Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Life hacks to make things easier (mintfish.tumblr.com)
110 points by ColinWright on Oct 18, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments

Rubber band stretched over a paint tin seems to have a bad failure mode that flings paint across the room if the rubber band breaks.

It can also spread drops if you make it vibrate when cleaning the brush.

For the key ring idea, I find that using the edge of a key works well too. If you take the key and push one of its top edges between the two bands in the key ring, it will pop open, with the key sandwiched between the two. Do this near the start of the helix and you can just slide the key on. You could also do this with other fairly hard and sharp edges to prop it open when you're putting on things without a hard and sharp edge. The staple remover idea is more elegant I guess but I can't say I've ever had one available when making additions to a keyring (best do it immediately, I'm quite clumsy). I'm a habitual nail biter too so I haven't any nails to use, let alone save, hence this little trick!

Oh no... reddit's leaking.

I like how the bad Reddit PR articles that were appearing last week for the investigation of Violentacrez were all flagged into oblivion due to "not technical enough" yet we continue to see articles like these.

Re: painting the lock on your sliding glass door white -- this is a good tip for gun safeties as well. Put some red paint on the part that's exposed when the safety is off and then remember "red = dead."

I have seen a lot of these before except "Put a wooden spoon across a boiling pot of water to keep it from boiling over." That is a new one to me. What's the science of that? How/why does that work?

Also, on the Exit on left or exit on right (http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mbyisdluoz1qhkzpz.jpg) - I don't think that applies to all cities. I know for a fact there is some signs in my city that do not do this, especially older signs.

For the wooden spoon across the pot, here's the original reddit thread with discussion: http://www.reddit.com/r/LifeProTips/comments/od9at/lpt_put_w...

The spoon breaks the surface tension of the bubbles, causing them to pop when they start to boil over.

Other people seem to be saying a metal spoon should work just as well (with the added bonus that it won't warp, unlike a wooden spoon), with the only downside that it will be hot to take off. I'm doubtful that a metal spoon would work as well though, because metal does not absorb moisture like wood and also has a smoother surface (i.e. less surface area on a microscopic level), and so it probably wouldn't be as effective in making the bubbles attach and pop. Of course the only way to know for sure would be to do an experiment.

It also depends on the foodstuff and ratio of that food to the volume of water as well. Pot diameter plays a role too, a wider pot provides more room for each bubble and less chance to "climb" one another, plus a wider surface requires more volume of foam to breach the top of the pot.

I'm no chemist, but my observations from cooking and homebrewing, pasta and wort boil over worse than plain water because dissolved starches/sugars/proteins allow the bubbles to have greater surface tension and hold together better. If you cook with more water but the same quantity of food, the bubbles have less surface tension and you can probably avoid the boil over scenario altogether.

For this particular life tip, I would expect a starch-laden foam from cooking pasta to leave a residue on the spoon as the bubbles popped that would eventually let it boil over still. It will buy you some additional time before a mess is made of your stove though.

The hwy exit differs from place to place. In Canada there's an angled edge to indicate which side the exit is on. But I'm guessing that most places have some system that subtly indicates which side, excepting, as you say, older signs

I often put a wooden spoon across the top of a pot of boiling water just because that's a convenient place to put it. The pot sometimes boils over. I've seen no correlation with the spoon.

Pants hanger used as a book holder is my favorite. I use two of those to attach papers to my laptop screen when I'm reading/coding at the same time.

Hopefully in 5 years we will be able to download a 3d printer files and print out of most this stuff at home fully customized to your needs, instead of cutting bottles, or using "X" as "Y" hack.

So, you mean that we can use toxic processes to create the 3D "ink" that 3D printers use, and then use those 3D printers to build things that can't be recycled and end up in landfill, rather than taking stuff, re-using it, and thereby reducing the amount of landfill?

No, I'm not being entirely serious, and yes, I too look forward to the day when 3D printers are common-place and used effectively and efficiently. But even so, I hope that people will always find inventive ways to reduce, re-use and recycle, especially when they are an inventive as some of these. I've already used two of them this morning.

Yes, my post wasn't entirely serious as well. Also one more thing, lately 3D printers have started using re-usable and re-cycle "ink"[1] so it may only be increasing re-usability after all.

[1] http://store.makerbot.com/replicator2.html

More particularly, they can use PLA filament - here's some information about that:


Does the toothpaste on the headlights actually work? I just paid $99 to my mechanic to use some 3M thing to fix the headlights on my 04 Hyundai Accent that were quite clouded over.

It works. My scuba diving instructor taught us, that you can use toothpaste in your scuba glasses when they get hazy all the time.

Spit also works, which is handy when you are in the sea, but not so much when you have to clean your headlights :)

What do you mean by hazy on scuba glasses? Because I don't think you mean tiny scratches and porous surface because of cleaning agents, dirt and dust (what happens with the headlights when they get "cloudy") but hazy in the sense of condensed water on the glasses (water droplets from the temperature difference). Toothpaste and spit work in this case because they are a bit greasy, and this will stop the condensation on the surface.

Sorry, I really meant cloudy.

Toothpaste, like the 3M paste, contains tiny abrasive particles that "clean" by friction. You can usually buff small plastic pieces with it by hand, but if you need to do a larger surface you need a polishing tool.

I'm so happy I scrolled to the last one ... so obvious, but never came across my mind.

I assume the wet paper towel speeds up the process by a little bit? I can't imagine it makes that big of a difference and still probably slower than throwing it in the ice tray of your freezer.

it will; it's about thermal contact. the air in a fridge or freezer isn't very good at conducting the heat out of things to the (antiradiator - absorber?) at the top.

The cold towel will absorb heat from both the drink and the room in a room, but only the drink in the freezer. and it will do it much faster than the air would.

I think there should be a blog devoted just to creative uses of the cardboard tube out of toilet rolls!

/r/lifeprotips from reddit.

I've never used reddit so I have no idea what's there, except to infer things from the comments made here. This was a link that was sent to me directly by a colleague, and I've already used two of the tips, and expect to use more before the end of the day. I found many of them mundane, but some of them surprising and truly worthy of the sobriquet "hack", and hence the submission.

First of all, I'd love to hear what hacks you've actually used. A lot of them seemed interesting, but I'll probably forget them when I actually need them. Hearing about specific ones will help.

Secondly, friendly recommendation - you should check out Reddit. You're a serious HNer, so I assume you care at least a little about the goings-on online, and Reddit is a big part of the internet now. See it, if only to be able to say that you saw it.

I barely visit Reddit myself, but there are a few things it's good for - for example, information about specific topics tends to be found in subreddits about that topic. E.g., I started playing piano recently, and to get interesting info on it, searched "piano reddit" in google. Not only are there generally good discussions there, some popular reddits like this one have an FAQ which lists links to lots of previous discussions you might be interested in.

Specifically, today I used the cut down milk carton to make a small "dustpan" for picking up beads, screws, and other small items, and then I used a stocking over a vacuum cleaner to pick up some of said small items that had fallen down earlier.

Later I used toilet roll core to hold some wrapping paper neatly, and I'm looking at using more to tidy some cables. I've made notes of several of the others and am putting them in my associative store. I expect I will use the "USB on TV to charge phone" idea at some point, I'll just need to remember it at the right time.

As for reddit, yes, perhaps I should go, but I have enough infinite time sinks already, and I'm disinclined to add another. If it pops up in a web search then I'll use it, but otherwise I'm unlikely to get started. I tend to be a bit obsessive, so not reading is better than reading and trying to limit myself.

And I'm not really a serious HNer, although sometimes people get the impression that I am. There are other things I do way more seriously.

> I've never used reddit so I have no idea what's there

Everything. If you try visiting reddit.com/r/<pickaword> there's a chance it exists.

Honestly, the tips are mostly wrong, and the community is very hostile. I had to unsubscribe months back.

edit: Oh I see, that's exactly the same kind of crap this submission is.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2020

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact