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Mac only: Add a "Back up this folder" item to Finder's context menu with a simple Automator workflow suggested by Mac OS X Hints. The workflow archives a selected folder's contents, renames the zip file with the date and time, and moves the archive to an external drive. While this method has some drawbacks for the power backer-upper, it's a good starter method for those of you just getting into regular backups. After the jump, see a screenshot of the workflow steps.


Ever have one of those dragging days? The Happiness Project suggests you can get an instant short-term energy boost simply by going outside:

Go outside into the sunlight; light deprivation is one reason that people feel tired. Research suggests that light stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood. For an extra boost, get your sunlight first thing in the morning.

This is especially important for those of us who spend our workdays behind a computer screen; natural light not only can energise you, but it also saves your eyeballs from getting too tired.

This Wednesday: Nine tips for giving yourself an energy boost in the next TEN MINUTES.

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.


If the next rung on your corporate ladder belongs to your boss, you're probably not going to get promoted until your boss does, and Wired's How To Wiki details how to secure this kind of promotion. In a nutshell, it's a two-step process: 1) Learn your boss's job, and 2) Train your replacement. If you give your boss the opportunity to look good by helping him/her do a better job, your boss is more likely to get a promotion, which frees up your prospective job. If you've already been grooming a replacement, who better to be slip into your boss's position than you? If you've ever successfully secured your boss's job using a similar or completely different method, tell us about it in the comments.

How to Get Your Boss's Job (And Get Your Boss To Help)


Blogger Dumb Little Man says that being ambidextrous with the mouse can increase your brain power:

By switching the side of your mouse-pad you will force yourself to use your non-dominant hand. This, in turn, will stimulate the neural connections between the right and left hemispheres on your brain. Scientific research confirmed that people that use both hands equally have 10% more nerve fibers joining the two sides of the brain.

Mousing "goofy" can also help you stop RSI. Here's how to train yourself to mouse with the other hand.

3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain Power


Stranded in the wilderness with an empty canteen? Outdoors expert Keith Hanshaw demonstrates how to make a puddle of muddy water safe to drink with a plastic bottle, a piece of string, and a lighter. Submerge the bottle into the puddle to fill it up and start a small fire with the lighter. Hold your water bottle directly over the flame to bring it to a boil, which will kill all the germs within the bottle. Surely this isn't the tastiest water you'll ever drink, but it's safe, says Keith, and it can save your life.

MacGyver Style DIY Tip


Tech publisher extraordinaire Tim O'Reilly handles a tsunami of social network friend invitations on a daily basis and says he accepts the ones that actually explain who the initiator is:

Most of these , relying solely on the boilerplate invitation text, go right into the trash. "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." Sure. Who are you? What do you do? Why should I care? (Even if I've met you, I might need my mind jogged, especially if you might have the same name as other people I know.)

The art of the well-written social network invite is similar to the art of asking questions of someone who doesn't know you: give 'em a reason to answer (or friend) you.

Social Networking Invitation Etiquette


Got a sliced apple you'd like to save for later, sans browning? No problem - just use a rubber band:

Push the corer / slicer apparatus down through the apple until it is almost through, but all pieces are basically still together. Then put the whole apple back together again and stick a rubber band around it. This holds it together in your lunch pack and helps prevent browning.

A great tip for the brown bag crowd.

Slamming Suggestions for the Humble Rubber Band


I'll be a guest on Melbourne community radio station RRR's computer show Byte into It tonight - Wednesday, 19 September. The show is broadbast from 7pm-8pm every Wednesday, and is hosted by Phil Wales.

If you're not in Melbourne, fear not. You can listen to RRR streaming online, or download the Byte into It podcast. More information here.

And while I'm writing reminders, another one for the Melbourne crowd - our competition to win tickets to the Pixar: 20 Years of Animation exhibition at ACMI closes Friday morning. You have two days left to get your entries in, so get to it!


Photoshop tutorial blog PSDtuts has come up with an absolute stunner with this Philip Pullman* inspired tutorial.

Creating a stunning, old-world look in Photoshop

* The His Dark Materials trilogy of books by Philip Pullman. The series starts with The Golden Compass (formerly titled Northern Lights). Fantastic, intelligent 'young adult' fantasy series. Soo much better than Harry Potter et al... worth checking out. :)


A memory upgrade's the best way to speed up that slow computer, but the RAM stick aisle at your local computer parts retailer is a cold and scary place. A little pre-research is in order: the How-to Geek details how to use either System Information for Windows or Crucial's online memory advisor to see how many slots you have and what kind of sticks they take. Not sure how to do it yourself? Check out Adam's howto on installing RAM.

What Kind of Memory Does My Computer Have Installed?


Wired's Compiler blog tells us that Yahoo has launched two new features - Shop by Color and MapMixer - which came to life from an internal staff 'hack day'.

The new features were written up in a Yahoo blogpost here.

Shop by Color adds a colour picker to Yahoo Shopping so users can filter search results according to colour. Given the fact that since Google Maps the online community has gone map crazy, the second feature may be of more interest...

Yahoo's blog says MapMixer "allows other maps to be layered over a Yahoo! Map to show additional detail of a location. Now you can mix together the detail of a point-of-interest map — such as airports, college campuses, sports arenas, historic maps — with the web functionality offered by Yahoo! Maps."

Yahoo Hack Day Tools Make The Big Time


Car guy Rob Gruhl gives some great, practical advice on how to find, finance and negotiate buying a new car. Hit the play button on this (fast) five-minute clip before you purchase your next set of wheels. Thanks, Brady!


You already know that backing up your data online is one of the best ways to secure it in case of theft or disaster. But where do you store your stuff online? There are lots of cheap and free-but-limited online backup and storage solutions out there. Tell us which one you use.


Trying to make the Linux switch at work? Follow this guide to get Outlook configured for Thunderbird and Evolution on Ubuntu.


Windows XP and Vista only: Dual monitor utility DisplayFusion can set different wallpaper images for each of your desktops or stretch an image across desktops. Choose one of your own images or search and browse Flickr photos for new wallpaper images right inside DisplayFusion. (I recommend searching for "panoramic" images and setting one to stretch across both monitors.) DisplayFusion was a little crabby on my PowerBook Bootcamp'ing Windows XP, but the concept is spot-on and much-needed. Can't understand why Windows doesn't have better built-in dual monitor support like this. DisplayFusion is a free download (donations requested) which requires the .NET 2.0 runtime to run.