Friday, December 27, 2013

Recycled Map Bangle

DSCN2213.JPGYou will need:
Glue Stick (does not need to be fancy)
Bangle Form (Use a bangle you already have to find something the same size. Mine is a coffee mug)
Decoupage medium (or liquid glue mixed with a bit of water)
Rotary Cutter (you can use scissors too, if you want)
Board (to protect surface from blades
Memory wire
Scotch tape

*I got the idea for this from this instructable. I added a bit to make it more suitable for a larger size.

DSCN2195.JPGUsing the rotary cutter, cut strips 3/4" wide. I ended up using thirteen 24" strips.

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Veneer Pendant

necklace on.JPGThis is part of a series of pendants I have been working on for a little while now.  Its stack laminated veneer that you sand through to show the different layers.  picking out veneers.JPGFor this one not a ton of tools or materials needed and a lot of the stuff can pretty easily be replaced by something else you have handy 

Materials-  Veneer-? I tend to have a bunch hanging around the house and the shop, but some good contrasting colors really work well in this project.  If you don't have any lying around rockler has a nice bundle of assorted veneers here if you are looking for something specific Berkshire Veneer has a great selection, but you have to order a larger amount Glue-  I like Titebond II or Titebond III, but any carpenters/ alaphatic resin glue will work. Sandpaper- 150 grit, 220, and then 400 sanding sponge finish-  I used a vinyl sanding sealer (Lacquer Base)  and a Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer for a topcoat
Clamps a couple of flat blocks or clamping pads to sandwich the veneer between handscrew/vise coping saw/scroll saw rasps and files of varying aggression drill  razor blade/veneer saw/ very sharp saw

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30 Minutes Creepy Heart

Can't you get a date, even with a calendar? Women find you dark and mysterious, but not in the good way? The answer you hear from human females is "sorry, I have a boyfriend, and I don't think he likes to see you and me together", even when you were only asking for the restroom?

STOP PRETENDING YOU ARE A NORMAL GUY! Because you aren't. You are creepy. Period. But it doesn't have to be a problem for expressing your feelings and getting the attention of a nice lady. Remember: Johnny Depp was a nobody. But he started acting in "Nightmare on Elm Street" and people loved his bed scene. After that, most of his characters are dark, crazy or twisted. The result? All women say "I love Johnny! He's so... creepy, cute and sexy!".

So, the thing is simple: become an openly creepy cute guy. First step: start giving creepy cute gifts. Like ice statues made with your scissorhands, or some nice flowers you found on the cemetery. No, a collage made with her pictures and yours with the caption in red capital letters "You will be mine. In this life or the another" won't work. I tried it. Twice.

You can make a quick present using trash and give it to the lucky lady, showing that you are not only creepy, but also, creative and special! The only things you need are a small heart (I'm talking about a plastic one; so, please Gary... release that bunny. NOW!), a batteries operated toy (preferable with a very slow motion) and heaphones.

If you have the right materials, you can make this toy in one hour or less (I made it in 30 minutes).

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Make Your Own Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide and Beeswax

Make Your Own Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide and Beeswax

With the 4th of July coming up soon, plenty of you are probably going to be spending time in the sun. Instead of buying bottle after bottle of sunscreen, make your own.

WonderHowTo has a brief guide on how to make your own sunscreen. The key ingredient here is the zinc oxide. In sun screen, zinc oxide is used to scatter light waves in the UV-A spectrum. As explains:

Sunscreens help to filter out UV radiation using a combination of two main types of active ingredients. Inorganic particles, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, form a physical barrier, reflecting or scattering UV waves. Organic components meanwhile absorb UV rays and release their energy as heat.

The recipe provided may not have as great of a shelf-life as store-bought sunscreen, but you can get the ingredients for fairly cheap and make several batches from them. Check out WonderHowTo for the full recipe.

How to Make Your Own Non-Toxic Sunscreen at Home | WonderHowTo

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MouseController Records and Automates Mouse Actions

MouseController Records and Automates Mouse Actions

Windows: We love Autohotkey for its ability to automate keyboard tasks. Mouse movements are another thing, though. Thankfully, MouseController is up to the task.

The app records your mouse's movements and clicks in real-time. This means that when you play it back, your cursor won't just teleport across the screen, but will actually move exactly the way you did. We've featured simpler programs like Mouse Jiggler to do targeted tasks like keeping your screen on, but this app provides much more flexibility.

MouseController | via Addictive Tips

Zelda Musical Treasure Chest

The below materials are what I used, though this project is wide open to personal interpretation. My suggestion is to wander a hardware store and see what you can find. That's what I did.

Assuming you have all the tools already, you should be able to do this project for around $75, including the necklace that goes inside (closer to $50, if you already have stain and poly lying around).

Wood Related
* (2x) 1/4x2x4 oak board (actually 1/4x1.5x48)- $2.82 each
* 1/4x4x4 oak board (actually 1/4x3.5x48) - $5.75
* Wood stain - $5
* Polycrylic finish - $18

* Decorative brass corner plates (4-pack) - $2.99
* Decorative brass hasp (5-pack) - $1.98
* Brass mid butt hinges (2-pack) - $2.47
* About 6-8 inches of brass jack chain (cut to length in chain aisle of Home Depot) - $0.63

* Record-your-own-message greeting card - Around $6 at Hallmark
* Tilt sensor - $1.95 at SparkFun (buy two just in case)

* Wood glue
* Brass tacks
* Electrical tape
* Black felt or foam for lining of chest (browse a hobby shop)
* Felt sticky feet
* Skyward Heart pendant - $22

* Circular or table saw
* Jigsaw
* Screwdriver
* Carpenter's square
* Sandpaper
* Adjustable clamps
* Brushes

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Twitter Wants to Start Tracking You on the Web, Here's How to Opt-Out

In a blog post today, Twitter announced that they're "experimenting with new ways of targeting ads," which is their way of saying they're planning to track you around the web—even when you leave Twitter—and relay that information to advertisers to craft better ads. Here's how to opt out.

If this sounds familiar, it should. Twitter started experimenting with this kind of off-site tracking a year ago, only then it wasn't explicitly opt-out. Twitter already uses things like Follow buttons and social widgets on websites to see where its logged in users go after they leave Twitter itself, but now they're putting it in print, and that's actually a good thing.

Twitter Wants to Start Tracking You on the Web, Here's How to Opt-Out

To turn off Twitter's new tracking:

Log in to Twitter and visit your account settings page.Uncheck the box that says "Tailor Twitter based on my recent website visits."Uncheck the box that says "Tailor ads based on information shared by ad partners."Scroll down and click "Save Changes."If you have Do Not Track enabled in your web browser, you'll see the checkbox like mine above that indicates it's enabled and neither of the boxes should be checked.

On the bright side, at least Twitter is being above board with its changes (unlike Facebook when they started doing the same thing)—they say that users won't see more ads on Twitter, just better ones, as a result of the tracking.

At the same time, it's one thing to use data collected while someone uses your service to improve your advertising—it's another to continue collecting data when someone leaves your service in order to improve your advertising. Still, opting out is easy, and we suggest you do it as soon as possible. For more tips on how to protect yourself from this kind of tracking, check out our guide to stopping everyone from tracking you on the web, and the best browser tools to protect your privacy.

Experimenting with New Ways to Tailor Ads | Twitter Blog via Boing Boing

$6 Gravity Powered Auto Chicken Feeder

13, 6:52 PM.jpgSeeing how much the self refilling feeders cost at the feed store put me in financial shock. The cheapest one was $30 bucks !! I decided to scour the Internet and see if anybody had any DIY ideas on how to build one at home. There's thousands of ideas! Unfortunately most were not as durable or were too complicated for me to do quickly and easily. Until I found this pin on Pinterest . I remembered seeing a dish like that at the dollar store and so my build began.....13, 6:52 PM.jpg1) chip and relish dish from the Dollar Tree $1. 2) 2.5 gallon bucket from hardware store $3 (you can get this size bucket for free from the grocery store in the bakery department. They are used to transport icing. You just have to be diligent and persistent as they disappear quickly). 3) 2.5 gallon bucket lid $.99 (if you don't find a free bucket). 4) Various nuts and bolts , drill, small and large drill bits. Hopefully you have these or can borrow them from someone who does :)

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Should I water my lawn during the night?

Should I water my lawn during the night?

Great discussions are par for the course here on Lifehacker. Each day, we highlight a discussion that is particularly helpful or insightful, along with other great discussions and reader questions you may have missed. Check out these discussions and add your own thoughts to make them even more wonderful!

For great discussions any time, be sure check out our user-run blog, Hackerspace.

If you've got a cool project, inspiration, or just something fun to share, send us a message at

Happy Lifehacking, everybody!

Do CFL bulbs really last as long as they claim?

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Challenge: Hack Something With Your Old Tablet or Smartphone

Welcome to our next Hacker Challenge! Each week, we issue a new challenge. You get until Sunday to prepare your submission and send it to us. That gives you a few days to think about it and a whole weekend to work it up. Our editors pick the best submissions and our favorite will be featured here on Lifehacker!

Let's get started!

For this week's challenge, we'd like to see your best DIY hack that makes use of your old tablet or smartphone. This could be some clever new use you've found, something you've built to augment the device, or a full-on transformation. We've already shown you a number of clever things you can do with your old tablet or unused smartphone.

Now, it's your turn. We want to see your best hack.

Make sure to follow these instructions when you submit your entry:

Post your entry below or send it to with the subject Hacker Challenge: Old Tablet or Smartphone. If you post your entry below and need to include more than one image, just reply to your own comment or host your extra pics on a free, quick image-hosting site like imgur and link out to your gallery.We will accept entries up through Sunday night, July 7 at 11:59pm Pacific Standard TimeWe will showcase the best submissions and announce our favorite Tuesday, July 9.So get to work! And don't forget to check back for new challenges every week.

Standard Gawker contest rules apply, so be sure to check them out before submitting your entry.

Image by Jag_cz (Shutterstock).

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 LGA1150 Motherboard Review

Legit Motherboard Reviews

ASUS Z87-Pro Intel Z87 Motherboard Layout and Features

ASUS is without a doubt one of the top manufacturers of computer components out there today. If you've been building your own computers for any length of time, you have most likely used one of their products in a build. Today we are going to look at one of their Intel Z87 LGA1150 motherboard for the latest Intel 'Haswell' platform. The ASUS Z87-Pro can currently be found for as little as $199.00 shipped. When considering everything you get with this ASUS motherboard, it almost seems like a steal!

As you undoubtedly figured out, the ASUS Z87-Pro features the Intel Z87 Express chipset and all the latest features that come with it. One of the features that is selling me on the Intel Z87 upgrade path is the fact that gone are the days of SATA II Ports, the Z87 chipset, and hence the ASUS Z87-Pro feature all SATA III 6Gbps ports. Of course that's only one of the many features that we get with the Intel Z87 chipset. Intel has doubled the number of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports from two to four over the previous Intel 'Ivy Bridge' Z77 platform.

All the goodness of the Intel Z87 chipset and the 'Haswell' platform aside, we're here to focus on the ASUS Z87-Pro LGA1150 motherboard. According to ASUS, the Z87-Pro features 'Perfect one-stop system optimization and enhanced Wi-Fi control on Intel Z87'. It boils down to three key features, more specifically three key sets of features. Starting with Dual Intelligent Processors 4 with 4-way optimization for one click and done. The second key features is the Wi-Fi GO! which is designed to create the perfect fusion of desktop, smartphones, and tablets. Last but not least is the Fan Xpert 2, this is easily one of the most customizable sets of fan controls out there. The culmination of these three sets of features certainly lays the ground work for a killer system.

The ASUS Z87-Pro Intelligent Processors 4 and 4-way optimization are really a unique feature that are a great way to easily tweak your system. If you're looking for performance you can set the system up with a quick overclock, if you want to conserve some electricity you can enable the EPU and you're saving power and money without sacrificing performance.

ASUS Z87-Pro Wi-Fi GO!

 The ASUS Z87-Pro is outfitted with the latest, greatest version of the ASUS exclusive Wi-Fi GO! technology. One of the aspects about the Wi-Fi GO! technology on the ASUS Z87-Pro that is great, is the ability to set-up a wireless network without the use of another router. It's the little things like this that go unnoticed by many that will separate this board


ASUS has made a number of changes to their UEFI BIOS in both the EZ Mode, and the Advanced mode. The two most significant changes in the EZ Mode are the EZ Fan settings and the EZ XMP Settings. The Previous generation of UEFI BIOS you needed to navigate through the advanced BIOS settings to locate both the fan controls and the XMP Profile. This latest generation ASUS has put it right on the EZ Mode! My personal favorite change to the UEFI BIOS is the last modified page. When you save and exit a pop-up window comes up showing what has been changed this time around in the BIOS. I would be amiss if I were to tell you that I haven't changed the wrong setting in the past, this is one feature I have really enjoyed using.

Intel Socket 1150 for 4th Generation Core i7/Core i5/Core i3/Pentium/Celeron ProcessorsSupports Intel 22 nm CPUSupports Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.04 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 3000(O.C.)/2933(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2600(O.C.)/2500(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2200(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/2000(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600/1333 MHz Non-ECC,Un-buffered MemoryDual Channel Memory ArchitectureSupports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

Integrated Graphics Processor

Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DVI-D/RGB/DisplayPort 1.2 ports

Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 HzSupports DVI-D with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 HzSupports RGB with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 HzSupports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 3840 x 2160 @ 60 HzMaximum shared memory of 1024 MBSupports Intel HD Graphics, InTru 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, InsiderSupports up to 3 displays simultaneouslySupports NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI TechnologySupports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX TechnologySupports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technology2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode) *34 x PCIe 2.0 x1

Intel® Z87 chipset :

6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), yellowSupport Raid 0, 1, 5, 10Supports Intel Dynamic Storage Accelerator, Intel Smart Response Technology, Intel Rapid Start Technology, Intel Smart Connect Technology

ASMedia ASM1061 controller : 

2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), dark brownIntel I217V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)Intel LAN- Dual interconnect between the Integrated LAN controller and Physical Layer (PHY)Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/nSupports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHzBluetooth V4.0Bluetooth V3.0+HS

Realtek ALC1150 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC

Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retaskingHigh quality 112 dB SNR stereo playback output (Line-out at rear) and 104 dB SNR recording input (Line-in)

Audio Feature :

Absolute Pitch 192kHz/ 24-bit True BD Lossless SoundDTS Ultra PC IIDTS ConnectOptical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panelBD Audio Layer Content Protection

Intel Z87 chipset :

4 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)

Intel Z87 chipset :

8 x USB 2.0/1.1 port(s) (8 at mid-board)

ASMedia USB 3.0 controller :

4 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue)

ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 4 with 4-Way Optimization :

The tuning key perfectly consolidates ASUS-exclusive DIGI+ Power Control, TPU, EPU, and Fan Xpert 2 optimize the digital power setting, system performance, power saving and whole system cooling configuration


ASUS DIGI+ VRM - 12 Phase digital power designASUS Enhanced DRAM Overcurrent Protection - Short circuit damage preventionASUS ESD Guards - Enhanced ESD protectionASUS All 5K-Hour Solid Capacitors - 2.5x long lifespan with excellent durabilityASUS Stainless Steel Back I/O - 3x more durable corrosion-resistant coating


ASUS Digital Power Design :

Industry leading Digital 12 Phase Power DesignIndustry leading Digital 2 Phase DRAM Power DesignASUS DIGI+ VRM UtilityCPU Power UtilityDRAM Power Utility ASUS Wi-Fi GO!

Wi-Fi GO! Function:

Cloud GO!, DLNA Media Hub, Smart Sensor Control, Remote Desktop, Remote Keyboard & Mouse, File Transfer, Capture & SendWi-Fi Engine for network sharing and connection: Client Mode, AP ModeWi-Fi GO! & NFC Remote for portable Smartphone/Tablet, supporting iOS & Android systems

ASUS Exclusive Features :

USB BIOS FlashbackMemOK!AI Suite 3Ai Charger+USB Charger+Anti-SurgeOnboard Button : PowerFront Panel USB 3.0 SupportASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interfaceNetwork iControlUSB 3.0 BoostDisk Unlocker

ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :

Stylish Fanless Design Heat-sink solutionASUS Fan Xpert 2


DirectKeyPrecision Tweaker 2ASUS O.C. ProfileASUS CrashFree BIOS 3ASUS EZ Flash 2Multi-language BIOS

ASUS Q-Design :


100% All High-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors

Overclocking Protection :

ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)1 x DVI-D1 x D-Sub1 x DisplayPort1 x HDMI1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)6 x USB 3.0 (blue)1 x Optical S/PDIF out6 x Audio jack(s)1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth v4.0/3.0+HS)1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)4 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 8 USB 2.0 port(s)1 x TPM header8 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 x 4 -pin)1 x S/PDIF out header(s)1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)1 x DirectKey Button(s)1 x DRCT header(s)1 x MemOK! button(s)1 x TPU switch(es)1 x EPU switch(es)1 x Power-on button(s)1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)1 x USB BIOS Flashback button(s)User's manual I/O Shield4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)1 x ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n compliant)1 x SLI bridge(s)1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)64 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.7, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3, My Favorites, Quick Note, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, F3 Shortcut functions, and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory informationWfM 2.0, DMI 2.7, WOL by PME, PXEDriversASUS UtilitiesEZ UpdateAnti-virus software (OEM version)ATX Form Factor12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

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Customize Your Resume to Your Profession

Customize Your Resume to Your Profession

There's no one-size-fits-all resume template. Just as you should tailor your resume for each position you're applying to, your resume should be appropriate for your job field as well.

US News offers several tips for customizing your resume according to your profession. For example, while most business resumes should have a traditional structure, sales and marketing jobs can use bolder, more promotional language (since that's the nature of the job). Creative jobs should focus more on projects—key design and creative elements from each assignment—and can showcase your eye for design, with the caveat that too much design can trip up resume screening programs. In those cases, you might just link to your online portfolio with more examples of your work.

And if you're applying for a tech job:

Unlike the numerical focus of business résumés, the résumé of someone who works in technology should demonstrate proficiency with a variety of programs that pertain to the job. "For technical résumés, the section of technologies could be pretty long so, again, we want it to be palatable to the reader so you can break it down into categories," Cohen says. "Instead of having 30 or 40 technologies listed, break it down by software, or hardware, or languages, or applications, or networks or however you want to do it that makes sense for your particular industry." If the technology section is still too long, consider adding an addendum that demonstrates the full range of technologies you're competent using.

Hit up the link below for more resume-crafting advice. In general,just make sure you've got a strategy to go along with your strong resume.

Crafting a Tailor-Made Resume to Fit Your Field | US News

Photo by Michael Nutt.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Lifehacker Twitter Wants to Start Tracking You on the Web, Here's How to Opt-Out | Gawker Rupert Mur

Sorry, I could not read the content fromt this page.

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Keep Your Lawn Green Without Wasting Money with These Watering Tips

Keep Your Lawn Green Without Wasting Money with These Watering Tips

You don't have to waste a lot of money or water in your quest for that perfect green patch of grass that'll make your neighbors envious. The Simple Dollar offers several maintenance tips that not only keep costs low but also help you mow less often.

Among them: Don't water the lawn. It sounds counter-intuitive, but as Trent writes, the lawn will only die without water when there's a drought-like situation (and in that case, you're better off saving your water). This is part of a two-prong strategy. The second part is to only cut your grass before it's going to rain, so the taller grass can provide shade and protection for the ground, conserving water.

I generally don’t cut the grass unless the forecast has a chance of rain that’s higher than 60% within the next 48 hours. This simple rule kept our grass green for a very long time during the drought summer of 2012. Although it did eventually turn yellow in places, it stayed green far longer than many lawns on our block (excepting the ones with a sprinkler system).

Finally, if you're required to water your lawn due to your homeowner's agreement, use an empty tuna can to measure how much to water the lawn. With your tuna can on the ground and your sprinkler on, you'll know when it's time to move the sprinkler to another area when the can is overflowing.

Check out the post below for many other frugal lawn care tips.

Nine Ways to Save Money on Caring for Your Lawn | The Simple Dollar

Photo by Sam DeLong.

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Helping Hand from old Black and Decker Snake Light

Hi fellow instructables.  First time poster long time loiterer ;).

I needed a new set of helping hands for a long term project I've been working on.  Lots of soldering and fiddly bits and my old helping hands have been falling apart. All that's left is one alligator clip and the cast iron base.

I found two Black and Decker Snake Lights at a junk shop for $2 each.  These were from the 90's with good ol' incandescent torch globes.  I'd been looking for something similar to make my helping hands and thought these would do perfectly. I'm keeping one for an LED conversion later.

One of these snake lights should be able to make 2 to 3 helping hands.

The only tools you'll need for this are:

- Thermoplastic (
- 2 x Large Pliers or Pliers and a Vice
- Scissors or a box citter/exacto knife
- Star shaped security screw driver (optional - you could crack/smash/destroy the case open)
- Alligator Clip/s
- Kettle for boilding water
- Oven (Optional for molding)

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Faux ivory ring carved from bone

Before beginning this project, you must realize that bone dust is very fine and has the potential to be poisonous. Do your best not to breath it, and if you don't have a mask, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS.

That said, the requirements for this project are as follows.

Selection of spade bits
Fine tooth saw (many options here)
Dremel (optional)
Belt sander (optional, but significantly reduces time consumed)
Hydrogen peroxide (for whitening)
Polishing compound

Bone (I chose a deer antler)
Dowel rod matched to your finger size (optional)

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Easily Migrate Your Gmail to a Non-Gmail Email with a Script

Easily Migrate Your Gmail to a Non-Gmail Email with a Script

Google has a great built in service to transfer your email to a new Gmail account, but it only works with Gmail. If you're taking your email somewhere else, tech blog Digital Inspiration created a script to make the transfer process easy.

Digital Inspiration uses a Google Script to accomplish the task. When it runs, it forwards all your email from your current Gmail account to your new address. It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than nothing. Head over to Digital Inspiration for the full guide.

Transfer your Gmail Messages to Another Email Address | Digital Inspiration

The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should)

You've seen inspirational quotes that encourage you to get out and do something strange—something you wouldn't normally do—but getting out of your routine just takes so much work. There's actually a lot of science that explains why it's so hard to break out of your comfort zone, and why it's good for you when you do it. With a little understanding and a few adjustments, you can break away from your routine and do great things.

It's important to push the boundaries of your comfort zone, and when you do, it's kind of a big deal. But what is the "comfort zone" exactly? Why is it that we tend to get comfortable with the familiar and our routines, but when we're introduced to new and interesting things, the glimmer fades so quickly? Finally, what benefit do we derive from breaking out of our comfort zone, and how do we do it? Answering those questions is a tall order, but it's not too hard to do. Let's get started.

The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should)

Simply, your comfort zone is a behvioral space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. It provides a state of mental security. You benefit in obvious ways: regular happiness, low anxiety, and reduced stress.

The idea of the comfort zone goes back to a classic experiment in psychology. Back in 1908, psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson explained that a state of relative comfort created a steady level of performance In order to maximize performance, however, we need a state of relative anxiety—a space where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal. This space is called "Optimal Anxiety," and it's just outside our comfort zone. Too much anxiety and we're too stressed to be productive, and our performance drops off sharply.

The idea of optimal anxiety isn't anything new. Anyone who's ever pushed themselves to get to the next level or accomplish something knows that when you really challenge yourself, you can turn up amazing results. More than a few studies support the point. However, pushing too hard can actually cause a negative result, and reinforce the idea that challenging yourself is a bad idea. It's our natural tendency to return to an anxiety neutral, comfortable state. You can understand why it's so hard to kick your brain out of your comfort zone.

Even so, your comfort zone is neither a good or bad thing. It's a natural state that most people trend towards. Leaving it means increased risk and anxiety, which can have positive and negative results (which we'll get to in a moment), but don't demonize your comfort zone as something holding you back. We all need that head-space where we're least anxious and stressed so we can process the benefits we get when we leave it.

The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should)

Optimal anxiety is that place where your mental productivity and performance reach their peak. Still, "increased performance" and "enhanced productivity" just sound like "do more stuff." What do you really get when you're willing to step outside of your comfort zone?

You'll be more productive. Comfort kills productivity because without the sense of unease that comes from having deadlines and expectations, we tend to phone it in and do the minimum required to get by. We lose the drive and ambition to do more and learn new things. We also fall into the "work trap," where we feign "busy" as a way to stay in our comfort zones and avoid doing new things. Pushing your personal boundaries can help you hit your stride sooner, get more done, and find smarter ways to work.You'll have an easier time dealing with new and unexpected changes. In this article at The New York Times, Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, explains that one of the worst things we can do is pretend fear and uncertainty don't exist. By taking risks in a controlled fashion and challenging yourself to things you normally wouldn't do, you can experience some of that uncertainty in a controlled, manageable environment. Learning to live outside your comfort zone when you choose to can prep you for life changes that force you out of it.You'll find it easier to push your boundaries in the future. Once you start stepping out of your comfort zone, it gets easier over time. This same NYT article explains that as you step out of your comfort zone, you'll become accustomed to that state of optimal anxiety. "Productive discomfort," as they call it, becomes more normal to you, and you're willing to push farther before your performance falls off. This idea is well illustrated in this infographic at Future Science Leaders. At the bottom, you'll see that as you challenge yourself, your comfort zone adjusts so what was difficult and anxiety-inducing becomes easier as you repeat it.You'll find it easier to brainstorm and harness your creativity. This is a soft benefit, but it's fairly common knowledge (and it's easily reproducible) that seeking new experiences, learning new skills, and opening the door to new ideas inspire us and educate us in a way that little else does. Trying new things can make us reflect on our old ideas and where they clash with our new knowledge, and inspire us to learn more and challenge comfirmation bias, our tendency to only seek out information we already agree with. Even in the short term, a positively uncomfortable experience can help us brainstorm, see old problems in a new light, and tackle the challenges we face with new energy.The benefits you get after stepping outside of your comfort zone can linger. There's the overall self-improvement you get through the skills you're learning, the new foods you're trying, the new country you're visiting, and the new job you're interviewing for. There's also the soft mental benefits you get from broadening your horizons.

The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should)

Outside your comfort zone can be a good place to be, as long as you don't tip the scales too far. It's important to remember there's a difference between the kind of controlled anxiety we're talking about and the very real anxiety that many people struggle with every day. Everyone's comfort zone is different, and what may expand your horizons may paralyze someone else. Remember, optimal anxiety can bring out your best, but too much is a bad thing.

Here are some ways to break out (and by proxy, expand) your comfort zone without going too far:

Do everyday things differently. Take a different route to work. Try a new restaurant without checking Yelp first. Go vegetarian for a week, or a month. Try a new operating system. Recalibrate your reality. Whether the change you make is large or small, make a change in the way you do things on a day-to-day basis. Look for the perspective that comes from any change, even if it's negative. Don't be put off if things don't work out the way you planned.Take your time making decisions. Sometimes slowing down is all it takes to make you uncomfortable—especially if speed and quick thinking are prized in your work or personal life. Slow down, observe what's going on, take your time to interpret what you see, and then intervene. Sometimes just defending your right to make an educated decision can push you out of your comfort zone. Think, don't just react.Trust yourself and make snap decisions. We're contradicting ourselves, but there's a good reason. Just as there are people who thrive on snap decisions, others are more comfortable weighing all of the possible options several times, over and over again. Sometimes making a snap call is in order, just to get things moving. Doing so can help you kickstart your personal projects and teach you to trust your judgement. It'll also show you there's fallout to quick decisions as well as slow ones.Do it in small steps. It takes a lot of courage to break out of your comfort zone. You get the same benefits whether you go in with both feet as you do if you start slow, so don't be afraid to start slow. If you're socially anxious, don't assume you have to muster the courage to ask your crush on a date right away, just say hello to them and see where you can go from there. Identify your fears, and then face them step by step.There are lots of other ways to stretch your personal boundaries. You could learn a new language or skill. Learning a new language has multiple benefits, many of which extend to learning any new skill. Connect with people that inspire you, or volunteer with an organization that does great work. Travel, whether you go around the block or across the globe. If you've lived your whole life seeing the world from your front door, you're missing out. Visiting new and different places is perhaps one of the best ways to really broaden your perspectives, and it doesn't have to be expensive or difficult to do. The experiences you have may be mind-blowing or regrettable, but that doesn't matter. The point is that you're doing it, and you're pushing yourself past the mental blocks that tell you to do nothing.

Trying new things is difficult. If it weren't, breaking out of your comfort zone would be easy and we'd do it all the time. It's just as important to understand how habits form and how we can break them as it is to press yourself out of your comfort zone by doing specific things.

The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should)

You can't live outside of your comfort zone all the time. You need to come back from time to time to process your experiences. The last thing you want is for the new and interesting to quickly become commonplace and boring. This phenomenon, called hedonistic adaptation, is the natural tendency to be impressed by new things only to have the incredible become ordinary after a short time. It's why we can have access to the greatest repository of human knowledge ever created (the internet) at our fingertips (on our smartphones) and still get so bored that all we think of is how quickly we can get newer, faster access. In one way it drives us forward, but in another it keeps us from appreciating the subtle and the everyday.

You can fight this by trying new, smaller things. Ordering something new at a restaurant where you get the same thing every visit can be eye-opening the same way visiting a new country can be, and both push you out of your comfortable spaces. Diversify the challenges you embrace so you don't just push your boundaries in the same direction. If you've been learning Latin-based languages and you find yourself bored, switch gears to a language with a completely different set of characters. If you've taken up running, instead of just trying to run longer and farther, try challenging yourself to run on different terrain. You still get the challenge, but you broaden your horizons in a different way.

The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should)

The point of stepping out of your comfort zone is to embrace new experiences and to get to that state of optimal anxiety in a controlled, managed way, not to stress yourself out. Take time to reflect on your experiences so you can reap the benefits and apply them to your day to day activities. Then do something else interesting and new. Make it a habit if you can. Try something new every week, or every month. Our own Adam Dachis has committed himself to doing something weird and new every week, just to test his boundaries.

Similarly, don't limit yourself to big, huge experiences. Maybe meditation pushes you out of your comfort zone just as much as bungee jumping. Try the former if you've already done the latter. The goal isn't to become an adrenaline junkie—you just want to learn to learn what you're really capable of. That's another reason why it's important to return to a comfortable state sometimes and just relax. Just don't forget to bring back as much as you can carry from those inspired, creative, productive, and slightly uncomfortable moments when you do.

Photos by Alan Levine, Jason Priem, audi_insperation, and jeffr_travel.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

How to Make the Skull Mask from Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Here’s what you’ll need:

- Cintra PVC foamboard(3mm thick)

- Paper Clay

- Hot glue gun

- Acrylic paint - white and burnt umber

- Sand paper (Medium)

- Scissor, X-acto blade, and a mark making tool(I ended up using a looped clay tool)

- Scrap paper and board

- Elastic band

View the original article here

How Can I Avoid Fees if My Employer Pays Me With a Prepaid Card?

Dear Lifehacker
I don't have a bank account and so my employer pays me with a prepaid debit card. I keep incurring fees left and right and it's cutting into my budget. What can I do to keep my fees low or get paid some way that doesn't cost me an arm and a leg?

Nickel N. Dime

Dear Nickel,
You'll find you're not alone. The practice of paying employees with prepaid debit cards is catching on at retailers like Wal-Mart, Taco Bell, and other companies that deal in high turnover employees like call centers. Many of these companies have discovered cards are cheaper for them than checks. Except, as the New York Times showed recently, this isn't always the best for employees. Still there are ways you can protect yourself.

How Can I Avoid Fees if My Employer Pays Me With a Prepaid Card?

Interviews aren't just auditions. They're a chance for you to get to know the company you want to work for. In addition to all of the other questions you should be asking, find out during your interview how the company plans to pay you and what kind of fee structure prepaid cards will have if you absolutely must use them. Some companies may charge a fee to withdraw money even within their own stores while others do not. You may also find certain cards have a network of ATMs you can withdraw money at without fees.

You can also ask once you're already employed. One of the shadier tactics that some of employers have (allegedly) employed is pitching prepaid cards first and foremost instead of offering direct deposit options upfront. Most companies will still offer an option to either be paid by check or direct deposit if you ask.

It's also worth finding out which ways an employer is legally required to pay you with. Wage laws can vary widely by state but some places may require a company to offer certain options including cash. You can check this resource to get started figuring out your state's payment laws, but as with any legal advice online, be sure to do extra research before walking into your employer demanding cash because the internet told you they have to.

How Can I Avoid Fees if My Employer Pays Me With a Prepaid Card?

There are plenty of reasons to not have a bank. Maybe the fees are too cumbersome. Maybe you had some financial problems in your past and your bank application was rejected. Things happen. However, just because you can't or won't sign up with a bank doesn't mean you're out of options.

Credit unions are a great alternative to banks if you want to avoid fees. Each one only services certain groups of people (teachers, military, residents of a certain area), but there are so many available, most people can find one in their area that they may qualify for. While banks may charge a monthly fee or have a high minimum balance, often credit unions can provide free checking and savings accounts, or at least accounts with very low required balances to avoid fees. For reference, roughly 70% of credit unions offer free checking accounts, versus 39% of banks.

You may also look into alternative banking solutions like online banks such as Simple. These may have the same hurdles if you have a rough financial past as a regular bank (they're both typically backed by the same for-profit corporation model after all). Still, if you chose not to get a typical bank either on principle or due to overwhelming fees, alternative financial institutions can offer attractive options.

How Can I Avoid Fees if My Employer Pays Me With a Prepaid Card?

Ultimately, if you're losing a significant amount of money to fees just to get access to your money and you can't get around it, you need to make more money. Some employees have found themselves making less than minimum wage in spendable income. If you're hit with a lot of fees and are stuck on a tight budget, go over your finances to see whether you can feasibly sustain your job at your current rate of pay.

If you find that the fees are unavoidable and are digging too deeply into your paycheck, you have a few options. Your first stop should be to talk to your boss and explain you feel you are underpaid. Be sure to bring all the information you can and prepare for the talk before you walk into your boss's office.

If you can't get a raise, it may be time to look elsewhere. Even if you don't move up to a better paying job, finding a position that pays the same amount via a better method could still save you money. Start looking before you leave your job first, of course, but don't let the routine of having a job stop you from finding something. Keep your job search secret if you have to, but do it. If your finances are hit enough by fees to make you read this far, it's probably a big enough problem to justify looking for greener pastures.

It may not be possible to always avoid fees when dealing with getting paid. Some way or another financial institutions have to get paid. However, if you're living at the margin and payday is feeling like death by a thousand paper cuts, talk to your employer about some way to get paid that doesn't cut into your budget so much. If they won't work with you, it may be time to find one that will.


Photos by bpsusf, Retailmania, and Robert S. Donovan.

Yahoo has acquired Xobni, makers of our favorite productivity-boosting Outlook plugin and our favori

Yahoo has acquired Xobni, makers of our favorite productivity-boosting Outlook plugin and our favorite address book app for Android, Smartr Contacts (also available for Gmail and iOS). TechCrunch says if you already use their apps, you'll be able to continue for the time being. [Xobni Blog]