Posts tagged ‘broken’
Today, I want to talk about Broken Secrets — where we’ve been and where we’re going.
For those who don’t know, my name is Chad Upton and I’m the creator of Broken Secrets. I’m a 31 year old guy, living in the Midwestern United States. I have a pretty normal day job and I write this site in the evenings, usually after dinner or when my wife Kristen goes to bed.
A lot of people ask me if I make money from Broken Secrets. The answer is a vague, but accurate, “not really.” Technically, the blog generates a small amount of money through amazon referrals (if you buy something) and through kindle subscriptions. Frankly, I’ve spent more on the site than it has brought in, so I think it’s fair to say that I don’t “make” money from the site. Which is fine, I didn’t start the site because I need the money — it’s a hobby.
I don’t believe most people think about the time it takes to research, write, edit and find photos or videos to make a single entry come together. But, most posts take 2-3 hours to create. There are some exceptions, a few posts were created in less than 2 hours and a few took more than 3 hours (especially some of the videos).
Creating content and promoting the blog is a lot of work, but I’ve been lucky. The site quickly gained in popularity. It now gets more visitors each day than it got in the first month of operation.
All of the readers have different tastes and expectations. Some people love the really long, very detailed posts. Others prefer the short, sweet and glossy ones. Therefore, the topics and lengths of posts vary widely. What some readers find useful, others find elementary. What some find informative, others find useless. It all depends on your perspective, and everyone’s is different.
It’s tough to please everybody and that’s OK, the response has still been overwhelming. Up until now, I’ve written every post and delivered one every weekday for the past 9 months (166 posts). That makes for a long workday, every day.
Although the pay is negligible, the rewards are priceless.
Broken Secrets recently won a Webby Award for best personal blog/website. It has been featured by local and national media around the globe. It’s highly ranked in the Amazon Kindle store for blogs and between Facebook, Twitter, Kindle and email, there are thousands of people who subscribe and read daily. Frankly, it has exceeded all of my expectations and passed all of the milestones more quickly than I could have imagined.
The Webby Awards are by far the biggest compliment, they’re like the Oscars of the Internet. They’re the highest award a website can win; I’m honored to have won and had the support of so many of you. At the award ceremony, I got to meet Jimmy Fallon, Buzz Alrdin, Jason Bateman and many other great people.
All of this success means that it’s time to make the site bigger and better. The first step: more high quality content. As I concentrate on more quality content, the site will continue to get updated several times per week, but I may have some other contributors helping out. This will be great, we’ll have some fresh ideas.
I appreciate all your feedback, suggestions and support. You can always contact me by clicking here.
As always, thanks for reading.
Broken Secrets | Chad Upton
Photo: zagatbuzz (cc)
A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that you can buy your own tamper proof screwdrivers. Ownership of tamper proof screwdrivers ups your do-it-yourself status to a new level; but, you can’t earn your DIY badge without having your own set of dental tools.
There are so many uses for dental tools. Hobbyists use them for carving, cleaning and hooking small objects. Technicians and mechanics may use them for removing tiny o-rings and gaskets. Perhaps you will use them to pick locks or scratch lotto tickets, poke the CD-ROM eject hole or spread glue in a hairline crack on the ceramic you broke last summer.
I found a 5 piece set on Amazon at a great price. Heck, for $2 (see “other sellers”), I’m not sure there is a more versatile set of tools for your toolbox. Best of all, you probably don’t own these tools yet and we all know it’s fun to get new tools.
Buying a new tool is like buying a new skill. It empowers you to put yourself in the way of new dangers and abstain from doing new things that you never dreamed of avoiding before.
So go ahead, have your popcorn and eat it too.
Written By: Chad Upton
By Chad Upton | Editor
With the recent disaster in Haiti, I have been thinking a lot about charitable donations. My wife and I wanted to make a donation, but had no idea where to start. We wanted our donation to provide as much aid as possible by giving to a trustworthy charity with minimal administration costs and decent buying power. Our questions was: which charity meets our standards and how much should we give?
I have done some research, learned some secrets and wanted to pass them along. This should be helpful for making any type of charitable donation, not just Haiti relief.
It might be tempting to buy blankets for a homeless shelter or give food to a food bank, but it’s actually better to give cash. Firstly, you don’t know what that charity needs most. The homeless shelter may have more than enough blankets, but not enough soap. If you give cash, they can buy what they actually need. Of course, if you already have a stack of blankets, call first to see if they can use them or if you should hang on to them for a later donation.
Secondly, your buying power is minimal. If you brought $50 worth of food to the food bank, they’d be very grateful. But, if you gave them $50, they combine that with their other cash donations to get a bulk discount and get more food with your $50 than you can.
Texting Is Actually a Slow Way to Donate
While it is extremely fast for you to initiate a donation by texting from your mobile phone, it can take 2 – 3 months for that money to get to the Charity. From the time you send the text to the time you pay your bill, 30-45 days may pass. That’s the first delay, the second delay is your mobile carrier. According mgive.com, the mobile giving foundation, carriers release donation money to mgive every 60-90 days. Then mgive takes 10% (processing fee) and distributes the money to the charities. Most of the charities take donations at their website, this is the fastest way to turn your money into help and cut out the middle man.
Know What You’re Buying
If you can’t decide how much to give, it may help to understand what your money can buy. Here are some of examples of what a donation to Unicef can get.
- $67.79 – Water purification tablets, cleans 50,000 liters of water
- $232.86 - School in a box, enough school supplies for 80 children
- $500 – Water pump, provides clean water for an entire community
- $1,994.77 – Maternity kit, enough supplies to safely deliver 50 babies
In other words, you’re not giving $68, you’re giving 50,000 liters of clean water.
Donate To a Reputable Charity
There are some great websites to help you find a charity that provides the help you want to give. These sites also rank the charities and provide transparency by including information such as charitable institution’s financial statements. Here are some sites, and what I like most about each one:
- Charity Navigator – Helpful ranking of charities. Good list of Haiti charities and their ranking.
- Network for Good – Quick links for some of the most popular charities.
- Just Give – Great search engine for finding a charity in your own community, also has a wedding registry for charitable donations.
You Don’t Need Money To Donate
Many local charities can use your time. Use Just Give to find a charity in your community.
The Largest Charities Are Not Always The Highest Rated
The largest charities usually do the best job of raising awareness, but that often means less of your money actually goes to the cause itself. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, awareness is a very important part of fund raising, and many charities allow you to designate your gift. This is ideal if you want to ensure your money is used for aid rather than further fund raising.
Click here for a list of some of the highest rated charities you can donate to, all of these are rather large charities but few of them are charities you usually hear about. Click here for a list of the charities participating in Haiti relief (4 star charities are at the top).
The FBI recently released some tips to avoid charity scams. It is very important that you don’t reply to or click on links in any spam email. Donate directly to the charity when possible, not through third parties. Verify the legitimacy of the charity with one of the sites I mentioned above. The rest is common sense, but you can read the entire list by clicking here.
Giving to a charity that you believe in can be one of the most rewarding things you do, for you and the people that you help.
The same goes for the ceilings. Look at the carpet and ceiling in the photo below.
The carpet is so busy and obnoxious, it’s actually hard to stare at — so you look up. The ceiling does the same thing with bright lights and focusing shapes, so you look down. What do you see? People gambling. That’s the only thing they want you to think about.
The busy carpet has another advantage, it camouflages stains. Casino carpets get vacuumed once a day, usually between 3am and 6am so they need to hide dirt the rest of the time. In fact, anytime you see really busy fabrics in high traffic areas (office buildings, hotels, malls, theaters, etc.), they’re often selected for their stain hiding abilities.
Big thanks to Todd M for submitting this secret!
You’re running late, so you try to have a quick shower. Then you get out of the shower and the mirror is foggy. That means you can’t do your mirror activities (shaving, hair, makeup…etc). Forget wiping it with a towel, that leaves a lot of streaks and the mirror will still be a bit foggy.
The secret to defogging your mirror quickly, without any streaks: use a hairdryer. Set both the heat and blower on high and aim at the mirror directly in front of your face. In 30 seconds, the hot air will perfectly clear a big enough space to get you back on track.
If you’ve ever stayed in a fancy hotel, you may have noticed that part of the mirror never fogs up. These hotels have a mirror heater installed behind the mirror so it never fogs up.
There are some sites that claim wiping foam shaving cream on windows keeps them fog free, but I haven’t confirmed this. Please comment if you’ve tried it. You can also buy Rain-X anti-fog for your bathroom mirror or car windshield from amazon.
Written By: Chad Upton
[available on Kindle]
Photo: add1sun (Creative Commons)
This is important, because most people are pretty adamant about the proper orientation of toilet paper. There are two ways you can put toilet paper on a roll. According to the following video, there is a right way and a wrong way.
They believe the over method is the right way, because it’s easier to find the end of the roll. I agree, it is easier to find the end of the roll using the over method.
Based on a poll at families.com, the over method is most popular. However, from reading the comments it looks fairly even, perhaps even more people are in favor of the under method.
For most of my life, I thought over was the correct method. But one day, someone on the under side revealed a secret: one side is softer than the other, and if you use the over method you’re probably not using the soft side.
I was in disbelief. There was no way I could be wrong on this issue. Why would anyone intentionally hang toilet paper in any way other than the way that is easiest to find the end of the roll?
I checked my toilet paper immediately. I rubbed each side on the back of my hand and it was clear, one side was much softer than the other. Then I roll played.
I acted out how I normally unroll toilet paper. It was true, I was not using the soft side!
I instantly changed my preference from over to under. It wasn’t until later that I started to think about how long I had been using the rough side.
The really cheap and thin commercial toilet paper is torture on both sides, but if you have anything but that stuff then it’s most likely softer on one side. Check it out for yourself.
People with cats often prefer the under method because it’s much more difficult for cats to get it off the roll. It’s a good thing we’re smarter and more dexterous than cats.
You forgot your microphone at home and you’ve got an online meeting in five minutes. This secret might save you.
While it might be hard to come by a spare microphone, the ubiquity of mp3 players makes it easy to find a pair of headphones. If you plug headphones into the microphone input on your computer (or other electronics), you can speak into the LEFT headphone as if it were a microphone.
This might sound crazy, but this is possible because microphones and speakers (or headphones) are very similar. A microphone converts sound waves to electrical impulses while a speaker converts electrical impulses to sound waves. Although they do the exact opposite function, they actually use the same principle and components to do so.
In a microphone, the sound waves hit the diaphragm, causing it to vibrate at a specific frequency. A magnetic coil attached to the diaphragm moves with the vibrations which induces an electric current in the wires. This current is often converted to a digital signal to be recorded or sent across the internet.
A speaker works the exact opposite way. An electric current on a wire causes a coil to move; a diaphragm attached to the coil pushes air at a specific frequency which generates sound waves for your ear to pick up.
I discovered this secret a long time ago, when I lost the microphone for my Rap-Master Keyboard. I found a demo video you can check out:
Photo Credit: steveyb (Creative Commons)
Most North American cars have one set of bright lights on the back, of course those are the brake lights. But some American cars and most European cars have other bright lights on the rear: rear fog lights.
If you’re not familiar with this concept, then you probably assumed their lights were malfunctioning or their break lights were “stuck.”
Rear fog lights make it much easier for the vehicle behind you to see your car when fog, rain or snow is heavy.
Some rear fog lights are a pair of lights mounted low on the rear bumper. Other cars have a single light, mounted near the driver’s side rear turn signal.
There are debates about the validity of rear fog lights. Some claim they can be confused with brake lights, others agree but believe that is still safer than not seeing the vehicle until it is too late.
In the photo of the instrument cluster, the icon on the left is the front fog light indicator and on the right is the rear fog light indicator.
Some cars have separate switches for front and rear fogs, other cars have one switch that activates both.
Studies have shown that in North America more people inappropriately use their fog lamps in dry weather than use them properly in poor weather
Photo Credit: mroach (Creative Commons)
It is no secret that Coke’s 1886 “brain tonic” recipe called for cocaine. However, it’s not widely known that Coke still uses the coca leaf in their secret recipe. There is only one company legally permitted to import coca leaves into the United States, the Stepan Company of Illinois.
Stepan uses the coca leaf to produce pure cocaine for medical use and a non-narcotic ingredient that Coca-Cola uses to flavor Coke. Most of the coca leaves are imported from Peru, and The Washington Times has reported that 100 tons are imported per year.
Photo Credit: Ryan Greenberg (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Here’s a good secret for Thanksgiving dinner or the next meal you cook. I learned this during a cooking class from the experts:
Never serve hot food on a cold plate!
Have you ever sat on a bench when it’s cold outside? Your butt gets cold almost instantly! The same thing happens to your really hot food when you put it on a (comparatively) cold plate.
When you’re at a restaurant, what does the server say whenever they bring your food? “Watch this plate, it’s extremely hot.” They’re not trying to burn you, they just want your food to stay hot while you eat it.
Even buffets respect the warm plate. You know the hole at the end of the buffet that the plates magically rise from (see photo)? That’s not there for ergonomics, that’s a plate warmer.
So, if you’re not doing it already, here is a list of ways to get your plates warm.
- Buy a plate warmer ($35 and up).
- Many ovens have a warming drawer underneath. No, that isn’t a cookie-sheet graveyard.
- Set your cook-top on low heat and lay the plates on top.
- Rinse the plates in really hot water, then dry them.
- Some dishwashers have a plate warmer function, otherwise run the rinse cycle on high heat with a heated dry cycle.
- Put them in the microwave for a short time.
I should also say that the opposite is true, don’t serve cold food on hot plates. For example, when you go to a buffet and they have hot bowls for your “hard” ice cream.
Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers!
Disclaimer: some dishes may not be suitable for some of these methods. Check with the manufacturer to be sure.
Photo Credit: LexnGer (flickr/creative commons/attribution)