Shared posts

23 Apr 17:13

Kind of Obsessed: This Mexican Spirit Smells Like Pickles and Tastes Incredible In Pretty Much Everything

Wild-fermented from naturally-grown sugar cane in a cloud forest in central Mexico, this centuries-in-the-making Oaxacan rum is truly something special.

23 Apr 15:37

‘The Rarest Steak on the Planet’ Is Coming to the United States

23 Apr 15:36

How to Reduce Stress Like a Navy SEAL

19 Apr 18:21

Give that man a medal

1761 points, 46 comments.

19 Apr 18:19

How to Test Your Wi-Fi Speed (And 7 Mistakes You Should Avoid)

by Andy Betts

Everyone runs into Wi-Fi problems from time to time. Maybe it starts to slow down for no obvious reason, or perhaps you get the feeling that you aren’t enjoying the speeds you’re paying for.

A simple way to confirm that there’s a problem is to test your Wi-Fi speed, which is easy to do. There are lots of Wi-Fi speed test services online that run inside any web browser. They give an accurate picture of how fast your internet connection is.

Let’s take a look at how speed tests work, and how to make sure you get the best out of them.

How a Wi-Fi Speed Test Works

Most Wi-Fi speed tests measure three elements:

  1. Ping rate
  2. Download speed
  3. Upload speed

Let’s examine each of these in turn.

Ping Rate

The ping rate measures the latency on a network. This is the time taken for a data packet to send from one machine to another, then receive a return.

High latency causes lag, which is something you definitely want to avoid in multiplayer gaming. A ping rate of more than 150 milliseconds could cause lag in gaming, while under 20ms is considered very low latency.

Download Speed download speed - wifi speed test

Download speed is the most important figure. It signifies how fast data download to your computer, measured in megabits per second.

The test works by downloading multiple chunks of data to your computer, adjusting the size and the number of connections to download it as it goes. This maximizes the speed of your connection, ensuring it works at its fastest.

To judge the results, you need to know what speed of service you’re signed up for, then compare them. For reference, Netflix requires 25Mbps for 4K streaming or 5Mbps for 1080p HD.

Upload Speed

Upload speed shows how quickly you can upload data, such as when you’re backing up files to a cloud service. This is usually slower than download speed, and not as advertised by internet service providers. Compare your speed test result to your provider’s quoted speed to see how well you’re doing.

The upload test works the same as the download test, just in the other direction. Your browser uploads chunks of data, with adjustments made to ensure it uses the full extent of your connection.

Between them, the three tests will give a complete picture of how your Wi-Fi setup performs. You’ll find out if your internet speed is as fast as your provider promised, if it’s fast enough for how you want to use it, and if you’ve got your router providing a strong signal.

But when you run these tests, make sure to avoid some common mistakes.

1. Don’t Do the Test Only Once

To get an accurate picture of your Wi-Fi speed you need to perform the speed test more than once.

Speeds can be quite volatile. You could do the test twice in the same conditions and get different results. By doing it at least three times, perhaps over a series of days, you can create an average of the results. This gives you a more accurate reflection of your actual internet speed.

2. Don’t Test at the Wrong Time of Day

One of the biggest factors affecting internet speeds is the number of your fellow users that are logged on at the same time. During “peak hours”, like a Sunday evening when everyone’s watching Netflix, you’ll probably experience slower speeds than other times. Your speed test results will reflect this.

If you’re trying to judge the performance drop-off during busy periods, then run the test at both peak and off-peak times and compare the results. If you just want to test your overall speed, stick to off-peak hours for testing.

3. Don’t Do the Test in the Wrong Place

LEGO man working on router
Image Credit: Konrad Twardowski/Flickr

Your Wi-Fi speed test results will be affected if you do the test in the wrong place.

But how do you choose the right place? It depends what you’re hoping to find out.

  • When you just want to measure your Wi-Fi speed: Run the test with a close line of sight connection to your router. In other words, do it in the same room with no physical obstacles to block the signal.
  • If you’re trying to find the best position for a router in your home: Run a speed test in every room, then compare the results. That will reveal any rooms that the signal is struggling to reach.
  • If you’re trying to identify Wi-Fi dead spots or areas of weak coverage: Do the test in that spot and compare the result to one performed in perfect conditions. If this confirms a problem, you can then take steps to extend your Wi-Fi coverage.

4. Don’t Leave Other Devices Downloading

A Wi-Fi speed test can only measure the speed attained by the machine you’re testing on. For this reason, you should try to maximize the bandwidth available to that device.

Most of us have countless devices connected to our wireless networks, and the bandwidth from our internet connection is split between each of them. This understandably slows each one down.

For best results, turn off or disconnect as many of your devices as you can. Or at least make sure that none are downloading or uploading large files.

5. Don’t Forget to Reboot Your Computer

Mac Activity Monitor - wifi speed test

You can test your Wi-Fi speed on pretty much any device with a browser—from your laptop to a Fire Stick—but whatever you choose, you should always reboot it first.

Devices that haven’t been restarted in a long time will have residual processes running in the background that can slow them down. This might affect your ping rate in particular.

Restart your machine and don’t launch any other apps before you do the test. Keep an eye on what apps you’ve got set to launch on startup (a cloud app, for example, will go online to sync its data). You could even temporarily disable your antivirus software until it’s done.

6. Don’t Use the Wrong Testing Tool

XFINITY Speed Test - wifi speed test

With so many Wi-Fi speed test services online, how do you know which is the best to use?

Some internet service providers offer their own service. If yours does, that’s a good place to start.

If you want to check that your Wi-Fi is fast enough for TV streaming, then take a look at Netflix’s It’s no-frills, but connects to the Netflix servers so it’s accurate.

For the other options, choose an HTML5 service over an older Flash one. While every modern web browser supports HTML5 natively, Flash represents another system overhead that could impact your speeds.

Alternatively, forego the browser and choose a desktop speed test instead. The desktop app from is available for both Windows and Mac and makes the service a whole lot more accessible.

7. Don’t Test While Using a VPN

Finally, make sure you aren’t using a VPN, proxy, data-saving app, or anything else that sits between your computer and the internet. They can, and often will, slow down your connection, so using them while testing will not provide accurate results.

The exception is if you’re trialing a VPN and want to see how fast it is. In that case, go right ahead.

What to Do With the Wi-Fi Speed Test Results

A Wi-Fi speed test is useful for many reasons. The results will help in the following cases and more:

  • Making sure you’re getting the speed you’re paying for
  • Shopping around for a new provider
  • Setting up a new router and checking coverage throughout your home
  • Testing that your speeds are fast enough for your needs
  • Checking that your Apple TV, Fire Stick, or game console is getting good speeds
  • Finding peak and off-peak hours

When you’re done, you might find that your internet is not as fast as it should be. And if your results aren’t up to scratch, it’s time to find out what’s causing your slow Wi-Fi and how you can fix it.

18 Apr 17:38

The Ethics of Photographing Slums

by Nils Heininger

My eyes are filled with tears because of the smoke. The plastic particles in the air are irritating my lungs. I’m climbing this mountain with my two friends.

The ground under my shoes feels funny. It softly cushions my steps, like fresh and loose soil, but it also tangles my feet every now and then. It is an awkward mass, this mountain of pressed trash. It consists of very different materials and yet is an entity. A mountain of poison. Not only for the body but also for the soul.

And pigs everywhere! I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many pigs walking freely in the wild. Is that appropriate husbandry? I feel as though I’m starting to understand why some religions refrain from eating pork. If, by eating pigs, I eat what pigs ate, then abstaining might be a better choice.

These are my thoughts as I am climbing this giant mountain. I am cold, numb, and have to keep up my emotional wall up to be able to bear what I see. Children are climbing everywhere on this mountain to collect plastic bottles in giant trash bags to later sell them for a starvation wage, which is, even in an Indian context, far too little to justify the health hazard of the work.

Women in colorful Saris walk around and create an abstract contrast to the brown-grey mass of garbage. Three young men fill a bag with trash and I ask them “Ey Bhaya, kya main aapka tasvir kheech sakta hun?” Can I take a picture of you?


I am baffled. It rarely occurs that Indians reject your request for a picture. But I also understand why. The feeling of shame sits deep in the members of the Safaikarmchari community. The self-esteem suffers from the vicious cycle in which those people are trapped. People who were born at the wrong time at the wrong place.

My companion tells me: “Don’t need to ask. If you ask, they will say no. Just make picture.”

Tutorials for Photography

Tips and tutorials for travel photography are diverse and numerous. I have read books, watched videos, listened to TED-talks, and researched on blogs. My favorite YouTuber is Thomas Heaton. He does photography in a very calm and focused way. His videos taught me how to set up my camera for landscapes, how to find the right light by getting up early and how a good composition works. My images are probably not as good as his, but I am on a good trajectory.

But I am more interested in people. I am fascinated by the closeness of the photos of Oded Wagenstein, whose books, TED-Talks, and podcast-interviews I read and listened to. His portraits tell stories and that makes them outstanding. I also love the portrait of Winston Churchill by Yousuf Karsh because it also tells a story. Before shooting it, Karsh pulled the cigar out of Churchill’s mouth, to break down the guard of that famous world politician.

My idol however is Sebastiao Salgado, whose project Genesis was my first step towards photography. I remember how I saw his images in the souvenir shop in the London Natural History Museum, regretting that I did not have the time to visit his exhibition. But I finally got his book as a present and a little flame started to burn. When I finally (accidentally) saw his exhibition in Ljubljana, I became fascinated. I already understood a little more about photography, but what I found there was unimaginable for me. Salgado’s book Exodus made me cry, while the story of his life showed me that photography is more than just taking pictures. It’s taking stories.

Travel Photography and Ethics

All these people and experiences have taught me how to shoot good pictures. But they did not tell me one thing: how do I deal with my position as a photographer? Photography can be just aesthetic. Portraits, fashion, and landscapes. People join for a project and then walk away. Or you hike up a mountain at the right time and shoot. That is one thing. But it is a different thing to take pictures of the life of humans. Especially in travel photography.

I don’t like the term “travel photography”, by the way. It is a western term and often means that a white man goes out and takes pictures of exotic people and places. What is travel photography for us is generally the everyday life of others. You will hardly ever find a portrait of a German with the hashtag #travelportrait. But the business is big. Travel hashtags run crazy on Instagram.

But the debate about that title leads us to another topic: the asymmetry of power between photographer and photographed. In most non-western countries, the rights regarding one’s own image are widely unknown. And if it is known, it is hardly implemented. I could theoretically upload pictures of anyone here and no one could complain. The photographed people would struggle to file an action even if there was rule of law. I could do what I want, without consequences. Do I want this? How do I get consent in photography? I did not find a tutorial for that.

I am quite straightforward in the communities in which I live, though. It’s a kind of exchange for me. I am permanently forced to take selfies. There are videos of me dancing at weddings that are shown to me by complete strangers. In India, do like the Indians do. These are my friends whom I take pictures of and put online and who take pictures of me and put them online. At least I try to take care that people don’t look bad in my photos. But what about strangers?

Photographing the Slum

I have now been living with the Safaikarmchari community for more than four months. I know their stories and know the lethargy that influences their life. The doubts, the alcoholism, the work with trash and dirt, and the vicious cycle in which the people are trapped.

I know that the people are smart, friendly, and, most of all, unimaginably hospitable. They are open for talks, are inviting, and love selfies.

I have found my own project. We have visited a slum in Kolkata. A friend of my friend Vimal. The scenery was impressive from a photojournalist’s perspective. I have seen a lot in India. That happens when you live with the lowest subcaste of the lowest caste. I have seen families whose houses consisted of nothing more than a cupboard, a TV, and a bed on which all seven family members slept.

But the Belgachia slum was different. It showed the situation from its most inhuman side in images that spoke for themselves. I am still coughing from the burning plastic that invaded my lungs two weeks ago. The slum is located directly next to a giant dumping ground that burns day and night. The smell, smog, and trash are the main part of people’s everyday life. And yet, guests are welcome, cared for in the best way, and treated with care. It is easy to make friends here if you want to make them.

Conscious Photojournalism

A week after my first visit, I decided to go back to Belgachia to take pictures. I want to visually capture the life of the communities that I have already theoretically captured in the past months. My project would have a topic: the lives of the lowest caste in India. No travel photography, but instead photojournalism. One topic, many pictures. Maybe a message to the people who see the images. But how do you capture misery with respect? How do you get consent for images that some people might see as shameful?

First of all, I must not listen to my companion and “just shoot,” but I have to ask or at least take a picture so obviously that it would be easy for people to reject the picture. If people say no, they say no. Then I have one image less, but I can sleep better at night knowing I did something good. That’s the most important rule.

The argument that I only get staged images that way doesn’t hold water with me. With a little bit of patience and experience, you can take pictures without any posing. Or you use the pose as a form of character and narration. That is the art of portraiture.

The second thing that I can do is to listen to the people, to get in touch. Not to go to the scene, shoot, and run away, but to stay overnight, drink tea with the people, and talk. That is wondrous and provides trust, which will also affect the quality of the images. I cannot get to know all the people in my photographs, but if I deal with the community, I have done my best.

Poverty Tourism vs. Photojournalism

There is a risk of becoming a poverty tourist. Or worse, to exploit it for business purposes. It became quite obvious to me during a conversation at a tea stall.

“You know, many people come here in a car, get out and shoot many pictures. This slum is very famous. They just come, shoot, leave, and sell the pictures. This is why many people here are suspicious about people with cameras.”

I felt bad. Was I one of many who used their position to take good pictures? Yes and no. My position definitely is of great use. But my motivation is different. I do not want to sell images of poverty, I want to present stories. I sit with people and try to find out more. I do not want to picture them as poor as possible, to sell the image to fundraisers. I want to meet people with respect. Maybe I do not always achieve that, but to try is all I can do. Somehow it is important to show these stories. We need to permanently be reminded of the realities of hunger, war, and modern slavery.

I will definitely shoot images that people will not like afterward. That also happens without photojournalism, with snapshots by friends or passport pictures, for example. I am not perfect, and I can only do my best. But when I consciously act and decide that I did not abuse my position, I can say that I acted in a morally good way.

Every situation is different and there aren’t many tutorials for ethics and morality. I want to meet people with respect. I show them my images, check if they are happy and try to get a feeling of what they like and they don’t. That is often difficult because their ideas of aesthetics often differ from mine. I am happy when I hear comments like “Wow! Hero pic.” Or when people see my images and want to be photographed themselves. Then I know that I have consent and that people trust me.

And as long as I am aiming for that, then I know that I’m doing it right.

The photos in this article were a glimpse into my two days in the Belgachia slum. I would love to read your comments, suggestions, and critique.

About the author: Nils Heininger is a photographer, author, anthropology student, and camel lover. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. He is currently working on his Anthropology M.A. thesis, exploring the culture of India. He lives with the Balmiki community and enjoys the simple life. You can find more of his work on his website. This article was also published here.

18 Apr 17:37

Don't worry, be happy.

1250 points, 83 comments.

18 Apr 17:37

GM's Marketplace Allows Gas Purchase and Starts to Create Car-Retail Ecosystem

by Mike Ramsey, Contributor
You can now buy gas through GM's Marketplace application, giving a window into a new web or retail opportunities using the car as a platform. It's evidence of a real shift in the money-making capability of the connected car.
17 Apr 15:03

This Is the Absolute Cheapest Hiking Pack You Can Buy

It's durable and reliable — two things we search for in every backpack.

17 Apr 13:56

How to Make Money on YouTube: 6 Monetization Tactics Used by Pros

by Ben Stegner

YouTube has evolved into a platform that provides many content creators with careers. If you’re thinking about starting a YouTube channel, you’ve probably wondered how you can earn an income from it.

The truth is not many peopl will earn millions of dollars on YouTube. However, as a YouTuber you have several options for monetizing your content. Let’s take a look at the most popular ways to make money on YouTube.

1. Advertising

Like most free services, YouTube is powered by ads (and paid YouTube Red subscriptions). Before you watch most videos, and sometimes in the middle of longer ones, you’ll have to watch a short ad. Some of the money from this goes to the channel, and some goes to YouTube itself.

YouTube has recently changed when your channel is eligible for monetization (meaning ads show on your videos). In April 2017, YouTube started requiring channels to have 10,000 lifetime views for monetization. In January 2018, YouTube further updated its rules to require channels to have 4,000 watch hours in the prior 12 months, plus 1,000 subscribers, for monetization.

This means you won’t be able to make money from ads until you start building a fanbase. When eligible, you’ll want to visit your Creator Studio, then click the Channel tab on the left. Under Status and Features, select Enable under Monetization to get started.

From there, you’ll need to link your AdSense account, choose what types of ads you’d like on your videos, and go through a review. Check out YouTube’s monetization steps for more information.

Unfortunately, there’s no simple formula for how much you can make through ads. It depends on how many people watch the full ad, how many viewers use an ad-blocker, and other factors.

In addition, YouTube has experienced a lot of problems lately with advertisers pulling their ads from the platform. This has led to the site demonetizing lots of videos for questionable reasons. Overall, this means that when you’re starting out, ad revenue is not guaranteed.

2. Product Placements

Product placement is an age-old advertising technique that’s common in TV shows and movies. It’s essentially using specific brands (such as Apple) in order to promote them. For example, a movie from Sony Pictures may include someone playing a PlayStation 4 on a Sony TV.

On your YouTube channel, you may be able to strike a product placement deal with a company that’s relevant to the kind of content you produce. Of course, you’ll likely need to build a following before a brand will want to advertise with you.

The product placement doesn’t have to be the entire focus of your video—just part of it. Mentioning or using a brand in your video in a natural way is all that’s required. Rhett & Link’s video above is an example of product placement done well, as the music video stands on its own aside from the Buick promotion.

This is a solid advertising tactic because people can’t skip it. Additionally, viewers often feel a connection with their favorite content creators. This lends more authenticity to your recommendations, but you have to take care that this doesn’t backfire.

If you don’t make it clear that you’ve been paid for the promotion or don’t actually like the product you’re reviewing, it could negatively affect your viewers’ opinion of you.

Thankfully, YouTube includes a checkbox that lets people know your video contains sponsored content.

3. Sponsored Videos

Sponsored videos are similar to product placement, but with a few key differences. While product placement involves integrating a brand into an existing video, a sponsored video is entirely based around a brand.

If you run a gaming channel (one of the most popular types of YouTube channels) for instance, a developer might approach you to make a video about its game. Since you likely wouldn’t have played this game otherwise, you’ll let your viewers know that the developer paid you to make the video.

Sponsorships came come in less drastic forms, too. Many YouTubers include a short sponsor message at the start of their videos. This is essentially a quick advertisement for a brand that’s separate from YouTube ads.

Like product placement, sponsored videos are a good alternative for making money but you should be careful with them. If you don’t come across as genuine, your audience might find these videos in poor taste. Thus, you should try to avoid advertising sponsored content you’ve never actually used or don’t endorse.

4. Affiliate Links

You’ve probably heard of affiliate links, as many websites use affiliates to make money. Basically, affiliate links allow you to create a unique URL to a website. When anyone follows that link and buys a product, you get a small percentage of the sale.

These are pretty easy to set up, and don’t require sponsorship deals from brands. If you talk about a certain product in your video, you could include an affiliate link to its Amazon page in the description. Or, you could add an affiliate link for services like Audible, where you’ll make some money if someone decides to sign up.

Affiliate links are a good passive source of income. After all, if someone is going to buy a product anyway, it doesn’t take much extra effort to buy it through your affiliate link. Like the other methods, it’s a good idea to clearly disclose when you include affiliate links to your audience.

5. Fan Funding/Subscriptions

With YouTube ads being unreliable, many creators have turned to fan funding as an alternative way to make money. This involves joining a service like Patreon that lets fans donate some money each month to support their favorite channels.

Most creators who use Patreon offer tiers of rewards in exchange for their fans’ support. You might list their names at the end of each video, host a video chat with them every month, or provide behind-the-scenes clips. It’s a great way to connect the biggest fans with their favorite channels, and provides a somewhat-steady form of revenue.

Viewers can also sponsor a YouTuber, but most people will probably want to stay outside YouTube for this option. If you livestream on your channel, you can also use the Super Chat feature. This allows viewers to donate money to you in exchange for highlighting their message for a while during a stream.

6. Selling Merchandise

Another monetization option is creating merchandise to sell to your fans. Websites like TeePublic let you create custom designs for T-shirts, wall art, mugs, and more. Many creators create designs featuring popular catchphrases, jokes, or art from their videos.

Once you’ve created some cool designs, let viewers know about them in a few videos. Include a link to your merchandise page in video descriptions, and anyone who’s interested can support you and get some cool swag at the same time.

It IS Possible to Make Money on YouTube

While you have many monetization options for YouTube, remember that it’s hard to make money on YouTube. You’ll have to put out quality content for some time in order to build the viewership required for ads, sponsorships, and more.

If you’re just starting out, focus on making awesome videos and do what you can to make YouTube a better place. And hopefully, after some time, your audience will come. You can then look fully into these monetization options once your channel becomes more popular.

17 Apr 13:56

Cooking for Beginners: 5 Essential Sites for Newbies in the Kitchen

by Mihir Patkar

Most recipe sites assume you have a basic level of understanding how to cook. But for the absolute beginner, things need to be even simpler, like what these five sites offer.

This is a mix of learning the techniques needed to cook, as well as some quick-meal recipes for anyone without cooking knowledge. Start with the guides, and move on to the recipe outlets. And the free cookbook is the best.

1. CookingLight’s Fundamental Techniques (Web): Learn the Basic Skills

cooking sites for beginners

Cooking Light magazine is all about how to eat and cook healthy. That’s usually the whole point of eating more at home, so they have put together a guide on the fundamental techniques you will need for any type of cooking.

The whole section is divided into styles: braising, boiling and simmering, sauteing, steaming, grilling, marinating, curing and pickling, stir-frying, caramelizing, roasting, and pan-frying. Click any for a series of videos explaining each aspect of that style, along with recipes to practice it.

The see-and-do style of learning works really well in this case since you can tell what you should or shouldn’t be doing. It’s one of the best online guides for beginner cooking that we have seen.

2. The Kitchn’s Cooking School (Web, Email): 20-Day Course to Learn 20 Basics

cooking sites for beginners

The Kitchn is one of the best cooking sites, telling you everything from food basics to cooking with leftovers. It turned some of its best posts for beginner cooks into a custom 20-day course called the Cooking School.

The Kitchn goes beyond techniques to include a deeper understanding of the food you cook with. A new lesson is mailed to you every day on topics like knife skills, vegetables, seafood, herbs and spices, sauces, broil, and so on. Each comes with a homework assignment to test what you are learning.

I’d recommend signing up for the Cooking School to get a daily newsletter to learn something new. Not only does this stave off information overload, but it also gets you into the habit of cooking every day.

3. Cooking Crash Course (eBook): 13 Essential Skills (and Cheat Sheets) in a Free eBook

cooking sites for beginners

Chef Gui Alinat has written several cookbooks, but he also knows that some people need more basic help. So he released a free cooking crash course for beginners as a 51-page ebook, teaching what he calls the 13 essential skills for anyone in the kitchen.

Alinat goes through every aspect of what you will encounter in a kitchen and turns it into easy-to-digest information. For example, he has a massive infographic of all major vegetables, and which styles of cooking you can use with each. Similarly, there is a large “spice guide” to say which spices to use on which produce.

It’s astounding that the Cooking Crash Course is available for free. It’s better than most of the online cooking and baking classes out there. Print out the ebook, it’s a great resource to have in your kitchen. The cheat sheets are especially handy to have at a moment’s notice.

4. /r/CookingForBeginners (Reddit): An Invaluable Subreddit and Wiki for Beginners

cooking sites for beginners

As a beginner, you might have some stupid questions that you’re afraid to ask. Reddit has a tendency to be seen as a time-waster. But some of the kinder subreddits end up being of great help to those who have questions that experts can’t be bothered with.

The Cooking for Beginners community goes out of its way to answer any queries you might have, no matter how silly. A quick search might actually find you the answer before you even ask it, but even if you don’t, the community is forgiving of repetitive questions.

The best part, though, is the Cooking for Beginners Wiki. Here, the subreddit collects the best links and posts for any novice cook. This has infographics, cheat sheets, and detailed posts by other redditors with their favorite tips and tricks. Sign up and subscribe, this is one place where your silly questions will get an answer.

5. One Pot Chef (YouTube): The Best “Easy Recipes” Channel

I’ve been a fan of the One Pot Chef for years now, and am always surprised when more people don’t know about it. David Chilcott shows the easiest ways to make delicious food, often with as little cleaning up as possible.

The One Pot Chef’s best section is on the instant pot or slow cooker. If you haven’t got one yet, go grab the best instant pot for your budget. It will change the way you cook. Chilcott has an array of recipes for this essential kitchen instrument that reduce your clean-up, are healthy and nutritious, and dead simple to cook.

Apart from that, check out the other recipes and the Quick Tips section. The One Pot Chef has some of the best kitchen hacks to reduce the burden of cooking or cleaning up, and some ingenious cheats for leftovers.

Ready to Level Up Your Cooking Skills?

These sites and guides should help any newbie in the kitchen feel more comfortable in the space. From techniques to recipes, you will get a bit of everything.

Once you feel ready enough to do more than these basics, try these fun culinary challenges to improve your cooking skills. It keeps you going with the habit of cooking regularly, while also helping you learn more or refine what you know.

17 Apr 13:55

20 Free Resume Templates for Word That’ll Help You Land a Job

by Sandy Stachowiak

An impressive resume can be the difference between landing your dream job and someone else getting it instead of you. The details you include on your resume are extremely important. But you also need to be sure that the appearance is clean and professional.

These free Microsoft Word resume templates will get you off to a great start. They each provide you with the layout, fonts, and formatting you need to create a standout resume that fits you.

1. Simple Resume Template

microsoft word resume templates - simple

With four basic sections, this template is suitable for anyone but ideal for those just entering the job force. If you have limited educational and professional experience, you can list those items easily. And for accomplishments, you can add any special recognition at the bottom.

This resume template is neat, clean, and simple.

2. General Resume Template

microsoft word resume templates - general

Here is another basic, free resume template for Microsoft Word with just a few sections. You can include a summary with your experience and education in a clear, attractive way.

The template has a fourth section labeled Computer Skills which you can use to add yours. But you can also use this area for highlighting other job skills or accomplishments.

3. Keep It Simple Resume Template

microsoft word resume templates - keep it simple

For one more simple resume template, this one offers the basics with additional sections. You will see places for your education and experience at the top. Then, you can use list formats for achievements, volunteer work, and job skills.

This is a nice template to use if you need those extra sections but want to keep them short and sweet at the same time.

4. Resume for Recent College Graduate

microsoft word resume templates - recent graduate

Appropriately named, this free resume template is perfect for those just beginning their career. The emphasis is on education with spots for the degree type, major, minor, and related coursework. The next section covers your job skills and then comes your work experience at the bottom.

So if you just graduated or are about to, check out this option.

5. Chronological Resume Template, Modern Design

microsoft word resume templates - chronological modern

This next Microsoft Word resume template gives you space at the top for a summary or objective if you like. Then, you can add your experience, education, and skills. Use the activities area at the bottom for anything additional that you want to highlight.

For those who want a chronological resume template with a small splash of green color, you will like this option.

6. Chronological Resume Template, Traditional Design

microsoft word resume templates - chronological traditional

Maybe you like the chronological template but prefer a traditional appearance without color. If so, this is the template for you. Each of the sections is separated nicely with a bold line and heading.

Most notable about this option is the formatting for experience which uses an almost column-like layout.

7. Traditional Elegance Resume Template

microsoft word resume templates - traditional elegance

For a chronological resume template with a sophisticated appearance, this option is titled as elegant. Of course, it begins with a section for your work experience and your education comes after that. But you can use the profile area at the top to highlight your skills.

The template has nice section dividers and bullet points which add to its appearance, making it suitable for any professional.

8. Chronological Resume Template, Minimalist Design

microsoft word resume templates - chronological minimalistic

This free chronological resume template offers a modern font with a classic look. Each section heading is out to the left, making it simple for your potential employer to view. You can take advantage of the additional sections for objective, communication, and leadership or simply remove those you don’t need.

This is another great template for almost any job type or industry.

9. Functional Resume Template, Blue Line Design

microsoft word resume templates - functional blue line

If you believe a functional resume is more effective for you, then this template is a good choice. It has a small amount of blue at the top with a bold line which makes it stand out. Then, you simply list your skills, accomplishments, work experience, and education in that order.

10. Functional Resume Template, Legal

microsoft word resume templates - functional legal

Another excellent functional resume but without color is this next template. You can start with a summary at the top and then move on to list your key competencies with attractive bullet points. Your work experience and education come after that, making this a good functional resume template option for most anyone.

11. Functional Resume Template, CV Traditional Design

microsoft word resume templates - functional traditional

This functional, free resume template offers a classic design. Group your professional accomplishments by field or area and then list more details underneath with bullet points. Then, add your work experience with simple dates, titles, and locations along with your education.

When you need to emphasize your skills and accomplishments, this functional resume template helps you do it easily.

12. Combination Resume Template, Economic

microsoft word resume templates - combination

While this template appears to be functional with skills listed at the top, the work experience section also stands out. So, this is a great option when you really want to highlight both. As with many other templates, you can include an objective or remove that section if you prefer.

Overall, this is a practical format that might be just what you’re looking for.

13. Photo Resume Template, Median Theme

microsoft word resume templates - photo resume

For something more modern that includes a photo, take a look at this resume template. It has a nice layout with the basic sections, attractive color scheme, and spot at the top for your photo. While most resume templates you see don’t include photographs, this may be the perfect option for someone in the creative industry.

14. Film Strip Resume Template

microsoft word resume templates - film strip resume

Another super option for those in the creative field is this film strip themed resume template for Microsoft Word. For graphic designers or photographers, just add your own images to the strip along the side. Then pop in your details like a professional profile, work experience, and skills.

This template gives you a great modern way to showcase your work.

15. High Impact Multi Colour Resume Template

microsoft word resume templates - high impact resume

If you like displaying your designs or photos, here is another terrific resume template. You can add one large image at the top with your name and titles. Include work experience right below it and then put more images at the bottom with your achievements.

16. Presentation Slide Resume Template

microsoft word resume templates - presentation resume

Maybe an infographic resume is something that interests you. This one offers an attractive layout with a few colors and spot for a photo. With each position in your work experience a different colored heading, this one is easy for potential employers to scan. It also gives you a place for a timeline to show your employment dates and a rating scale section for your skills.

If this is the way to go for you, then take a look at these additional infographic resume templates for more options.

17. Resume for Internal Company Transfer

microsoft word resume templates - internal transfer resume

When you need a resume specific to your job move, like an internal transfer, this one is ideal. It allows you to highlight your accomplishments at the top, list your skills, and then include work experience and education. It’s clean and to the point.

18. Veteran Elementary Teacher Resume Template

microsoft word resume templates - teacher resume

Don’t be fooled by the name of this free template because it can be used for various teacher or professor positions. You can include a brief introduction and then highlight your core competencies. List your work experience and then finish it off with your key contributions.

This is a great option to really make your accomplishments in the education field shine.

19. Computer Programmer Resume Template

microsoft word resume templates - programmer resume

For those in the technology industry, this free resume template gives you a simple way to show off your skills. You can start with a summary if you like and then move onto your computer skills. Next list your work experience with bullet points to highlight your duties and then finish with your education.

And you might take a look at these tips for creating your programming resume too.

20. Executive Resume Sample Template

microsoft word resume templates - executive resume

If you are applying for an executive position, then you likely need a resume that allows for a lot of details. This two-page template gives you plenty of room and sections for making your experience and skills stand out from the crowd.

Add core competencies, career highlights, work experience, education, and affiliations. Remember, you can remove any section that you don’t want or just to keep the resume shorter.

Best of Luck in Your Job Search

Now that you have these free Microsoft Word resume templates, you are one step closer to getting that perfect position.

And for additional options, you can check out resume templates for Google Docs as well as resume building websites. Or jump right into Microsoft Word and create your own resume template. Best of luck to you in your endeavors!

17 Apr 13:49

How to Identify Mac Issues With Apple’s Hardware Diagnostics Tests

by Tim Brookes

Apple hardware is often cited for reliability, but you can end up with an expensive fix when something goes wrong. That’s why it’s great if you’re able to perform your own hardware tests before approaching an Apple professional about a potential fix.

Thankfully, testing your Mac at home is free, simple, and takes only a matter of minutes.

Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics?

Which version of Apple’s hardware test you’ll use depends on the age of your Mac. Computers released before June 2013 will use Apple Hardware Test. Computers released after June 2013 will use Apple Diagnostics instead.

The older Apple Hardware Test (AHT) doesn’t provide as much information about your system as Apple Diagnostics. It runs cursory tests on components and determines whether they are present and operable. The results are fairly easy to interpret, but not particularly detailed.

Apple Diagnostics testing

Apple Diagnostics provides more information about your Mac’s hardware than AHT. At the end of the test, you’ll get an error code which you can use to help decide which hardware components are having an issue and what to do about it.

Neither of these tests are as conclusive as Apple Service Diagnostics (ASD), which is Apple’s own in-house testing. If you take your Mac to an Apple Store for a Genius Bar appointment, they’ll hook up an Ethernet cable and run ASD to get far more detailed results about the status of your machine.

While there’s no official support for ASD beyond that provided to Apple’s technicians, you can download 25GB of diagnostics discs from the internet Archive.

How to Test Your Mac

Regardless of which diagnostic tool you’re using, the method for testing your Mac is the same:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Disconnect all external devices except your keyboard, mouse, display, wired network connection (if you have one), and power cable.
  3. Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold the D key.
  4. Release the D key when the Hardware Test or Diagnostics tool appears onscreen.
  5. Select your language.

If you’re using the older Apple Hardware Test there’s one more step: press the T key to begin the testing procedure. You can also check Perform extended testing to run a more thorough and time-consuming diagnostic. If you’re using Apple Diagnostics, you only need to specify your language.

Hold D Mac Keyboard

You will see your results onscreen once the scan is complete. Make a note of any reference codes you receive, since you’ll use those to interpret your results in the next section.

Help! My Mac Won’t Run Diagnostics

It’s possible your older Mac doesn’t include the diagnostic tool on its disk. If your disk or startup partition is damaged, this may cause the diagnostic test to not run at all. In this instance you’ll need to run the diagnostic via the internet.

It’s easy to do, but it will take longer since you’ll need to download the relevant tool before you can begin the procedure. In order to run a diagnostic test from the internet, follow the same procedure outlined in the section above but hold the Option + D keys instead of just D.

Hold Option+D Mac Keyboard

You’ll need access to the internet via a wired or wireless connection for this to work.

Interpreting Your Diagnostic Results

Apple Hardware Test should provide some fairly easy-to-understand diagnoses, including reference codes. I tested an old MacBook Air that has no battery in it, and the AHT report and reference code matched up.

If you’re using Apple Diagnostics, you’ll have a greater array of codes at your disposal. You can cross-reference them using the Apple Support reference codes list. Some notable reference codes include:

  • ADP001: Good news! This means no errors were detected.
  • NDD001: Possible problems with USB hardware; make sure all USB devices are disconnected.
  • NNN001: No serial number detected; are you running a Hackintosh?
  • PFR001: Possible problems with firmware.
  • PPM001-015: Possible problem with computer memory.
  • PPR001: Possible problem with CPU.
  • PPT001: Battery not detected.
  • VFD006: Possible problem with GPU.
  • VFF001: Possible problem with audio hardware.

While these codes only provide a limited amount of information, it might be enough to point you in the right direction. If you’re getting battery errors, it’s probably time to replace your battery. You might even be able to save a few bucks by fixing it yourself.

Others codes might raise more questions than answers. If you’re getting memory errors, it’s probably worth following up with a more in-depth testing tool. We recommend a free tool called memtest86, which you can run from USB for a detailed scan.

Apple Diagnostics results

Other problems are tricker to resolve. If you’re getting errors about your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth hardware, it might be worth spending a small amount of money on a USB adapter that offers a workaround for dodgy internal hardware.

Problems with your main processor or graphics processor are harder to isolate and resolve. Further, you might find that your computer passes Apple’s tests but still has issues. At this stage, it’s probably worth talking to a professional or considering a replacement model.

Fix Your Own Mac Hardware for Free

While it’s not as easy as repairing a Windows PC, you can fix Apple hardware at home. Be aware that if your machine is old, the cost of Apple’s expensive parts might not be justified when you take the price of a new machine into account.

Even if your old Mac is dying, you might be surprised what you can get for it if you choose to recycle or sell second-hand. If it’s time to say goodbye, you can put that money toward a replacement model.

17 Apr 13:22

Randomly Pick Your Next Travel Destination With These 5 Sites

by Mihir Patkar

When you can’t decide where to travel next, let fate pick the destination. You could spin a globe and stab your finger at a place to stop it. Or you could use these cool sites to tell you where to go just as randomly.

This isn’t the ideal solution for those who travel infrequently or are not adventurous. A random pick isn’t for the faint of heart. But it’s a journey, an adventure into the unknown, a kind of unresearched romance that you don’t easily get in the modern world.

1. Earth Roulette: Click a Button, Find All the Research You Need

pick travel destination random sites

Earth Roulette is for the confused wanderer who doesn’t want to think. Click a button and you’ll get a suggestion for a country to visit, along with all the research you would need for it.

You start off with a quick introduction about the country and why you should go there. Next, there is a slideshow of photos of the country, sourced from users of 500px. After all, you need to see if you like it. The rest of the page is filled with the major cities and attractions in any recommended country, all powered by Wikivoyage, the Wikipedia-run travel site.

Earth Roulette also gives quick links to book a flight or a hotel with SkyScanner, the best flight ticket app, and, the best hotel search engine. And just in case you don’t like the recommended country, click “Spin Again” to find a new random destination.

2. Travel Spin: Vacation Destinations and a Journey Planner

pick travel destination random sites

Travel Spin works just like Earth Roulette, but focuses on recommending cities or locations instead of countries. The page is filled with pictures from 500px, along with a small introduction to the place.

What sets it apart is the built-in journey planner. The first time you visit, grant Travel Spin access to your location or enter your city of departure. Now, every time you spin, the site will generate all the ways you can reach the destination from where you are. This includes a combination of flights, ships, trains, buses, and taxis.

You get total travel time, the cost of travel, and the distance as a snapshot. It also expands how this was calculated in each leg of the journey. Travel time and cost is an important factor in deciding where to go, so this summary is quite helpful.

3. Destination Darts: Throw Darts at a World Map to Get Multiple Destinations

pick travel destination random sites

I wish I had a large map of the world to throw darts at, which decides the country or city I travel to next. Destination Darts is the next best thing without that apparatus.

Select the whole world map or a region: Africa, Oceania, Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Antarctica. You can even select countries as sub-regions if you want. Then click the “Throw Dart” button and the site will randomly plant a dart on the map. On the left, you can see the exact name of the city, country, and its coordinates.

But here’s the cool part. You can keep clicking “Throw Dart” as many times as you want, and Destination Darts will track a history of all your darts. It’s a nice way to get multiple random destinations quickly. After that, you can safely research your holiday destinations before booking.

4. Atlas Obscura’s Unusual Trips: Cheat Sheet to Offbeat Ideas

pick travel destination random sites

Cliched travel destinations often sound boring, which is why you skip them. Atlas Obscura specializes in finding offbeat travel ideas in popular cities or countries. And its packaged Unusual Trips is a cheat sheet to offbeat ideas.

Unusual Trips is a paid tour, so you are free to buy it from them and go with other people. Otherwise, if the dates or cost isn’t working out for you, you can check out the entire itinerary of each Unusual Trip to plan your own trip there. These cheat sheets are the easiest ways to plan your travels.

Browse through both upcoming trips as well as tours already concluded. There are enough travel ideas here to satisfy the desires of every wandering soul.

5. Adioso: Pick Dates and Type of Destination for an Array of Flight Deals

pick travel destination random sites

Adioso started off as an essential site for backpackers to find cheap flight deals. But today, it has morphed into something much more useful any type of traveler.

Visit the main page and start selecting from the criteria. Pick your departure city, departing date, and a type of destination. Types include cities, countries, continents, or just “anywhere” in the world. Adioso also has customized “wanderlists” such as destinations for active travelers, family friendly vacations, wildlife experiences, and so on. Check these out, it can be a good way to filter your travel options.

Once you have your criteria, Adioso’s search engine will spit out all the travel options. And this is where the randomness takes over. You will find so many places that you have never even heard of, as well as those you’ve heard of but always thought to be expensive. But since Adioso has already taken care of finding the cheapest flights for you, half your troubles are over.

Let Someone Else Make the Decision for You

A couple of new travel agencies actually try to bring an element of surprise into your travel. Both Pack Up + Go and AnyWhr require a few details from you, after which they’ll mail you flight tickets, a custom itinerary, foreign exchange, electronic visa papers, and all other such details. All you have to do is show up at the airport. Cool, eh?

Of course, if randomness is not your thing, you can still try out other decision-making tools for travel destinations.

16 Apr 16:54

Frank Zappa Debates Whether the Government Should Censor Music in a Heated Episode of Crossfire: Why Are People Afraid of Words? (1986)

by Ted Mills

“The biggest threat to America today is not communism. It's moving America toward a fascist theocracy, and everything that's happened during the Reagan administration is steering us right down that pipe.”

That’s Frank Zappa, a self-declared “conservative” battling a theocrat and two establishment pundits on this clip from a 1986 episode of political debate show Crossfire. It was one of many TV interviews Zappa did during the mid-‘80s when the “Parent Music Resource Center” headed by what he called “Washington Wives” got themselves overly concerned about rock music lyrics and, as usual, thought of the children. (One of those Wives was Tipper Gore, then-wife of Al Gore). There were congressional hearings, one of the only times Zappa was on the same team as Twisted Sister’s Dee Snyder and soft-folkie John Denver).

The whole kerfuffle was one and a piece with the rise of the Religious Right under Reagan’s administration, and eventually boiled down to a “Parental Advisory” sticker slapped on LP and CD covers. Zappa saw the move as a cynical ploy to introduce moralistic censorship to the arts while burnishing the careers of up-and-coming senators like Al Gore (and that certainly worked out for him).

The 20 minute clip is notable for the differences compared to the present. Watching this contentious debate between four men all sitting very close to each other is rare nowadays—the closest we get is on Bill Maher’s weekly show, whereas the rest of cable news is a collection of talking heads beaming in from separate studios. The mendacity and vitriol directed towards Zappa is also surprising, especially as Zappa’s own lyrics weren’t the ones being attacked—those of Madonna and Prince were instead. The hotheaded blather out of religious zealot John Lofton is a wonder to behold, a man so theocratic he later railed against Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin for leaving the kitchen and getting into politics. “I love it when you froth” quips Zappa, although even his stoicism is undone at one point. “Tell you what—kiss my ass!” Zappa blurts out after Lofton calls him an idiot.

Both Tom Braden and Robert Novak are stodgy beltway brothers, ostensibly on the left and right, and can’t help crack up a bit when Zappa points out Lofton’s lunacy. Nobody wins the debate; America and your own brain cells lose.

Zappa would later dedicate several songs and a whole album (Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention) to the charade. The music industry acquiesced and required warning labels that probably had zero percent effectiveness apart from uglying up album artwork, and a decade later mp3s would implode the industry.

Nobody frets about lyrics any more—how quaint!—but fear mongering and moral panic continue, including the recent non-starter issue over video game violence. Words are just words, Zappa says. That battle now appears to be taking place on Twitter instead between the left and the right, and Republicans have dropped all pretenses over foul language having nominated Trump. (Even the evangelicals seem to be okay with it.)

And then there’s this brief moment from the clip, which feels like part of a radio signal beaming into the present:

“What I tell kids, and I’ve been telling kids for quite some time,” says Zappa, “is first, register to vote, and second, as soon as you’re old enough, run for something.”

If that doesn’t sound like 2018 to you, I’ve got a W.A.S.P. CD to sell you.

Related Content:

Hear the Musical Evolution of Frank Zappa in 401 Songs

Frank Zappa Explains the Decline of the Music Business (1987)

Animated: Frank Zappa on Why the Culturally-Bereft United States Is So Susceptible to Fads (1971)

The Bizarre Time When Frank Zappa’s Entirely Instrumental Album Received an “Explicit Lyrics” Sticker

Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at and/or watch his films here.

Frank Zappa Debates Whether the Government Should Censor Music in a Heated Episode of <i>Crossfire</i>: Why Are People Afraid of Words? (1986) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

11 Apr 16:11

This Little-Known Defense Contractor Should Be In Your Portfolio

by Jon Markman, Contributor
We imagine future military conflicts will be resolved with the surgical precision of next-generation aircraft. Or, better yet, remote-controlled drones. It does not work quite that way.
11 Apr 15:58

Trash Talking At The Masters: Why Mental Strength Is The Key To Success

by Don Yaeger, Contributor
I’m a huge fan of trash talking, gamesmanship, and head games. Over the years, I’ve learned that true competitors have a truckload of mental strength and the ability to both give and take a little verbal jousting. That’s why I loved the trash talking at this year’s Masters.
10 Apr 14:27

Sewing Thread Art by Cvern

by Alex Santoso

Image: @cvernart

This is neat: Slovenian artist Sašo Krajnc (AKA Cvern) creates amazing portraits with only a single sewing thread.

Krajnc is able to create shadings by overlapping black threads - the more black threads overlap in a certain part of the image, the darker the shadow.

Visit Krajnc's Instagram for more examples - via Oddity Central

10 Apr 14:26

5 Apps and Sites Every Freelance Professional Should Check Out

by Mihir Patkar

The freelance life can be tough. Negotiations with clients, deadlines and time-tracking, invoices to file and follow up, can all come together to bog you down. So try these apps and guides that can relieve the burden a bit.

None of the tools in this article will help you find a gig. There are special freelance job boards for that. What we are concentrating on is the actual work part, so that you are more efficient and productive.

1. Freelancers Union’s Resource Stack (Web): Everything You Need to Know

apps sites for freelance professionals

The Freelancers Union is a New York-based organization that seeks to protect and empower freelancers with anything they might need. You will need to sign up for free membership, and then you can check out the free resource stack they offer.

While some of it is New York or US-related, most of the resources are things anyone can use. There’s an invoice template, a tax habits checklist, answers about health insurance, and a guide to the small claims court. As an independent worker, you need to be prepared for any and all eventualities, which is what the Freelancers Union covers in this stack.

The Freelancer’s Union also provides an official app to help you find a freelance-friendly lawyer in case things go bad. But if you follow the guides in their resource stack, hopefully it should never reach that stage. A union like this is one of the best reasons to go freelance.

2. What Is My Day Rate? (Web): Find Your Daily or Hourly Rate With Hidden Costs

apps sites for freelance professionals

You need to figure out your rate before you ever approach a job because that’s the make-or-break question in most situations. What Is My Day Rate is a simple web app to calculate your worth.

The app asks you to state how much you want to earn annually. Currency doesn’t matter, put in a number. In a second, it will spit out what your day rate or your hourly rate should be. The cool part is that the app explains the formula. It’s not as simple as amount divided by 365.

What Is My Day Rate takes into account various factors like the number of working days in the year, accounting for public holidays based on your place of residence. It also adds sick days and paid leaves, as well as a generous accounting of the non-billable work you’ll do as a freelancer. Everything is put together to come at the figure. And you can change these factors to recalculate too.

It’s a much more real-world view of what your rate should be, and an invaluable tool for those who are new to freelance. These are the hidden costs you won’t account for, so the app does it for you.

3. And.Co’s Freelance Contract (Web): Get an Airtight Contract to Protect Your Interests

Being a freelancer can mean getting into legal issues over copyrights and other things. To protect yourself, make use of the Freelancers Union’s contract creator, made in association with And.Co.

In a step-by-step process, the guide takes you through the process of creating a contract so that there are no misunderstandings later. The Freelancers Union has created this new standard so that it’s a familiar document for both you and your clients. Just key in information where asked, and you’ll have a new contract in no time. Give it a digital signature and send it to your client, who can then sign and approve it.

In general, And.Co is an excellent tool for freelance professionals. It mixes invoicing, time tracking, project management, and other freelance needs into one app. It can also be a bit overwhelming at first, so give it a try.

4. TopTracker (Windows, Mac, Linux): Free Time-Tracker With Automatic Screenshots

apps sites for freelance professionals

Freelancers often need to charge your clients by the hour, and so you have to track how much time you are spending on their work. A time tracking software is an easy way to do it. And TopTracker is perhaps the best free program for desktop users.

It includes everything that some of the other good time tracking apps have, but with one difference: it automatically takes a screenshot while you’re working. This is legitimate proof that you were doing your client’s work, in case they ever doubt you. It’s a choice, so you can switch off screenshots, delete them, or blur them to protect privacy.

Apart from that, the other thing I really liked about TopTracker was that it is free for an unlimited number of projects. Most other time-tracking apps will limit how many projects or users you can add before needing to pay to unlock the full software.

If TopTracker isn’t for you, try out Toggl, which many people reckon is the best time-tracking app for mobile and desktop.

Download: TopTracker for Windows | Mac | Linux Debian | Linux RPM (Free)

5. (Web): Quick Invoice Generator and Tracker

apps sites for freelance professionals

I have been freelancing for several years and looked at a lot of invoice generators. I always fell back to Office software and the awesome free invoice templates available for it. But might make a convert out of me yet.

Sign in with your Google ID if you want to record your invoices, or don’t sign in and use it as a no-registration tool to quickly generate a bill. Fill in the blanks where required for your name or company’s name, the client’s name and address, payment methods, and the rest of the details. You can even connect Invoice.To to your Stripe or Paypal account to track payments.

Once you’re done, click the little green arrow at the bottom for an auto-composed email from your Gmail. Attach the new invoice as a PDF and send it to your client. Easy-peasy.

Take a Freelancer Course, It’s Worth It

As a freelance professional, you have to manage much more than your work alone. You are now your own boss, and you are basically running your own company with you as the employee. If you’re a newly independent worker, it can be worth your while to take one of these courses that will change your freelance life.

10 Apr 13:46

How to Track and Locate Your iPhone Using Location Services

by Tim Brookes

Your smartphone’s ability to pinpoint your exact location goes way beyond simple navigation. GPS is used for web searches to deliver relevant local results, in dating apps to find you a nearby date, and as a safety net when you lose your device.

Knowing how to customize your location settings is important, since location tracking presents a real privacy risk. Today we’ll look at how you can manage those settings, as well as sharing your location and finding your friends.

How to Turn On/Off Location Services on iPhone

To turn on Location Services on your iPhone:

  1. Launch Settings, scroll down the list, and tap Privacy.
  2. Tap Location Services and make sure the toggle is set to On.

Every app that has requested access to your location will appear below this option. It’s here you can easily revoke access, or grant access to an app you have previously denied. It’s a good idea to periodically check this list, since many apps can check on your location in the background.

track iphone location - Apps Using Location Services on iOS

While GPS used to consume a large chunk of battery power, location technology is way more efficient than it once was. Motion co-processors reduce the reliance on a “GPS fix” by reducing the number of satellite requests your device has to make.

It’s also required to use most mapping apps, exercise trackers, food delivery services, and ride sharing apps. There’s no need to disable Location Services on your iPhone anymore.

How to Send Your Location Using Your iPhone

To share your location using Messages:

  1. Launch Messages and find the contact you would like to share your location with (you may need to create a new chat).
  2. Tap the Info button in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Send My Current Location to instantly acquire and share an Apple Maps link.

track iphone location - Send iPhone Location via Messages

To share your location using Apple Maps:

  1. Launch Maps and wait for the app to acquire your location.
  2. Tap on the blue flashing location pin to bring up the My Location pane at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Select Share My Location followed by your sharing method: AirDrop, Messages, Mail, Facebook, or another medium of your choice.

track iphone location - Share Location from Apple Maps

To share your location using Google Maps:

  1. Download and launch Google Maps for iPhone.
  2. Wait for the app to acquire your location, then tap on the blue location pin.
  3. Choose to share with select individuals, via Messages, or hit More to reveal the full sharing menu.

track iphone location - Share Location from Google Maps

Note: Google Maps creates a real-time sharing link which others can use to track your location, rather than a link to a static location.

How to Permanently Share Your Location on iPhone

To share your location permanently from an iPhone, you’re best off using Apple’s own Find My Friends service. This service only works within the Apple ecosystem, so your friends will need iPhones too.

You can also share with non-Apple devices using Google Maps, but it won’t be as reliable.

To permanently share your location using iMessage:

  1. Launch Messages and find the contact you want to share your location with (you may need to start a new chat).
  2. Tap the Info button in the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Share My Location then choose between One Hour, End of Day, or Indefinitely.

track iphone location - Share iPhone Location Indefinitely

To permanently share your location using Find My Friends:

  1. Download and launch Find My Friends.
  2. Tap Add in the top-right corner.
  3. Specify a contact with whom you want to share your location (they will need to approve the invitation with their Apple ID).

track iphone location - Share Location with Find my Friends

To permanently share your location using Google Maps:

  1. Download and launch Google Maps for iPhone.
  2. Let the app determine your location then tap the blue location pin.
  3. Choose Share My Location then choose Until you turn this off.
  4. Tap Select People and specify who you want to share your location with.

Note: Find My Friends is a feature integrated into your iPhone’s operating system, so it functions as a service rather than a third-party app. Google Maps, on the other hand, is restricted to Apple’s approved background processes like any regular app.

As a result, Google Maps likely won’t be as reliable as Apple’s baked-in technology.

How to Check Who Can See Your iPhone Location

To see who can detect your device location using Find My Friends and iMessage:

  1. Launch Settings, scroll down, and tap Privacy.
  2. Select Location Services followed by Share My Location.
  3. Browse the list to see who can track your location.
  4. Tap on a contact, scroll to the bottom of the page, and select Stop Sharing My Location where necessary.

track iphone location - Location Sharing Recipients

If you have set up location sharing in Google Maps, you’ll need to disable it within the app:

  1. Launch Google Maps and tap on the blue location pin.
  2. Select Share My Location then Until you turn this off.
  3. Tap Select People and revoke access to your location as you see fit.

How to Locate Your Own iPhone

If your iPhone is missing, you can locate it provided Find My iPhone is turned on. This feature is automatically enabled when you activate your iPhone, so unless you’ve specifically turned it off you should be able to locate your device:

  1. Visit in a web browser and log in with your Apple ID and password.
  2. Click on Find iPhone and wait while the location request goes out.
  3. Select All Devices at the top of the screen and select your iPhone (or any other device you want to locate).

Find My iPhone lets you play a sound to try and locate your device, enable Lost Mode, or initiate a remote erase. You can also see your current battery level. When your battery dies, Find My iPhone will report the last known location.

track iphone location - Find My iPhone

If you have another iOS device like an iPad, you can locate all of your Apple devices with the Find My iPhone app.

How to See Someone Else’s iPhone Location

Provided your friends have already invited you to track their location, use any of the following methods to find them:

  • Download and launch the Find My Friends app. Anyone currently sharing their location (and any invitations) will show here. Simply tap on them to see their current location on a map.
  • Open the relevant Messages chat and tap on the Info button in the top-right corner. Your contact’s location will appear on a map.
  • Login with your Apple ID at and click on Find My Friends.

track iphone location - Track People with Find My Friends

How to Set Up iPhone Location Notifications

You can choose to receive a notification when a contact either leaves their current location or nears another, provided they are already sharing their location with you.

  1. Download and launch Find My Friends on your iPhone.
  2. Select a contact and wait for their location to update.
  3. Tap Notify Me at the top of the page and specify your notification criteria (tap Other to adjust the location and geofence).
  4. Hit Done to finalize the alert.

track iphone location - Location Notifications on iPhone

Location Sharing Is Caring

The perks of using your iPhone’s GPS abilities to share your location with friends and family vastly outweighs the battery life you’d save by turning off Location Services. Just be mindful of which apps and contacts you grant access to your location, and review the list periodically to avoid any nasty surprises.

10 Apr 13:46

Chatbots for Job Searches: 8 Tips for Finding Jobs and Getting Hired With a Chatbot

by Kayla Matthews

Searching for a job is significantly more high-tech than it once was. People used to buy newspapers, search the help wanted section, and highlight ads of interest.

Now, it’s possible to tweak your resume with intelligent algorithms and get job alerts based on preferences. Chatbots have also become useful for boosting job searches. Keep reading to learn how and why to use them.

What Are Chatbots and How Do They Help Find Jobs?

A chatbot is a programmable browser-based or smartphone application that mimics human conversations. Many businesses use them to handle the most frequently asked questions, especially outside of business hours.

Some chatbots act as screeners for in-demand positions. They can determine if you’re a good fit for a job based on your responses to questions.

There are also chatbots that give details about the kinds of work available at a company. Marriott uses one called MC. Advertised as a Career Concierge, the chatbot assists job seekers in determining appropriate career paths. It also lets you explore whether the positions you want most are currently available in your area.

While applying for a job, you may have a simple question, such as the closing date for the position. A chatbot can answer it for you, helping avoid mistakes that might hurt your chances of success.

Ready to get started? Keep reading to learn a step-by-step process.

1. Start With the Right Expectations for a Chatbot

The chatbots used for hiring are getting sophisticated. However, the technology has limitations and chatbot developers know it.

For example, don’t expect a chatbot to answer every question you have. There will likely be times when the bot’s responses are inaccurate or too flat. Fortunately, some developers and employers regularly review questions people pose and update the chatbots accordingly.

2. Be Precise About Role and Location Preferences

Chatbots are smart, but they work best when you provide the most specific information possible. Before you start using one, think about the kind of job you want. Also, consider your geographic range. Are you up for moving to take the right position or is relocation out of the question?

Jobo is a chatbot that searches for available positions based on your parameters. It also prompts you to set up a career profile. After that, you can apply for jobs via Messenger or the company’s website.

Whether using Jobo or another chatbot, the more concise you can be, the better. Otherwise, the search results generated might not apply to your needs.

3. Decide Whether You Want to Make a Career Change

Wade Wendy Hiring Assistant

Some people use chatbots to find familiar types of work. Others feel ready to make a major move into another field and might realize they need guidance. If you’re pondering a change of career, a chatbot called Wade & Wendy could help. It recognizes the career growth journey and aims to learn more about you during the job search.

Wade responds to your job ideas and opens new chats as opportunities arise. You can review the details and let Wade know if you’d like to take the next step and interview.

Using Wade requires building a LinkedIn profile. It’s also still in the beta-testing phase, so the chatbot might have a few quirks.

4. Tweak the Notification Settings

One advantage of job-seeking chatbots is that they can look for jobs while you sleep. Most let you choose how often to receive notifications. Be sure to go into the settings of any chatbot you use and change the notification settings if necessary. Doing that eliminates the frustration of near-constant notifications as new postings arrive.

5. Type Your Responses Carefully

The informal nature of a chat window might make you write responses without thoroughly choosing your words. But chatting with a recruitment bot is not the same as a lighthearted conversation or small-talk with your friend. That’s because some employers use chatbots to replace or supplement phone interviews.

The Wendy chatbot handles the recruitment end and works with the Wade bot described above. It encourages informative and naturally-flowing conversations. Therefore, Wendy lets employers spend less time organizing phone interviews so that they can devote more time to other parts of the hiring process.

With that in mind, take all your chatbot conversations seriously. Before hitting send, proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes. Furthermore, re-read the entire response to ensure maximum clarity. You never know if those proactive steps could lead to in-person interviews.

6. Keep Reference Material Nearby While Chatting

Mya recruitment tool AI

Another positive factor about chatbots is you don’t need to rush while using them. You won’t risk annoying a human by taking your time to write thoughtful responses.

It’s in your best interests to keep reference materials close by before starting to talk with a bot. For starters, have your resume handy as a PDF or printed copy.

Some chatbots, such as Mya, check people’s qualifications during conversations. You might think you know your job history by heart, but why take chances? You’ll feel more at ease by having materials to check as needed.

When using Mya, applicants were over three times more likely to hear from an employer. That’s a strong reason to try it. But remember, accurate responses will improve your success.

It’s a good idea to have a calendar nearby, too. Provided you get far enough along in the screening process, some chatbots offer available interview slots.

7. Don’t Be Discouraged by Initial Rejections

It’s essential to give your best shot when talking with a chatbot in hopes of getting a job. If things don’t go your way, though, stay positive.

Stella is a chatbot with a shared talent network concept that recommends jobs based on what your career profile says. If you don’t land a job, Stella automatically considers you for all others in the system. More possibilities appear each day. You just need to log in at least once every 45 days to stay active.

If Stella determines a newly added job is a good fit, you get notified via email or text message alert. Additionally, the companies using Stella do not see your details unless you confirm interest in a position.

8. When to Use Chatbots to Find Your Next Job

Chatbots are undoubtedly convenient but aren’t appropriate in all job-seeking cases. For example, if efficiency is your primary goal, you probably won’t see instant results in your job search. That’s because many of them learn from the ways you reply to potential options. They get smarter from your interactions. If you’re only casually looking for a job and aren’t in a rush, chatbots are great solutions.

Also, consider only using chatbots for the lower-priority positions on your list. Then, you can devote more time to the most-desirable roles.

Maybe you feel you’ve exhausted all traditional resources and still haven’t found a place to work. If so, chatbots could revitalize your search by improving your access to recruiters.

If you haven’t nailed down the ideal characteristics of a new job, it might be too early to interact with a chatbot. As described earlier, the chatbots learn from the feedback they get.

Are you thinking, “I know I want a new job, but I’m not sure what kind”? Figure out the basic details first and rest assured you’re giving a chatbot worthwhile information.

Chatbots: The New Universal Recruitment Tool?

Chatbots could make your job search more streamlined, but only if you’re tech-savvy.

According to a small survey from Allegis Global Solutions, chatbots make some people nervous. Just over a third reported feeling slightly or very uneasy about using chatbots. Talking to one could make you overwhelmed if chatting is not a communication method that comes naturally.

By depending on the tips above, you could let chatbots fuel your job search. They’re not universally advantageous, but you could find they help you make meaningful progress.

Chatbots are just one of many tools you can use to help you find work. Consider using these big job search engines to further assist with your job search.

10 Apr 13:22

Calendly/Mark hard to reach places/Website status check

by claudia

Free calendar scheduling
I use Calendly to manage Kevin’s calendar. Calendly connects to Google calendar, blocks off the times you are busy and creates a unique and permanent url to share so people can self-schedule. The scheduled event is then automatically added to your Google calendar. There is a basic, free plan that does this and paid plans with more features. — CD

Long-nosed precision marker
In my workshop I use a Dixon needle-nosed marker for maximum accuracy. This is like a wire-thin sharpie that can reach deep into holes or tug close along edges to make a thin indelible line or dot. The handle is fat for your grip, but the business end is only 2mm wide and several inches long (like a hummingbird beak) making it perfect for precision marks on fabric, plastics, metals and wood. This Dixon is a slightly cheaper version of a similar Pica brand marker recommended by Adam Savage. — KK

Website status checker
If you’re getting a 404 error while trying to view a website, it’s not always clear where the problem is coming from. If you enter the URL at you’ll find out if the website is actually down for everyone else or the problem is somewhere else. — MF

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones
For years, many friends have been telling me how much they like their Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones. I had a 17.5 hour flight from LA to Singapore earlier this week and so I decided I’d treat myself to a pair, especially because the price was lower than I expected (about $170). They did a remarkable job of squelching the engine noise, and I was able to clearly hear Link running across fields of dried leaves while playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild. — MF

Treating nasal congestion
I struggle with sinus issues, and it’s easy to mistake a sinus infection for a cold. When over-the-counter meds aren’t working for me, I go back to using a nasal rinse. It instantly relieves pressure and makes me feel better. This is the one I use. I started feeling symptoms this week, and again it felt like a cold, then I read this article and remembered the only that really works for me is drinking water and rinsing daily. — CD

Get PDF first
Owner manuals and installation guides contain far more information about a product than either the sales brochure, the online descriptions, or even Amazon reviews. The manual will have exact dimensions, all the parts, and caveats about what it can’t do. So my rule of thumb these days is to always download the product’s manual before I purchase the item. Impossible in the old pre-internet days, it’s a no-brainer today. It has saved me many times. Regrettably, not 100% of product have manuals PDFs that are findable, but the better products do. — KK

10 Apr 13:20

Mushrooms Demystified

by Kevin Kelly

Veterans of wild mushrooming quickly graduate to author David Arora’s masterpiece, Mushrooms Demystified, which is the undisputed bible of mushroom knowledge in North America. Where All That the Rain Promises and More… is breezy and succinct, Demystified is encyclopedic and exhaustive. You take Rains out to the mushrooms in the woods; you bring the mysterious ones back to the heavy Demystified tome at your kitchen table.

[This is a favorite from 2004]

Sample Excerpts:

Boletus appendiculatur (Butter Bolete); pores normally stain blue when bruised.


LBM’s: Little Brown Mushrooms

The cap is brown, the stem a shade browner, the gills browner still. This can be said of nearly one half of all the mushrooms you find. On even the most casual jaunt through the woods, you’ll find dozens and dozens of Little Brown Mushrooms sprouting at your feet, and very likely under them as well. The fact is, Little Brown Mushrooms (“LBM’s”) are so overwhelmingly abundant and uncompromisingly undistinguished that it is more than just futile for the beginner to attempt to identify them — it is downright foolish.

10 Apr 13:15

Digital license plates connect cars directly to POLICE...

Digital license plates connect cars directly to POLICE...

(First column, 12th story, link)

10 Apr 13:13

Learn to Build Cool Techy Gadgets With These Step-by-Step Video Guides

by Saikat Basu

If it weren’t for build-it-yourself tech projects, you wouldn’t be reading this article—at least not on a computer. Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Michael Dell were just some of the self-starters from the pre-PC era.

Today, you have more DIY learning options than ever before: from Radioshack to online electronic component shops, from local makerspaces to Kickstarter, from Raspberry Pi to real miniature satellites.

Want to build some cool techy gadgets of your own? These five do-it-yourself learning projects will show you how to start small but dream big.

1. How to Build a Computer: A Beginner’s Guide

Udemy: How To Build a Computer

Total students enrolled: 3,934
Course length: 12.5 hours
Key lesson: Learn how a computer works and how to build it from scratch.

Most of us are more interested in unboxing a new computer than putting one together from scratch. But there are many benefits to building your own PC. One of the abstract reasons is that it is a skill which will always stay useful. A practical advantage is that you can upgrade your PC on your own anytime.

But it is always cheaper to custom build a PC? For the most part, yes!

Nathan Cope shows you how to get the most value from your first customized PC. He teaches you the basic terms you need to learn, how to shop for the best computer parts, and how to put them together.

The course will evolve over time. The latest one goes into high-end gaming PC builds and how to install water cooling.

2. Tech Explorations Arduino Step-by-Step Your Complete Guide

Complete Guide to Arduino

Total students enrolled: 35,726
Course length: 23 hours
Key lesson: Learn how to begin with Arduino programming.

The best way to learn about Arduino is to buy one. The cheap Open Source microcontroller board isn’t only for electronic buffs. It can be used by any tinkerer who is interested in interactivity between devices and human commands. An Arduino can be the building block for more advanced electronic projects—like a satellite in space!

This Arduino step-by-step guide is a precursor to the more advanced Tech Explorations Arduino Step-by-Step Getting Serious course.

But the former lays the foundation and may just help you if you are unfamiliar with the Arduino board. Even without any electronics experience, you can learn how to create interactive electronic devices.

3. Tech Explorations Raspberry Pi Full Stack Raspbian

Raspberry Pi

Total students enrolled: 1,494
Course length: 9.5 hours
Key lesson: How to develop web applications on the Raspberry Pi.

An Arduino is a building block that runs simple commands. A Raspberry Pi is a general purpose computer that commonly runs on Linux. Yes, you can combine them to create smarter applications like an AI robot.

But learn the differences between Arduino and Raspberry Pi before you decide your learning path. It will help you decide the direction of your project.

The 88 lectures will take you through the development of an IoT (Internet of Things) web application. The “gadget” will capture sensor data and feed it to a web interface via the cloud.

The course by Dr. Peter Dalmaris is an updated version of the best-selling Tech Explorations Raspberry Pi: Full Stack Minibian course. Minibian is a simpler version of Raspbian, so you will be upgrading yourself with the latest course.

4. Tech Explorations Make an Open-Source Drone

Make a Drone

Total students enrolled: 1,722
Course length: 5.5 hours
Key lesson: Build a quadcopter and understand a bit about avionics.

The drone “revolution” is showing us that these aren’t just fly toys. They are serious electronic gadgets that are changing our daily life. The best news is that you can buy a drone for any budget today. But where’s the fun in that? Go build one with the help of Dr. Peter Dalmaris’s online course.

This electronic project will take you into the basics of how any flying machine is put together. You will learn about motors, flight controllers, speed controllers, power distribution, and batteries.

Apart from the hardware, the course also covers flight mechanics and safety issues. If you have ever enjoyed an aviation game, this course could be for you.

5. Electricity & Electronics – Robotics, Learn by Building


Total students enrolled: 7,613
Course length: 9.5 hours
Key lesson: The principles of automation as you build a basic robot.

NASA has a little page where their best robotics engineers reveal their career paths. Most of the answers reveal that their interest came from some hands-on project in school.

If you’re fiddler of any sort, a robotic course might just protect your future job from the very machines you build. And yes, you can go back to an Arduino to build your tiny robot army.

The end goal here isn’t so fantastical because you will put together a 3D printer from scratch, hook it up to a desktop computer and make your own plastic parts.

To begin, you will need some basic electronic parts for your DIY printer robot. But you don’t need any prior knowledge of electricity of electronics. Remember, you are learning by building.

Learn to Be a Tinkerer With These DIY Projects

The above DIY electronic gadgets aren’t about learning a single concept. They can teach you many skills simultaneously. Think about it—parts are cheap, information is aplenty, and there are several ways to use these as mini-projects to inspire your children, improve your home, and even bring them to the market.

Just start with the electronic project that interests you. Any of these Udemy DIY courses will give you the structure and knowledge. As you know, every paid course on Udemy comes with:

  • Lifetime access
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Certificate of completion

Have another idea for a DIY gadget? Take the first step to turn your unique electronic ideas into reality.

09 Apr 15:02

1957 F.B. Mondial Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle

Between 1949 and 1957, F.B. Mondial dominated the Motorcycle World Championship. With four championships in that span, Mondial was so dominant that Soichiro Honda was given a race bike by...

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09 Apr 15:00

1968 Shelby GT350 Convertible

Shelby Mustangs are rare, but this GT350 Cobra convertible is among the rarest — only 404 were made for the 1968 model year. 1968 saw the 289 cubic-inch V8 dropped...

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09 Apr 14:59

1983 Porsche 911SC Safari

The Swiss Army Knife of sports cars. That is the Porsche 911 — from road to track to dirt, there isn't a surface the 911 hasn't dominated on. Rally-style 911...

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05 Apr 18:20

How To Succeed As A Property Manager

by Kami Zargari, CommunityVoice
Achieving success as a property manager takes time — and the careful development of these key skills.
05 Apr 17:23

Five Gorgeous Italian Beaches You Probably Don't Know About But Should

by Catherine Sabino, Contributor
For extraordinary beach settings, ancient sites, historic towns and fabulous cuisine head to the Salento region of Puglia. Vacation stays can range from luxe to the extremely affordable.