May 31, 2007


If you have difficulty swallowing capsules, here's a trick you can try. Place the capsule in your mouth, take a drink of water, and tilt your head forward instead of backward. The capsule should float, and will be at the back of your throat, read to swallow.

-- RxDave

Posted by Matthew at 1:56 PM

May 30, 2007


You can get almost any new stain out of clothing by pouring peroxide on it about 15 minutes prior to washing.

Posted by Matthew at 1:53 PM

May 29, 2007

Construction Worker

Are your hands rough from work? Put lemon juice and sugar in the palm of one hand, lather like soap, and rinse under water. The concoction works as a natural exfoliate and sanitizer.

-- Randall

Posted by Matthew at 1:54 PM

May 28, 2007


Before working on vehicle, roll down one window to ensure that you don't lock yourself out. This is especially important with newer vehicles, some of which have an automatic system that locks all the doors when the ignition switch is turned on.

-- Charles M Lee

Posted by Matthew at 1:53 PM

May 25, 2007


If you manage a large number of people who are always offering suggestions, insist that feedback be submitted in writing. Blame your faulty memory, if you want to be diplomatic. The bad ideas will be discarded before you hear them, as the employee won't want to go through the effort of writing them out; the good ones will be more complete and better articulated, as the submitted will have to think his idea all the way through before sending it in.

-- mark

Posted by Matthew at 1:52 PM

May 24, 2007

Graphic Designer

When scanning something from a newspaper or magazine, you'll sometimes see "bleed through" -- text or images from the back of the page appearing in your digital image. You can avoid this by putting a piece of dark construction paper behind the content as you scan it.

-- Tripletmot

Posted by Matthew at 1:51 PM

May 23, 2007

Beer Vendor

When serving alcohol, card every woman who looks like she's in her 30's or 40's. They will to tip better.

Posted by Matthew at 1:50 PM

May 22, 2007


After cleaning your brushes, pour the used paint thinner into a jar and seal it; after a week or so the paint will settle to the bottom, allowing you to carefully pour our the thinner and recycle it. It saves money, and it's good for the environment.

Posted by Matthew at 1:50 PM

May 21, 2007


Blend the salt with the pepper (or any other darker spice) before seasoning a dish. This makes salt "visible," allowing you to distribute it evenly.

-- Kirsten

Posted by Matthew at 1:43 PM

May 11, 2007

Analytical Chemist

A common request in a manufacturing laboratory is identification of some kind of dark-colored liquid goo drained from a pipe or found puddled under equipment. If you can't ID it from experience, run these 3 tests first:

  1. Drop a magnet into the muck, swirl it around, and pull it back out; this determines if there is any metal in the sample.
  2. Draw some of the liquid into a syringe and pass it through a submicron filter; this determines if the goo is dissolved in the liquid or suspended in it.
  3. Transfer a few milliliters of the liquid into a vial and add an equal amount of water to it; this determines if the material is liquid-soluble.

Having made these three determinations, you can usually work with the client to ID the mystery substance.

-- Jeff

Posted by Matthew at 9:19 AM

May 10, 2007

Gymnastics Coach

Always keep a small beanbag or two in your kit bag. When teaching the forward roll, tell the gymnast to hold one under their chins. This encourages them to keep their chin down and this prevents the head from flicking back when they come out of the roll.

You can get a gymnast to keep her feet together by asking that she keep a beanbag pinned between her ankles during a maneuver.

-- wjm

Posted by Matthew at 9:18 AM

May 9, 2007


If you are unable to remember someone's first name, simply ask them: "What's your name?" When they reply with their first name, laugh and say "Oh no, I knew that, of course. I meant your last name". This is a much more acceptable thing to forget--and you still get their full name.

-- Bettina

Posted by Matthew at 9:17 AM

May 8, 2007


Some truck tires are quite heavy, some over 200 pounds. When lifting one of these, using your knee can save your back.

Stand the tire in the same direction that you are facing, as if you were about to roll it away from yourself. Grab the tire by the "bead" (the inside diameter where the rim meets the tire) on both sides and pull it back towards your body. As you do this, push one knee out into the tread of the tire and, behold! The tire will rise up without nearly much effort as you may expect.

If you become accustomed to this method, you will eventually be able to stack tires over your head in height. This technique can be used to lift other large objects as well.

-- Peter Akhurst

Posted by Matthew at 9:16 AM

May 7, 2007

Software Developer

When typing a parenthetical (especially a longer one), get in the habit of typing "()" followed by the left arrow key. This position the cursor between the parentheses before you type your text, and makes it much less likely that commit the common blunder of forgetting to include the close parenthesis.

The same trick works when typing phrases within brackets, single quotation marks, or double quotation marks.

-- Lee Knight

Posted by Matthew at 9:15 AM

May 4, 2007

Suburban Commuter

When riding a commuter train home, sit next to someone who dresses like they live in an inner-city neighborhood. When they disembark before the train enters the suburbs, you'll have the extra room for the ride home.

Posted by Matthew at 9:12 AM

May 3, 2007

Furniture Restorator

If you have to repair a loose or broken joint of an antique, use vinegar to soften the existing glue. Squirt a bit in with a syringe or, if possible, drill out as much of the broken wood as possible. The glue will soften fairly fast, and may be scraped off.

This trick does not work on epoxy or some modern glues, so never repair antiques with epoxy -- someone might need to repair them again some day.

Posted by Matthew at 9:11 AM

May 2, 2007

Auto Mechanic

If the smoke coming out of your exhaust pipe is dark and the engine is occasionally sputtering, the problem is most likely the plugs. Changing the plugs yourself costs little, is quite safe, and can save you a lot of money.

-- Mark

Posted by Matthew at 9:10 AM

May 1, 2007

Data Entry

If you have to enter a list of numbers into a spreadsheet or other application, read them into you computer's microphone and record them. Then play the recording back as you type. It's like having an assistant read the list to you.

-- Nick

Posted by Matthew at 9:03 AM