the Hobonichi Techo, Shigesato Itoi, to learn all about how the planner came to be.

Hobonichi Planner going global — PingMag talks to Shigesato Itoi

37 Conversation Rules for Gentlemen (1875)

The Art of Manliness has reprinted "37 Conversation Rules for Gentlemen" from a 1875 book entitled, A Gentleman’s Guide to Etiquette by Cecil B. Hartley. The rules are still valid!

33. When asking questions about persons who are not known to you, in a drawing-room, avoid using adjectives; or you may enquire of a mother, “Who is that awkward, ugly girl?” and be answered, “Sir, that is my daughter.”

37 Conversation Rules for Gentlemen

How Edmund Wilson said NO



Update: Here's Mark's first post of this, from 2009


Here's literary critic Edmund Wilson's form-letter for turning down requests from strangers. As Tim Ferriss notes, Wilson wasn't a hermit or antisocial, but he maximized the time he spent socializing with the people he liked by not letting strangers gobble up his time:

Edmund Wilson regrets that it is impossible for him without compensation to:

read manuscripts
< contribute to books or periodicals
do editorial work
judge literary contests
deliver lectures
address meetings
make after-dinner speeches
broadcast;

Under any circumstances to:

contribute to or take part in symposiums
take part in chain-poems or other collective compositions
contribute manuscripts for sales
donate copies of his books to libraries
autograph books for strangers
supply personal information about himself
supply photographs of himself
allow his name to be used on letter-heads
receive unknown persons who have no apparent business with him.

The Best Decline Letter of All-Time: Edmund Wilson (via Making Light)

Minimalist Parenting: Getting Things Done meets childrearing


Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less is a just-published book by Asha Dornfest (of Parenthacks) and Christine Koh. It's a simple, short, entirely sensible guide to escaping social expectations and personal childrearing anxiety. It's a book about figuring out the parenting choices that'll make you and your family the happiest, and to clearing your life of all the stuff that's been foisted on you as a must-do for modern parenting.

There's a lot of Getting Things Done in here (tailored for parenting), a lot of general life-hacking, and a lot of free-range parenting. For me, it was just the right balance of time-saving tips, techniques for figuring out your own priorities, and specific advice about schools, holidays and birthdays, vacations, chores, allowance, and all the other minutae of parenting. It's a great book for new parents and for those of us already mid-adventure.

Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less