A comment over at Lifehacker got me thinking about plywood as flooring, which led me to a blog post at Quarry Orchard. The author is one of many people who have had success making floors out of strips cut from ordinary 4×8 sheets of plywood, the variety that sell for around $14 at home improvement stores.
I’d be a bit concerned about durability but there’s a lot to like about the idea as well.
Continue reading Plywood floors for a hardwood look at around $1 per sqft
Lifehacker says it costs you money to make your IRA contribution all in April. Unfortunately, their advice to contribute in January is an oversimplification.
Contributing all year is a better result.
Continue reading Don’t make your whole IRA contribution in April. Or January, for that matter
This weekend Lifehacker advised against using things like your name and address as your wifi network name or SSID–if you’re targeted for attack, it makes you that much easier to find when your wifi name is your name or address.
When I set up a wifi network, I usually set the name to the time of day. That way the network name ends up just being a meaningless, useless number, with no clues as to who owns it, or who the broadband provider is. Clever names draw attention, and you don’t want to draw attention.
Let’s talk about two other common security measures that you probably shouldn’t do.
Continue reading Don’t use personal information as your wifi network name
I found this oldie but goodie Lifehacker article: When two computers are cheaper than one. It advocates buying a cheap laptop and building a desktop PC to meet your computing needs.
I think it makes a lot of sense. A few weeks ago, a coworker asked me what the most I would be willing to pay for a laptop. I hesitated, thought for a while, and said you might be able to convince me to spend $600. “Wow,” he said. “I’m considering a $3,500 laptop.”
I wouldn’t. Continue reading Don’t buy a “desktop replacement” laptop
Lifehacker suggests writing e-mail backwards. That’s not exactly what I do, but the effect is about the same.
Most people get way too much e-mail, and working in shops where that wasn’t true got me in some bad habits. In my current job, I quickly learned that I needed to put what I’m asking for right up front. Continue reading Do this before hitting send
I bought a Raspberry Pi over the weekend intending to turn it into a retro gaming system. I’d rather not have a mess of systems and cartridges out for my kids to tear up and to constantly have to switch around at their whims; a deck-of-cards-sized console with everything loaded on a single SD card seems much more appealing.
I followed Lifehacker’s writeup, which mostly worked. My biggest problem was my controllers. NES and SNES games would freeze seemingly at random, which I later isolated to trying to move to the left. It turned out my Playstation-USB adapter didn’t get along with the Pi at all, and was registering the select and start buttons when I tried to move certain directions, pausing the game.
When I switched to a Retrolink SNES-style pad, the random pausing went away. The precision reminded me of the really cheap aftermarket controllers of yore for the NES and SNES, but at least it made most games playable. It could be my controller, which I bought used, is worn out. I’ll revisit controllers later this week. Continue reading Setting up Retropie on the Raspberry Pi
Lifehacker says to follow your skills rather than chasing your dreams.
There’s something to this. Two years ago I had a job writing security documentation. The CISO where I work now didn’t want to hire me because he was sure I already had my dream job and I’d just go back. On paper, it should have been my dream job, but I was beyond miserable. I was writing and editing for an audience of three people, and the environment was toxic. I woke up literally every morning thinking, “I didn’t study all day every day for three months to pass a 250-question 6-hour test to do this.”
Today I manage Windows patches. On paper it’s the most boring job in the world. But I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’m up for the mandatory midyear review, and though I’ve only been at the job for four months, I have to provide a six-month review. I can’t fit my four months of accomplishments on a single sheet of paper. I wake up every morning ready to seize the day and accomplish something. Continue reading Chasing dreams
I just found a Lifehacker piece on buying used stuff without getting ripped off. I have plenty of experience in this area.
The key, I think, is to deal in person, and test as much functionality as you can before handing over the cash. Continue reading Tips on buying used stuff
Lifehacker posted a controversial computer manufacturer ranking this week. I’m not sure how you can rank anything with Apple, HP, and Dell in it and not be controversial–someone’s going to be offended that their favorite isn’t at the top and their least favorite isn’t dead last–and while I agree with it more than I disagree with it, there are at least three problems with it.
So, let’s go. Continue reading The problem with Lifehacker’s computer manufacturer ranking
Lifehacker has a great writing tip that I take for granted, but come to think of it, may not be obvious to everyone: When you’re in a groove, don’t interrupt your writing with research.
The groove is much too valuable for that. When the words are flowing effortlessly, ride it out as long as it lasts. It usually takes a while to find that groove, so just go with it. I usually won’t break a groove to edit, either. Just let the words flow. You’ll always be more productive that way. Continue reading Don’t research when you’re in a groove. Yes. That.