Man with no free hands rings doorbell

This video illustrates the second-best way to ring a doorbell if you have no free hands. Read the rest

Why switching attention from one thing to another wrecks your productivity

"Every time you switch your attention from one target to another and then back again, there’s a cost," Cal Newport said in a New York Times interview. "This switching creates an effect that psychologists call attention residue, which can reduce your cognitive capacity for a non-trivial amount of time before it clears." Newport has a new book that explores this and related ideas, called Digital Minimalism.

From the New York Times:

The second rule is to “embrace boredom.” The broader point here is that the ability to concentrate is a skill that you have to train if you expect to do it well. A simple way to get started training this ability is to frequently expose yourself to boredom. If you instead always whip out your phone and bathe yourself in novel stimuli at the slightest hint of boredom, your brain will build a Pavlovian connection between boredom and stimuli, which means that when it comes time to think deeply about something (a boring task, at least in the sense that it lacks moment-to-moment novelty), your brain won’t tolerate it.

Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock Read the rest

Here's why you shouldn't rinse dishes before putting in the dishwasher

Don't rinse food particles from dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. If you do, the detergent won't have anything to cling to and your dishes won't get as clean.

From Mental Floss:

One of the arguments against pre-rinsing is that certain detergents are designed to cling to food particles, as the Cascade detergent brand informed The Wall Street Journal in 2015. Without a surface to stick to, your dishes won’t get as squeaky clean.

Consumer Reports offers another explanation. According to the product-testing magazine, newer dishwashers—those purchased within the last five years or so—won’t wash your dishes for very long if the sensors in the machine don’t detect much dirt in the water. “When that happens, the dishwasher gives them just a light wash, and items come out less than sparkling,” Consumer Reports's Ed Perratore wrote in 2016. “To avoid that lackluster result, don’t rinse; just scrape off bits of loose food.”

There’s also a major environmental factor to consider. One mind-blogging statistic from Consumer Reports states that the average person wastes 6000 gallons of water a year by pre-rinsing. Most dishwasher machines use just 3 to 5 gallons of water per load, while the average person uses about 27 gallons when washing dishes by hand, according to The National Resource Defense Council.

Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock Read the rest

Why you should never return lost property in person

A man who returned a lost cellphone was charged with theft by cops. The rationale: because he took it home first rather than instantly handing it in, he had stolen it. They got him because he returned it, in person, a day later, providing his name, just like criminals do.

Two weeks ago, Conkling went to the Subway near 135th Street and Metcalf Avenue to get a sandwich during his lunch break. As he got out of the car, he told 41 Action News he found a cracked iPhone lying on the ground.

"It was beat up and destroyed," he said. "I didn’t think it would work. I thought I would take a look at it when I got off work to see who it belonged to." ...

There is no law requiring a person to return a found item within a certain amount of time. However, Overland Park police told 41 Action News Conkling should have brought it into the Subway immediately after finding the phone.

The case was dropped, but only after the local TV station made a fuss.

The problem with turning in lost property is that it's not only talking to the cops, you're bringing them evidence against you.

Just find out who it belongs to and get it back to them anonymously. Or maybe just throw their $1000 anxiety box in a trashcan and not have to deal with any of this nonsense at all. Read the rest

Slow reading is better than speed reading

Context, contemplation, careful study: things all but lost in the modern rush to shovel information into our eyeballs. Here's The Indy on slow reading, the antithesis of speed reading.

By default, most people read as quickly as they’re comfortable with – this happens without any conscious effort. To start slow reading, you read as slowly as you’re comfortable with – it should feel comfortable, not labored. The goal is to achieve an enjoyable experience – slow reading should never be stressful.

There's nothing new here, not even the term, found in Nietzsche ("perhaps one is a philologist still, that is to say, a teacher of slow reading") more than a hundred years ago. But the Slow movement is recent, dating to Roman irritation at the opening of a McDonalds there in the 1980s. Read the rest

When staying at a hotel, tip the people who clean up after you

Working as a housekeeper at a hotel is a disgusting, thankless job. Read the rest

Easy way to thread a needle

"Bless you, child, when you set out to thread a needle don’t hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that’s the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t’other way." -- Huckleberry Finn

Here's an even easier way:

Threading a needle

Read the rest

How to put posters on a wall without holes

I'm not sure why Google translate thinks a magnet (磁石) is a "masturbation stone" but this is a good tip, nevertheless. Simply tape paper clips to the wall and then secure your poster with small masturbation stones.

[via Lifehacker] Read the rest

The best way to get rid of dog hair is this rubbery sponge

Though it looks like a normal sponge, the Gonzo Pet Hair Lifter – a brick of latex mattress material – has a peculiar tacky texture. It's easy to mistake for other "clever" sponge products, such as those covered in suede, cellulose or microfiber or whatever, but it's much better for dealing with fuzz. It's the most effective thing for dealing with dog hair I've ever tried, in fact, and I'll never go back to adhesive lint rollers or static brushes after risking $6 on it. Read the rest

Reasons to switch to Firefox

I keep saying I'm going to de-Google my digital life, quitting services such as Gmail and software such as Chrome. So Joel Lee's recent article, 9 Reasons to Switch From Chrome to Firefox, lights a bit of a fire under my feet. In précis: everything bad about Firefox from a few years back is fixed, and now it is Chrome that is bad.

1. Firefox Is Better for Battery Life 2. Firefox Is Better for Tab-Heavy Users 3. Firefox Knows It’s Just a Browser 4. Firefox Embraces the Open Source Mindset 5. Firefox Actually Cares About Privacy 6. Firefox Allows More Customization 7. Firefox Supports Chrome Extensions 8. Firefox Boasts Unique Extensions 9. Firefox Can Do What Chrome Can (Mostly)

To which I add 10: Fuck AMP.

The guide also points out where Chrome remains superior: the web inspector's better, it's more polished, complex web apps tend to work better in it because they're targeted at it, and of course it integrates well with Google's other services. Read the rest

Avoid these 9 charisma-killing mistakes

Introduce yourself, introduce your friends, and make sure you don’t talk about things that only interest you. Read the rest

Level up your Wonder Woman cosplay with this comic book-inspired makeup look

Nikkie of NikkieTutorials offer a step-by-step guide to creating a comic book homage to Diana Prince. Consider pairing this look with your custom-made Wonder Woman bathing suit. Read the rest

Simple tips on getting smoother handheld video footage

On his YouTube channel, filmmaker Peter McKinnon shares some simple but helpful tips on how to get smoother handheld footage without any special equipment. He also recorded a follow-up video on the basic tools amateur filmmakers can use to get a more cinematic look:

Read the rest

Do not burn old flashlight batteries

Popular Science once recommended throwing old batteries in the fire because "the burning zinc may help prevent soot formation, and the metals and chemicals make colorful flames." The November 1951 tip was bad advice, writes Snopes, but not so bad then as now: batteries a half-century ago contained different chemicals, were unsealed, and less likely to explode.

Read the rest

Five tips to kick your smartphone habit

Alex Wood is an addict but won't give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: "I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I faced my tech demons. Now I wake up refreshed and realise how much it was a ‘real’ addiction that affects your health."

tldr:

1) Don't charge it by your bed. 2) Kill all notifications. 3) Delete Facebook, Twitter, Insta and other "attention loop" apps. 4) Switch to Android, because it has the good self-control enforcement apps. 5) Stop checking email/turn off Push email.

All obviated by 1) throw it in a lake and get a dumbphone. Read the rest

4 time-saving tips from a guy who spent 13 years drawing a comic

Lars Martinson, creator of Tonoharu, an excellent graphic novel trilogy about an American teaching English in a rural Japanese village, made this video about the lessons he learned after spending a large part of his life writing and drawing it. Read the rest

How to get out your driveway when another car is blocking it

We've all experienced the frustration and delay caused by thoughtless motorists who block driveways and parking spots with their vehicles. The key thing is to remain calm, take a deep breath, and don't lose your temper. In this video, a driver shows how easy it is to deal with a blocked driveway if you just stop to think a moment about the problem. Read the rest

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