Friday, June 12, 2009

Free Resumes and Business Cards + DIY Resources

Scarcely, can you find a deal better than free. And tomorrow happens to be the final day of staples free resume and business card offer. Promoted on
Staples Website, the offer promises 20 copies of one's resume along with 40 business cards with no costs whatsoever - no money spent on paper or ink or manual labor. But when Staples' stores close their doors tomorrow night, so closes the deal. If you are currently in hunt for employment, this is just one more opportunity to make your search more effective and more efficient. With limited personal exertion and no monetary expenditures you gain a medium to share your qualifications and identity with the business world: employers, employees, links to the professional environment. Inexpensive, often fulfilling, improvements to one's life and environment abound in other ways as well. Do-It-Yourself projects, coined DIY work, has become increasingly popular as the consumer population turns to their own wit and work for satisfaction. Rather than paying others, consumers attain the neccesary knowledge and develop the needed skills to solve their problems. With the internet, with Google in the driver's seat, anything is possible. And so there is no limit to the information one can obtain using merely his fingertips. He can learn to fix a sink, tile a roof, plant a garden, paint a garage or garage door.
For innovative, even inspiring, DIY projects, there are five reputable sites that one can check. For ideas small and large, common and dicey, persons with internet at their disposal can browse Make or Instructables. They can also search through eHow for further insights from the DIY savvy population. For more unique projects, one may look up Bizarre Stuff. And for the life hacker, DIY hacks do not fail to intrigue on Hack-a-Day, a website that, as its title would imply, offers one crucial hack per sunrise and sunset.
So make the most of the day. With your free time - time spent in anguish and languish, boredom and dejection, watching mindless television or reading mindless blogs as this one - think about commiting to a DIY project, for your own benefit, your environment's gain, or the utility of a family member or friend.

*Note - The DIY site suggestions stem from, though the insights and explanations are entirely those of my own doing.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bye Bye Blockbuster

Technology becomes cheaper by the day, by the hour, even by the second. A single innovation can foster cheaper methods of production or easier profligation of content. As witnessed in the music industry, the advent of the computer and internet and music players of all sorts has made cd's obsolete. Of course, providers of music, namely Itunes, still reap profits in the billions from honest customers who still pay for music, as well as videos, podcasts, applications, books and audiobooks. Nevertheless, the music industry continues to suffer as teenagers and parents alike learn the ways of limewire and torrent and burning music. Free and music are nearly synonomous in the vocabulary of today's youth, and the monetary purchase of music will only become more foreign, more unusual, as technology augments and the young people of today age.
The dvd and vhs rental industry is experiencing a similar twist of fate. Websites such as hulu and youtube, which offer full-length television shows and will soon offer entire movies, subplant funds formerly directed towards monopolies as Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. The internet is both a cheaper medium of visual stimulation and also a more convenient one. In one's house, the computer is, at most, a few rooms away - not a few blocks, or more. And so former rental giants are feeling the burdens of technology, just as the music industry did, just as the pager industry did (with the cell phone), just as the horse did (with the car).
There is something quaintly comforting about renting a dvd and coming home to watch it with one's family. The process, though it may require extra dollars, time, and gas, is familiar and often rewarding. The dvd rental experience comforts a person a ways the computer (Netflix and the like) can not. It entails a clear task, the goal being to find a potent movie: a "winner." It encourages social interaction with strangers in the store, acquaintances one may see at the store regularly, and the family and friends one goes to the store with. And it is routine: find and rent the dvd, return home, put in the dvd and prepare food and drink, revel in two hours or so of action or horror, comedy or drama. The overall experience is a mission culminating with a rewarding visual plot (if the movie is a good one).
The dvd rental process is here to stay, for the time being. But that does not mean one is confined to the monopolist companies such as Blockbuster, which charges roughly $5 per dvd rental. The redbox is 99 cents store for dvd's. In your local Albertson's you will (or will soon be) able to locate a "red box." These machines carry roughly 100 of the newest released dvd's and rents them out for a dollar per night. There is a minimum rental of one day, and no limit on how many days one may hold the dvd. To purchase a red box dvd, one only needs his credit card. He pays with the credit card and, upon returning the dvd, he is billed for however many days the movie was rented. The experience is similar to that of a Blockbuster run, but less time consuming and often conventient. It is as simple as choosing a movie after shopping for groceries. I urge you all to locate a Red Box near you (check the Red Box website for locations) and reap the benefits of an extensive collection of cheap dvd's. For greatest utility, you should arrange to keep the dvd for just one night, costing, in turn, just a single dollar.

What is more, you can check the Red Box site for weekly coupon codes. Frequently, you can get one night free on any dvd rental. Thus, you still swipe your credit card, but pay nothing. Good luck on your foray into the world of red boxes, the beginning of the end for Blockbuster.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Hello again.
I've been away for a while now, but, with the school year coming to a close, I'm eager to get frequently once more. Not only will I be writing in depth posts on underused, unrealized hacks, as in past posts. I will also briefly describe and link you to any articles of helpful - possibly crucial - information, like so:
  • GymPost - This resource is a map mashup of all gym locations in a given area. And it is not limited to a single fitness company, thus, when on vacation, you can search out and compare a multitude of workout options. You are not limited to the locations of a single gym, as you would be searching individual site to individual site.
  • Fuelly - JD Roth, from Get Rich Slowly, posted today about a new tool he found to track his gasoline consumption. Fuelly offers useful metrics such as average miles per gallon, best miles per gallon, and gas trends. As gas rises once more, this tool will be exponentially useful. (Photo linked from Get Rich Slowly.)
  • 50 "Danger-est" Search Terms - Beware: it is not simply search for adult content that will get your computer infested with malware and spyware and the like. McAfee recently released a list of the fifty greatest search threats for the average googler.
  • "See ID" - Also an idea from Get Rich Slowly: technically, you can write "See ID" where one should sign on a credit card, and you are not legally bound to the credit contract, purchases, fees, and other miscellaneous costs.
  • The Worst and Very Worst of McDonalds - I admit, I am not a fan of McDonalds. Nevertheless, Lifehacker has compiled a list of the comparedly least and most healthy options if one must choose. And remember: always go with the diet soda. (Image via Lifehacker.)
You can expect these round-up type posts on a bi-weekly basis, if not more often. Also, I intend to start a fitness blog in the near future. I will keep you updated on that. Any ideas for domain names that incorporate the idea of stretching?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cheat Hacks - License Plate Camouflage

This post initiates a series of "cheat hacks." Simply put, this category focuses on using illegal or mischievous tricks for your own benefit. The area is broad and will cover tips for your school environment, tips for your work atmosphere, and tips for your life. Essentially, I'll explain ways to make your life a lot easier, albeit slightly fraudulent...

Toll roads are annoying in a number of ways. Firstly, the road fees are incessant and expensive. To add, the payment process is time-consuming, peaking one's irritation as it squanders both time and money. It takes several minutes to stop, to gather the necessary coins for the toll, to wait in line. Moreover, its not uncommon for a person to the necessary change to pass. In such a case, that person will generally wait for other drivers to spot them the toll, all the while leaving others to wait in line. Admittedly, there is the option of buying a fast track pass. In doing so, a driver is allowed to altogether surpass the toll stop. Still, the pass is expensive. Some drivers can't afford a large deposit of money at one time. Furthermore, for many the pass simply would not be used enough to become beneficial. Without a pass, drivers can either pay the toll or run it. In most cases, that driver will be photographed and fined for the latter.

Under certain circumstances, red lights are also an indignation. When it's 4:30am, with no other cars in sight, there isn't a reason to wait minutes at each stop light. Once again though, cameras keep drivers from running lights, fearful of severe monetary consequences.
The commonality in each situation is that there is a camera to keep the drivers honest. In capturing the license plates of trespassers, law officials are able track and fine the car's owner. There are ways to beat this "system" though:
  • Phantom Plate - For $29.99, you can buy "Phantom Plate," a spray which effectively "hides" your license plate from cameras. With just one spray, your license plate becomes a reflector and is essentially invisible to cameras. Moreover, you can use one bottle on up to four license plates, making the purchase increasingly beneficial. One particular plus of using this product is that it remains unseen to the naked eye and won't attract attention.

  • Sanyo Remote Control Covers - Posted on Deal Extreme, a remote control license plate cover can be bought for just $121. The cover drops down upon the driver's command to show a black plate and can rise again, revealing the original license plate. One advantage of this product relies in its guarantee to block plate photographs - unlike some reflecting products which may or may not work.

  • Anti-Photo Shields - In this category of camera protection, there are a myriad of options to choose from. Essentially, a license shield is a glass (or other see through substance) plate to put on top of your license plate. Looking straight-on, the cover is undetectable to all eyes. However, seen from different angles - like that of a street camera - a license plate becomes foggy and unreadable. One slight disadvantage of this option is that the plate trick is not solely inherent to cameras and can be noticed by people as well. Online, you can find license plate shields for as low as $14.99.

  • The Loover - Finally, there is a basic, low-tech option that is just as effective as the aforementioned ones. The Loover, a license plate cover with thin, evenly spaced slits, sits on top of your license plate, easily readable to eye-level viewers. In effect, the slits block the a camera's view of a car's license plate from high angles. Keep in mind that this product is easily seen to all eyes or recording devices. Nonetheless, this is a proven product which can be attained for $42.95 - one which is not questionable in its abilities like reflecting products.
Before buying any of these products, you should research the various options and their effectiveness. If possible, converse with others that have used the products. Additionally, beware of laws banning license plate "camouflage" products in your state. Above all, think if such a product would be an asset to your life and something that would return its expense. Do you use toll roads daily? Do you needlessly stop at red lights each morning? And lastly, is using such a product worth the legal risks it presents?

Post-Script: Have you used a license plate shielding device with success?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Internet Hack - iStockPhoto For Extra Cash

There aren't a lot of easy ways to make money. If you're a decent illustrator or photographer though, you could potentially make thousands of dollars each year using iStockPhoto. The website is a graphic provider service which uses a micropayment business model - and is royalty free. Found in 2000, the website simply requires you to apply and answer a few questions to become a seller. For an anecdotal experience of one users effortless journey to $2000 dollars a year, check:
Post-Script: What others services/websites do you use to make easy money?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Internet Hack - URL Shrinkers

Simply put, some website url's are too long. There's an easy fix to this annoyance, though. Just as most technology’s irritations have been solved with innovation and work, new resources have spawned which enable you to turn an overwhelming url into a small, simply one. There are several sites that offer this service, but some of the best include:

So next time you need an easy to remember web link or are sending many long url’s, consider using one of these sites to make your task a lot easier. Here's one example of a url shrink using Tinyurl.

Post-Script: Which url shrinking resource do you use?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"How To" Hack - Keyboard Thumbtacks

In this post, I just thought I'd share a neat DIY project I came across today. You'll need an old, out of commision keyboard, super glue, thumb tacks, and a drill. With a little time and effort, you can take ordinary thumb tacks and add different keys to them. This trick is not only fun, but also useful. You can organize flyers and documents on a board using different letters and even have the special keys (ctrl, enter, shift...) mean certain things. Moreover, the makeover would give your board a fresh, rad look. For a complete step by step guide on how to make the thumbtacks, visit Instructables' Keyboard Thumbtack schematics. Here's some sample "keyboard tacks":
Post-Script: So who did you vote for and how was your experience?