Re-key every lock in your home

Matt Haughey moved into a new home with a lot of deadbolts. Rather than carry around a jangling morning star of keys, he decided to re-key everything. It took less than a day.

I researched getting a locksmith to come out, but it would run hundreds of dollars in their time plus you can only re-key locks to a key made by the same manufacturer, and by my count we had at least three different brands of locks spread among all the doors. I could save money by bringing the locks to a locksmith’s store, replacing off brands with a single brand and re-installing myself, or I could teach myself how to rekey locks using a ~$100 set from amazon that takes a few hours of practice to master.

He replaced three of the locks so all could use the Kwikset Smart Key [Amazon] system, the hero of the piece -- about $100 all in. Read the rest

Getting rid of silverfish with lavender oil

For years we’ve had silverfish darting around our guest bathroom floor. I bought some silverfish traps (little cardboard boxes with sticky goo to ensnare them) and they helped, but didn’t stop them. In 2017 I read that lavender oil is a good silverfish repellent. It’s only for a small bottle on Amazon, so I decided to give it a try. I wetted the end of a Q-Tip with the oil and ran it around the perimeter of the bathroom floor, adding a little extra to a seam between the floor and the wall. It smelled nice and did not see a single silverfish for two weeks. I finally saw one, reapplied lavender oil on the perimeter of the floor, and it keep the little bastards aways for an even longer time. Now I hardly ever see them, and treat the floor every few months.

Image of silverfish by Christian Fischer, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link Read the rest

Here's how to save your friend if they catch on fire

Hopefully you won't find yourself in a situation where you'll have to see if the "wipe away the flame" technique demonstrated here really works.

Image: LiveLeak Read the rest

What does "incognito mode" really do?

Chrome's incognito mode is useful if you don't want your browsing history saved to your account, don't want websites to access your cookies, or if you want to troubleshoot your browser. But it doesn't do much to protect your privacy. Your ISP can see what websites you visit, and services like Twitter can figure out who you are even without cookies.

From Tech Talks:

The easiest way for web applications to track users is to use cookies. But it is not the only way they can track you. Other bits of information can point to your device. For instance, I’ve seen some users use the Incognito window to browse Twitter, thinking that it will preserve their privacy and hide their identity. The premise is, since Incognito doesn’t carry over their browser cookies, Twitter won’t be able to associate their activity to their account.

But Twitter also keeps track of IP address, device type, device ID and browser type and version. Technically, it will be able to use all those factors to link your activity to your account. Facebook goes further and even tracks your activity across other websites when you’re not logged in to your account.

Read the rest

Two ways to argue more effectively with a political opponent

It's very difficult to change someone's mind on a political issue. Facts rarely work, because the person you are arguing with has likely already been told the facts and has already formed reasons to dismiss the facts. But there are two science-back ways to argue, according to this Vox article by Brian Resnick, that will give you a better change of nudging someone, ever-so-slightly, in the direction you wish them to go.

Strategy 1: "If the argument you find convincing doesn’t resonate with someone else, find out what does."

Here’s an example. If you’re trying to convince a conservative of the merits of kneeling for the national anthem in protest, emphasize the traditional values around political and religious freedom. Willer suggests, “arguing that the founding fathers were deeply concerned with protecting our rights to social protest.”

Strategy 2: "Listen. Your ideological opponents want to feel like they’ve been heard."

In 2016, the journal Science published a remarkable bit of insight: It's possible to reduce prejudice, and sway opinions on anti-transgender legislation, with one 10-minute conversation. What's more, the researchers found that the change of heart can last at least three months and is resistant to anti-transgender attack ads.

It worked because the canvassers in the study did a simple thing: they listened... In talking about their own lives, the voters engage in what psychologists call "active processing." The idea is that people learn lessons more durably when they come to the conclusion themselves, not when someone "bitch-slaps you with a statistic," says Fleischer.

Read the rest

What to do if a bug gets stuck in your ear

Hint: Don't dig around in there with a cotton swab. Read the rest

How to survive solitary confinement

I highly recommend McKinley Valentine's email newsletter, The Whippet. In each issue she presents interesting ideas, art, videos, and articles.

Here's an item from the latest issue (#85):

How to survive solitary confinement

I like to read things like this, keep it in my pocket, so I worry less about what if it happens.

The recommendation is more or less -- you'll go crazy anyway, so go crazy with intention, to protect your brain.

The human brain does very badly in social isolation - we're not built for it, and people start hallucinating and dissociating very quickly when it's complete. It's actual torture, but people don't expect it to be because it sounds so low-key.

So the people in this article - both people who've survived solitary, and psychologists - suggest using a lot of visualisation. Imagine yourself in a much bigger space than you are, get to know it. Have a "workspace" where you train, maybe practice a sport in your mind. Every day, regularly, like you were outside and had a proper life. Imagine meeting a friend and having conversations with them.

Part of what makes you go crazy in isolation is the lack of external cues and structures, so it has to be structured visualisations, not just panicked uncontrolled daydreaming.

From someone who survived 7 years in almost total solitary confinement (again, this is torture, it is amazing he came out of it relatively okay):

"He he used to kill time for hours working out detailed visualizations of himself in a vivid alternate reality, where he could inhabit open spaces and converse with people.

Read the rest

Watch this lock picker remove an inventory control tag in one second

It's frustrating to buy an article of clothing from a store, then get home and discover that the ink-filled inventory control tag is still attached. This happened to the Lock Picking Lawyer, but instead of wasting a lot of time returning to the store, he was able to safely remove the tag at home in a fraction of a second by holding a neodymium magnet against it.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

It's "Evil Week" at Lifehacker. Check out their sneaky tips

Lifehacker's "Evil Week" tips aren't necessarily evil, or even unethical. They are all a bit sneaky, though, but could come in handy under the right circumstances. For example, if you have to make a phone call and don't want to get stuck talking to the person tell them your phone's battery is almost exhausted. Instead of buying new plants, snip cuttings from plants belonging to others. If you want to get a better deal on your credit card (like getting points or skipping the annual fee) call and say you want to cancel your card. The credit card company will usually give you a retention offer so you change your mind.

Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash Read the rest

How to hide a coin

For those times when you are short a nickle, it's nice to know you have one stashed away.

The replies to the tweet are amusing, because more than a few people seem to think this is a joke and not a valuable life hack.

Image: Twitter Read the rest

Great guide to hand-lettering comics

You can still buy an Ames Lettering Guide! They are cheap, too. I used one in college drafting classes and also when I drew comics for bOING bOING. I think I still have it around somewhere. In this video by our friends at Cartoonist Kayfabe, Jim Rugg uses an Ames Lettering Guide as part of his excellent comic book hand lettering guide. Jim is one of the best letterers around. Most cartoonists use computer fonts, so it's a treat to see Jim letter with an ink pen. Read the rest

How to sharpen a $13 kitchen knife so it cuts like an expensive one

In this beginner's guide to whetstone sharpening you'll learn how to give a cheap knife an edge so fine you can split atoms with it (or at least slice paper). The idea is to have different whetstones of varying grit (size of abrasive particles) and start from the coarse stones and move to finer ones. It's important to keep a fairly consistent angle as you draw the knife over the stones -- you can do this by matching the edge that the manufacturer put on the knife to begin with.

This is the knife used in the video, and these are the two whetstones. Read the rest

Every programming video tutorial

"And there we go, we've created Minecraft." Read the rest

A test to determine the best masking tape

Project Farm is one of my favorite YouTube channels. They thoroughly test different products and methods for solving common problems that farmers, and just about everyone else, have. In this video, Project Farm tests a bunch of different brands of masking tape to see which one is the best at keeping paint from seeping under it. The bottom line: Frog Tape is the best in almost every circumstance.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

The best way to clean your AirPods

In a recent issue of my Recomendo newsletter, I wrote about how I clean the earwax out of my AirPods:

It's really hard to clean earwax from the speaker meshes in Apple AirPods and EarPods. I've assembled a kit of 3 tools to make the job easier. 1) OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set -- use the smaller of the two brushes and the silicone wiper to loosen up and wipe out as much wax as you can; 2) Poster Putty -- press this into the opening and it will pull out a surprising amount of residual gunk. Resist the temptation to press the putty too hard, or you'll push the earwax through the mesh; 3) Handheld Illuminated Magnifier -- this will help you make sure you've thoroughly cleaned the mesh openings. My AirPods now look great, not grungy.

Melissa Kirsch, the editor-in-chief of Lifehacker, read my tip and came up with what sounds like an even better way to clean AirPods:

Save a couple bucks on the brushes and use an old toothbrush to loosen the wax, then go to town with the poster putty. There is little more satisfying than lifting loosened earwax from a mesh screen with a gummy -- but not so gummy it gets caught in the screen! -- wad of putty that you then throw away. (Suffice it to say this is a project best done in private, kind of like zit popping.)

Instead of the magnifying light, which is nifty but not essential if you've got decent eyesight, I-d recommend taking a cotton swab and dampening it ever-so-slightly with 70% rubbing alcohol and running it gently over the plastic parts of the buds and the top crevices of the case to remove whatever's built up there.

Read the rest

Ten useful tips for everyday tasks

Mental Floss put together a list of useful tips for everyday tasks like threading a needle, opening pistachios, and picking up bits of broken glass. My favorite is the tip for shredding a cooked chicken, which I plan to try soon.

Shredding chicken with your fingers for a salad or taco is time consuming and can be tough on your fingers if you’re pulling it apart while the meat is hot. But if you have a stand mixer, there’s a better, faster way: Put the cooked chicken into the mixing bowl, add the paddle attachment, then put the device on the lowest setting and let it work its magic. In about a minute, you’ll have shredded chicken.

Photo by Tim Bish on Unsplash Read the rest

"Pot Brothers At Law" explain what to do if you work in the weed business and are arrested

Also applies to everyone else, as it happens. [via] Read the rest

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