Archive for the 'lifehacks' Category
The WordPress Codex documentation site has a very handy page on Installing/Updating WordPress with Subversion. For anyone who maintains a WordPress blog, especially if you maintain more than one, it makes the process of upgrading a snap.
If you have command-line access to your web server, and if your server has the subversion (svn) client installed, you can take advantage of the easiest possible WordPress installations and updates. svn is a version control system designed primarily for developers, but also useful for end-users who just want an easy way to install and update software.
I just ran across the WikiSummaries site which is off to a great start at becoming a resource for high quality free book summaries. My own book notes tend to be outlines that are more ideal for reviewing material I’ve already read in depth. In contrast, WikiSummaries take a more narrative form, similar to CliffsNotes or Barron’s Book Notes and make for easier reading.
Both fiction and non-fiction titles are included. WikiSummaries can help you decide whether or not to read Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope or help you review the plot of a previous Harry Potter book before starting the next one. And since anyone can edit the wiki, it’s easy to contribute your own summaries or help to improve the existing ones.
I tend to use the clipboard to copy and paste text any time I can. I find it to be a great time saver. One clipboard trick I’ve gotten into the habit of using is to copy any medium or large block of text before submitting online forms. For example, when posting to bulletin boards, I type Ctrl-A to highlight all the text in the main box of my post, then hit Ctrl-C to copy to the clipboard. Maybe it’s too simple to be worth mentioning, but it only takes a second and it has saved me numerous times when forms have lost what I’ve typed for some reason.
Technorati Tags: clipboard
I ran across an interesting article via populicio.us recently about the mathematics of evaluating options and making optimal decisions. The article offers the following handy heuristic and details the math used to derive it:
At the British Psychological Society’s conference in April 1997, on Dr Peter Todd, of the Max Planck Institute in Munich, spoke about the best (optimal) strategy for finding a partner. He also drew a parallel with the employer trying to find a suitable new employee from a range of applicants, and quoted the 37% rule. Once you have seen 37% of the application forms, “a coherent picture of the ideal employee is built up and the next person to fulfil these criteria gets the job”.
A recent New York Times article on the founder of the Geek Squad computer repair service includes some interesting information about the economics of leisure time:
The results from two online calculators that determine what your time is worth may surprise you. Try http://hughchou.org/calc/realwage.php or http://moneycentral.msn.com/…. First, your hourly rate may be lower than you think. For instance, someone making $70,000 a year, but who puts in 50 hours a week and commutes an hour each way, may discover the hourly rate is not $33, but about half that.
So does that mean you hire a handyman only when he costs less than $16 an hour? It’s more complicated than that. With only about 12 hours of true leisure time a day, each precious hour is bought with more than 5 hours of work. According to the calculator, each hour of spare time would then be worth about $85.
The idea ties in with a very enlightening presentation Daniel Gilbert gave at SXSW on How to Do Precisely the Right Thing at All Possible Times. He explains why many decisions are not as cut-and-dried as they appear. A podcast of Gilbert’s presentation is available, along with many others on the SXSW site.
I haven’t yet read Gilbert’s book, Stumbling on Happiness, but it has been getting some good reviews. It’s definitely on my list to read soon.
I ran across a new site called similicio.us that allows you to search for groups of similar websites, using data from del.icio.us and EasyUtil. So far, the results seem much better than Google’s similar pages search or others that I’ve tried.
To make it even easier to search similicio.us, I created a search similicio.us bookmarklet. If you’re not already familiar with bookmarklets, Lifehacker’s article “Ten Must-Have Bookmarklets” provides a good introduction.
One of my favorite blogs, Creating Passionate Users, has a great post and discussion going on about using music to increase performance. When trying to be productive, I’m partial to up-beat or electronic music that is either instrumental or in a foreign language. Some favorites include:
Check out the comments and trackbacks for lots of pointers to good music from others.
I see the IVR Cheat Sheet coming in handy in the future. The table, created by the founder of the travel site Kayak.com, is a list of shortcuts to bypass various corporate phone systems and get to a human being.
travel phone steps to find a human American Airlines 800-433-7300 ”00, then say “”agent”“” Amtrak 800-872-7245 ”0 or say “”agent”“” Delta 800-221-1212 ”say “”agent”” four times – every time it asks for a response from you” jetBlue 800 JET-BLUE 1 flight status; 2 reservations; 3 vacation packages Kayak.com 203 899-3120 0 Northwest 800-225-2525 Star, 0,0 after initial greeting Southwest 800-435-9792 Calls answered by operator; during busy times you might have to hold United 800-864-8331 Do nothing, wait for human. US Airways 800-428-4322 4, wait, 1 Walt Disney World 407-824-4521 Direct line to Magic Kingdom Guest Relations
The full sheet includes shortcuts for a variety of industries, including finance, government, insurance, and retail.
I just finished reading some notes from David Allen’s Getting Things Done: the Roadmap seminar posted on the From the Belly of the Beasts blog. In particular, the following item jumped out at me:
Use “draft” instead of “write” (less intimidating to have “draft proposal to yada yada” on your list than “write proposal”)
It’s subtle, but I think it would be useful to help change my thinking about writing. It fits in well with one of the themes of The Now Habit:
Work for an imperfect, perfectly human first effort.
I’m also curious about the paperclip exercise mentioned toward the bottom of the notes. Anyone know more details about it?
Thanks to the Internet, it’s now pretty rare that I need to receive faxes and even more rare that I need to send them. Recently I’ve needed to receive a few, so I did some searching to find out what the latest online options were. I came across an excellent online faxing FAQ, which includes recommendations broken down by usage.
Q: Kevin, I appreciate the detailed information about fax services in your FAQ, but it’s too much to digest. Please help me choose an inexpensive and reliable service that’s right for me.
A: OK, because you asked for it. Choose what type of user you are and you’ll find my recommendations.