Here are this week’s 10 Life Pro Tips.
01. Have a light on behind your monitor, like a small lamp
This greatly reduces eyestrain at night. It’s great if you don’t want to light your entire room. It is also very moody and cozy. This is called bias lighting. When we watch television or use a computer work station in a completely dark or significantly darkened room we create a less-than-ideal viewing situation wherein our eyes are staring very intently at a small window of very bright light that is floating in a sea of darkness. Despite the fact that we accurately perceive the screen to be very bright in relationship to the rest of the scene our eyes take in, our eyes attempt to adjust based on the average brightness across the entire field of view and not the average brightness of the screen (or, conversely, the dimmer off-screen area).
02. When writing a check for a wedding gift…
Make it out to one spouse or the other with old names. ‘Mr and Mrs X’ checks can’t be cashed until the name change is final weeks later. The other way to get around this is to write OR instead of AND. So if you write Joe AND Nancy Smith, then they both must sign it and be on the account as Joe and Nancy Smith. But if you write Joe Smith OR Nancy Smith, then either one could cash it independently.
03. Understand the medical consequences of having yourself or an aging loved one’s status as “Full Code”
Also talk to those who would be making that decision about your wishes.
According to the Huffington Post, “full code” is a hospital designation that means to intercede if a patient’s heart stops beating or if the patient stops breathing.
This can mean anything from vigorous CPR, intubating, to defibrillator use, etc.
If you have an aging loved one who is already very frail and in poor health, “Full Code” means if they are in the hospital or a nursing home, the nurses or EMTs will perform vigorous CPR/chest compression in an attempt to revive them if they stop breathing or their heart stops. This literally means breaking their rib cages to get their blood flowing and lungs moving.
If your loved one survives and is resuscitated, they will probably suffer from multiple broken bones, massive bruising across their chest and internally within their chest cavity. The pain is substantial. Very rarely will someone of significant age fully recover from the rigors of revival.
Talk to your loved ones. Your parents, your spouse, yours kids. Talk to your doctors about the risks of resuscitation and if your body, or your parents bodies, could handle the force needed to do so. Understand that if your loved ones “crash”, and you have them listed as Full Code, there is a possibility you will lose them again after they are revived because they are simply too frail and sickly to recover from that.
04. If a webpage is unavailable…
Let’s say you want to visit a website for a hotel that you’re staying at. All you want is the phone number, but for some reason the website is down (not available).
By typing “cache:” (without the quotation marks) before the URL (e.g. cache:www.example.com), Google will attempt to load a cached version of the website.
The cached version is created when Google regularly saves a copy of millions of websites onto its servers.
If the cache is available, you’d be able to find the phone number from the website.
05. Can’t focus at the computer?
Play music from a video game soundtrack. It’s designed to keep you engaged, and helps you focus on what you’re working on.
06. Send a text message by email, using these addresses
Simply add the phone number before the @
I find these useful to quickly share a picture from my computer to my phone.
· Alltel @message.alltel.com
· Amp’d Mobile @vtext.com
· AT&T @txt.att.net
· AT&T @mms.att.net (pictures, text may work)
· Boost Mobile @myboostmobile.com
· Cingular @mobile.mycingular.com
· Cricket @mms.mycricket.com
· Einstein PCS @einsteinmms.com
· Nextel @messaging.nextel.com
· Sprint @messaging.sprintpcs.com
· SunCom @tms.suncom.com
· T-mobile @tmomail.net
· VoiceStream @voicestream.net
· US Cellular @email.uscc.net (text)
· US Cellular @mms.uscc.net (pictures)
· Verizon @vtext.com (text)
· Verizon @vzwpix.com (pictures)
· Virgin @vmobl.com
07. How to open nearly any knot
08. How to avoid being scammed by phoney debt collectors
Request a “validation notice.” Legitimate collection agencies are required to send this notice within 5 days after initial contact and include debt amount, creditor name, and a description of your rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices.
Here are a few easy steps you can take to verify that the collector contacting you is legitimate:
1. Check your credit report. Legitimate collectors, 19 times out of 20, will report the debt on your credit report.
2. Wait a few days. Federal law requires collectors to mail you a physical written notice of the debt within five days of first contacting you, whether you request one or not.
3. Google their company. Most collectors maintain a website (albeit often a web 1.0 website). Big national collectors will come up in the news. Some scams will set up a site, but often googling a scam will come up with forum posts of people complaining about this being a scam, or else nothing at all.
4. Request a written validation right away. If you do this in the first 30 days after they initially contact you, they have to either provide you with proof that they’ve checked the basic information of the debt or else quit contacting you.
Also, here are a few telltale tricks I’ve noticed scammers use in the last few years that you should watch out for.
1. Calling pretending to be a process server trying to serve you with legal papers. I’ve never heard of an actual process server doing this.
2. Threatening you with a felony, or an instant “judgment,” or threatening to serve you at work.
3. Vaguely threatening to be a law firm or a “legal processing center” or something to insinuate they’re going to sue you.
4. Telling your family members, neighbors, or anybody else about the debt (except your spouse).
5. Not observing basic industry formalities, for example saying “this call is from a debt collector and is an attempt to collect a debt” at the beginning of calls.
6. If you Google an address they give you, it may be for a UPS Store. This is so they can receive mail and pretend to have an office to people who don’t check.
09. Avoid the second person (“you”) in discussions or arguments
They needlessly make the stakes of the conversation personal.
1. Instead of “Why do you think abortion should be illegal?” use “Why should abortion be illegal?”
2. Instead of “Why do you think we should introduce this product?” use “Why should we introduce this product?”
3. Instead of “You want to go to Restaurant A, or we could go to Restaurant B” use “We could go to Restaurant A, or we could go to Restaurant B.”
Using the second person implies that the other person is invested in an idea that you oppose, which turns an abstract conversation into a personal one. Avoiding “you” makes it more difficult for a discussion to take a combative turn.
A good rule of thumb is “Praise the person, Punish the problem.”
10. If you’re having trouble deciding on a good gift for someone…
Tell them you already got them something amazing and have them guess what it is. There’s your list of things that they think would be amazing gifts.