Posts filed under ‘ProTips’

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

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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

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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

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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 2 comments

Save Your Wet Electronics by Sticking Them in Rice

Simply put, when you make rice, you take 1 cup of rice and pour at least a cup and a half of water into it. Then you put it on the stove for a while and when you’re done, there’s no more water — it’s in the rice!

The point is, rice is really good at absorbing water.

So if you drop your cell phone in a bucket of water, toilet or swimming pool: get it quickly; turn it off; dry it and immediately put it into a bag of uncooked rice.

If you can access the battery, you should take it out too since some devices, especially cell phones, are still consuming power on standby, even when they appear to be off.

If you’ve got a wet vacuum, like a shop-vac, you should use it to suck some of the water out. A friend of mine (you know who you are) spilled water on my laptop keyboard once. I flipped the laptop upside down immediately, turned it off and pulled out the battery. It set it down and ran to get the shop-vac. While keeping it upside-down, I sucked all the water out of the keyboard. (more…)

March 24, 2010 at 12:01 am 2 comments

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