Off the Hook – Life hacks – some good; some suspect

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 I recently ran across these things called “life hacks.” The word, hack, has been defined as – to cut or chop, a worn out horse, a basketball foul, a cab for hire, or a writer whose services are for hire. It can also mean an untalented professional, a cough (recently in my world) and a quick solution that solves a problem but not particularly well.
But life hacks mean a trick, skill, shortcut or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency in all walks of life, hopefully. Some of these may be useful to you.
 “If you have leftover coffee from the morning, make coffee ice cubes. It can be used to cool iced coffee without diluting it.” Of course this is assuming you still have an ice cube tray. I suppose you can buy those somewhere, but I can’t remember seeing them recently.
 “To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit (who really needs to do that?), double the Celsius number and add 28.” When I checked this out, another source said multiply by nine then divide by five then add 32. Are you kidding me? Apparently that technique is only good when you’re trying to get zero, otherwise it doesn’t work because one step is missing. A simpler method is, you can first double the Celsius temperature, but then you must subtract 1/10 of the new number and add 32 to get the temperature in Fahrenheit. Unless you’re traveling in Europe you don’t really give a darn about this, I know. But you never know when you’ll need it.
 “Mixing Diet Coke with alcohol will get you more drunk than mixing it with regular Coke.” I’m way past the days when I want to be drunker so I haven’t tried this. I’m not sure it’s a good idea.
 “When setting a new password, make it a statement of a goal of yours, so that every time you put it in, you’ll constantly be reminded of the goal.” An example might be “save money” or “buy new car.” This could actually be a good idea.
 “When a friend is venting to you about something, sometimes it’s better to stay silent instead of trying to give advice.” Oh my … this is a hard one to follow. Doesn’t everyone want to try and solve their friend’s problems? But it’s also good advice just be the sounding board.
 Try this – “Tell people to pick a number between 12 and five. It seems that 90 percent of people choose seven because they automatically subtract the numbers in their head.” I tried this at home and that’s how he answered. See if this really happens for your friends.
 Here’s a very suspect hack. “Need some free Wi-Fi? The best places to go are Panera, McDonald’s, Apple store, Office Depot, Staples and courtyard Marriott.” This is sure to open your computer or phone to hacking. I am assuming since it doesn’t mention anything about passwords, in each of these places the Wi-Fi will not be secure. It’s my understanding that in that event someone who’s very adept at hacking can go into your device and steal all your stored information. Be careful of this.
 “If the taxi driver asks if you’re from around here, lie and say, yes. Sometimes they drive farther, running up the price for tourists.” I know this is true. This happened to us in Boston. Of course, one way to illuminate this risk is to take the services of Lift or Uber and the price is already set and charged before you leave for your destination.
 Here is something that could be quite useful. “Turn on your passenger seat warmer to keep food hot while driving home.” I am big on eating just half of my meal in a restaurant and taking the remainder home. You never know if someone at home wants it or it’s just best to keep it warm until you get to the refrigerator. This could also apply to prepared pizza heading home for consumption!
 “If you address every challenge in life under the assumption that everything always works out in the end, it usually does.” I’d like to think everything happens for the best and that’s a good way to explain events.
 “If you pay $65, you can register your dog as an emotional support animal and it’s illegal for landlords to refuse to rent to you.” I found one place that does this but it was $79. This is a very sticky thing. Undoubtedly, there are some who benefit from an emotional support animal. We are not talking about service animals here.
 Emotional support animals are not protected by the same laws as service animals. Their presence is respected, but sometimes used to circumvent a local rule. For instance, we are aware of a certain condominium rule that prohibits pets of all kids. That was because of a barking dog that never stopped when the owner was gone. It was annoying. So several owners trying to avoid the rule registered their new dog as an emotional support animal and the neighbors were not happy, but had no recourse. So, it’s best for me to just say, it has been an interesting event. By the way, I love dogs and cats (not too sure about goldfish!).
(Melanie Behrens – melb@marysvillejt.com)



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