Monthly Archives: June 2013

How To> Harmonize Your Browsers Eyes (aka Sync Tabs and Bookmarks)

Saving successful, helpful, or otherwise generally cool websites is one of the advantages of the internet: highlighting the good stuff to come back to later. But what happens when you forgot to send yourself a link while at a friends? Not to mention easily sharing all of those links with your work computer… ” Enter one more neat Cloud accessory that will save you some angst.

Currently there are many different ways to save information that you will find valuable later: from syncing your devices directly to programs like Pinterest and EverNote that you can view from anywhere with internet access. I have found that the most convenient (once properly set up) is to use Chrome universally. Chrome uses GMail accounts to harbor all your data, so once you log into your GMail account on Chrome, the feeling of safety will wash over you almost instantly.

  1. Choose of your one Gmail emails as your “browsing account.” Don’t deny it, you have at least 3 emails. The key here is to log into any browsing, bookmarking, or tabbing consistently with the same account. Chrome has a ton of helpful information to help you log in from any device that you can find here.
  2. Download the Chrome App for your mobile device.
  3. When prompted, log into your Gmail browsing account.
  4. Make sure tab syncing is enabled.
  5. Use the 3 buttons on the bottom to to navigate through your recent mobile history, bookmarks, and desktop/other Chrome App tabs.


Tapping the Star button on the bottom lead directly to “Mobile Bookmarks” which threw me off for a second. To get back to the main bookmarks tab, tap the Bookmarks text on top. Note: When operating Chrome mobile, any new bookmarks will be saved in this new auto-organized ‘Mobile Bookmarks’ section.

Accessing tabs on your other devices is just as easy. Simply tap the Sync Tabs button on the bottom right and a beautiful list of anything opened on your account will pop up.* Also helpful is the ‘Recent Tabs’ button (the little grid-guy to the right of the star) because it reveals your most recent closed windows. Never leave home without your history again!

*I can only imagine the parental and partner tracking that can be sourced from all this Clouding around.

The above article is a summary of the chrome instructions found here.

How To> Make a [Drinking] Game for Any Movie

Classic movies are undeniably great, but most of us have seen them before. Adding an outside element that requires the viewers to participate, and in turn, pay more attention to details that might otherwise go unnoticed. Though drinking games are the most common scoring system, players can create buzzwords when events happen, mark down who catches different pieces first, or any other silly basic agreed upon leaderboard.

It is worth searching the great and vast web for a previously established set of rules, since chances are someone has already made a webpage. I will be using Goldfinger in this demonstration, I will be starting with this site, but building on it to suit my friends and the vibe.

The basic rules are easy to follow, “Do _____ when _____”; whether you choose to take a drink, tally a point, or yell like glorious victor when the moment arises.

Best of Bond

“Shaken, not stirred.”

How to Write Rules for your Game {Examples will be for Goldfinger.}
1. “Drink/Point-given whenever______.” Create an easy to follow trigger system that all players can remember. Since our game will be a drinking game, the key initiator will be: “Drink whenever______.”
***If you are not drinking, designate a buzzer/hand raising system as well as a scorecard.
2. 3 Title-referenced events. Golden! 1. Anytime gold is shown, 2. Anytime someone says “gold”, and 3. Anytime something is coated in gold.
3. 3 Quintessential main character quotes/qualities. 1. “Bond, James Bond.” 2. “Shaken, not stirred,”  3. Anyone anyone else says, “Mr. Bond.”
4. Best of/classic moments. 1. “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”  2. Anytime someone dies in a horrible death. 3. Anytime a character has a name that is a clear play on words (Random Task, Pussy Galore, etc.)

No matter how you choose to play, you will either be drunk with booze or delight by the end of the film.

How To> Appreciate Life

I once was sad I lost my job, until a friend told me he had almost lost his life. As he described the feeling of death’s threatening blade against his neck, I felt ashamed for my neurotic and inconsequential fears. We so often wrench our eyes closed on life’s roller coaster, when we could be enjoying the thrill of surviving being thrown in loops.

If you are like me, and are finding yourself getting wrapped up in the soap opera you have created for yourself, it’s time to take a seat in the audience and regain some amused perspective on the whole thing. You can do this anytime by taking a deep breath and remembering to enjoy life in the following ways:

  1. Physically: Are you still alive? You must be if you’re reading this. Remember that you were given a body, (even if there are a few wingdings occasionally,) and it is already starting to decay. If you have wanted to do a marathon or skydive, start preparing now. Your body is capale of amazing things, and the sooner you begin the journey, the faster you will get there.
  2. Viscerally: Stop to smell the flowers– no really. Stop right now, and feel your environment with all of your senses. The small things really are amazing when you begin to realize this world is all woven together to cloak us in an ornate tapestry we can enjoy anytime we please.
  3. Emotionally: Emotions can be overwhelming, and when they get too intense we often want to shut them down. But, happiness is an emotion too. The next time you want to check out of a painful experience, try to remember you are decreasing your exposure all the other great possible feelings as well.
  4. Intellectually: The concept of reincarnation is great if you are okay with losing your consciousness, but once you’re an ant, you won’t remember your humanity. The next time you are overwhelmed, consider the option of being any other species on earth without the ability to appreciate their existence in the way we do.

The whole “You don’t appreciate something until it’s gone” holds abundant truth: take anything in your life even you remotely like, and then picture your life without it. Water is an easy one: what if you could never drink water again? Makes you kind of thirsty right?

I once was sad I had no shoes, until I realized I am an able bodied person who can make my own pair.

How To> Understand Disclaimers

When was the last time “I didn’t know ____,” actually got you off the hook? Perhaps rules of conduct in a learning environmnet could be one example, except that we are expected to learn the rules before beginning; and, not knowing the rules will not remove any ramifications that may be incurred.

In the modern day age of everyone suing everyone, ignorance of the law only becomes useful when one can show knowledgeable negligence on the behalf of the rule-maker (or company that set out the rules.) After all, you can only be held accountable for what you had access to know in the first place, right?

Even though this does make perfect sense, to lessen the whip-lash of consumers who might manipulatively use the “ignorance” claim, many companies make customers sign off that they have read the rules of engagement (you know, a disclaimer.)  ALivingHowTo’s Legal Consultant explains, “This is called a “contract of adhesion,” and actually inhabits some shaded areas in liability to law because there is no recourse to make amendments to the contract.” So, if I want to play, I have no choice but to accept terms I had no hand in creating and probably do not fully understand.

In the end, though it be tedious and confusing, and additionally impossible to alter from the start, wading through legal documentation before entering into a contract is vital to survival and success in this world. From stopping a subscription from renewing, or your arrest record that indicates you are not allowed to purchase amo as  a felon; ignorance to the law is unfortunately not a valid defense.

At least companies are equally legally bound to share as much information as they have with their market. In the spirit of legal integrity to you the reader, I have created a disclaimer you can find here. Please agree to the terms listed before continuing on to more How-Tos.


How To> Anticipate the Next Workout

Certain songs just galvanize even the shyest of dancers to tap out a rhythm. Maybe it blasted on a friend’s car radio, or you overheard it at the gym: but now that song is stuck in your head and it pains you to admit you want to hear it again. These songs not only put in you in a good mood, but also drive you to move. What if these powers of catchy up-beat rays could be focused when you needed it most, like during a run for example?

After learning Macarena-esque arm movements to Gangam Style in a spin class, I knew I had to put it on my cardio playlist on Spotify. Apps like Spotify and Rdio make locating and organizing songs extremely easy. The next day, I had Psy stuck in my head and could not wait to move freely to the beat while on my run. And when I did hear it pop up, I was that much happier to run harder.

Try spending a little extra time working a playlist with songs you love, or just new songs you have been waiting to hear. Remind yourself that these songs are only treats for when you are working out. Not only does this delay over-play sickness, but you can use down time to find new music to add. Try a new Pandora station, or Shazam-ing that song in the background of So You Think You Can Dance.

Since smartphones make it so easy, you can even take a resting break during your workout to remove a song you discover doesn’t quite fit. In the end, the bigger and badder your playlist, the faster and happier you’ll be to get back out there again.

How To> Take Notes Remote

Notes in their very essence are an in transit activity. You write a note now so you can remember an idea later. It is not surprising that the word ‘note’ originates from gnoscere, the Latin term for “to know”, because by saving information for your future-self to know.

Modern note taking has expanded far beyond the small pads seen used by pulp detectives and reporters. Slips of paper can get ruined by water damage or lost in a mountain of receipts; there is no cloud to back up and organize your notes. And thus, for those searching for an answer to the “Remote Note” dilemna, here are a few approaches to taking your ink to the screen:

  • Tablet, with on screen keyboard. Touch screen devices from phones to large tablets come with built in keyboards to type with. If you can get used to the angle, you just need your device and no other tools to be an apt pupil
  • Tablet, with blue tooth/plugged in keyboard. Typing on a physical keyboard can be much easier to record lots of info. However, though keyboards are getting smaller, but they still count as one extra feature you need to carry around when the moment of noted inspiration strikes.
  • Tablet with stylus. Stylus’ are small, like pens, so they are not a huge burden to add to your tablet pouch, especially if there is a built in slot so you won’t lose it. Pressure fidelity is ever improving, and Apps like DailyNotes (shown in photo) even allow users to hand write notes, as well as typed ones.
  • Pen-and-paper notebook. If you just can’t let go of the feeling of ink gliding over a page, just make sure you get a note book to keep your notes centralized. Just remember to back up (save the physical pages somewhere safe) after you’ve transfered them to the cloud.



How To> Set an Attainable Goal

  1. Start with your original goal.
  2. Pick one part that you could reasonably complete in a week.
  3. Divide the goal into 5 equal portions.
  4. Create a satisfying to-do list for each day that includes one of those 5 portions. [Five is for five days of the week you should will complete a part of the bigger task, and then 2 relax-off days.]
  5. Depending on you and the goal, commit 30-120 minutes to your goal. Whether that be in 30 minute units, or all in one chunk.
  6. Pick a strong start-day, like a Monday, and DO IT.

How-To> Start a Blog

They say everyone is starting a blog these days, and I tend to disagree. I’d say, ‘anyone ready to go public’ is starting a blog these days. [To clarify further, ‘Anyone who has internet access, is literate, and has no problem with floundering for the amusement of others’ is starting a blog these days.]

However, here I am pouring myself into the mold and then hoping I will solidify into something so differently formed and sturdy the mold will have to be reformed in my image. A bit of a creator’s complex if you will.

Therefore, today’s how-to on this first day of June is, “How to Start a Blog.” 

  1. Buy a domain name that you find clever and is still available. Having a suitable domain name for your personal “brand” can be very motivating. It is relatively cheap and easy to claim: so I recommend buying any you might foresee liking in the future. I use Dreamhost because their customer service is great and my hosted space grows every year.
  2. Pick a theme that matches your domain and that you feel passionate about. As a tech writer, How-Tos are my forte, and thus an instructional on life idea was a ringer. What do you know more than anyone else? Write about that.
  3. Install a Blog app or program your own. This is actually much easier than it sounds. If you go into it knowing that there are forums all over the internet covering the exact same question you have, you can do anything!
  4. Pick a staring date and STICK to it. This will be a running theme throughout my blog, as I seem to put everything off until a.) the beginning of a week, b.) the beginning of a month, or c.) sometime in the future when I think I will be more prepared.
  5. Make it happen! Blogs are completely edit-able by you, the author. If you don’t tell anyone about it, no one you know will find it and thus what you say could be completely anonymous. Just starting when you say you will creates some momentum…

Doesn’t it? I plan to find out and that is why I am making this post on June 1st. I chose this date because it is the beginning of June (Reinvention month) and I am proud to see I have stuck to it.

Well, what are you waiting for? Get to it!