Tag: tips and tricks

How to get past slow walkers


3 counterintuitive tips

I love Lifehacker’s tips. Especially the odd ones that make you wonder how people came up with them.

There are a plethora of odd tips and tricks out there on the Interwebs. Here are three of my favourites.

1. Put your breaking harddrive in the freezer.

“Many hard drive failures are caused by worn parts that no longer align properly, making it impossible to read data from the drive. Lowering the drive’s temperature causes its metal and plastic internals to contract ever so slightly. Taking the drive out of the freezer, and returning it to room temperature can cause those parts to expand again.”

2. Put your broken video card in the oven.

“Solder joints sometimes crack over time, cutting the connections between electronic components and causing hardware failure. Expose those joints to constant heat, in an oven set to 200 to 275 degrees centigrade, and the lead will melt, clearing out any cracks and reconnecting the joints. After the card has seen enough baking, leave it to cool for a few hours, and it should be working once back in a computer.”

3. Put your drenched mobile phone in rice.

“Use a desiccant to wick away any leftover moisture. The most convenient choice is uncooked rice. Just leave the phone (and its disconnected battery) submerged in a bowl of grains overnight. If you’re worried about rice dust getting inside your phone, you can instead use the packets of silica gel that often come stuffed in the pockets of new clothes. But acting fast is far more important than avoiding a little dust, so don’t waste time shopping if you don’t already have a drawer full of silica gel.”

How to talk to the media without looking like an idiot

This post could, by rights, be renamed "Don’t be Sarah Palin"…

There’s nothing that annoys me more (both professionally and privately) than people botching interviews.

If the media is interviewing you it’s pretty much a free hit. They have a finite amount of time to gather better quotes from other people and your best chance of getting good exposure is saying something usable in a usable way.

Here are some general tips for broadcast interviews (because everyone loves a list):

  1. Don’t wear bright coloured stripes – they’ll bleed on screen and distract people (I’ve said that before I think).
  2. Look at the journalist not the camera – eye contact freaks out audiences.
  3. Don’t use the journalist’s name – you’re ultimately talking to the public, not the journalist. And throwing their name in the middle of your sentence makes the comment unusable.
  4. Have a go at actually answering the questions asked – most media trainers tell you to ignore the questions and regurgitate rehearsed PR guff. Chances are you’re not a politician and nobody really likes listening to that stuff. It’s usually full of weasel words – like “showcase”…

Right, so those are the basics.

The “un”-basics apply to more specific examples that have prompted this post. If you’re a politician holding a media coverage and you may or may not harbour desires to one day run for higher office – don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Particularly – don’t spend your time talking to the media complaining about how the media treats you. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy – where the attention turns to how badly you handled yourself by complaining about the media coverage you received… you don’t really want this sort of paragraph appearing in any story about you.

“Ms Palin delivered the news from the backyard of her home in Wasilla, in a sometimes rambling 18-minute speech that took 11 minutes to get to the punchline. She veered from pugnacious to bitter as she lamented her treatment at the hands of the media and her political foes.”

This may seem obvious – but don’t do interviews about topics that are likely to create controversy – or things you don’t know anything about. Particularly avoid controversial topics where you might find yourself praising Hitler. That’s never good for your personal branding.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has described Adolf Hitler as a leader able to"get things done" in a discussion about dictators during an interview with The Times newspaper.

Asked to comment on accusations that world motorsport chief Max Mosley behaved like a dictator, Ecclestone went on to speak about Hitler, former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein – whom he said should have stayed in power – and the Taliban.

"In a lot of ways, terrible to say this I suppose, but apart from the fact that Hitler got taken away and persuaded to do things that I have no idea whether he wanted to do or not, he … could command a lot of people, able to get things done," Ecclestone told The Times.

If you know it’s terrible to say – don’t say it. It’s easy.

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.

Air lines

One of my favourite things about Lifehacker is that it will often provide a little gem of information amidst a bigger piece of information.

Lifehacker Australia’s editor Angus Kidman has been trying to live out of just one bag for a couple of weeks – because airlines are now taxing checked luggage – which has been an interesting experiment in and of itself. This post is a list of small things he learned on the way

And this is my favourite…

“Qantas never has enough ginger beer on its domestic flights. If you like ginger beer, you’ll need a seat near the front.”

I’d never considered picking a seat on a plane based on having the full range of menu items available (or in fact being close to the front so that you get off quicker)… I’m much more concerned about trying to snatch an exit row seat.

Any flying tips you’d care to share?

Also, my other favourite tidbit of info that the writer picked up was this one:

Far too many hotels still think it’s acceptable to offer International Roast coffee.

Rules of Engagement

Somehow our generic work address was added to the Citizen’s Electoral Council spam list. They send out conspiracy theories media releases on world events. I’ve never seen any picked up anywhere – except perhaps in their own newsletters, and in blogs mocking them.

PR rule number one – if you saturate the market with inane media releases you kill your credibility. It’s a “boy who cried wolf” situation – nobody will ever take you seriously if you comment on everything without having established credibility first.

Commenting on everything is a legitimate strategy – but only if a) you’re running for office, b) you’re not a loony, or c) you’re saying something about something that people vaguely care about.

Today’s CEC missive is about the Mumbai terrorist attacks. It wasn’t Pakistan. It wasn’t Islamic militants. It was the British.

“On Nov. 28 Lyndon LaRouche stated that it is absolutely clear that the British are behind the terror attack in Mumbai‚ India. Early press reports originating in India indicated that at least two of the terrorists captured alive by Indian security forces‚ and possibly several in total‚ were British-born Pakistanis. LaRouche commented that this phenomenon is suggestively similar to the number of Saudis who were involved in the 9/11 attacks in the United States in 2001.”

Comparisons to 9/11 must surely be the new Godwin’s Law. In fact, 92 articles on the CEC website mention Hitler. They’ve jumped the Godwin shark.

PR rule number 2 – don’t mention Hitler or 9/11 in your articles if you want to be credible.

The Citizen’s Electoral Council get their inspiration from perennial American presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche.

His Wikipedia bio says:

“There are sharply contrasting views of LaRouche. His supporters regard him as a brilliant and original thinker, whereas critics variously see him as a conspiracy theorist, an anti-Semite, a fascist or neo-fascist, and the leader of a political cult. The Heritage Foundation has said that he “leads what may well be one of the strangest political groups in American history.”[2][3] In 1984, LaRouche’s research staff was described by Norman Bailey, a former senior staffer of the National Security Council, as “one of the best private intelligence services in the world.” In 2008, Russian economist Stanislav Menshikov described LaRouche as being “among those few economists who look at the root causes, and therefore see what others cannot see.”

One of the CEC’s big pushes is to introduce a new financial world order – based on the failed Bretton Woods System.

The chief features of the Bretton Woods system were an obligation for each country to adopt a monetary policy that maintained the exchange rate of its currency within a fixed value—plus or minus one percent—in terms of gold and the ability of the IMF to bridge temporary imbalances of payments. In the face of increasing strain, the system collapsed in 1971, following the United States‘ suspension of convertibility from dollars to gold. This created the unique situation whereby the United States dollar became the “reserve currency” for the nation-states which had signed the agreement.

Here are some recent highlights. These are from a recent email titled “Religious Right swaps neo-con crusade for global warming crusade”

“The Flagellants whipped each other to atone for their sins, calling on the populace to repent,” Mr Isherwood said. “Today, we have the Global Warmers whipping our sick economy to death, even during the worst financial crash since the 14th Century! How insane can you get?”“As Executive Intelligence Review magazine has documented, the Religious Right is financed by huge sums of government money laundered through ‘faith-based initiatives,’ with which it has engaged in extensive social engineering to shape elections, etc.”

“Financier Maurice Strong, the Secretary General of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, laid out the real intent behind the financial oligarchy’s crusade on global warming in his query: ‘Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilisations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?’

“What we have here, is a financial oligarchy which intends to destroy the economy via draconian measures—such as shutting down farming in the Murray-Darling Basin—to stop a problem which doesn’t exist in the first place, the pre-calculable effects of which will be genocide. Does that count as a sin in Rev. Cizik’s bible?”

And this one ominously titled “Rudd be warned — only LaRouche’s ‘New Bretton Woods’ will avert a dark age”:

“Kevin Rudd had better support Lyndon LaRouche’s prescribed New Bretton Woods measures at the G-20 conference on 15th November in Washington D.C., or he’ll be guilty of contributing to the collapse of Australia, and the world, into a dark age,” CEC National Secretary Craig Isherwood declared today.“If Rudd intends, as it appears, to support Gordon Brown’s British imperial scam to empower the IMF as a world financial dictatorship, but exempt from regulation the largely-British offshore tax havens and their associated hedge funds and derivatives—the cancer of the financial system—it will be a betrayal of Australia’s true interests, to further the City of London’s.”

PR Rule number 3 – Don’t be crazy.