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How-to

Why are the flames on my range yellow?

Last week I noticed that the flames on my LG gas range were more yellow than blue. Normally the flames are completely blue and clean-burning, so this concerned me. After a few phone calls, a utilities service visit and a bit of Google searching, I finally discovered the unexpected problem.

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How-to

Why do Ikea screws always strip?

Let’s face it, we’ve probably all put together way too much Ikea furniture in our lifetimes. Some of us may have even experienced the frustration of stripping screw after screw as we try to assemble the Swedish-named chairs, cabinets and desks, not to mention entire kitchens. Well I have great news for you! There is a secret to this screw-stripping madness. The answer is “Pozidriv”.

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How-to

Being more productive in 5 easy steps

Have you ever had a busy day filled with little tasks that added up to practically nothing, walking away at the end of the day, you realize you just worked for 8 hours straight and have nothing to show for it? You’re not alone. We all have days like this. Sometimes, the key to being productive has nothing to do with how long you work, but rather how you organize your time. The following are 5 ways that I improve my productivity on a daily basis. If they don’t apply to you or your career directly, think about modifying them or pulling out key points to become more productive yourself.

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How-to

How to flip a mattress

Most mattress manufacturers recommend that you rotate your mattress to allow it to wear evenly and prolong its lifetime. This is especially important if you have a partner that you share your bed with. If you and your partner are different heights and weights, then you will need to rotate it to prevent it from getting too worn in some areas, but not others. The concept is not unlike rotating the tires on your car, allowing them to wear evenly as well.

So how do you flip a mattress? Do you flip it the long way, or the short way? What way did you rotate your mattress last time? This past weekend, I came up with an easy system that is pretty straight forward and will help you remember when and how to flip your mattress.

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How-to

How to shop online for cheaper

Yesterday I found something that I had to share. With Christmas only a month and a half away, if you haven’t started thinking about shopping, now’s the time.

I found a site yesterday while shopping for new shoes online. The site is MrRebates.com. Yes, I’ve included my referral ID in that URL. You’ll see why in a second. Let me cut to the chase and describe the big picture.

Mr. Rebates makes money because they have a big list of web sites where you can go to shop. Each time you click through Mr. Rebates and buy something, they get a percentage of your purchase price. Lucky for you though, Mr. Rebates will give you a chunk of that percentage back. On my shoe purchase, I received 5% back. On top of that, Mr. Rebates gave me $10 just for signing up.

As an added bonus, Mr. Rebates keeps a current list of coupons for most of the sites that it lists, so you save even more. Yesterday, I saved 20% off the purchase price of my shoes.

But wait… There’s more: For every person you refer to MrRebates.com, you will receive 20% of their cash back money (at no cost to your friend of course).

Last but not least, if you’re Canadian there’s the added bonus of our strong Canadian dollar right now. This morning, 1 CAD = 1.10022 USD.

Purchase price minus coupon discount minus cash back minus $10 sign-up bonus minus referral bonus minus USD exchange

It’s practically stealing!

Last year I did about 60% of my Christmas shopping online. It was quick and relatively easy if you start early. You get to avoid malls and now, you can enjoy some of the cheapest prices on the net. This year, I’m going to try and do 100% of my shopping online. You should try it too. Why not start your Christmas shopping today. Go visit MrRebates.com.

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How-to

Why I shave with olive oil

Shaving is a fact of life for most. Both men and women have felt the need to chop off hair as close as possible to their skin for thousands of years. I am no exception. Seeing as I shave my face almost every day and realizing that there’s millions of other things I would rather be doing at 7:00AM, I have made it my mission to find the best, most comfortable, fastest and generally most enjoyable method of shaving available. I have tried disposable razors, fancy razors with up to 6 blades, straight razors, shaving cream, shaving gel, shaving soap and for a period of time I even just gave up and let my beard grow. This has all changed now though, because I found olive oil.

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How-to

Thank you Firefox

I just stumbled upon something in Mozilla Firefox that saved me a lot of time: Recently Closed Tabs.

I had just finished typing up a new wiki page and just before saving, I accidentally closed the tab I was working in. After a quick moment of panic, I thought to myself, “Maybe Firefox has a feature to undo the closing of that tab.”

A quick click on the History menu revealed Recently Closed Tabs. I could instantly open up the tab again, complete with all the text I had just typed in my wiki entry. Thank you Firefox!

This has saved me about 10 minutes today, and probably many more future minutes. It also follows inline with an article that I read recently. The article explains the importance of providing an “undo” feature just like the one in Firefox that saved me today.

Update Apr 10, 2013 – This is now supported in most major web browsers.

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How-to

Truth-Gammon

Truth-gammon (or maybe T-gammon) is a game I just thought of while playing backgammon with a co-worker. I call it Truth-gammon because I think it truly exposes the strengths and weaknesses of backgammon players. Here’s how you play:

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How-to

A tip from Inch’s bathroom

Have you ever been frustrated by condensation on your bathroom mirror when you get out of the shower? Are you annoyed when you wipe it off only to discover that you’ve now created streaks on your mirror, and the condensation just comes right back anyway? Here’s a discovery I made a couple months ago to get rid of your foggy mirror after a hot shower.

Simply use a hair dryer on its hot setting and move it in a circle over the area you would like cleared. At first, it won’t look like it has any effect, but then after a few seconds, the mirror will become crystal clear. Also, because you’re using hot air, the mirror heats up and doesn’t allow more condensation to form after you’ve cleared it off.

You can now shave, brush your teeth or style your fancy hair with confidence and a clear image staring back at you.

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How-to

iTunes 7 – Unnamed Album Fix

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Apple released version 7 of iTunes yesterday. The new version has lots of new features including movie support from the iTunes Music Store, iPod games, and way more support for album artwork including automatic downloading from the iTunes Music Store, and Cover Flow which is an awesome new way of showing all of your albums in iTunes visually.

One problem that people will notice almost immediately while browsing by album, is that any tracks that do not have an album name specified will automatically take up their own spot in your album browser. So if you have 20 tracks by an artist, but no album information specified, then each of those 20 tracks take up a spot in your album browser. It would be much better if Apple had grouped all of these tracks together in one “Unnamed Album”, but we wouldn’t be so lucky.

Here’s a simple fix that will rectify that problem lickety-split: In the album view, sort all your tracks by album name. All of the tracks with unnamed albums will go to the bottom of the list. Highlight all of those tracks, and view their info (Command+i on a Mac). You’ll get a warning about changing all the tracks at once, then simply type the album name “Unnamed” or “Unknown” or “null” or whatever you’d like. Click OK. All of the tracks will be assigned an album of that name.

Now when you’re browsing by artist, any tracks that previously took up their own spot in your album browser, are now grouped under an album named “Unnamed”. Voila!