Tag: howto

How to take pictures in space… for cheap

This photo cost less than $1,000. But how? You ask. Rockets cost heaps more than that…
“Space enthusiast Robert Harrison managed to send his home-made contraption 22 miles – or 116,160 feet – above the earth’s surface from his back garden.”
Here’s the rig, in infographic style:

Guide to better working

Successful careers are a matter of working smarter not harder. I’m almost positive that’s the case. Every job has “short cuts” or tricks of the trade to make things easier. Here’s a collection of some of the best – from some obscure trades and some normal every day careers.

My favourites:


If you have to change a light bulb where the glass is broken, you can press a potato into the metal base to unscrew the remains of the bulb from the fixture.

Graphic Designer

If you have a client who is unable to approve a proposed design without putting her stamp on it, just put an obvious error in the proposal: a logo that’s too large, a font that’s too small, or a few judiciously seeded typos. The client requests the change and feels she’s done her part—and your design, which was perfect all along, sails through to approval.


If you’re reading too fast, your brain can “correct” typos, preventing you from catching them. That’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to read a page upside-down. It forces you to pay closer attention to individual words out of context, and you can’t race through pages too fast.

Photography Tips: For extreme beginners

The Interwebs are full of photography tutorials. Most of them are pretty awesome and slightly advanced. Which sucks if you need some sort of remedial tips. Luckily Latvian Ivars Gravlejs is here to help with a series of very simple photography tips for the very simple.


How to sell a dodgy washing machine

So you’ve got a monstrous washing machine sitting in your laundry and it’s time for an upgrade. Landfill is so last millennium so you should probably just sell it online…

The best way to do this is to follow this guy’s lead

Honesty is always the best policy…

“On heavy duty spin cycle it sort of sounds a bit like the tortured howls of 1000 undead writhing in the sulphury pits of hell mixed with a train with carriages full of scrap iron sliding down the road with no wheels, on fire, into a bell factory.”
Thankfully it’s bite is not as bad as it’s bark. It washes fine, completes cycles, does everything it’s supposed to.
It leaks a bit when it’s running, always has.
Its a bit grubby, could do with a wipe down, I refuse to touch it because I’m still getting over the whole dinosaur scare thing.

Dinosaur scare thing – I forgot to mention that – if honesty fails, introduce dinosaurs…

“Once while washing a load of towells it got a bit out of balance and it got so out of control for a minute that I swear I actually saw a porthole to another dimension open above it just for a second, there were dinosaurs on the otherside and they looked scared too, it almost sucked me in but I held onto for my life to the deepfreeze.”

“I drew a picture of the dinosaurs i saw incase people didn’t believe me, they are partly red because my green felt ran out half way through.”

And again, if that fails, suggest upgrade options – it’s a renovator’s dream…

“I think it would be good to paint it matt black and put steel spikes all over it and draw demons on the front, however I have added an image of another possible customization option for people who like horses.”

I don’t know what the regular market for second hand top loader washing machines in New Zealand is – but this one’s going for more than $800.

How to evangelise

The Christian world’s preeminent blogger – Tim Challies – has a post featuring a great terrible guide to evangelism from the 50s. Here’s a clip – the post has heaps more…

Twix or treat

Instructables is a veritable goldmine of ideas – a repository of human ingenuity – a hotbed of innovation… I could go on. It’s brilliant. Particularly when somebody gives you the run down on how to produce your very own giant Twix.

The instructions are in some sort of Spanglish – but the pictures tell the story.

2 packages of cookie Maizena
1 package of caramel candy
2 pounds of chocolate to milk

From what I can gather you need chocolate, caramel and some biscuits – based on my experience with Twix, I’d say Milk Arrowroots would suffice…

The Beginners Guide to Taking Over the World – Getting Started

Getting Started
Baby Steps

Taking over the world, like everything else, requires careful planning. It is also important that you proverbially walk before you run, take baby steps, etc. The point is, that as your goal is quite big it’s important to get used to the conquest process on a smaller scale. Ideally this process should start in pre-school. If you’re the kind of child who took over the playground fort as often as you could you’re well on your way to taking over the world. If you weren’t that type of child then don’t worry, it’s not too late to start the process, it just may take some time getting used to it.

Practice, as they say, makes perfect. You should practice the conquest process as often as possible, in the work place, in the family, at play. If you aren’t usurping other people’s rightful authority over yourself then you just aren’t taking every opportunity available. Start today. When your boss next tells you to do something you have a couple of paths that you can choose that could help you on your way. You can do the job so well that your boss feels insecure resigns and hands you the reigns, you can delegate the job back to him, creating confusion about the power dynamic in your workplace or you can choose the violent conquest option and physically remove him from his office, I wouldn’t recommend this at such an early stage in the process, there’s a lot to be said for having the respect of a large group of people before you engage in any bloodshed, a large army also helps. There’s also the easy option of just complying with their wishes, but that’s not going to get you anywhere fast.

Taking the plunge

Anyway, when you feel that you are ready to move on to bigger and better conquests it is time to start looking for an area of land to lay claim to. If you’d been around more than 200 years ago this would have been a lot easier as there was a lot more “unclaimed” land around then. As most of today’s land is “claimed” you may have to resort to conquest. I would suggest, in the interest of not bringing any other already established super powers into the fray to early, that you start somewhere small and insignificant. Somewhere that no one really cares about, possibly an island state with a relatively small contribution to their nation’s day to day life.

If you’re an Australian, I suggest Tasmania. It’s small, it’s cold, it’s full of Tasmanians and nobody really cares that much about it. In terms of Australian culture the only thing it offers is a chance to see penguins, and lets face it, if you’ve seen one penguin, you’ve seen them all. If you’re not an Australian I’ve included a world map at appendix A, check your local region for an area that no one really likes. I’ve included a list of possible targets at Appendix B.

There are two traditional methods of conquest, conquests of arms, and conquests of alms. For your first endeavour I suggest the latter method. It’s less likely to raise the ire of larger, more powerful nations.

In the case of Tasmania, it shouldn’t cost you more than a couple of dollars anyway, so it’s well worth the investment.

Knives and gunfights

The rules for gunfighting. Just in case you needed them. There are 28 here.

1. Forget about knives, bats and fists. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns. Bring four times the ammunition you think you could ever need.

10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

21. Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet if necessary, because they may want to kill you.

How to keep track of what you’ve read

I have a great deal of respect for John Piper. Which reminds me of a post I was going to write about all the sermons we listened to on the road in New Zealand. I’ll get to that one day.

John Piper is the “preaching pastor” of a wildly successful evangelical church in the US. He gives very few interviews. He’s old(ish) and seems pretty humble, passionate and level headed. He recently did do an interview online and here’s a great tip for keeping track of important bits from books. Create your own index. Piper doesn’t reread anything – but here’s how he keeps track of ideas:

When you finish a book, what system have you developed in order to remember and reference that book in the future?

“I index books as I read them, by writing short notes in the front of the book with page numbers beside them. In a good book there may be over a hundred such notes.”

Today’s linkage February 5th

Best of the interweb

Bookmarks for January 4th

Best of the interweb:

How to chuck an un-Australian sicky

1. Actually be too sick to turn up to work.

2. Phone in yourself, and don’t put on a “sick voice”.

3. Offer to do work from home. 

4. Actually do work from home. 

5. Take cold and flu medication and try to indulge in the “natural remedies” suggested by your blog readers. 

6. Accept your condition with well practiced stoicism – don’t complain about the bouts of dizziness, condition induced sleep deprivation, hacking cough  and nose that feels like it has been punched several times by a 400 pound heavyweight boxer. 

7. Go to the doctor and get a medical certificate to justify your continued absence from work. 

8. Sound as cheery as possible when your wife wakes you up as she leaves for work. 

Have I missed anything?

Six easy steps to speaking like Obama

Interesting little article from the SMH on Obama’s oratory and the elements of a good speech. Which, according to a Sydney businessman who plans to make money offering a course on how to imitate Obama, actually come out of his writing style first and foremost.

This guy’s theory is based on an analysis of Obama’s books – and the common elements he finds between books and speeches  are as follows:

a) Clarity – simple english, easy to understand vocab and short sentences.
b) Tone – not vocal pitch but the “voice” in which you establish yourself – for Obama that meant a blend of self deprecation and confidence.
c) Nuance – explaining complexity with a simple turn of phrase and picking up on subtleties, tying them together and presenting a strong case in the listeners mind.
d) Poetry – the use of metaphor, a poetic voice and literary tools to create a sense of more than just straightforward prose or buzzword filled jargon.
e) Rhythm – developing a common refrain like “yes we can” that links ideas into a broader narrative and develops catch cry status.

The sixth point was a bonus/afterthought. It’s the idea that infusing your messaging with religious imagery and undertones will add that extra touch of inspiration. I guess that’s one that’s particularly transferable to the pulpit. 

Clarity is the low hanging fruit – and the most important element for any piece of communication. It’s also where so many politicians and speakers fall over. If people can’t figure out what it is you want them to know it doesn’t matter how beautifully phrased it is or what sort of rhythm you develop.  It just won’t stick.

Very useful websites

I have been trawling the internet a little bit today – I’m in limbo on a couple of work related projects and I came across these two sites (well dad pointed me to one of them) – that are possibly the coolest sites on the internet. I can’t believe I hadn’t found them before. 

This one – is a series of step by step instructions to just about everything – from uber geeky through to ultra practical

This one – is mostly geeky but all about improving productivity and functionality of our tech filled lives. There’s also an Australian version