Advice

Top 10: Exercises For Back Pain

Posted on April 28, 2007. Filed under: Advice, Back, Exercise, Pain |

If you don’t suffer from back pain, there’s a good chance that someone in your family or your workplace does. In fact, back pain is one of the most common work-related injuries; it is the second leading cause of missed workdays after the common cold. But people with physically demanding jobs that require heavy lifting aren’t the only ones at risk; working in front of a computer in the same position all day is also a major risk factor for developing back problems.

There are many ways to prevent non-accidental back injuries, such as making sure your workstation is user-friendly, taking breaks to stretch or walk around, and lifting weights to strengthen your back muscles.

However, if you are part of the 70% of Americans who suffer from some form of back pain at one point in their lives, there are exercises you can do to relieve the aching.

Keep in mind that the back is a very sensitive area and that performing inadequate exercises could have serious consequences. If you are experiencing more than mild to moderate pain or are unsure about any of these exercises, consult a doctor for advice.

The following exercises, which mostly concentrate on the lower back since this is the most common site of pain, should be performed every day or at least every second day. Choose five or six exercises to do per session and rotate through the 10 on subsequent days. They should be done on a firm but soft surface, such as a carpet or a yoga mattress. And remember: If an exercise hurts, stop immediately.

+ Read more (via AskMen.com)

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How to get the best looking garden in the street

Posted on April 28, 2007. Filed under: Advice, gardening, Home |

It’s beginning to look a lot like spring/summer in my neck of the woods, with the dulcet tones of lawnmowers filling the air. British DIY store Godfrey’s has a few tips that practically guarantee jealous fits from your neighbors, such as:

  • Cut it regularly, ideally once a week.
  • Water occasionally – watch your moisture levels.
  • Check out the lawn food, but apply sparingly.

I know from experience that many fertilizers and other lawn supplements can do more harm than good, and wil actually “burn” your grass, so use with caution.

+ Your Guide to a Better lawn [Ask Godfrey]

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Firefox Tip: Clear your file download history

Posted on March 19, 2007. Filed under: Advice, Firefox |

Weblog Of Zen and Computing reports that you may be able to speed up Firefox by clearing out its Download history.

By default, the ‘fox keeps a record of every single file you’ve downloaded – whether it’s still on your hard drive or not – in its Downloads dialog, unless you clear it. To do so, from the dialog, hit the “Clean up” button. I don’t know how much this list actually affects performance, but it’s a good way to make sure the next person who uses your browser doesn’t see you just downloaded a video called naughty.avi.

+ Speed Up Firefox by Cleaning Out Your Downloads [Of Zen and Computing]

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How to be a gentleman

Posted on March 19, 2007. Filed under: Advice |

AskMen has a very good article on the art of being a gentleman.

I think we all could agree – both the guys and the girls – that we could use a little bit more thoughtfulness in our daily interaction with one another. This article pretty much echoes that premise, with some straight to the point practicality such as:

“Do not spit: A lot of men do this almost subconsciously. Spitting is very crude and not too pretty to look at. Do not spit in public unless you want to look like you were raised in a sewer.

Do not laugh at others’ mistakes: This is perhaps one of the cruelest things one can do. When you mess up, the last thing you want is for someone not only to bring it to your attention, but to ridicule you on top of that.

Always open doors for a lady: This is perhaps the most basic rule of male etiquette out there. It is also one of the easiest to follow so you have no reason to forget it.”

Also on the list were standing when a lady enters the room, going easy on the swears, and quit with the interrupting already.

+ Etiquette Of A Gentleman [AskMen.com]

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15 Things You Can Do Right Now To Help Your Career

Posted on February 19, 2007. Filed under: Advice, Career |

Most career advice you receive focuses on the big picture: how to get ahead, how to “win,” and such things that are on a much larger scale than the daily grind that most of us face. In fact, it is that day to day grind that pulls down many of us – we go to work, come home exhausted, and often feel as though we’re just spinning our wheels.

If you want to get ahead in your career and in your life, you need to start small and look at the immediate things you can do to help out your situation. If you’re sitting out there at your desk, tiredly wondering if there’s something better that you can be doing with your life, start with these fifteen tips that you can start executing immediately that will lead you down a path towards a better career.

Make a list of all of the things you did today/this week/this month to help your organization, and file them away.
Whenever you have a few spare moments, make a list of all of the things you are actually doing at work. Date them and provide specific examples. When you’ve made this list, drop it in a folder and let it sit there until your next performance review – or the next time you ask for a raise or a promotion. I do this regularly, which has allowed me to build up extensive positive documentation about my career.

Send a thank-you note
If you’ve recently been assisted in your career or personal development by someone, spend a few moments and send that person a handwritten thank you note. The respect, kindness, and personal touch of a handwritten thank you creates an indelible positive mark in your favor in the recipient’s mind, which can do nothing but help you out in the long run.

Work on your writing skills
For me, The Simple Dollar is actually an active part of improving my own writing. Starting a blog related to a work-related topic that interests you is a good way to practice your skills. Don’t be lazy with it, though; focus on writing strong material that will engage others, because without it, you’re not really improving your skills at all, merely regurgitating facts.

+ Read more here at thesimpledollar.com

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8 steps you should take if your identity is stolen

Posted on February 14, 2007. Filed under: Advice, Stolen Identity |

The Credit Score Tips & Advice weblog points out 8 steps you should take in the event that your identity is stolen.

Identity theft is certainly a terrifying prospect – one that no one really wants to think about – but in the unfortunate event that your identity is stolen, these 8 steps look like a good starting point to getting your life back. As several of this post’s commenters point out, nothing you do guarantees you can get everything back to normal if your identity is stolen. However, these 8 tips will at least give you a good place to start.

Check out our sister site, Consumerist, for another first hand account of identity theft fixing.

+ 8 Things You Must Do If Your Identity Is Stolen [Credit Score Tips & Advice]

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How To Solve A Rubik’s Cube Easily

Posted on January 30, 2007. Filed under: Advice, You Tube |

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Top 10 Foods for a Good Night’s Sleep

Posted on January 29, 2007. Filed under: Advice, Cooking, Food, Sleep |

What is the secret to getting a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep? Head for the kitchen and enjoy one or two of these 10 foods. They relax tense muscles, quiet buzzing minds, and/or get calming, sleep-inducing hormones – serotonin and melatonin – flowing. Yawning yet?

+ Yahoo Food by Real Age

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15 Essential household tools

Posted on January 28, 2007. Filed under: Advice |

MSN Real Estate has a good practical write-up on the fifteen most essential tools you need to fix stuff around the house.

Included on this list are the basics like a hammer, a toolbox, screwdriver, etc.; but there’s also the lesser known (but always needed) pry bar, handsaw, and wire cutters. This would be a great list to take with you to the home improvement store in order to create a basic toolbox – for yourself, or for someone you know who’s just setting up house. 

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Be prepared to lose your job

Posted on January 21, 2007. Filed under: Advice, Jobs |

This may be obvious to most, but even though my jobs been on the line for a while, I must admit, Im not completely prepared yet, but if you’re going through the same boat, take a look at this..

“How okay would you be financially if you were to lose your job today?

Scary question, isn’t it? Since no job is absolutely fool-proof safe from being downsized, it’s wise to be prepared for the worst. Financial planner Deborah Fowles has written up a few points to ponder:

  • Assess your financial situation BEFORE the need arises.
  • If job lay-offs have already occurred where you work, you should have your resume updated and be looking around for possible opportunities that fit your skills.
  • Acquaint yourself with your employer’s severance policy now

Nobody really likes to think about this stuff, but it’s better to be safe than really, really sorry.”

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An Absolute Goldmine of Web Design Education

Posted on January 20, 2007. Filed under: Advice, Design, Education, Projects |

I appreciate it when I find a place that does something way better than how I was doing it. I used to have a usability research directory that I kept up. It was mostly for my own use, to keep track of case studies and articles that would back up the work I do. I became too busy to keep it up.

However, there is an incredible resource that some of you may not be aware of, that I wish to share. It is the Web Design References by the University of Minnesota Duluth. Topics covered:

Every page is packed with articles and publications culled from authoritative sites.

My favorite haunts are Accessibility and Usability. When you visit each section, you’ll find they’ve broken them down into a wide variety of sub-categories.

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How to download video from YouTube, MySpace, Google Video and others

Posted on January 10, 2007. Filed under: Advice, Downloads, TV, You Tube |

ech tutorial site Gil’s Method details how to download and save web video from YouTube, MySpace and Google Video using the Firefox Video Downloader extension and Media Coder. Why the big rigamarole?

“The reason you have to go through this process to download the videos is due to the fact that content providers (YouTube, Google Video, and others) use special formats that do not allow playback in traditional media players (i.e. Windows Media Player, Itunes, and others); as such this method allows you to save the downloaded video files to a universal .avi file that you can play back on any media player.”

+ How-to Download Videos from Websites Like Google Video, YouTube, MySpace, and Others [Gil’s Method]

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How to schmooze properly

Posted on January 9, 2007. Filed under: Advice |

Most of tend to cringe when we hear the word “schmooze”, but entrepreneurial blogger Guy Kawasaki makes the word respectable once again with his article on how to schoomze properly.

The main trick in schmoozing is not to put on your best used car salesman impression; rather, it’s to actively and intentionally engage in relationships.

+ The Art of Schmoozing [How To Change The World]

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Learn to photograph well

Posted on November 14, 2006. Filed under: Advice, Photography |

Gadget blog Crave found some useful photography tips–both for the photographer and the photographee–in Fujifilm’s new Best Face Forward web site.

Of course, Fuji also takes the opportunity to give you the hard sell on their face-detection technology, but if you sift past the marketing hype, there are some really good tips for aspiring portrait photographers and their subjects…such as pro photographer James Ferrara’s tip to “[ask] subjects to raise or move their chins so the light hits their eyes just right.”

Of course, Fuji also takes the opportunity to give you the hard sell on their face-detection technology, but if you sift past the marketing hype, there are some really good tips for aspiring portrait photographers and their subjects…such as pro photographer James Ferrara’s tip to “[ask] subjects to raise or move their chins so the light hits their eyes just right.”

As someone who despises being photographed (just look at this mug, people–or on second thought, don’t), I found some of the tips intriguing, and I plan to try them out the next time I’m stalked by the paparazzi (we Lifehacker editors get no peace). Of course, you can find countless other photography tips in our previous posts. 

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8 Ways to Shoot Video Like a Pro

Posted on November 14, 2006. Filed under: Advice, Photography |

Nothing brings out the camcorders like the holidays, which is why this is the perfect time to admit an ugly truth: You suck at making home movies.

No, really. I’m sure you’re a nice person and all, but there’s more to videography than just taking the camcorder out of the box and pressing Record.

As with photography, good videography requires a bit of know-how. Luckily, I know how, so here’s my list of ways you can improve your home movies. You won’t come out Soderbergh on the other side, nor even Singer, but your Uncle-Henry-dropped-the-turkey-on-Aunt-Edna’s-head submission to America’s Funniest Home Videos will look a lot better.

read more »

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Video: How to tie a tie

Posted on November 13, 2006. Filed under: Advice, You Tube |

If you’ve never been initiated into the secret society of tie-wearing, rejoice! For your ship has just come in, via this instructional tie-tying video.

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Abraham Lincoln on email

Posted on November 8, 2006. Filed under: Advice, eMail |

Telecom expert Tom Wheeler says that Abraham Lincoln, the first U.S. president with access to the telegraph, developed a personal code of electronic communications that modern-day netizens would do well to adopt in their email habits.

Wheeler describes Lincoln’s “T-mail” etiquette and the lessons we can learn from it, like:

Less is More – Whereas many saw the blank telegraph form as an invitation to an essay, Lincoln’s telegrams were short and to the point. “Your long despatch of yesterday just received,” Lincoln chided General George McClellan about a 10-page telegram sent in May 1863. Then the president required only three additional sentences to reply to the general’s endless essay.

Less is More – Whereas many saw the blank telegraph form as an invitation to an essay, Lincoln’s telegrams were short and to the point. “Your long despatch of yesterday just received,” Lincoln chided General George McClellan about a 10-page telegram sent in May 1863. Then the president required only three additional sentences to reply to the general’s endless essay.

Responding to a long-winded message with only a few words is indeed a great way to train others how to use email. Glad that Honest Abe agrees.

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Play MP3s in Gmail

Posted on November 6, 2006. Filed under: Advice, eMail, GMail, Google |

I was uploading some MP3s that I wanted to have available without carrying around a thumb drive. After I uploaded the files and the messages containing the MP3’s showed up in my inbox, I saw a link next to the files that said ‘play.’ I clicked it and, lo and behold, a little player (similar to the one Google Video uses) popped up and started playing the file. Could be useful to people who don’t want to carry music files around.

Sure enough, it works. Alas, Gmail won’t play WMA files, only MP3s. Even so, great tip.

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10 passwords to avoid

Posted on November 6, 2006. Filed under: Advice, Passwords, Security |

The Modern Life is Rubbish weblog lists the 10 most common passwords in the UK – a list that should serve as a good reminder of passwords you want to avoid.

As a bona fide Yank, I can tell that the list has a bit of a UK slant, but the general ideas behind these passwords are pretty universal. Of the top 10 passowrds, 3 of the are numerical/ordered keyboard inputs (‘123’, ‘123456’, and ‘qwerty’); 4 are popular names (first names or popular sports teams); and 2 are sort of password jokes/gimmes (‘letmein’ and ‘password’). Granted, I think most Lifehacker users know how to choose great passwords), but think of this as a little reminder. If you find that a password of yours fits into one of the three categories above, you might want to tighten up the screws on your password security.

+ Top 10 Most Common Passwords [Modern LIfe is Rubbish]

+ Google Cache of Top 10 Most Common Passwords [site has been down intermittently]

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Hide files in JPEG images

Posted on October 17, 2006. Filed under: Advice |

he Tech Tray weblog has posted a tutorial for hiding secret files inside JPEG images using the popular Windows archiver, WinRAR, and a little command line magic.Basically, you create a .rar archive of your to-be-hidden file, then run a copy command from the Windows command line (with the /b binary switch) to embed your secret file in your image. After you complete the process, you can open and view the JPEG like any other image – the only thing that might tip off that the image has got a secret is a potentially bloated file size. To grab the secret file, you just use WinRAR to extract the file from the image.

It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s a pretty simple process (watch the video to see how easy it is). This is a neat trick, but if you want to get really serious about encryption, you’ll want to encrypt your data with TrueCrypt.

+ How to hide files in JPEG’s [thetechtray.net]

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Turn Google into your own personal (free) Napster

Posted on October 15, 2006. Filed under: Advice, Browsers, File Sharing, Google |

Google is good for so many things, among which is searching for all sorts of files, including MP3’s. Here’s a quick primer:

-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:”index of” +”last modified” +”parent directory” +description +size +(wma|mp3) “Nirvana”

Just substitute the term “Nirvana” for any band or singer you might be looking for, and your search will lead you to open indexes that contain downloadable music files.

+ Turn Google into Napster 2000 [Marc and Angel]

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Create multiple social bookmark links

Posted on October 15, 2006. Filed under: Advice, Browsers, Online Applications |

If you’ve got online content you’d like others to bookmark at sites such as Digg, Furl, del.icio.us, etc., then iFeedReaders’ easy multiple link creator is just for you.

Just pick the bookmarking services you’d like to target, fill in a few tidbits of information, and the HTML code is generated for you. Couldn’t be simpler.

+ Social Bookmark Link Creator [via del.icio.us]

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How to change a tire

Posted on October 15, 2006. Filed under: Advice |

Changing a tire is something everyone will probably have to do at some point in their lifetime, and Dr. Bruce Magee of Louisiana Tech gives us a great step by step in a practical printable.

Sure, you can always just call AAA, but what if you’re out in the boonies without a signal? Personally, I printed out this quickie tutorial and put it right next to the jack for easy access.

+ How to Change a Tire

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Remove any ink stain

Posted on October 15, 2006. Filed under: Advice |

Pop quiz, hotshot: your favorite shirt has got a ginormous Sharpie stain on the collar. What do you do? Why, you check out housekeeping guru Sarah Aguirre’s guide to ink stain removal, that’s what.

irst, you’ll need to determine what kind of ink stain you’re dealing with: water-based, permanent, ballpoint pen, etc. After that, you’ve got a plethora of various stain removal remedies available to try out; and if the piece of clothing you’re working on is sentimental to you, it’s worth the effort.

+ Removing Ink Stains [About Housekeeping]

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Schedule your next sick call

Posted on October 9, 2006. Filed under: Advice |

Web site Call-in-Sick is a free service that let’s you record and schedule a message to be delivered to your boss’s voicemail, letting him/her know that you just won’t be able to make it in to work today.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Call-in-Sick can be used for the forces of good (you may genuinely be sick) or evil (but you know you’re not), and the web site certainly encourages the evil. Call-in-Sick works like this:

+ more   + Call-In-Sick

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