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Miss out on the best of Lifehacker this September? Here's a list of our most-viewed posts of the month:Transform Your Classic Xbox into a Killer Media Center"Don't ditch your classic Xbox just because you can't play Halo 3 on it: nowadays it's easier than ever to transform that old neglected console into a Unix-based media command center."Find Out If Your Computer Is Secretly Connecting to the Web"If you are trying to track down why your computer is running so slooowwwly, try using this simple DOS command to uncover a possible problem."Yahoo Mail Innovates, Gmail Stagnates"Less than two years after their beta release, Yahoo Mail has begun rolling out of beta after releasing an onslaught of innovative feature improvements along the way."Turn Your Windows PC into a Media Center Powerhouse On the Cheap"If you've purchased a new Windows computer in the past few years that's running Windows Media Center Edition or Vista Home Premium or Ultimate and you aren't taking advantage of its baked-in DVR Media Center software, it's time we change that."Top 10 Wikipedia Tricks"Without a doubt, Wikipedia is one of the most useful and amazing sources of information on the internet--but chances are you aren't using it to its full potential."Install Third-Party Applications on Your iPhone"In less than two-months time, a persistent and merry band of iPhone hackers have been pushing out application after killer application for the iPhone, and hacking your iPhone to install those applications has become dead simple."Best Free Software to Unlock Your Favorite Hardware"It sucks that your favourite gadgets have more functionality than their default software exposes, but it rules that several software applications are built to unlock that potential for free."Top 10 Ways to Put Your Remote Server to Good Use"An always-on server can come in all kinds of handy for running automated tasks, syncing your data, remote controlling downloads and acting as a proxy."Soup Up Your Xbox Media Center"So you've turned your classic Xbox into a full-blown media centre (or you're thinking about it) and now you want to add the finishing touches--like games, album art and streaming video--to your setup."
If you're looking for new and exciting ways to share your pics with friends and family, you'll want to check out Animoto, a site that lets you create professional looking video slideshows. You can import your pictures from online or from your computer, as well as choose music, which images to feature, and lots more. A full-length video costs a measly $3 or you can buy an all-access pass which gives you unlimited full-length videos for an entire year for $30; however, I found that the 30 second shorties served my purposes just fine.Animoto
TV-over-the-internet app Joost will be re-airing MLB playoff games within 24 hours of their first airing, so if you miss or forget to TiVo a game, Joost's got you covered. Not familiar with Joost? Get to know it here.
Writing tasks for our to-do lists, we often err in one of two directions: either your tasks are too scarce on details or they're chock-full of way too much information. Blogger Ethan Schoonover suggests writing down tasks as though you're delegating them to someone you know in order to write succinct but complete tasks.The secret to all this is that, when you are writing down your deferred tasks "normally," in truth you're actually delegating but you just don't realise it. You are simply delegating to your future self. The problem is that, in our present-self state of mind when planning tasks, we are filling in the gaps in our writing with present-knowledge.
This knowledge fades quickly and by the time our future-self picks up the work, the mortar of that transient information has dissolved, turning what seemed to be a solid, actionable task into an unclear jumble of words.If you've ever come back to a to-do list full of three to four-word tasks you wrote down a week or so ago that mean absolutely nothing to you now, you understand why writing tasks as though you're delegating to a future self can really help you put together a more useful to-do list. If you've got your own tricks for writing brief-yet-complete tasks, let's hear them in the comments.
Dear Me: Get to work
Routines are a double-edged sword; they can boost your output, but they can also rob you of your "spark". Self-improvement site Pick the Brain advises us of the danger of getting stuck in a rut:Going through the same routine, day after day, can be monotonous and depressing. It often leads to getting caught in a rut. To get out of it you need to temporarily change your routine. If you can, take a day off from work. Do something you don't normally have time for or something you've never tried. In the long run, taking a day off every now and then to get out of slump will make you happier and more productive.For instance, today I plan on spending at least an hour with my newest art project - definitely out of my daily routine plan. What do you do to break your rut? Let's hear in the comments. Stop Feeling Depressed
Launchy lovers and early adopters might want to check out Launchy 2.0 alpha and help in the testing process. Thanks Dan!
It's only when you've scheduled automatic tasks for your computer to do for you that you have true reign over your silicon gadget minions. Weblog Of Zen and Computing lists what jobs your computer can do for you, like spam filtering, Google Alerts, and image batch resizing. I'd add backup, downloads, hard drive cleaning and spyware/virus scanning to the list. What do you automate on your computer? Do tell.
Time Saving & Automation Round-up: Let the Computer Do the Work
Windows only: Freeware Microsoft Word add-in Word Hyperlink Checker manages hyperlinks in Word documents and checks for suspicious or broken links. While the internet has progressively become a more viable source of cited information in documents, Word doesn't manage links all that well by default. The add-in scans your document for links that appear broken or "suspicious" (it's unclear what that entails), then aggregates and marks them as suspicious. Word Hyperlink Checker is a free download, Windows only, Word 2000 and up.
Document Hyperlink Checker for Microsoft Word
Impress the boss when he comes over for dinner with professional napkin folds. The Napkin Folding Guide web site has 27 step-by-step tutorials that demonstrate how to create steakhouse-style folded napkins. Each step of the tutorial is accompanied with a picture and instructions that will have you folding your way to a promotion in no time. Martha Stewart would be proud. Napkin Folding Guide
Effectively delivering constructive criticism can be simplified by remembering the "hamburger rule," and Nate's Productivity Tips weblog introduces this timeless classic. When offering a critique, you begin with a constructive compliment on something the person does well (Otherwise known as the fluffy bun part). You then get to the meat of the matter, which of course is the constructive criticism part. Finally, you end with another constructive compliment (i.e. the other half of the fluffy bun).Though I learned it as the "sandwich rule," this practice is highly touted in most professional public speaking courses and very easy to remember.
The Hamburger Method of Constructive Criticism
If you're of the political persuasion, you've probably already come across GetUp, the online-based grassroots activist group that's put on some pretty high profile campaigns around specific issues like the David Hicks detention, as well as larger issues like climate change, and the federal government's plans for Iraq.
With a federal election looming, GetUp is taking the campaign offline and into local communities through GetTogethers.
If GetUp's grassroots, leftleaning politics speak to you and you've been wondering how you might get involved in changing the outcome of the next Federal Election, why not check out one of their election planning meetings which are happening around the country. Details are here - Melbourne's GetTogether is happening tonight.
A disclaimer, if one is needed: Yes, I'm a GetUp volunteer. :)
Find the appropriate adhesive to glue anything to anything else at web site This to That. From plastic and paper to ceramic and vinyl, This to That knows exactly what glue will best stick this to that. If you've ever wasted time gluing two things together to discover that the glue you're using is only providing the limpest of grips, This to That should help you strongly bond any two materials together.
If you've got a water well full of cool water, you can take advantage of that coolness to build a heat exchanger to air condition your home. DIY site Instructables details how to turn some copper pipe, aluminum fins, and a box fan into a very successful, well-powered air conditioner.
I noticed that the water from our well is really cold, under 10 degrees. I built this heat exchanger to take advantage of that cold source for use in the house in the summer...the only actual cost is the power to run the box fan that moves the air through the copper piping.
How well does it work? We hit a high temperature in summer of 44C, hottest that I can remember. The temperature inside was 24C with the cooler running all the time.