Posts filed under ‘ProTips’

Increase Your Income With Your Credit Card

There are two ways to get rich(er): spend less money and earn more money. Both can be tough, but here’s an easy way to start earning more money immediately.

Credit cards are a real life game and depending on how you play, you can win or lose real money.

When you lose, your credit card issuer wins big. When you win, your card issuer still wins, just not as much as when you lose. So, if you’re going to use a credit card, then you better be winning.

Some people have lost and decided not to play the game anymore, they cut up their credit cards and swear off credit forever. Depending on your lifestyle this may or may not work. In many cases, you need a credit card to rent cars, reserve hotel rooms, book flights and buy online.

Credit card issuers make it easy for you to lose the game. When you apply for their card, they ask you what your income is. Once they know they can trust you, they increase your credit limit beyond what they know you can afford to pay back each month. If you take the bait, they start lining their pockets with your hard earned money. If you carry a balance, you instantly lose the game — if you want to be a winner, be sure you pay your bill in full every month.

That’s the first step to winning. The second step is to switch your card to a high dividend credit (or debit) card. Dividend cards pay you a cash reward for using your card, usually 2-5% of how much you spend. This might not sound like a lot, but many people can make over $1000 per year with this. (more…)

May 24, 2010 at 5:00 am 14 comments

Punctuation is Not Allowed in Mailing Addresses

Whether it’s a personal or business letter, every piece of mail I receive has the address formatted differently. Some even have the return and destination addresses formatted differently.

Since the post office has very strict requirements for addressing a letter, they should all be exactly the same. The post office guidelines are recommended for fastest delivery and I’ve compiled a list of rules that are the most surprising or commonly abused.

Since most of my readers are in North America, I’ve compared the requirements from the US Postal Service and Canada Post — they’re very similar and they contain good practices that are applicable to sending mail in most places.

Mail is typically sorted by a machine, but if the machine can’t determine the address then it will be dropped in a bin for a human to sort it. Most of the requirements are design to make it easy for the machine to understand where you’re trying to send your letter.

No Punctuation Allowed

One rule that will surprise most people: no punctuation is allowed. I know your third grade teacher said you should put a comma between the city and the state, and maybe she was right at the time, but that’s not right anymore. Don’t use periods either, using punctuation will only slow the mail down. It’s going to be a tough habit to break, I know. There is one exception, and that is when the name of the City, Street or Town contains punctuation, such as an apostrophe (for example: St John’s). (more…)

May 4, 2010 at 12:17 am 8 comments

How Ballparks Stripe Their Grass

In North America, professional baseball fields are the highest form of manicured lawns. Elsewhere, professional football pitches and cricket fields are admired.

Achieving the striped affect is pretty straight forward. The grass appears lighter and darker because the blades of grass are bent in opposite directions. The lighter looking grass reflects more light because of the angle of its blades and the darker ones reflect less light because of their angle.

To bend grass in opposite directions, start by cutting the lawn in opposite directions. The back and forth method is the simplest example.

Most people cut their lawn like that anyway, but the stripes aren’t as dramatic as the professional fields. To improve the contrast, be sure to set your mower at its highest setting. Longer blades of grass bend better and will have a more dramatic look. In fact, longer grass makes for greener grass too — it protects the roots from drying out and turning yellow.

But, here’s the professional stripe trick, after cutting at least two different directions, roll the grass with a lawn roller. Roll the lawn in the same direction that you mowed, this bends the grass better, which intensifies the affect.

Lawn rollers can be bought or rented at many home and garden stores.

Broken Secrets | Written By: Chad Upton

Be a Fan on Facebook

Source: Scotts

Photo: pamhule (cc)

April 29, 2010 at 12:01 am 3 comments

Keeping Secrets Safe at Home

You probably have things in your home that you want to keep safe: cash, checks, credit cards, jewelry, computer data, documents and other valuables.

In case of fire or theft, the best place to put them is in a fireproof safe. This might sound like overkill, but affordable models start around $30.

Safes are an obvious place to put valuables, so you want a bolt-down model — thieves don’t usually have time to open a safe during a robbery but they’ll want to take it with them and open it later.

If you’re looking for a less obvious hiding place, there are many options. You can buy “diversion safes” that look like everyday objects such as: canned food, bleach, candles, books, clocks and many other items.

If you’re going to use one of these safes then you should store it with other similar items; it doesn’t work well if there is a can of fruit in your sock drawer.

The fake bleach container and candle are both good since there are many places you might find those in your house. The bleach container could make a good hiding spot for the spare key in your garage.

The other thing about these “safes” is that they’re not always that safe. For example, they’re not fireproof and they’re very easy to get into, but they can be useful for storing a bit of spare cash when thin-mint go on sale.

If you don’t want to buy a diversion safe, you can make your own. Pringles cans work well.

Sometimes, it just comes down to location. Reader’s Digest interviewed a number of convicted burglars to find out their secrets to successful home robberies and among other things, the robbers revealed that they rarely ever go into kids rooms. Simply putting stuff in your kids rooms may be secure enough, although you may never find it again either.

The same interviews revealed that robbers don’t go near your house if they see a flickering TV or hear a radio because that’s a sure sign that somebody is home. You can buy a small device that emulates a flickering TV and it’s much cheaper to buy and operate on a timer than a real TV.

Although these hiding places would be great for an Easter egg hunt, they shouldn’t be used for really valuable items. The best place for that stuff is in a proper safe, safety deposit box or federally insured instrument such as a bank account.

Broken Secrets | Written By: Chad Upton

Subscribe on Kindle

Sources: Reader’s Digest, Reader’s Digest, FakeTV.com

April 28, 2010 at 12:31 am Leave a comment

Remove Farmville Updates from Your Facebook Feed

Many of my friends play Facebook games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars. Although my Facebook news feed is littered with requests, I don’t have any interest in watering their crops or feeding their puppies. All that noise makes it difficult to get to the heart of Facebook productivity, making jokes and sending pokes.

Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is a lot of fun and a great way to stay in the loop, but I wish there were fewer FarmVille updates.

Thankfully, Facebook has made it very easy to hide these updates. If you put your mouse over an update, a “hide” button will appear in the top right corner (figure 1).

Figure 1

Click the hide button and you’ll have the option to hide all updates from that person or hide the updates from that application (figure 2).

Figure 2

Click “Hide FarmVille” and you’ll never see another FarmVille update. The same technique works for other applications (“apps”) such as Mafia Wars, Cafe World and others. On that note, if you’re not already a fan, join Broken Secrets on Facebook — I won’t spam your feed, I promise.

Broken Secrets | Written By: Chad Upton

Follow Broken Secrets on Twitter

April 27, 2010 at 12:01 am 6 comments

The Gas Arrow

Rent, borrow or commandeer an unfamiliar car and you’ll need to gas it up eventually.

You know your own car like the back of your TV remote, but you’ve got nothing on this car. The gauge is near empty when you realize you have no idea which side the gas cap is on.

You’ve got a 50/50 chance, so you wing it. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that says, “this ain’t my car” better than stopping on the wrong side of the pump.

That’s why they invented the gas arrow. Look for the arrow on the gas gauge, it points to the side of the car where the gas hole is.

Of course, not all cars have this arrow. Some people will also say that the pump icon indicates the side of the gas cap with the pump handle, but that’s not universally true.

My Dad shared this secret with me a few years ago.  I shared it with a few friends, some of them shared with a few friends and if all goes well, everybody will know about the gas arrow and other little known facts. That’s what this site is all about.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

Be a Facebook Fan

Source: My Dad

April 13, 2010 at 12:01 am 5 comments

The Space Bar Scrolls Down in Your Browser

This is an awesome week and I mean that figuratively. The Book of Awesome arrives in stores this Wednesday and I wanted to celebrate by sharing some broken secrets from the website 1000AwesomeThings.com.

One of my favorite “Awesome Things” is “Learning a new keyboard shortcut.” Since I’m talking favorites, I want to share one of my favorite keyboard shortcuts: the space bar.

If you’re reading this in a web browser or you do a lot of reading on the web, this is one shortcut you should learn before all others. To scroll your browser down exactly one page, press the space bar.  To scroll up one page, hold shift while you press the space bar.

It’s that simple, happy reading.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

Subscribe on Kindle

Photo: jakebouma (creative commons)

April 11, 2010 at 9:59 pm 5 comments

Keeping Headphones Untangled

Walking, flying, train and bus riding — these are some of the most inane, meaningless and repetitive activities that you may do. Many people do them everyday, even twice or more. Headphones, and the devices they’re connected to, make these activities more enjoyable, memorable and sometimes even meaningful.

I’ve spent my fair share of time commuting in planes, trains and automobiles, but few of these experiences were memorable. Even fewer were memorable in a good way. But, I’ll never forget the bus ride when I first listened to the song, “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” by Death Cab for Cutie. I had played the song dozens of times before, but this was the first time I really listened to it. (more…)

April 7, 2010 at 11:32 pm 2 comments

Vocal Throat Spray for Singers

Most high end sports cars and almost all race cars use synthetic lubricants in their engines. Between the really high temperatures, extreme pressure and intense friction, plain old oil just doesn’t cut it.

Lap after lap, hour after hour, there’s a lot of wear from all that horsepower.

Although I was surprised to learn about this secret weapon of professional performers, it only makes sense that high performance voices get their own brand of lubricant for their motors too. If you’re going to take your vocal chords for a lap, you might want to grease the wheels with vocalist throat spray.

It’s not just singers who can benefit from these sprays. (more…)

April 5, 2010 at 11:27 pm 1 comment

How to Sterilize Your Toothbrush

Whether you plan to buy your own dental tools, or clean baby bottles, you should understand how to sterilize some important household items.

The purpose of sterilization is to remove fungi, bacteria, viruses and spores. Some people believe exposure to some bacteria is a good thing, and they might be right, but exposure to some varieties of these organisms can be very bad for you.

There are a number of ways to perform sterilization using: heat, chemicals, radiation, pressure and filtration.

Heat is probably the most misunderstood method of sterilization. It is a popular practice to boil baby products in water and if the duration is long enough, it may disinfect them but it does not sterilize them. The boiling method is really good at removing particles, which can be a source of bacteria, but is not great at killing the bacteria itself. If you do use this method, be sure to start with cold water since hot water from your tap is already a bacteria risk (see: why you shouldn’t drink hot water from your tap).

To sterilize with heat, you need a holding time of 3 minutes at 273 °F  (134 °C). Water turns to steam at 212 °F (100 °C), so you can’t use water to sterilize something directly. But, you can use steam. In fact, that’s basically what hospitals use inside a device called an autoclave. It is like a small dishwasher that uses steam and pressure to sterilize items. Color changing tape is used inside to tell the operator when optimal sterilization conditions have been met. Some new dishwashers and clothes washing machines have steam cycles too.

(more…)

March 30, 2010 at 12:19 am 3 comments

Older Posts Newer Posts


Follow Broken Secrets

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,423 other followers

Big Awards


Best Personal Blog/Website (People's Voice)


W3 Award - Copy Writing

Categories

Featured by…

• Yahoo
• Business Insider
• NPR
• BBC
• Smithsonian Magazine
• USA Today
• AskMen (and many more...)

Contact Info


%d bloggers like this: