Archive for ‘misc’ category

The Importance of Slippers

It’s slipper season again. When it dips below 60° (F), it’s time to wear slippers around the house. And I’m here today to highly recommend the Acorn Moc. Hands down the most comfortable slipper you’ll ever wear.
The padded foam and rubber soles make these stand out, giving you the ability to take out the trash and grab the paper outside without having to put on normal shoes. Heck, you may even be daring enough to wear them out all day, in public. They will wear out faster doing this, and really only “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski could pull something like that off.
If you think it a bit odd that I’ve just posted about slippers, then you’re probably right.

The Power in Numbers

Maybe it’s the impending presidential election. Maybe it’s the convention that’s in town. There are numerous things that are reminding me of the power in numbers.
Lance Armstrong and Nike’s Wear Yellow campaign is a nice example: pay $1, get a yellow bracelet in return and help raise $5 million for those living with cancer. Brilliant. $1 is a tiny amount to pay for anything, and you even get a little something to wear.
Another example that comes to mind is John Gruber’s membership drive for his site, Daring Fireball: pay $30, get a cool t-shirt (I can confirm they are cool, as mine arrived yesterday) and help John to keep delivering great content. Pay a little, get something cool in return, help a good cause or fund something you enjoy.
These models work because of the power in numbers. Much like my somewhat unrealistic idea for generating power through exercise machines or a hand-crank that’s installed in every home worldwide (crazy, yes).
This is merely a fleeting observation, and one that doesn’t have a real purpose, other than to point out a cliché phrase: big things can happen, and are made easier, when people come together.

Reveal

Every year I’m amused by a certain catch phrase that sweeps the media. Last year it was “cold snap” — at least here in the Northeast United States. Everyone was using this phrase. Predictably, every weatherman found a way to work in the hip term, but hearing it being used in normal conversation was the real true sign that “cold snap” had made the big time.
At the grocery store: “that’ll be $29.54. Can’t wait till this cold snap ends. It’s been brutal.”
Previous to last year I had never heard these two words used in conjunction. And this last winter it disappeared and was never uttered again. It had reached its Tipping Point, and people moved on to other ways of describing how cold the weather was.
This year, it’s “reveal”. Specifically when used as a noun. This word is everywhere, and we can blame reality television for it. Any makeover show — or one with a surprise ending will use this to describe the portion of the program that you just can’t miss.
“The big reveal is coming up… right after the break.”
I’m guessing that “reveal” has almost reached its tipping point. And I’m wondering if that moment will be obvious to us all. Perhaps this coming November, Tom Brokaw will tease the announcement of the next US president, by stating that the “big reveal” is moments away. Then we’ll be looking to what next year’s catch phrase will be.

Particle Board Desk

A small victory was won this week. I finally converted our large walk-in closet to an office (before, after). Shelves were torn down, spackle was applied, red paint was purchased, new carpeting installed. It’s finally comfortable to work at home.
my desktopWhat I’m most happy with though, is the built-in desk I devised. Run a few 2x4s around half of the room, put two (for added strength), half-inch sheets of particle board on top — and you have yourself a nice solid desk. For about $20.
The key here is polyurethane — and lots of it. Four coats did the trick, as particle board acts like a sponge, soaking up anything and everything. But it’s amazing how beautful it can look with a little finish on it. Shiny and durable — but unique.
Drilling a big hole in the corner was necessary to hide all the cords — and let me just say, it had to be a pretty damn big hole to accomodate the huge Apple Display Connector. In fact I had to essentially drill two holes side by side in order for it to fit.
Now I can get some real work done. And just as I warned that this wouldn’t turn into a home improvement tips web site. I’ll leave comments on, if anyone has any other creative desktop ideas.

Battery Powered World

Everything is battery powered. My laptop, my iPod, my digtal camera, my mobile phone, my regular phone… everything. Regardless of the fact that I rely on all of these devices on a daily basis, I just can’t seem to keep them all powered up.
I stopped using a Palm Pilot long ago for this very reason. It was never charged up, and as easy as it is, I simply couldn’t be bothered keeping it in its cradle. It’s collecting dust now. Ditto the mobile phone, although I’m making a point of plugging it in these days. Perhaps the monthly fee has something to do with it.
I have an older model iPod, so I need to remember to plug it into the Firewire cable dangling permanently from my computer. Newer models come with a dock that makes recharging easier. I have an older model.
The problem: each device has it’s own power adapter. Each one of them different. I don’t have enough outlets in one room to keep the suckers juiced to max power — and if I did, the resulting octopus of cables would be insanity.
So, I’ve decided I need a universal adapter that will charge everything and anything. Or better yet, I need wireless recharging — or batteries that last years.
Wireless internet technolgy is amazing and everyone is (rightfully) fired up about it — but it’s amazing how tied down we are to power that is never fully wireless.
While at the airport recently, I found myself constantly searching for a comfortable seat near a power outlet. They were always taken. I resorted to sitting on the floor, usually propped up against a vending machine, using every last second to give my PowerBook just a little bit more life.
While at SXSW Interactive, power outlets in panel sessions were scarce. At one point while chatting with a friend, I had to quickly write “battery dying. bye.”. Thankfully, the friend unplugged his adapter and silently handed it over so that I might siphon off some precious voltage. Ahh. Rejuvenation.
Will we ever be truly wireless?

I’m Totally Getting Caulked

I probably sound like a terrible novice, but here’s another painting tip I’ve stumbled upon — get a caulking gun. A friend of mine was kind enough to lend me one and it has proved to be the MVP of my recent painting endeavours.
I’ve gone through approximately 474 tubes of caulk. I’ve been caulking everything — and if you hit every spot and crack with the stuff before you paint, you’ll have nothing but a solid, smooth finish in the end. You’ll sit back and stare at your walls and trim with a deep pride that goes on for at least 48 hours. After that, it does wear off.
But honestly, if you skip this step, every crack or separation in your moulding or trim will show up as noticable as a Hershey bar in the snow.
I’m new to this caulk gun stuff — but it’s addictive and I’ll never go back to slapping paint over untreated surfaces again.

Trim: Dairy Compartment, Primer: Vegetable Drawer

I know everyone is dying for a painting tip, right? I see. Ah well, I’ll share it anyhow…

paintbrush

If you’re painting with latex paints, and the job is going to take more than a day (or you just need a longish break), putting used brushes and rollers in the refrigerator prevents them from drying out — and more importantly, prevents you from having to clean the brushes until you’re done with the job for good.

I hate cleaning brushes, so this tip is a life saver. Just put the brushes in a plastic bag (I prefer the recyclable grocery bag variety) and pop it in the veggie drawer… or wherever. I find allotting certain sections of the refrigerator for different paint types helpful. And you may as well.

When you need them again, they’ll be ready to go. Who would’ve thought you’d get such great home improvement advice here? The again, maybe you haven’t.

Mipellssed Wdors

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

Curly Straight

So it’ll be easy to find, next time…

Microsoft Word automatically changes straight quotation marks ( ‘ or ” ) to curly (smart, or typographer’s) quotes as you type. You might not want curly quotes in some cases, for example, if you’re using quotation marks to designate feet and inches. To turn this feature on or off:

  1. On the Tools menu, click AutoCorrect, and then click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  2. Under Replace as you type, select or clear the “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” check box.

Note: You can find and replace all instances of single or double curly quotes with straight quotes in your document. To do this, clear the “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” check box on the AutoFormat As You Type tab. On the Edit menu, click Replace. In both the Find what and Replace with boxes, type ‘ or “, and then click Find Next or Replace All.