Readers offer their best tips for catching up on the news, customizing Yahoo’s iOS Weather app, and doing some spring yard work.
Every day we receive boatloads of great reader tips in our inbox, but for various reasons—maybe they’re a bit too niche, maybe we couldn’t find a good way to present it, or maybe we just couldn’t fit it in—the tip didn’t make the front page. From the Tips Box is where we round up some of our favorites for your buffet-style consumption. Got a tip of your own to share? Add it in the comments, email it to tips at lifehacker.com, or share it over at our user-run blog, Hackerspace.
Catch Up On Your Daily Newspapers with Audible
I don’t have three hours each morning to read through one or two daily newspapers. Unless you’re retired, an executive with free rein, or have a long train commute to work, it’s going to be hard to justify a subscription to any of these monsters. I either walk or drive to work, making reading a not so safe (nor smart) option. I also do not want to waste my precious screen time on general news (I reserve that for tech news).
Thankfully, Audible rescued me from this dilemma. It is the modern-day version of ‘Books on Tape’. There, you’ll find new and classic books read by professional actors (some by very famous actors like Jeremy Irons reading The Alchemist). But most of you already know that. What you may not know is that they also offer audio versions of many newspapers and magazines.
When time is precious, you want your information to be succinct and curated, which usually entails a fee. Audible (which is owned by Amazon and shares login credentials) offers several membership plans with a basic package at $ 15 a month (the one I use). For that you get monthly credit towards one book of your choice and a free subscription to either the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.
I never knew Audible had newspapers as well, so for those of you that don’t want to listen to news podcasts from NPR and the like, this is a pretty cool alternative. Check out Amunategui’s full post for more tips on how to make this setup awesome.
Re-Order Yahoo Weather’s Sections on iOS
Haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere yet, but just noticed the fields in iOS Yahoo weather app can be re-ordered by dragging.
Simplify Yard Light Replacement with Spray Paint
Bryan shares a tip for homeowners starting their spring yard work:
Now that spring is finally upon us (at least here in the mid-west United States) we can begin to enjoy the wonderful weather, and unfortunately, the yard work that comes along with it.
Over the last few years you may have noticed that inexpensive wireless solar lights have been popping up in yards across the country, and if you’re like me, you’re one of the millions of home owners that have purchased these items as a way to boost the “curb appeal” of your house. While I generally have nothing but praise for these wonderfully convenient devices, they had one flaw that served as a thorn in my side all last summer. If you own the small solar lights that are attached to a small circular stake that’s driven in the ground, you may have the same issue; if you remove the lights and keep the stake in the ground to mow the lawn, it can be exceedingly difficult to find the tip of the stake again to re-attach the light, since the end of the stake is black and becomes easily camouflaged when surrounded by dirt/grass.
To avoid this problem, you can try a quick and easy trick that I used over the weekend. Before placing the stake in the ground, find a can of spray paint that you have laying around the garage (preferably a bright color that stands out against dirt/grass, I happened to have a can of chrome colored spray paint which worked nicely) then spray the flat circular ends of the stakes that you place the light on top of. Give it a few minutes to dry, and then voila! Next time you have to remove the lights to mow the lawn, finding the stakes will be a breeze when you want to put the lights back.
Photo by Caitee Smith.
Quit Bad Habits with Repetitive Typing
Instead of passwords like, officialroughexistquiet or Olu353q0p9E0GIYPxcJ2, how about using a password that can help reinforce habit formation or habit breaking. For instance, Iwillqu1t$ moking.
It is good practice to use a complex password, and we have all heard that this can simply be a few words that aren’t very common (like the XKCD method of four less common words).
Instead of just having a good password that is some random phrase, why not have a password that is a beneficial phrase you can say over and over again. Or you can keep saying officialroughexistquiet in your head every time you type your password.
Obviously, using this as a password has the potential for insecurity, as we’ve talked about before. But there are situations in which it might make sense—perhaps you use it as the username instead of your password, or as one of your text expansion snippet. Any way you can get yourself typing this throughout the day could help.
Photo by Michael Himbeault.