Monday, April 30, 2012

17 Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

  1. Take 5-10 minutes each day tidying up while at the same making sure to put whatever it was you were using back where it was. It's not difficult and keeps the place clutter free
  2. Keys always goes in the same place, every time. No more lost keys.
  3. Coin jar keeps coins from being nomadic.
  4. Books go on bookshelf, CDs go in CD tower, Pictures go on wall/desk/shelf.
  5. If you don't have a desk/shelf, keep an eye out for those things at the dumpter area of an apartment complex, people throw good furniture away monthly. Its sad really.
  6. It takes 5 minutes to make the bed in the morning, faster after having done it for a while.
  7. Wash your sheets regularly.
  8. Put dirty clothes in dirty clothes bag/hamper. Wash them once a week, hang freshly clean clothes in closet (I hate folding so I just hang them ALL up.)
  9. Remove the plates/cups from room daily, place in sink, wash dishes daily (takes 2-3 minutes to wash them if done daily, seriously) One or two dishes is easier/faster to do than a week's worth.
  10. Vacuum/sweep daily, this keeps dust from collecting on surfaces as quickly. Also dust about once a month.
  11. USE A TRASHCAN AND EMPTY IT WHEN IT GETS FULL. (Note this only works if you actually place unwanted boxes, bags, half-eaten food, fast food refuse, etc. in the trashcan) Please recycle if at all possible.
  12. If you want to get fancy, you can get a small file cabinet for 30-40 bucks at Target or something. Get folders, I found a labelmaker at Staples for 10 bucks, and organize your documents/mail. You could have categories like: Rent receipts, bank statements, utility bills, credit card bills, taxes, school records, job-search, car maintenance, and other. I keep a paper shredder next to mine so when I sort my mail I can shred the unimportant stuff like credit card offers.
  13. Credit card offers: DO NOT ACCEPT THEM. Only keep one credit card handy FOR EMERGENCY PURPOSES. Not being able to get McDonald's one day is not an emergency. Something like: Holy shit my only means of transporting myself to work/school needs $500 worth of repairs...
  14. Speaking of McDonald's, minimize fast food consumption, you'll gain alot more in the long term if you make attempts to cook for yourself. Get a cookbook. You'll end up saving money, learning to cook, and eating a better diet.
  15. Shop at thrift stores where you can find really nice furniture, appliances, and clothing and really low prices. Buy used and refurbished. I rarely ever buy anything new anymore.
  16. Never buy a new car, its a waste of money to buy new, stay away from dealerships. Look for somebody selling their car, ask to drive it around the block, take it to a shop and pay them $20-$50 to inspect it. Tell them you're thinking about buying it and ask them for advice. ALL used cars will have some sort of problem requiring repair. If you're planning on spending $1200 for a car, then $800-$900 should be for the car and the rest for repairing immediate issues. Don't focus on the cosmetics, instead make your purchase based on the car's mechanical condition. Yes, I've found great cars for $800 and less.
  17. After getting a car, go to a car parts store and get the repair manual for that model. Often, stuff like replacing the brakes, fuel filter, oil changes, exhaust repair, battery replacement, etc. is insanely easy to do. Older cars from the 90s and early 2000s are much easier to work on than new models since manufacturers now like to design it so you MUST go to their authorized service center to get it something simple done. My friend has a new car where the freakin battery has a support bar over the top of it so it can only be removed at a shop.
Original post by psychopete

Friday, April 27, 2012

Get off the Train

Money equals power and freedom. Be very careful about that for which you trade your freedom and power. I choose not to hand over mine for knick-knacks like an iPhone, Tupperware, gold wedding bands, an electric clothes dryer, matching luggage, designer sunglasses, or chrome wheels.

I don't live to have, I live to do. I have never spent $50 on a coffee table book with photos of the Costa Rican cloud forest, but I have been there, carrying my gear in an old ice chest ($3 at Goodwill) instead of a $200 REI backpack. I never buy $25 concert t-shirts, but I have been to thousands of concerts. I take night classes at a community college, and now I speak Spanish, I can do body and paint work on my car or motorcycle, and I keep in shape in their gym. I have the time and money to do these things because I got off the consumer train.

 If you put your money in the bank, and someone fucks you, you can pay for a lawyer. If you put your money in the bank, and your child wins an award, you can get on a plane and go to the ceremony. If you put your money in the bank, and your boss is an ass, you can resign. But people who sell stuff want to take away your money and give you crap in return. When they have loaded you up with Franklin Mint bronze statues of John Wayne and Hello Kitty mouse pads, you won't have money left for lawyers and planes and telling your boss of fuck off. So stop spending money on anything that does not meaningfully improve your life. (And if it is merely an aesthetic improvement, it is not really an improvement.)

How? Stop consuming advertising, to the extent you can. Also, kill your television. Aside from the commercials, your television sends you the message about 1 bazillion times an hour that the kind of person you want to be drives a shiny SUV. Try not to let that message get near you. Associate with a different class of people.

Instead of playing golf on Saturdays with people who are on the train, people who buy custom exhaust systems to get a few more horsepower from their cars (How fucking fast do you need to go?), people who have stainless steel barbeques, people who get their cars washed by a machine, spend the day at a protest march, or a bluegrass festival, or in the community garden with people who share your values.
The most important thing you can do is stop telling yourself that the solution to all of your problems is a trip to the mall. You don't need to go to a mall. Ever.

If something breaks, do not write on your list of things to do, "Get a new one." Instead, write on your list of things to do, "Learn to repair the one I have." Or, "Learn to live without a lawn edger, or power mirrors in the car, or Vitamix." Write that on your list of things to do. Wear things out. You don't need new Nikes because yours are dingy. When they have holes, get an upholstery needle and sew them up. Do that until you can't do it anymore, then get new ones. Use the shit you have. If you already have a computer, you don't need a Playstation. Make do. Your phone is pretty goddamned good. You don't need a new one just because there is a new one. Stop talking to people about the latest phones. It has nothing to do with you.

 This is not easy. You might not know where to start. Try an experiment: Make a solemn oath that nobody in your family will buy anything new for 90 days. Okay, if you run out of toothpaste, you can make an exception. But no clothes, no DVDs, no books, no kitchen gadgets, no tires, no nothing. If you MUST have something, get it from Freecycle, get it from a flea market, make it yourself, but buy nothing new for 90 days.

 Then, after the first 90 days elapses, do 90 days without carrying cash. Set a limit for everyone in your family. Maybe $10 for adults, $5 for kids. (No credit cards.) This is going to mean that sometimes you are going to buy only $10 worth of gas and have to go to the gas station twice in a week instead of filling up once. Small inconvenience. It is going to force you to consider what is important. With only ten bucks in your pocket, you might stop after work to get some milk, but you won't buy anything else. If it is really important, you can go back and get it later. But you will learn that many of the things you thought were important aren't. In these 6 months, join r/frugal, read DIY blogs, take a welding course at a community college. Replace all of the spiritual junk food you have been consuming (like TV, like the magazines in the seat-back pockets of airplanes, like the ads in the Sunday newspapers) with nutritious food for your soul (like r/simpleliving, and How To Make Sausage videos on YouTube).

Ask yourself as frequently as you can, "Do I want to spend my Saturday afternoon shopping for shit I don't need, or playing Frisbee with my kids?" Then go play Frisbee.

I am off the train. I invite you to disembark. Here is how you stop struggling:
Put two sticks of softened margarine in a bowl. Add 1 cup of white sugar, and one cup of brown sugar. Add two eggs. Blend this. Add three cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and one tablespoon of baking powder. Mix well. Stir in 2/3 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Spray a cookie sheet with Pam, and lay out 12 generous spoonsful of dough, evenly spaced.
Bake at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

As soon as you can put a toothpick into the middle of a cookie and take it out clean, remove them from the oven. Put the cookies on a wire cooling rack. When they are cool enough to eat, but still warm, eat half. Then lie to your wife about how many you made.

What were we talking about before? Something that is not very important, as I recall. Your life is better already, isn't it?

Original post at Reddit

Shopify Custom Domain without the WWW on GoDaddy

I'm hosting my newest project on Shopify. I've a slight amount of experience with the platform from an aborted previous ecommerce effort, and I have to say it's pretty slick.

I don't remember if I ran into this the first time, but I have my own domain for the new project and I wanted to get it set up to work without the www prefix, i.e. I wanted it to be Additionally, I wanted anyone who typed in to be automatically forwarded to the non-www version.

I'd registered my domain name with GoDaddy. Shopify's help system provides instructions for setting up your domain name on GoDaddy so your Shopify store will resolve to it. However, they provide instructions that make the www version the default and also use a domain forwarding method. Not what I wanted.

An hour or two of fruitless searching failed to resolve my problem, but I eventually figured it out. So.... if you have a Shopify store, registered your domain name through GoDaddy, and want your store URL to be the non-www version, here's how you do it.
  1. Log into your GoDaddy account
  2. Go to the Domain Manager
  3. Click on the domain name you want to use
  4. Find the DNS Manager section (under the Domain Enhancements section) and click on the Launch link
  5. Edit the A (Host) record, chaing the IP address to (Shopify's IP addy for your store - see Shopify DNS help). It should look like:

  6. Make sure the CName for the WWW alias is set to @:

  7. Now go to your Shopify admin section, and go to Preferences-->DNS & Domains
  8. Click the Add a domain you already own link
  9. Enter you web site domain without the www
  10. Click the Add a domain you already own link
  11. Enter you web site domain with the www
  12. Make the one without the www you primary domain and check the box always redirect customers here?
It might takea few hours up to a day or two for all the changes to take, but when they do, you'll be abelt to get to your store with and when you enter it will automatically resolve to



Reverence is a sin. I hate the reverent. I hate all revered objects and ideas, such as cancer, high art and the rules of war. Insouciance is the only way to live. Silly people can't make war. They play and fight and both end in laughter, in joy. I'm humbled by the beauty of the everyday without fail. I embrace my childlike glee and gleefully trample childish reverence underfoot. I wake up every morning and the sea itself flows in my veins, and I'm clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars: in my joy I am to be the sole heir of the whole world.

Original Reddit Post

Bragging a Bit

I do a bit of Adsense and affiliate marketing tinkering on the side and wanted to brag a bit about a site where I just started selling exercise ropes.

I started as a blog built around the low competition keyword "heavy rope". I did all the posts myself instead of hiring someone like you so often read. The blog was getting good traffic, about 100 visitors a day, so I put Adsense on it. Well, I guess heavy rope exercisers aren't interested in clicking on Adsense ads.

So I searched and found a company that drop ships exercise ropes.

I got an account with e-junkie, and I already had PayPal. It took me about a day to get all the products loaded into the e-junkie shopping cart and to build the store pages on the site.

It's been up and running abotu 6 weeks now and I've got 31 sales! Averaging about 5 a week.

I don't make much, an average $10 a sale, but it's much more than I was making with Adsense.

I'd tried drop ship before and it didn't work because the suppliers took too damn long to ship. But the rope company gets stuff out within 3 days, sometimes even same day if I get my order in before noon. It's working so well I'm looking into opening up another store. Already approved - just waiting for the CD with product images to arrive!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

If Car Mechanics got Calls like Computer Techs

I've actually been using the cars analogy for a couple months now and I think it's very fitting. Imagine if you were a mechanic who owned an auto shop and your average customer call went something like this:

Customer: My car isn't working and I need you to fix it immediately, this is an emergency

Mechanic: Alright sir what seems to be the problem?

Customer: I don't know, I tried to use my car on friday and it didn't work, now it's monday and I need to get to work and I can't and this needs to be fixed right now.

Mechanic: Can you start the car? Can you even get into your car? Does it make any sounds when you try to start it? Are all 4 tires there?

Customer: I don't know, I don't know what any of that stuff means, I tried to get to work and it wouldn't let me and you need to fix it now because you changed my oil 6 months ago.

Mechanic: Alright well what kind of car are you driving?

Customer: I don't know, a green one, why does that matter?

Mechanic: Please take a look at the back of your car and see if there are any letters or numbers that would indicate a vehicle model or manufacturer

Customer: Ok, my car is a SV2 87K.

Mechanic: No sir that's your license plate. My records indicate that you drive a Nissan Altima, can you confirm that the key you're using to try and get into this car says Nissan on it?

Customer: My key says Lexus but I don't see how that makes a difference, I've been using this key on this car for years and it's always worked, what did you do to my car?

Original Reddit post here

Healthcare Debate

Old news, I know, but I still get into it every now and then with a co-worker who "doesn't want to pay for health care for other people".

Listen, the reason people come together and form communities is so we can take care of each other. But the United States seems to be perpetuating this ideal of the Rugged Individual, with the definition of such being What's Mine is Mine, Go Get Your Own, and No I Ain't Helping.

This is at odds with what we often see occurring after a tradgedy. People in the US are very generous. We, as a society, donate money and time very generously to help the less fortunate. So it's confusing to me why everyone gets their Pampers in a bunch as soon as our government starts talking about making healthcare affordable and available to everyone.

All I want is this: to not have to be a corporate slave in order to have access to AFFORDABLE health coverage. Somehow, somewhere, corporations must have been involved in this. If I decided to try to start my own business, I couldn't afford helathcare for myself or my family, and I think that's a bunch of crap.

It's as though healthcare in the US was specifically designed to keep us slaving away for our corporate masters. You want affordable healthcare in the US? Get a job with a company that offers it.

I'm no genius and I have no idea what the solution is. But I do think health care and employment need to be disconnected.

And to the guy who was bitching this monring about "not wanting to pay any more taxes to support Obamacare" think on this dumbass: You work for the same company I do, you have a family, so I happen to know you're already paying a $400 a month "tax" for your health care every month, adn that's not even including the $4000 a year deductable before you even get the 80/20 coverage.

Most of us are already paying a health care "tax", the only difference being that it's going into the pockets of the health insurance companies and not to the government.