Shared posts

31 Mar 16:52

This Typing App Saves Me Countless Seconds Each Day, and They Really Add Up

A text expander is a vital tool every professional typist should be using.

30 Mar 19:17

Cooking And Coping: Making Slow-Cooked Jerk Pork Ribs With Erin Billups In New York City

by Benjamin Liong Setiawan, Contributor
In this edition of Cooking And Coping @HungryEditor interviews Erin Billups, National Health Reporter for Spectrum News. She shares a slow-cooked jerk pork ribs recipe that is so simple and hard to mess up.
30 Mar 19:16

Every Homeowner Should Avoid These 5 Costly Mortgage Refinancing Mistakes

by Tara Mastroeni, Contributor
Are you at risk of making these refinancing mistakes?
30 Mar 19:16

How to Buy a Laptop for Your Kid—or Revive an Old One

by Andrew Cunningham and Kimber Streams
How to Buy a Laptop for Your Kid—or Revive an Old One

With millions of kids home from school and parents juggling childcare and working from home, many families are finding they don’t have enough computers to go around. Due to sudden demand and supply-chain issues, new laptops, including many of our picks, are in short supply. So what should you do if you need a laptop for your kid right now?

30 Mar 19:14

Styrofoam balls reacting to various sound frequencies

1067 points, 56 comments.

30 Mar 19:13

Secret Doomsday Ranch In Colorado Sees Spike In Interest...

30 Mar 19:12

Used Clothing Resale A Rising Opportunity For Retailers Large And Small

by Marcia Layton Turner, Contributor
The answer for many years was the loss leader, where stores took a small financial hit on one item with the hope that shoppers would also stick around and buy other items.
30 Mar 19:10

How To Hedge Your Portfolio As Rally In Stocks Is Flashing Warnings

by - Investing Reimagined, Contributor
We discuss how to hedge your portfolio as the rally in US stocks is flashing warnings with lower oil prices and higher volatility levels in options markets.
26 Mar 20:02

9 Solid Reasons to Subscribe to DVD Netflix

by James Hirtz

Netflix was founded in 1997, continues to make money, and dominate the streaming space. However, while Netflix’s streaming service gets all of the attention, Netflix’s DVDs-by-mail service continues to provide tons of benefits.

Millions of users still subscribe to DVD Netflix. While much smaller than its streaming service, Netflix rentals have their own advantages. From a massive library to the convenience of receiving movies in the mail, here are some reasons to subscribe to DVD Netflix.

1. The DVD Netflix Library Is Massive

9 Reasons Why You Should Subscribe to DVD Netflix - Remote

The biggest reason to subscribe to DVD Netflix is its superb selection of films. While Netflix’s streaming service offers a large (but dwindling) collection of movies and shows, there’s much more available on a physical disc. Many new releases hit well before making their way to the streaming service.

Where DVD Netflix truly shines is with its catalog of older flicks and independent films. 2018 indie sci-fi gem The Endless is only available to rent on physical media, as is comedy Half Magic. If you want to watch classics such as Planet of the Apes, Saving Private Ryan, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, you’ll need a DVD Netflix subscription.

You won’t find many obscure titles such as Koyaanisqatsi, 1978’s The Legacy, and the tragically underappreciated biopic Basquiat on streaming services. Even many recent releases such as Murder on the Orient Express, Annihilation, and Hereditary aren’t available to stream on Netflix. Ultimately, if you want the largest selection of films available to rent, the DVD Netflix catalog boasts the most variety.

2. There’s No Need to Rely on the Internet

Image Credit: Mactrunk/Depositphotos

If you subscribe to DVD Netflix, no internet, no problem. Although most of us can rely on having an active and fast internet connection all of the time, there are many situations where it’s not available.

Maybe there’s a service outage, you’re traveling, visiting a friend, or staying with your not-so-great aunts who don’t even have a computer or Wi-Fi. Whatever the reason, its lack of reliance on a stable internet connection makes DVD Netflix a fantastic option.

3. Get DVDs Delivered Straight to Your Door

Netflix DVD rentals

Getting a DVD from Netflix is as simple as adding it to your queue and waiting for it to show up in your mailbox. Unlike Redbox, you don’t have to venture out in public. As such, Netflix’s DVD service offers unparalleled convenience, only bested by streaming services.

Similarly, returning a Netflix DVD requires merely resealing the disc in its included return envelope and putting it back in your mailbox.

4. Blu-rays Are Available for HD Rentals

Even with upscaled DVDs, they’re not going to look as crisp as a full 1080p or 4K Blu-ray. Thankfully, DVD Netflix offers a high definition Blu-ray subscription. You’ll have access to picture quality six times that of a DVD.

Are you a sound buff? Remember that Blu-ray offers an upgrade there as well. You can sit back and enjoy Dolby Digital DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby Digital 7.1 from your home system.

5. DVD Netflix Is Very Cost-Effective

When looking at Netflix’s DVD plans, there are are two options. The standard Netflix DVD service costs $7.99/month. This plan lets you have one disc out at a time, unlimited discs per month, no late fees, and free shipping and returns.

The premier plan priced at $11.99/month lets you have two discs out at a time. You’ll also receive all of the other DVD Netflix benefits.

The price goes up to $9.99/month and $14.99/month if you want to include Blu-ray discs in the mix.

Even with the highest-priced plan, you’re paying basically the price of one Blu-ray purchase or a trip to the cinema for limitless rentals. And if you change your mind, you can stop paying at any time in the same way you can cancel your Netflix subscription.

6. Use an App to Manage Your DVD Queue

Just because DVD Netflix uses physical discs doesn’t mean it’s behind the times. Its diversification is just one part of how Netflix makes money.

Like its streaming counterpart, there’s a mobile app for managing your queue. The DVD Netflix app for Android and iOS allows you to manage your DVD queue on the go. It’s a useful feature that simplifies staying up to date with the current DVD Netflix library.

Download: DVD Netflix for Android | iOS (Free)

7. Gain Access to DVD Extras

9 Reasons Why You Should Subscribe to DVD Netflix - DVD by Mail

If you’re a film buff, you probably enjoy geeking out over DVD extras such as deleted scenes, commentary tracks, and storyboards. Streaming-only services often lack such amenities.

For those that only care about the feature film itself, streaming movies on Netflix is fine, but for making-of featurettes, behind-the-scenes videos, and more, you’ll need a physical disc.

8. There’s Virtually No Competition

Streaming services abound, from comprehensive platforms like Netflix and Hulu to niche sites such as Shudder. However, this diversity is absent in the DVDs-by-mail space. There aren’t really many DVD Netflix alternatives.

As virtually the only DVDs-by-mail provider, DVD Netflix stands apart from the competition. With a bevy of streaming sites, including many free movie streaming sites, DVD Netflix is in a unique position as the exclusive provider of a service focused on physical media.

9. Feel Connected with Movies

While you don’t have to be subscribed, these benefits will make you want to watch more movies. The DVD Netflix Blog offers a veritable treasure trove of information, from what’s coming soon to its roster of discs, to round-ups of the best kids’ books-turned-movies, and genre analysis.

Via its social media channels like Instagram and Twitter, DVD Netflix regularly gives away swag. There’s also DVD Chat hosted on Twitter, where film fiends can talk about cinema. Overall, DVD Netflix truly fosters a sense of community.

Physical Media Is Still a Thing!

Streaming may reign supreme as the most popular content delivery system, but physical media still has many benefits. Accordingly, DVD Netflix is totally worth the price of a monthly subscription. And if you don’t have a media player, check out this list of the best region-free players for DVD and Blu-ray.

Whether you exclusively stream your movies these days or still maintain a DVD Netflix subscription, you can learn more about the company in our ultimate guide to Netflix.

Read the full article: 9 Solid Reasons to Subscribe to DVD Netflix

26 Mar 19:58

Nextdoor’s Help Map Helps You Help Neighbors

by Dave Parrack

Nextdoor has launched two new features which could prove invaluable during the COVID-19 crisis we’re currently living through. Help Map lets you volunteer to help your neighbors in need, while Nextdoor Groups allows you to create groups with like-minded individuals.

For the uninitiated, Nextdoor is a social network focused on local connections. It lets you connect with your neighbors, giving you a hub to share information, organize events, and recommend tradespeople. And it’s proving its worth amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Nextdoor Launches Features to Help Communities

In a post on the Nextdoor Blog, the social network introduces Help Map and Groups. Help Map is a brand new feature that seems tailor-made for this moment in time. Nextdoor Groups has been in beta for a while, but is now being made available globally.

Help Map is an interactive map which lets you offer help to those in need. This could be getting medicines or groceries for sickly neighbors under quarantine. Or checking in on elderly neighbors who may be feeling even more lonely now than usual.

Nextdoor Groups allows you to form groups of like-minded people or with specific purposes in mind. Examples include moms struggling to manage childcare while the schools are closed or people interested in keeping fit but struggling with motivation.

According to Nextdoor, groups have been forming organically since the COVID-19 crisis kicked in. However, the social network is now going to help more to form by encouraging members to “turn active conversation threads into groups”.

Remember to Take Care of Your Mental Health Too

These features could prove invaluable for people struggling to cope with this pandemic. While Nextdoor is popular, it’s nowhere near as big as some other social networks. These features could help it to shine at what is becoming an international time of crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis is going to be tough for a lot of people, with health and money worries sure to come to the fore. Which makes it even more essential that we all look after our mental health. To help, check out these positivity apps that can boost your spirits.

Read the full article: Nextdoor’s Help Map Helps You Help Neighbors

26 Mar 19:57

Lockdown Entertainment for Families

by Christian Cawley

Engaging in self-isolation or national lockdown is not easy. If you have children, things are even tougher. Fortunately various tech companies are here to help. Christian Cawley and Gavin Philips look at the latest developments, from free Amazon Prime and Audible to top YouTube channels for 24/7 entertainment.

We also have some thoughts on enforced home schooling (as opposed to the planned variety).

Really Useful Podcast Season 5 Episode 8 Shownotes

We start off this week looking at how Big Tech is helping families deal with the unscheduled school holidays happening across the Northern Hemisphere

We’ve got some personal ideas on how to cope with lockdown as a family and as individuals, too.

This week, MakeUseOf is giving away an awesome customizable electronic pixel art backpack

You can leave a review on Apple Podcasts to help us reach more listeners. You’ll find us on:

See you next week for the final show of the current run.

Read the full article: Lockdown Entertainment for Families

26 Mar 19:56

How to Look Good on a Webcam When Video Chatting

by Christian Cawley

With video conferencing, vlogging, and even appearing on TV via remote link on the rise, looking good on webcam is increasingly important. But so many people get it wrong. Experts, politicians, YouTubers, even models and style experts can end up looking terrible on webcams.

So, how does one look good for a webcam? Simply, make the most of what you’ve got. Learn how by following these tips to get you looking your best for the camera.

13 Ways You Can Look Better on Your Webcam

Looking good when on a video chat is vital. While one or two people you’re close to might not mind you looking a mess, this isn’t usually the case.

How to look good on a webcam

Here are 13 things you can do to look better on webcam calls and recordings:

  1. Use a good quality webcam
  2. Sound great with a decent microphone
  3. Look presentable with clothes and makeup
  4. Have a tidy background
  5. Don’t get too close or too far away
  6. Light from the front, not behind
  7. Look at the camera, not the screen
  8. Look up at the webcam, not down
  9. Don’t move around too much
  10. Establish a dedicated space for webcam recordings and chats
  11. Rehearse to improve your confidence
  12. Check the results with a friend
  13. Be yourself

With so much to consider, let’s explore these tips in detail so you can look good on a webcam today.

1. Look Good With a Quality Webcam

Using a cheap webcam will leave you with sub-par results. If you’re serious about looking good, get a decent external webcam.

Anivia 1080p HD Webcam W8 Anivia 1080p HD Webcam W8 Buy Now On Amazon $69.99

Leave plenty of time between hooking it up and using it. Take the time to test it, preferably with the chat software or video recording app you’re using. This gives you the opportunity to make any adjustments to the set up.

2. Improve Webcam Audio with a Good Mic

Built-in mics on laptops, some desktops, and webcams are typically mediocre. To sound good on webcam, it’s smarter to use a dedicated microphone. A great selection of dedicated microphones is available. Adding one to your setup will improve your overall presentation and complement the quality of your new webcam.

A good option is the Blue Snowball iCE, a USB microphone that works with desktop and laptop computers.

Blue Snowball iCE USB Mic Blue Snowball iCE USB Mic Buy Now On Amazon $49.97

Not sure how to install a mic? Check these no-hassle ways to connect a microphone to your PC.

3. Look Good on Webcam: Make Yourself Presentable

Presentation is key to looking good on a webcam. It doesn’t matter if you’re working from home for a video chat or being interviewed on TV.

Just be sure to get out of your pyjamas into some more suitable attire. You might be at home, but first impressions count, and pyjamas say, “I just got up.”

Take the time to prepare your hair and teeth. Sort out stray hair, floss and brush your teeth, and have if necessary. If you need makeup, leave plenty of time to apply it. This is particularly important with high definition video.

For clothing, rely on darker tones. Bright clothes can be off-putting and play havoc with lighting. Keep it muted.

4. Check Your Background on Webcam

A plain white wall is boring, but piles of junk are both distracting and unpleasant. See what you can do to create a pleasant background with no mess and very few visual distractions.

If this isn’t possible, some webcam apps can blur your background. For example, Skype features a background blurring tool that you can toggle for video calls. Other webcam apps include similar tools.

You might also try a webcam background that attaches to your chair.

Webaround Portable Webcam Background Webaround Portable Webcam Background Buy Now On Amazon $65.00

These come in grey, blue, and green for chromakey use. This means you can set a different background, although in most cases this is only suitable for post-production. But if you’re using your webcam for recording videos to upload to YouTube, this is an ideal background cheat.

5. Get the Distance Right

A distracting element for any webcam conversation is a subject that is too far away—or too close!

It’s best to maintain a static distance with your webcam. A good rule of thumb is to keep the camera about an arm’s length from you.

6. Light From the Front and Look Great

If it’s at all possible to relocate the lights before you use a webcam, then do so. Too much light from behind will dim you out completely.

Try to shine light on yourself from the front, preferably from slightly above. If there’s a window in the room, try to face that as natural light from the window is best.

It’s difficult to avoid glare and washout but try out a few different positions to get the best results. If you don’t have a handy window or lamp, consider using an external monitor behind your webcam. Just bring up something very white on-screen and turn up the brightness.

A phone or tablet computer can also help here. You can also buy desktop lamps for improved video call lighting.

8-inch LED Selfie Ring Light 8-inch LED Selfie Ring Light Buy Now On Amazon $29.99

These devices are affordable and ideal for indoor video on a PC webcam or mobile device.

7. Remember to Look at the Camera

Find the right angle to look at your webcam

All too often, especially during webcam chats, the image of the person you’re speaking to can distract you. The result is you’re looking slightly away from the camera, rather than at it.

So, remember to look at the camera. You can help yourself here with a few tricks:

  • Point a sticky note with an arrow at your camera
  • Move your chat window as close to the camera as possible
  • Write prompts on a stick note and place it next to the camera

Looking down when you’re supposed to be looking at the webcam can be disconcerting for the viewer. Take a moment to practice this with your device’s webcam app.

8. Use the Best Webcam Angle: Look Up at the Camera

A slight change in camera positioning could make a world of difference. This is particularly important whether you’re vlogging, appearing on TV, or attending an online job interview.

Looking up shows you in the best possible light. If you’ve worked on the other presentation aspects, ignoring this tip could ruin your hard work so far.

In short, when you’re looking down at a camera, you’re giving yourself a double chin. If that wasn’t bad enough, looking down can also and show off your nose hairs.

Looking up is far more flattering. Position the webcam to suit; if you’re using a laptop, place it on a few books for elevation.

9. Minimise Your Motion, and Don’t Lean In

Moving around too much on a webcam can cause problems. First, too much motion can be distracting. Second, it can cause pixilation of the video stream, resulting in a drop in quality. Keep as still as possible so the focus remains on what you’re saying.

Meanwhile, be careful not to lean back or forward. Leaning back too far will distract the viewer and result in them losing attention; leaning in can be intimidating.

10. Set Up A Dedicated Webcam Space

If you’re using your webcam often, you may want to set up your space, so you have a decent background. This includes maintaining front lighting and keeping your webcam at a good height.

Ensure you keep your webcam equipment, comb, decent shirt, and basic makeup ready, too. Be prepared and you’ll be able to jump into webcam chats at short notice and look as good as possible.

11. Be Confident on Webcam: Rehearse!

Be sure your webcam tips are good

Knowing what you’re going to say boosts confidence and will help to make a good impression.

If you’re having a meeting, make sure you know the main points you need to get across. Need statistics or other data to hand? Make sure you have it ready before your webcam chat starts, just as you would for an in-person meeting.

If you’re doing a show, make notes and practise just like you would for any public presentation.

12. Check the Results With A Friend

If you’re unsure about your set-up, arrange a Skype chat with a trusted friend and ask for their opinion. They should be able to help you spot any problems with how you look, lighting, background, and how you sound.

Do this ahead of time so there is opportunity to make the necessary changes before your webcam call or recording.

13. Be Yourself

A desire to look good can easily lead to copying and imitating other people. Don’t!

Just be yourself and stay calm. If you’ve followed all the steps so far, you should be confident that you look your best and are prepared to be on camera. So, just keep smiling and stay cool.

Use These Tips to Look Good on Your Webcam

Whether you’re making vlogs, video calls, joining video conferencing sessions for work, or appearing as a guest on network or online TV, the tips listed here can help you look good on a webcam.

First impressions count: don’t let yourself down by being untidy, unprepared, and uncertain. Need a webcam in a pinch? You could record your vlog or make the video call on your phone. If you must use a PC, here’s how to use your Android phone as a webcam for your computer.

Read the full article: How to Look Good on a Webcam When Video Chatting

26 Mar 19:53

What Is My Phone’s IMEI? Here’s What You Need to Know

by James Frew

You may have heard your insurance company or law enforcement encourage you to record your IMEI. You might have even seen it in your phone’s settings or device packaging. What isn’t so clear is what the IMEI number is actually for.

So, what exactly is an IMEI number, and how do you find yours?

What Is an IMEI Number?

Apple iPad Air 2 IMEI Codes

The International Mobile Equipment Identity—or IMEI—is a unique numerical identifier for every mobile device.

This number helps to differentiate each device from one another. If you take your phone in for repair, they will track it using the IMEI to distinguish it from the other millions of iPhones, for example.

A standard IMEI number is a 14 digit string, with an additional 15th check digit for verifying the entire string. There is also a 16 digit variation that includes information on the device’s software version, known as the IMEISV.

Since 2004, the IMEI appears in the format AA-BBBBBB-CCCCCC-D. The sections labeled A and B are known as the Type Allocation Code (TAC). The TAC portion of the IMEI identifies the manufacturer and model of the device. For example, the Google Pixel TAC code is 35-161508, while the iPhone 6s Plus is 35-332907.

Some models have multiple TACs depending on revision, manufacturing location, and other factors. For example, the iPhone 5C had five different TAC codes.

The six C digits represent your device’s unique serial number, and the handset manufacturer defines these. The D portion of the IMEI is a check digit that ensures the IMEI meets the Allocation and Approval Guidelines. The check digit is displayed on packaging to prevent incorrect IMEI recording, but it doesn’t make up part of the documented IMEI.

While the IMEI number is undoubtedly significant, it isn’t the only regulatory requirement for your smartphone. Manufacturers have to abide by regulations for each region they want to sell their devices in. The IMEI doesn’t show that the equipment meets any of those other safety and regulation requirements.

Finding Your IMEI

iPhone X IMEI Number

There are a couple of ways you can go about finding your device’s IMEI. The most universal approach is to head to your device’s dialer app. Tap in *#06# and the IMEI will be displayed on the screen.

If you have an Android or iOS device, then the IMEI can be found under Settings too. On iOS head to Settings > General > About and the IMEI will be displayed. Copying the IMEI is as simple as tapping and holding on the number. Android devices may vary, but generally heading to Settings > About Phone should display the IMEI.

If you can’t access your device, there are other ways to find your IMEI too. The retail packaging should have a label with the IMEI displayed. If your device has a removable battery, then the IMEI is often listed underneath the battery. Many devices have the IMEI printed on the back. Others, including the iPhone 6s and above, have the IMEI inscribed on the SIM tray.

However, if you are about to purchase a new device, particularly a second-hand one, you’ll want to verify it’s status using the IMEI, too. To do this, head over to and enter the smartphone’s IMEI number.

This free tool will tell you a bit about the device, as well as offer you additional services like a basic blacklist check. If you want to gain even greater clarity, has premium services like a separate blacklist check for each major US carrier and a SIM-lock status tool.

If you’re after the information in a hurry, and don’t mind paying for it, the premium service CheckMEND offers a Device History Check for just under a dollar.

What Is an IMEI Number Used For?

The IMEI’s primary purpose is to equip your device with a unique ID number. So, in practice, the IMEI is very similar to the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) used in the automotive industry. Although sometimes confused, the IMEI number is entirely separate from your SIM number and cannot be changed.

When you connect to a cell network, the provider captures both numbers to enable their service. The SIM number identifies your subscriber account, while the IMEI only identifies the device.

If your device is lost or stolen, you can contact your provider who may be able to place a block on the IMEI number, preventing it from being used to connect to the network. Your provider may also be able to contact other networks, asking them also to block the device. Once you’ve done so, you can then use built-in tools to find your phone’s location.

Law enforcement often keep records of lost and recovered phones, identified by their IMEI. Since there is no good reason to change the device’s IMEI, the practice is illegal in many regions.

While it may be illegal to change the IMEI of a device, it does happen. Thieves, in particular, will attempt to take non-blacklisted numbers and apply them to their stolen devices to make them usable again. For this reason, we recommend that you never share or post your IMEI number online, or else you may find your device cloned.

We advise against sharing personal data online more generally, too.

Have You Recorded Your IMEI?

The IMEI number is one of the most important and unique ways of identifying your device. If you haven’t already, you should locate it and take note of it right away.

Keep a record of your IMEI somewhere safe, so it’s there if you ever need it. If you are looking for a digital safe, then a password manager might even do the trick.

That said, if you’ve found or recovered someone else’s smartphone, you may be wondering how to get it back to them. In that case, you’ll want to know what to do if you find a lost or stolen iPhone.

Read the full article: What Is My Phone’s IMEI? Here’s What You Need to Know

26 Mar 19:50

Ultimate Microsoft Office Mastery: 90+ Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials for You

by Joel Lee

Use Microsoft Office every day? Check out our tips, tricks, and tutorials that’ll turn you into an efficiency machine with both Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.

Microsoft Office is powerful; there’s a reason why nearly every serious business in the world relies on it for office productivity. Yes, Microsoft Office can be daunting to learn, what with all of its crazy menus and features—but it doesn’t have to be difficult at all.

If you use either Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel on a regular basis and want to become a more fluent user, we have all kinds of tips, tricks, and tutorials that’ll help you effortlessly learn the ins and outs of each program. You’ll be a master in no time!

Getting Started With Microsoft Office

If you’re a new user, or if you don’t even have Microsoft Office yet, you may want to check out our articles on how to acquire a copy of Microsoft Office for free—without breaking the law. Did you know you can even use Microsoft Office on Linux computers?

Once Microsoft Office is installed, you may also want to make a few tweaks and install a few add-ins that’ll ease your overall experience:

Mastering Microsoft Word


Beginner Tips for Microsoft Word

The first step to getting comfortable with Microsoft Word is making sure it’s set up properly. With a few tweaks to the settings, and some familiarity with basic features, you’ll feel much more at home when using the software:

And then once you’re comfortable with Microsoft Word, that’s when you’ll want to check out our various tutorials on how to do things with it, which will give you a quick boost to productivity:

Advanced Tips for Microsoft Word

After acquainting yourself with the basics of Microsoft Word, that’s when you’ll be ready to try full-fledged projects that are more than just simple essays and typed reports. Here are some of the cooler things you can do with Microsoft Word:

Useful Templates for Microsoft Word

Don’t have time to make new documents from scratch? You aren’t alone. That’s why you should check out our roundups of the best Microsoft Word templates for all kinds of needs and use-cases:

Mastering Microsoft Excel

For many, Excel is the much tougher software compared to Word. Numbers and formulas will do that to you. That’s why before you dive into our Excel tips and tricks, we recommend starting with these introductory articles:

Beginner Tips for Microsoft Excel

The first and most important skill to learn in Microsoft Excel is understanding worksheets and tabs. Check out our beginner articles that teach you how to set up, edit, recover, and compare Excel worksheets with ease:

And then learn the other essential skills that’ll give you a leg up when it comes to creating and modifying Excel spreadsheets. There’s a lot of cool stuff you can do, and most of it’s quite easy once you know how to do them:

Advanced Tips for Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is a powerhouse application, and with a bit of know-how, you can effortlessly pull off some crazy cool tasks. Here are some of the more advanced techniques you can use to manage your Excel worksheets:

And there are plenty of more advanced tricks you can use to automate much of the process when dealing with complex Excel spreadsheets, and these automations will save a ton of time over the long run:

Useful Templates for Microsoft Excel

Who has the time to build new Excel spreadsheets from scratch? Whether for personal or business use, you should consider downloading one of the many free templates available on the web and customizing it to your specific needs:

Read the full article: Ultimate Microsoft Office Mastery: 90+ Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials for You

26 Mar 19:43

The Most Beautiful Gardens Around the World You Can Tour Online

by Brittany Anas, Contributor
Here are five ways you can enjoy spring flowers online, from garden tours to live streaming in a historic conservatory.
26 Mar 19:42

Review: Mophie Powerstation Go

by Brad Moon, Contributor
Mophie’s compact powerstation go features a 44,400 mAh capacity battery, wireless charging, dual USB-A ports, a 65W AC port, an integrated LED flashlight, and it can jump-start your vehicle.
26 Mar 16:55

The Maker’s Muse

by claudia

Got a tip to share? Tools to recommend? Shop tales to tell? Talk to me.


The Maker’s Muse

Cable wrapping with zip-ties, via @circuitmix on Instagram

Cable wrapping with zip-ties, via @circuitmix on Instagram

Stenciling on Corrugations

Let those corrugations get up close and personal

Let those corrugations get up close and personal

In a recent episode of Black Magic Craft, Jeremy builds a very cool cyberpunk diorama. In the video (at 12:42 ), he shares a nifty tip for anyone who paints stencils onto corrugated surfaces. To create some techie-Asian-looking graffiti, Jeremy cut out his stencil on the back (non-corrugated side) of a scrap piece of the same corrugated material he wanted to paint on. By mating the two corrugated sides (stencil and paint surface) you can spray your stencil with it tight against the paint surface to minimize overspray.

Sean Ragan on Nibblers

It ain't fast, but it works.

It ain’t fast, but it works.

In this Cool Tool video, Sean Ragan shows a few of the ways that most any maker can benefit from owning a nibbler tool. I actually don’t have one and have wanted to get one for years. I’m planning on buying the $13 model that Sean links to in the video’s description.

Open Source COVID-19 Medical Hardware FB Group
I’ve always felt as though the maker movement and open source hardware could do a world of good in addressing pressing global and local issues. Attention makers: That moment has arrived. For those who think they can offer their talents in developing solutions to medical hardware problems, there’s a new Facebook group, called Open Source COVID-19 Medical Hardware. It’s very inspiring to see people roll up their sleeves and pool their expertise in groups like this. Many more groups, dealing with logistics, software, data analysis, and more are rapidly popping up. Grab a bucket, folks. We’re going to be at this for a while.

Jewelry Clamps

Look to jeweler's tools for use in other types of close up, small-scale making.

Look to jeweler’s tools for use in other types of close up, small-scale making.

In this Adam Savage Favorite Tools video, he recommends looking at jewelry maker’s tools for things like clamps for small objects. In the video, he looks at a ring clamp, a hand vise, and an engraving ball clamp. I would also add to that a bench pin. This is a V-shaped protrusion that juts out from the edge of your workbench, allowing you to access angles on small workpieces that you can’t otherwise. Here’s a combo ring clamp and bench pin for under $19.

Learn to Solder

It's really this easy.

It’s really this easy.

At Make:, we used to tell people that two of the most essential maker skills are soldering and sewing. So many people are intimidated by soldering, but they shouldn’t be. This graphic, from Circuitmix on Instagram, pretty much tells you everything you need to know. This, a decent, hot iron, and some practice, and you’re good to go. If you need more guidance, there are tons of tutorials and videos online. Now, while we’re all shut-ins, is a great time to break down and acquire these skills if you don’t already have them.

Shop Talk: Homely Tools

My "homely tools" cart in my shop: toothpicks, safety pins, cotton swabs, binder clips, corks, bottle caps, and more.

My “homely tools” cart in my shop: toothpicks, safety pins, cotton swabs, binder clips, corks, bottle caps, and more.

I am a big fan of what I call “homely tools.” These are tools that are so plain, so pervasive, that we don’t even think about them when we talk tools – but they remain central to our making. These are things like toothpicks, safety pins, markers, basic house tools (slotted screwdriver, kitchen-drawer hammer), etc. What are some of your favorite homely tools? Please tell me a story about them. Send pictures.

[Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales is published by Cool Tools Lab. To receive the newsletter a week early, sign up here.]

24 Mar 12:14

The best prepared meal delivery services for 2020: Home Chef, Gobble, Veestro and more - CNET

by David Watsky
Including no-fuss, oven-ready meal kits.
24 Mar 12:01

How to Partition Your External Time Machine Hard Drive

by Dan Helyer

Now that almost every Mac ships with a speedy solid-state drive, many of us have learned to live with smaller storage capacities in our computers. At the same time, external hard drives are cheaper than ever. That means it’s easy to get yourself an external drive big enough to partition for both Time Machine backups and external storage.

If you plan to use a drive for both of these purposes, there are a couple of points you need to know first. We’ve explained everything below, including how to store files on your Time Machine hard drive without even partitioning it first.

How Time Machine Works

Time Machine showing historical backups of Home folder

Time Machine works by creating historic backups of your Mac. This means it keeps older copies of files even after you edit or delete them, until a time when you need more storage for newer backups. Thanks to these historic backups, you can travel back in time to restore your Mac’s data from days, weeks, or months ago.

In contrast, the alternative to historic backups is to overwrite the previous files every time you back up your Mac. With this method, you’d have no way to retrieve a deleted file if you already made a new backup. Obviously, that isn’t particularly useful.

The downside to Time Machine’s historic backups is that the oldest files remain on your drive until it runs out of storage. You might not care to have extensive backups of files you deleted years ago, in which case there are better uses for your external drive.

Be Careful When Storing Files on Your Time Machine Drive

The more you use a mechanical item, the more likely it is to fail. Your external hard drive is no exception; it has moving parts that read and write data, which can give out over time.

If you choose to use your Time Machine drive as external storage, you might shorten its lifespan by doing so. This is because the drive will carry out many more read and write actions as you save, edit, and delete extra files.

Copying files to Time Machine drive progress bar

It’s also worth mentioning that Time Machine doesn’t back up any extra files you keep on your external drive. Even if it did, you’d lose the original files and the backup at the same time if your drive stopped working.

We strongly suggest you keep multiple backups in different places for any important data.

Store Files on Your Time Machine Drive Without a Partition

Time Machine drive being used for file storage in Finder

Technically, there’s no need to partition your hard drive if you want to use it for external storage as well as Time Machine backups. All you need to do is start copying files and folders onto the drive using Finder.

If your Time Machine backups are encrypted, you might need to authenticate changes to the drive with your administrator password.

Just make sure you don’t edit or save anything to the Backups.Backupdb folder. This is where Time Machine stores all its backups.

As your external drive runs out of storage, Time Machine deletes the oldest files from the Backups.Backupdb folder to make space for new ones. If your files are in that folder, Time Machine might delete them as well.

You might want to create a new folder, called Files, to clearly separate your files from your Time Machine backups.

Time Machine drive with separate Files folder

The Pros and Cons of Avoiding a Partition

The above method is the quickest and easiest way to save files on your external Time Machine drive. Unlike using a partition, which we’ll explain below, you can start saving files to the drive without erasing all your existing Time Machine backups first.

But the lack of a partition also means your Time Machine backups will continue to swell in size until they take up all the free space on your external drive. Although Time Machine won’t delete your personal files when this happens, it might take up more space than you want it to.

That’s why a partition is the most practical long-term solution. You can allocate a set amount of space for your Time Machine backups and for your file storage so neither one hogs the available storage.

Create a Partition to Store Files on Your Time Machine Drive

Disk Utility showing Time Machine drive with partition

After you partition a hard drive, your Mac sees each partition as a separate drive. They have distinct names, varying amounts of storage, and can use different formats. You even need to eject each partition separately before you can safely unplug your drive.

Unfortunately, creating a new partition often erases your external drive. That means you may lose any existing Time Machine backups. You can make a Time Machine backup after partitioning the drive, but your backup history will restart from that point forward.

When you partition your hard drive, you get to choose how much space to allocate for your Time Machine backups. We recommend that you allow two to four times the size of your Mac’s internal drive. If you don’t want years’ worth of backups, you can reduce this size as you see fit. However, you shouldn’t go smaller than double the size of your Mac.

For example, if you have a 128GB MacBook, you should allocate at least 256GB for Time Machine backups. If you can spare more space, definitely do so.

How to Partition Your External Drive

  1. Connect your external hard drive to your Mac. Then go to Applications > Utilities and launch Disk Utility.
    1. If you can’t find it, press Cmd + Space to search for Disk Utility using Spotlight.
  2. Select your external drive from the sidebar and click the Partition button. Use the Add (+) option to create a new partition and choose the Name, Format, and Size for each partition by selecting it in the diagram.Partition options from Disk Utility in macOS
  3. Your Time Machine partition must use the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format, but your file storage partition can use any format. Choose ExFat if you plan to use it with Windows; otherwise choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  4. When you’re ready to create your partition, click Apply, followed by Partition. When the process completes, you should see each partition as a separate drive in Finder.Partition confirmation popup in Disk Utility
  5. If you can’t partition your external drive, you may need to reformat it first. Select your drive in the sidebar and click the Erase button. Choose any name and select the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format. After erasing the drive, return to step two above.Disk Utility erase window

After partitioning your drive, you need to set up Time Machine again. To do this, open the Apple menu and go to System Preferences > Time Machine. Click Select Disk and choose your new Time Machine partition to start creating a backup.

Remember that your Time Machine backups will start from scratch from this date forward. Also, don’t forget that you need to create separate backups for anything in your file storage partition.

Better Use for Your Mac Storage

If you don’t need access to five years’ worth of backups—and you’re careful about keeping your most precious data safe—you probably don’t need too much space for Time Machine. By partitioning your drive, it’s easy to create a separate space for Time Machine backups alongside other media or files you want to store.

If you find you’re still running short on storage, you’ll be glad to know that external hard drives are cheaper than ever. Take a look at the best external drives for a Mac to find out what options are available.

Read the full article: How to Partition Your External Time Machine Hard Drive

24 Mar 11:59

The Ultimate Online Shopping Guide: 50+ Essential Tips, Tricks, and Secrets

by Joel Lee
Amazon Shopping

We have all the tips, tricks, tutorials, and guides you’ll need to become a master of shopping online. Find better deals, avoid tricky scams, and save money!

Online shopping has exploded so much in the past decade that brick-and-mortar stores are closing in response. And in America, over half of all online shopping is done through Amazon. With free two-day shipping via Amazon Prime, it’s no wonder that people are coming to rely on the e-commerce giant for nearly everything.

But online shopping can be a huge money sink if you aren’t careful. On the one hand, it’s incredibly easy to overspend if you’re careless; on the other hand, you can save a LOT of money if you’re patient and know how to snag deals and bargains as they come.

Here’s what you need to know about being a better, smarter, and faster online shopper.

The Best Sites for Online Shopping

Amazon is the king of all online retailers, and that won’t be changing anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean you always have to shop at Amazon. Indeed, you might want to shop elsewhere for any number of reasons:

Where to Shop Online for Specific Items

At the end of the day, there are dozens of excellent online retailers out there. Many of them are niche and specialized in a certain category of items, so don’t expect to find a full-blown replacement for Amazon. Rather, when you’re in the market for something specific, consider these sites instead:

Tips When Shopping on Amazon


It’s hard not to shop on Amazon these days. The next time you find yourself browsing the available wares, make sure you employ these tips and tricks to make sure you’re always getting the best deals and making the most of what Amazon offers:

Every so often, you’ll run into issues when shopping on Amazon. Don’t get too hung up on it as that’s to be expected with an operation as monolithic as Amazon. Just take the necessary steps to avoid scams and rectify issues:

If you find yourself ordering from Amazon often, you may want to consider upgrading to Amazon Prime. It’s not too expensive and comes with all kinds of benefits beyond free two-day shipping:

Tips When Shopping on eBay


Want to buy something used or unusual? You’ll probably find it on eBay. As one of the world’s largest online marketplaces, you’ll find all kinds of stuff that you won’t elsewhere. Just be careful and always triple-check listings before committing to a purchase:

Tips When Shopping on AliExpress


AliExpress offers some of the cheapest prices you’ll find anywhere on the internet, but it comes at a price: slow shipping speeds and higher risk of fraudulent goods. Here’s what you need to know before ordering anything on AliExpress:

How to Effortlessly Find Bargains, Deals, and Coupons

Hunting deals and coupons can be mentally exhausting. Fortunately, there are all kinds of websites, apps, and tools out there that will handle it for you. For very little effort, you can save tons of money with every purchase:

When Online Shopping Goes Wrong

Have you been scammed by an online retailer? Is a company refusing to honor their refund policy? Want to put an online shop on blast for terrible customer service? Check out these handy sites that let you do just that:

More Online Shopping Tips

Read the full article: The Ultimate Online Shopping Guide: 50+ Essential Tips, Tricks, and Secrets

22 Mar 21:09

Smithsonian Open Access Project

by claudia

My history of cyberpunk series continues on Adafruit. You can see the content to date on this link.
Do you have my book, Tips and Tales from the Workshop? You can buy it here.
Tips? Tools? Tales? You know where to find me.

Smithsonian Open Access Project

Thousands of scans to download and use in projects.

Thousands of scans to download and use in projects.

“People everywhere can now download, remix and share Smithsonian Open Access content for any purpose, for free, from portraits of historic Americans to 3D scans of dinosaur fossils. What will you create, imagine and discover?” When I toured the digital design lab at the Smithsonian’s Office of Exhibits Central nine years ago, the staff talked about this as a future fantasy. So wonderful seeing it come to fruition.

Caster “Collars” for Your Mobile Benches

Keep cords and other entanglements from your cart wheels with PVC collars.

Keep cords and other entanglements from your cart wheels with PVC collars.

Dave Wilkins, in the FB group, Shop Hacks (private, ask to join), shared this brilliant idea. He saw a guy’s shop table where he was using plastic collars around his casters to prevent his table from getting tangled in power cords. The above image is of Dave’s clamp cart using pieces of 6” PVC for his collars.

Using Magnets to Catch Filings from Drilling

Image from Family Handyman magazine.

Image from Family Handyman magazine.

Here’s a great idea from Family Handyman. When drilling holes in ferrous material, place a magnet near the drill and it’ll catch the shavings as they are generated. Place the magnet in a bag for even easier clean-up of the filings when you’re done.

TOYS! Heat-Set Inserts Tool

The right tool for the job.

The right tool for the job.

I’ve written about using threaded brass inserts for 3D prints that need to be screwed/unscrewed. To heat the inserts, you can just use the tip of your soldering iron. But there are also dedicated heating tips for your iron that are the correct diameter for the inserts.

Making Tough Sanding Strips for Hand Sanding and Rounding

Making your own bendy sanding strips for those hard-to-reach places.

Making your own bendy sanding strips for those hard-to-reach places.

In his latest Graz Makes video, my pal John Graziano gives a wonderful little knife-making 101 as he fashions a beautiful stone-washed kitchen knife out of 1095 steel. In the video, Graz shares a great sanding tip. You can make durable sanding strips for sanding curves and other rounded/odd shapes by cutting 1″ strips of sandpaper and then backing them with 1″ fiberglass-reinforced postal tape. You can see him applying the technique at 17:53 in the video.

Making a Router Jig for Cutting Circles

That's not a tiny banjo, that's Adam's circular routing jig.

That’s not a tiny banjo, that’s Adam’s circular routing jig.

In a recent One Day Build, where Adam Savage builds himself a poker table, he shows off a simple jig he made that attaches to the base plate of his router and is marked at 1″ intervals for the center pivot point. Like most Savage videos, there are lots of other great tips in here, like kerfing wood to create curves, a recommendation for a 22-gauge nailer, the wonders of biscuit joiners and wood glue, some smart safety tips, and more.

Life Hack: Multibag Your Trash

This might be more about me and my own eccentricities, but I loath emptying the trash and especially putting a new bag/liner in the can. I just realized that I can put 3 or 4 bags in at the same time and then just remove the inner bag to empty. This is also helpful if there’s a leak in one bag. I especially like doing this for bathroom trashcans. OK, maybe this is just me. Moving along…

Shop Talk: We Get Letters

Adequate shop light for under $50 and less than 30 minutes of work.

Adequate shop light for under $50 and less than 30 minutes of work.

Michael Una: “Just wanted to let you know that I read about LED shop lights in the last issue, immediately ordered them, and installed them in my garage workshop this past weekend. They’re great and I love them. Huge thanks for the tip. My shop lighting has always been non-ideal and that is no longer the case. The LED strips are so lightweight that it’s super easy to just zip-tie them anywhere. Took me like less than half-an-hour to mount all 6 of them to cover my entire (half-garage) shop. It was super satisfying. For the one over my bench (pictured here), I already had a fluorescent ballast mounted there. The bulbs had recently burned out, so I just unplugged it and zip-tied the LED tube to it. Convenient and expedient :)”

Reader Steve: “One thing to add to the ‘Label Your Warts’ article, also label which is positive and negative and the output power. I’ve been able to use old warts for products that didn’t come with them or I couldn’t find its original wart. When I get rid of broken items, I keep the warts.”

Another reader, Liam Greenwood, suggested marking the warts with silver Sharpies (instead of printed labels).

[Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales is published by Cool Tools Lab. To receive the newsletter a week early, sign up here.]

22 Mar 21:07

Become an Overnight Netflix Pro: 50+ Tips and Tricks You Should Know

by Joel Lee

Whether you’re thinking about getting Netflix or you’ve been a subscriber for years, we have all the tips and tricks you’ll need to get the most entertainment for your dollar.

Netflix remains the king of online streaming services despite all the competition that has cropped up over the years. It’s easy to use, has a large library of original and licensed content, and can be watched from pretty much any internet-connected device—not to mention that Netflix now supports offline viewing via downloads!

Don’t have a Netflix account yet? Not sure if it’s worth getting in your situation? It’s true, Netflix isn’t right for everyone. That’s why we recommend reading these important articles before you dive in with a free 30-day trial of Netflix:

New to Netflix? Get Started With the Basics

Guy pointing remote at Netflix on TV

Everyone knows that Netflix is an online streaming service for movies and TV series, but it’s understandable if you have questions beyond that. Here are a few articles that’ll help you get better acquainted with what Netflix offers:

Essential Netflix Tips and Tricks

Once you start using Netflix for the first time, there are a few things tweaks you’ll want to make to improve the viewing experience:

Do you watch Netflix on a smartphone, tablet, or TV? Check out these tips:

Advanced Netflix Tips and Tricks

After you’ve been using Netflix for a few months, you’ll want to take things even further with some tips and tricks that will impress your friends and family.

For example, if you want to watch Netflix content that isn’t available in your country:

Netflix also has “secret codes” that you can use to discover tons of content that may not be immediately discoverable through the usual menus:

Problems With Netflix? Common Issues and Fixes


Sometimes you may run into problems when trying to watch Netflix. These issues could stem from the device or app you’re on, the internet connection you’re using, etc. Check out our articles on how to get Netflix working again:

What to Watch on Netflix: Our Recommendations

There’s a lot of stuff to watch on Netflix, if only you know where to look. Our team at MakeUseOf has watched hundreds of combined hours of Netflix content, and we’ll point you to all the best stuff to watch so you don’t waste any time:






Read the full article: Become an Overnight Netflix Pro: 50+ Tips and Tricks You Should Know

22 Mar 21:07

5 Remote Work Resources to Work From Home Productively

by Mihir Patkar

If you’re new to remote working or trying to figure out how to work from home, the internet has your back. These tips, tools, and articles will help you be productive from anywhere.

The Coronavirus threat has led to a surge in the number of people working from their homes. It’s not a normal environment for many, but hey, remote working isn’t a new concept. People have been doing it for a long time, and you can draw upon their experience and advice.

In fact, even if you have been a non-office worker for some time, you can still gain a lot from the new tools and tips cropping up in the wake of this outbreak.

1. WFH Manual (Web): Tools, Tips, and Tweets

WFH Manual collects the best tweets and tips about work from home tools

The WFH Manual is a newly put-together website aimed at helping those who have no prior experience of remote working. It aims to get the best guides on the web, robust tool and resource kits, and it also highlights the best tweets.

Since the outbreak, experienced remote workers have been sharing many of their best tips and tricks through Twitter. From setting up workstations to forming productive habits and routines, the WFH Manual has curated insightful tweets and threads. The page only has the first tweet in the chain, so make sure you click to read the full thread and check comments from other users for additional tips.

WFH Manual has two other sections: Practices and Resources. In Practices, you’ll find articles and guides by both managers and employees about working remotely and staying productive. Resources focuses on app curation and software stashes, along with a few tweets gathering recommendations for apps.

2. Remote Work Resources (Web): Mega-List of Remote Links

Springworks made a mega-list of books, ebooks, podcasts, articles, and infographics about working from home

Recruitment agency Springworks compiled a mega-list of the best links about working from home. The spreadsheet has over 300 items, spanning a variety of categories like articles, tools, books, podcasts, and products.

It’s a simple four-column spreadsheet that gives you the title, author, URL, and type of content. Helpful tags like “For employer” and “For employee” will help you avoid unnecessary clicks, and you can also sort by category. It’s especially useful for in-depth articles and free ebooks about working from home, which are otherwise scattered across the web. Look for the “guide/ebook” tag to find those free ebooks.

The list includes some of the other resources mentioned in this article, along with many others. You can download the full Remote Work Resources list by sharing your email address, and you can suggest more links to add through a simple form.

3. Remote.Tools (Web): The Best Remote and Work From Home Apps

Remote.Tools is a directory of best remote working apps with robust search features

There are many, many, many websites that aggregate the best apps for remote workers or work-from-home needs. Remote.Tools stood out for me because of how easy it makes the search and discovery of these tools.

The popular products (this week, all-time) is a user-controlled chart where apps rise and fall in rankings based on upvotes. Clear categories make it easy to find the right tool for you. The search function is actually good at finding apps.

After you’re done finding the apps you need, you should also check out their Remote Work 2020 Guide. It has a neat history and addresses all the major issues. And if you’re starting remote work because of the coronavirus threat, the makers put together an Emergency Remote Work Kit to get you started. Both the guides have advice for both managers and employees.

4. Best Remote Work Communities (Web): Slack Channels to Simulate Office

Find the best remote working communities for Slack on Slofile and OWL Labs

It can get lonely working from home, especially if you are used to chatting with colleagues as you go about your day. Hopefully, your company has set up a workplace messenger like Slack or Microsoft Team. But in case they haven’t, you can join one of the open-for-all remote work communities.

OWL Labs rounded up 36 of the best remote work Slack chatrooms that you can join. With most, as long as you are registered on Slack, you’ll be able to join immediately. Some of them have an invitation process, but it’s generally approved quickly. OWL has general remote working as well as specialized communities for creatives, women, product people, designers, etc.

To search for other Slack communities that would be more in tune with your location, language, profession, or tastes, check out Slofile. It’s a directory of Slack communities with easy search, as well as options to filter by category, language, and region.

5. Hallway and Work From Home Party (Web): 10-Minute Video Watercooler Breaks

Hallway schedules 10-minute video calls with your colleagues for a virtual watercooler break

A text chat is nice, but it’s not the same as those water-cooler breaks catching up with office buddies. And if you live alone, it can feel weird not to speak to anyone for hours on end while you’re isolated. Hallway is here to fill that void without affecting your productivity.

It integrates into Slack and schedules video calls with colleagues, with a 10-minute time limit. That time limit is important because video calls have a tendency to go on for longer, so this feels more like a real break. If you want to talk for longer, you can use a Zoom or Google Meet video chatroom instead.

If you are a freelance worker, you won’t have colleagues to schedule that call with. So you can hop on to the Work From Home Party, an open video chat on Zoom. Start it up, say hi, and join the conversation. There’s no compulsion to talk or interact, so it might just give you that office feel you’re looking for.

Of course, you don’t have to use either of these if you want a longer video call. There are some excellent free video conference apps for office meetings and friendly calls, some of which don’t even need you to register to use.

The MakeUseOf Remote Working Mega-Guide

The main thing to remember about working from home is that in the end, it’s work. You need to follow your routine as you would at the office, set up a work desk, and get your productivity tools in shape.

Over the years at MakeUseOf, we have given tons of advice about all of these topics which can help you be productive while working remotely. To find any subject you might need help with, check our mega-guide of links to past articles and tips at the remote work hub.

Read the full article: 5 Remote Work Resources to Work From Home Productively

22 Mar 21:06

The HTML Essentials Cheat Sheet: Tags, Attributes, and More

by Akshata Shanbhag
A screenshot of HTML code

Building webpages begins with HTML. Beautifying them and making them interactive comes later. But to start creating functional static websites, you need an understanding of HTML. (Want a quick introduction to this markup language? Read our HTML FAQ.)

As part of learning the language, there’s a long list of elements you need to add to your HTML vocabulary. And this task can seem daunting at first, which is why we have come up with the following cheat sheet. It gives you an easy way to discover/understand/recall HTML elements any time you need them.

The cheat sheet covers tags and attributes for structuring webpages, formatting text, adding forms, images, lists, links, and tables. It also includes tags that were introduced in HTML5 and HTML codes for commonly used special characters.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download The HTML Essentials Cheat Sheet.

The HTML Essentials Cheat Sheet

Shortcut Action
Basic Tags
<html> ... </html> The first and last tag of an HTML document. All other tags lie between these opening and closing tags.
<head> ... </head> Specifies the collection of metadata for the document.
<title> ... </title> Describes the title for the page and shows up in the browser’s title bar.
<body> ... </body> Includes all content that will be displayed on the webpage.
Document Information
<base/> Mentions the base URL and all relative links to the document.
<meta/> For extra information about the page like author, publish date, etc.
<link/> Links to external elements like style sheets.
<style> ... </style> Contains document style information like CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).
<script> ... </script> Contains links to external scripts.
Text Formatting
<strong> ... </strong> OR
<b> ... </b>
Makes text bold.
<em> ... </em> Italicizes text and makes it bold.
<i> ... </i> Italicizes text but does not make it bold.
<strike> ... </strike> Strikethrough text.
<cite> ... </cite> Cites an author of a quote.
<del> ... </del> Labels a deleted portion of a text.
<ins> ... </ins> Shows a section that has been inserted into the content.
<blockquote> ...
For displaying quotes. Often used with the <cite> tag.
<q> ... </q> For shorter quotes.
<abbr> ... </abbr> For abbreviations and full-forms.
<address> ... </address> Specifies contact details.
<dfn> ... </dfn> For definitions.
<code> ... </code> For code snippets.
<sub> ... </sub> For writing subscripts
<sup> ... </sup> For writing superscripts.
<small> ... </small> For reducing the text size and marking redundant information in HTML5.
Document Structure
<h1..h6> ... </h1..h6> Different levels of headings. H1 is the largest and H6 is the smallest.
<div> ... </div>
For dividing content into blocks.
<span> ... </span> Includes inline elements, like an image, icon, emoticon, without ruining the formatting of the page.
<p> ... </p> Contains plain text.
<br/> Creates a new line.
<hr/> Draws a horizontal bar to show end of the section.
<ol> ... </ol> For ordered list of items.
<ul> ... </ul> For unordered list of items.
<li> ... </li> For individual items in a list.
<dl> ... </dl> List of items with definitions.
<dt> ... </dt> The definition of a single term inline with body content.
<dd> ... </dd> The description for the defined term.
<a href=””> ... </a> Anchor tag for hyperlinks.
<a href=”mailto:”> ... </a> Tag for linking to email addresses.
<a href=”tel://###-###”> ... </a> Anchor tag for listing contact numbers.
<a name=”name”> ... </a> Anchor tag for linking to another part of the same page.
<a href=”#name”> ... </a> Navigates to a div section of the webpage. (Variation of the above tag)
<img />
For displaying image files.
Attributes for the <img> tag
src=”url” Link to the source path of the image.
alt=”text” The text displayed when a mouse is hovered over the image.
height=” ” Image height in pixels or percentages.
width=” ” Image width in pixels or percentages.
align=” ” Relative alignment of the image on the page.
border=” ” Border thickness of the image.
<map> ... </map> Link to a clickable map.
<map name=””> ...
Name of the map image.
<area /> The image area of an image map.
Attributes for the <area> tag
shape=” " Shape of the image area.
coords=” ” Coordinates of the map image area.
<form> ... </form> The parent tag for an HTML form.
Attributes for the <form> tag
action=”url” The URL where form data is submitted.
method=” ” Specifies the form submission protocol (POST or GET).
enctype=” ” The data encoding scheme for POST submissions.
autocomplete Specifies if form autocomplete is on or off.
novalidate Specifies whether the form should be validated before submission.
accept-charsets Specifies character encoding for form submissions.
target Shows where the form submission response will be displayed.
<fieldset> ... </fieldset> Groups related elements in the form/
<label> ... </label> Specifies what the user should enter in each form field.
<legend> ... </legend> A caption for the fieldset element.
<input /> Specifies what type of input to take from the user.
Attributes for the <input> tag
type=”” Determines the type of input (text, dates, password).
name=”” Specifies the name of the input field.
value=”” Specifies the value in the input field.
size=”” Sets the number of characters for the input field.
maxlength=”” Sets the limit of input characters allowed.
required Makes an input field compulsory.
width=”” Sets width of the input field in pixels.
height=”” Sets height of the input field in pixels.
placeholder=”” Describes expected field value.
pattern=”” Specifies a regular expression, which can be used to look for patterns in the user’s text.
min=”” The minimum value allowed for an input element.
max=”” The maximum value allowed for an input element.
disabled Disables the input element.
<textarea> ... </textarea> For capturing longer strings of data from the user.
<select> ... </select> Specifies a list of options which the user can choose from.
Attributes for the <select> tag
name=”” Specifies name for a dropdown list.
size=”” Number of options given to the user.
multiple Sets whether the user can choose multiple options from the list.
required Specifies whether choosing an option/s is necessary for form submission.
autofocus Specifies that a drop-down list automatically comes into focus after a page loads.
<option> ... </option> Defines items in a dropdown list.
Displays the text for any given option.
selected Sets default option that is displayed.
<button> ... </button> Tag for creating a button for form submission.
Objects and iFrames
<object> ... </object> Describes the embedded filetype.
Attributes for the <object> tag
height=”” The height of the object.
width=”” The width of the object.
type=”” The type of media the object contains.
<iframe> ... </iframe> An inline frame for embedding external information.
name=”” The name of the iFrame.
src=”” The source URL for the content inside the frame.
srcdoc=”” The HTML content within the frame.
height=”” The height of the iFrame.
width=” ” The width of the iFrame.
<param /> Adds extra parameters to customize the iFrame.
<embed> ... </embed> Embeds external application or plugin.
Attributes for the <object> tag
height=” “ Sets the height of the embed.
width=” “ Sets the width of the embed.
type=”” The type or format of the embed.
src=”” The source path of the embedded file.
<table> ... </table> Defines all content for a table.
<caption> ...
A description of the table.
<thead> ... </thead> Headers for each column in the table.
<tbody> ... </tbody> Defines the body data for the table.
<tfoot> ... </tfoot> Describes the content for the table’s footer.
<tr> ... </tr> Content for a single row.
<th> ... </th> The data in a single header item.
<td> ... </td> Content within a single table cell.
<colgroup> ...
Groups columns for formatting.
<col> A single column of information.
HTML5 New Tags
<header> ... </header> Specifies the webpage header.
<footer> ... </footer> Specifies the webpage footer.
<main>...</main> Marks main content of the webpage.
<article>...</article> Specifies an article.
<aside> ... </aside> Specifies sidebar content of a page.
<section>...</section> Specifies a particular section in the webpage.
<details> ... </details> For describing extra information.
<summary> ... </summary> Used as a heading for the above tag. Is always visible to the user.
<dialog>...</dialog> Creates a dialog box.
<figure>...</figure> Used for including charts and figures.
<figcaption> ... </figcaption> Describes a <figure> element.
<mark>...</mark> Highlights a specific part of the text.
<nav>...</nav> Set of navigation links on a webpage.
<menuitem>...</menuitem> A particular item from a list or a menu.
<meter>...</meter> Measures data within a given range.
<progress>...</progress> Places a progress bar and tracks progress.
<rp>...</rp> Displays text that do not support Ruby annotations.
<rt>...</rt> Displays East Asia typography character details.
<ruby>...</ruby> A Ruby annotation for East Asian typography.
<time>...</time> Identifies time and date.
<wbr> A line break within the content.
¹HTML5 Character Objects
&#34 ; OR
&quot ;
Quotation marks
&#60 ; OR
&lt ;
Lesser than sign (<)
&#62 ; OR
&gt ;
Greater than sign (>)
&#160 ; OR
&nbsp ;
Non-breaking space
&#169 ; OR
&copy ;
Copyright symbol
&#8482 ; OR
&ucirc ;
Trademark symbol
&#64 ; OR
&Uuml ;
“at” symbol (@)
&#38 ; OR
&amp ;
Ampersand symbol (&)
&#8226 ; OR
&ouml ;
Small bullet
¹Ignore space before semicolon while typing HTML character.

Build a Website for Hands-On Experience

Once you have understood the basics of HTML code and have a working knowledge of CSS and JavaScript, try your hand at building a website. Also, be sure to save our CSS3 properties cheat sheet and JavaScript cheat sheet for future use!

Read the full article: The HTML Essentials Cheat Sheet: Tags, Attributes, and More

21 Mar 22:41

Dead & Company Announces Couch Tour, Letting You Stream Free Concerts at Home

by OC

More free music/entertainment to carry you through these bleak, strange times. Dead & Company (the surviving members of the Grateful Dead plus John Mayer and Oteil Burbridge) are making concerts free to stream at home. And the first one gets underway tonight.

They announced on Twitter:

Stay at home this weekend and tune in to “One More Saturday Night”, a new #CouchTour series featuring your favorite Dead & Company shows, for FREE.   We’re kicking things off with the 12/2/17 Austin show this Saturday at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT on and on Facebook!

Click the links above to watch the show. Until then, you can watch a set above, recorded live in Atlanta's Lakewood Amphitheatre, back in June 2017.

Also find a trove of 11,000+ recorded Grateful Dead shows in the Relateds below.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

Related Content:

Live Performers Now Streaming Shows, from their Homes to Yours: Neil Young, Coldplay, Broadway Stars, Metropolitan Operas & More

11,215 Free Grateful Dead Concert Recordings in the Internet Archive

The Grateful Dead Play at the Egyptian Pyramids, in the Shadow of the Sphinx (1978)

The Longest of the Grateful Dead’s Epic Long Jams: “Dark Star” (1972), “The Other One” (1972) and “Playing in The Band” (1974)

Bruce Springsteen Releases Live Concert Film Online: Watch “London Calling: Live In Hyde Park” and Practice Self Distancing

Dead & Company Announces Couch Tour, Letting You Stream Free Concerts at Home 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.

21 Mar 14:04

This New Motorcycle Might Be the Coolest Sub-$10,000 Ride We’ve Ever Seen

The Indian Scout Bobber Sixty packs dark good looks, 999 ccs and 78 ponies into a package that starts at just $8,999.

21 Mar 13:58

Arnold Schwarzenegger having some party

Tags: Snout

905 points, 55 comments.

21 Mar 13:55

Now Seems Like a Good Time to Review Some of the Best Ways to Work Out at Home

Thinking of taking a break from the germ, ahem, gym? Here are a bunch of other great ways to break a life-affirming sweat.

20 Mar 21:12

Privateer Rum Invites You To Tip Your Bartenders Via Venmo

by Jeanne O'Brien Coffey, Contributor
Bartenders miss their jobs, which they really can’t do from home.
20 Mar 21:08

Six Best Toilet Paper Substitutes from Nature

by Bill Heavey
Slippery elm leaves, Osage orange, and the large, soft leaves of the mullein plant can work as t.p. substitutes.
Slippery elm leaves, Osage orange, and the large, soft leaves of the mullein plant can work as t.p. substitutes. (Alamy Stock Photo/Dave Hurteau/)

As I write this, Charmin, Cottonelle, and Downy Soft toilet paper, to name a few, are “currently unavailable” on Amazon. This verifies what you’ve always suspected: When things get scary in the U.S., the first thing most of us think about is pooping. The average American goes through 30 rolls of t.p. a year, which is kind of impressive but still not a reason to stock an entire wall of your basement with them. Seventy percent of the world’s population doesn’t even use bathroom tissue. They use a variety of things, including, in some countries, the left hand. I have no intention of covering that technique here.

People have always devoted a lot of thought to cleaning their backsides. As early as the 6th century, the Chinese scholar Yan Zhitui wrote that he preferred not to use paper containing quotations from the sages. The first task-specific toilet paper was invented in China in 1391. The sheets were initially intended for the royal family. They were big and perfumed. A 16th century French writer recommended “the neck of a goose that is well downed.” Doesn’t sound like a bad idea. On the other hand, it’s tough stockpiling goose necks.

The Romans pooped communally—just like they did most things—and used a sea sponge attached to a stick to clean themselves. Between uses, the stick was plunged into sea water. This, incidentally, is where the phrase, “the sh*tty end of the stick” comes from. The Vikings used old sheep wool and smooth pottery shards. They were hardy people. The Eskimos used two of the better t.p. substitutes: snow in the winter and tundra moss when it was available. Snow, incidentally, is often ranked both as one the best and one of the worst alternatives by natural-bathroom-tissue experts. On the plus side, it is fantastically effective, both smooth for comfort and mildly abrasive for effective cleaning. What’s more, it can be custom-shaped. On the minus side, it’s really cold. It’s also wet. A wet butt is not a good thing.

In this country, until the late 1800s, it was common to find a corncob hanging from a string in the outhouse. I know, I don’t want to think about it either. Seems like it would start out too smooth and end up too rough. And, of course, it was communal. Really, I have no idea why it was so widely used.

The Sears catalog changed everything and was a quantum leap in bathroom technology. It was free, contained hundreds of soft, uncoated pages, and gave you something to read in the meantime. The sort of toilet paper we use today wasn’t commercially available until 1857. Gayett’s Medicated Paper for the Water Closet contained aloe and was marketed as being good for hemorrhoids, which were called “piles” back in the day. The patent for rolled t.p. was granted in 1891. Fun fact for settling bar bets: The original patent drawing shows the paper unspooling from the top rather than the bottom. This is the only sensible way to do it, but some people like to quibble.

If you find yourself in a survival situation—or if you just can’t buy toilet paper anywhere right now—you’ve got options. Believe it or not, smooth stones, like river rocks, of a fairly small size are considered one of the better choices for the task. Not particularly absorbent, but better than a corn cob. The cones of Douglas fir trees are recommended because they are said to be comparatively soft. “Comparatively” is the key word here. A handful of grass stalks, all carefully and tightly bundled and then folded over to create a “brush” is another popular alternative on survivalist websites. It actually looks sort of doable.

But if my ass were on the line, I’d reach for one of these six options, at least one of which is available anytime and almost anywhere in the great outdoors.

1. Moss

A handful of soft moss is just the thing.
A handful of soft moss is just the thing. (Artem Makarov,

The gold standard among natural toilet papers. Think of it as green Charmin. Moss is soft, absorbent, and full of iodine, a natural germ killer. It grows all over the country, and not just on the north side of trees. Don’t be particular about species. For one, it’s extremely difficult to identify. For another, it doesn’t matter. Go for it. Make sure you have more than you think you’ll need. (Note: This should probably go without saying, but the time to go look for wiping material is before you lower your trousers. It’s a lot harder to move around afterward.)

2. Old Man’s Beard

A bunch of old man’s beard or Spanish moss gathered from tree limb will do the job.
A bunch of old man’s beard or Spanish moss gathered from tree limb will do the job. (Jael Vallee,

There are 87 kinds of old man’s beard, including Spanish Moss (sort of, it’s complicated) and similar lichens. They all grow on trees and look like tangled fishing line (but make much better, softer wiping material). It also contains usnic acid, which is effective against Streptococcus and Staphylococcus bacteria. Dried, it also makes a great fire starter. Win-win.

3. Lamb’s Ear

Lamb’s ear leaves are soft and absorbent.
Lamb’s ear leaves are soft and absorbent. (Mnsnoddy from Pixabay/)

Another standout. It’s not native but grows throughout the U.S. The leaves are big, quite soft, and absorbent. They are said to feel like sitting on a cloud, which may be stretching things a bit. Lamb’s ear has natural antibiotic qualities that makes it nice on your backside. It also makes a great alternative to a band-aid if you don’t have any.

4. Mullein

Mullein leaves are much like lamb’s ear’s, but usually bigger.
Mullein leaves are much like lamb’s ear’s, but usually bigger. (Nature Photographers Ltd./Alamy Stock Photo/)

Similar to Lamb’s Ear and found in all 50 states. You just can’t do better than those big, soft, absorbent leaves. It’s also fairly sturdy, which reduces the chance of poking through it. Throughout history, mullein has been used by just about everybody for just about everything. Tribes in the Southwest smoked it to treat mental illness. Eastern tribes used the leaves to treat colds, bronchitis, and asthma. Choctaws used a poultice of its leaves for headaches. Early European settlers used common mullein seeds to paralyze fish. The seeds were crushed and put into diked areas of slow water. Today, mullein leaves are occasionally used to fashion insoles for weary hikers. You can’t do that with real toilet paper.

5. Slippery Elm

Slipper elm leaves have a somewhat rough texture that help achieve that clean feeling.
Slipper elm leaves have a somewhat rough texture that help achieve that clean feeling. (Dorling Kindersley/Alamy Stock Photo/)

Okay, these leaves are not soft and absorbent. If anything, they’re kind of like sandpaper because the hairs on them contain silica crystals. On the plus side, that is the same property that makes them effective at cleaning. Just be gentle.

6. Osage Orange

The crevices and bumps of the young Osage orange fruit aid in removal.
The crevices and bumps of the young Osage orange fruit aid in removal. (Zoonar GMBH/Alamy Stock Photo/)

It’s said to be one of the best butt wipes ever, but only during a small window of time. The mature fruit is too big to get into the relevant area. What you want is young fruit. The small crevices and bumps on its surface are said to be of the ideal texture for cleaning. You want to make sure to use undamaged fruit, because Osage orange contains a sticky sap that you really don’t want back there.

Finally, a couple words of caution. If you can’t find any of the six above and decide instead to just reach for whatever leaf is handy, give it at least a cursory glance before putting it into action. Most will be fine, but you’ll want to stay away from anything on this list: “10 Stinging, Burning, and Downright Deadly Poisonous Plants”.

Also, wash your hands. I know you are already doing a lot of that lately, but fecal bacteria is a major cause of backcountry nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. There’s only one right way to do it, assuming you’ve got a companion. After you’re done, have someone squirt some water and some soap into your hands. Your contaminated hands shouldn’t touch anything. Wash thoroughly. Then, you can get back to scouring the internet for toilet paper.