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$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals


$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

The design might not be everyone's cup of tea, but these light-up computer speakers are incredibly popular on Amazon, and $20 off today. For what it's worth, Mike Fahey at Kotaku likes them. [GOgroove BassPULSE Glowing Blue LED Computer Speaker Sound System, $40 with code DEALPULS]

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

If your wiper blades are a little streaky, here's a cheap option to replace them. Just add two to your cart, and the discount will be shown at checkout. [Two Bosch Insight Wiper Blades, $22]

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

3M's paint restoration system is one of the simplest ways to cover up hairline scratches and imperfections on your car, and if you're willing to do a little work, today's price is absolutely insane. [3M Paint Restoration System, $8 after coupon and rebate]

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

The Nespresso Inissia is your best option for easy espresso with a tiny counter footprint, and the red model is down to an all-time low price today. [Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker, $88]

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

These motion-sensing night lights turn on when you need them, turn off when you don't, and can stick anywhere via the included 3M adhesive strips. [2-Pack OxyLED T-05 LED Night Light With Sensor and 3M Sticky Pad, $20, add two to cart and use code 2PT05OFF]

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

Most smartphones don't take too kindly to being dunked in water, dragged through sand, or buried in snow, but if you still want to use it during your outdoor excursions, this waterproof bag is only $7 today when you use promo code CASEOFF2.

The iClever Universal Waterproof Case Bag is waterproof up to 60', and can accomodate phones up to 5.5". Obviously, there are a lot of products out there like this one, but most cost over $10, and few come with both a lanyard and an armband, let alone a built-in compass.

Even if you only use this once or twice a year, it's one of those things you'll be really happy to have for an impromptu trip to the beach or ski resort. And of course, it makes a great gift as well. [iClever Universal Waterproof Case Bag, $7 with code CASEOFF2]

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

$60 is a good price for the 120GB Crucial 120GB SSD to begin with, but the included $20 Shutterfly gift card is a great bonus. That gift card would be an easy Christmas gift to give away as well. [Crucial MX100 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal SSD plus $20 Shutterfly Gift Card, $60]

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

This clever Bluetooth speaker includes a cradle on the front to hold your phone upright. Personally, I think this would be great for watching videos in the kitchen while cooking. [Aukey Bluetooth Speaker w/ Viewing Cradle, $24]

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

The high-end Klipsch Image X5 earbuds are down to an all-time low price today. [Klipsch Image X5 Noise-Isolating Earphones, $100]

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

Still haven't gotten your hands on one of the new consoles? Here are even more deals.

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

Dragon Age: Inquisition is $40 on all 4 consoles today, beating out its Cyber Monday Gold Box price.

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

I don't think this will last long, but this is an insane deal if you can snag it. [ SodaStream Fountain Jet Home Soda Maker Starter Kit, White, $35]

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

If you wash your own car, here are some deals to make it shine a little brighter.

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

If you need some easy gift ideas, Amazon has you covered with great deals on a number of popular electric shavers today.

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

We're no strangers to Chromecast deals around these parts, but this is one of the best we've seen: $20 in Google Play credit for free with your purchase.

The offer is available on any Chromecast purchased between December 7 and December 21 from a number of major retailers. If that weren't enough, Google is still offering two free months of Hulu+ with your purchase as well (available on the Chromecast offers page), which is worth $14 on its own. Amazon has the Chromecast for $32 right now, so assuming you have a use for these credits, you'll effectively be getting the hardware for free. [Amazon]

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals

USB battery packs are my favorite generic holiday gift. They're useful to literally everyone, they offer a tremendous amount of utility for a modest amount of money, and it still seems like most non-nerds aren't fully aware that they exist. If you have anyone on your shopping list that could use one, here's a great deal.

For a limited time, you can get a 13,000mAh Anker E4 for just $24 with code ANKERCM1, matching a Black Friday lightning deal. That's enough juice to charge up your average smartphone 4-5 times over, and is great for long flights, camping trips, power outages, and general battery life paranoia. Anker battery packs are among the most popular items we list, and they all carry stellar review averages. [Anker 2nd Gen Astro E4 13000mAh External Battery,$24 with code ANKERCM1]

$20 Off Light-Up Computer Speakers, Cheap Wiper Blades, and More Deals


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Give the Gift of Mobility with These Travel Organizers and Tools


Give the Gift of Mobility with These Travel Organizers and Tools

For many of us, traveling leads to some of our best, eye-opening experiences. Help someone fulfill their wanderlust or make their frequent trips less stressful with one of these travel gifts.


Give the Gift of Mobility with These Travel Organizers and Tools

We talk about the GRID-IT every year because it's still one of our favorite organization tools. The grid of elastic bands helps you securely hold and arrange (and rearrange) everything from headphones and power bricks to tubes of chapstick and medicine bottles. They start at just $10, which means you can get one for your favorite traveler friend and one for you to keep in your go bag (I use the smaller one as a purse organizer.) If you have decent sewing skills, you can make an even more impressive, GRID-IT out of a vintage book.

Packing Cubes

Give the Gift of Mobility with These Travel Organizers and Tools

We're big fans of packing cubes because they make easy work of separating dirty clothes from fresh ones, keep outfits well organized, and otherwise make packing and living out of a suitcase much easier. These packing cubes from eBags cost less than $30 for a set (and there are many different sizes, so be sure to shop around!). They're the kind of gift people might not get for themselves, but would be able to use in many ways.

Luggage Scale

Give the Gift of Mobility with These Travel Organizers and Tools

You know who likes paying overweight baggage fees? No one. A luggage scale like this Luggage Lifesaver ($18) will help your travel friend avoid surprise baggage fees. It has an LCD backlight, temperature sensor, extra battery, auto weight-lock, and auto power-off. While perhaps not the sexiest travel present in the world, it would make a nice stocking stuffer.

Hanging Toiletry Bag

Give the Gift of Mobility with These Travel Organizers and Tools

A hanging toiletry bag offers grab-and-go convenience for personal care items, makeup, jewelry, and all sorts of things you need on your travels. They also can be repurposed for storing chargers and cables or used in-between trips to save space in a bathroom. This one by Lewis N. Clark is $17 on Amazon, but there are other variations on this theme you can choose based on the recipient.

Passport or Travel Wallet

Give the Gift of Mobility with These Travel Organizers and Tools

Every traveler could use a convenient way to keep passports, boarding passes, and other travel documents safe and at hand. The Lewis N. Clark Rfid Neck Stash ($16, above left) has RFID blocking material to protect against digital stealing of your credit card or passport data. It also has three compartments and an adjustable neck strap. If you don't care about RFID protection, the SteadyTrek Premium Travel Document Organizer ($55, above right) contains more storage compartments and can be zipped around securely.

Mini Surge Protector / Power Strip

Give the Gift of Mobility with These Travel Organizers and Tools

We've long appreciated Belkin's Mini Surge Protector ($12), which comes with three extra AC outlets and two USB ports, and can rotate to fit in any odd hotel room outlet. The prongs don't retract, but it does come with a cover. This is useful in your go bag as well, since it's hard to find spare outlets these days in places like Starbucks or co-working spaces (or at the airport)!

GoToob Travel Bottles

Give the Gift of Mobility with These Travel Organizers and Tools

The problem with most travel bottles: They're hard to refill and hard to get the last bit of lotion or shampoo or whatever they contain out of the bottle. Enter problem solver GoToob, with a rubber squeeze bottle design, special no-drip valve, and food-safe BPA-free material. Lifehacker reader y8s says the 2 ounce version shown above ($18 on Amazon) lasts well over a week of travel

Scottevest Jacket

Give the Gift of Mobility with These Travel Organizers and Tools

Travelers save more time at the airport when they don't have to check their bags. SCOTTeVEST Jackets are a two-for-one gift: a travel-friendly jacket—versions available for both men and women—and a unique kind of carry-on. Stuff all your gadgets and other gear in the multiple pockets and easily speed through security by just taking the jacket off. Jackets start at $75, but the company also makes hoodies, vests, pants, and other travel clothes.

Rise Gear Hanging Travel Bags

Give the Gift of Mobility with These Travel Organizers and Tools

It's kind of a pain to pack and unpack your bags every time you're at a new destination, and living out of your suitcase isn't the picture of organization either. Rise Gear's travel bags, like the Weekender ($139) shown above, are a smart solution. At the hotel, just hang the bag up and all of your clothes are neatly folded and organized; there's even a bottom hamper compartment. Smaller and bigger versions are available as well.

Personalized Travel Map

Give the Gift of Mobility with These Travel Organizers and Tools

Finally, what's the one thing people who love to travel love? Reminiscing about previous travels and planning future ones on their bucket list. Luggage Pros Personalized World Travel Map ($169) is a way to do both and decorate a home at the same time. The map comes with color coordinated pins to mark places you've been, dream getaways, and other trip categories. (I'm going to make a DIY version of this for myself if no one gets it for me. Hint hint.)

Use the "Incremental-Hacking Cycle" to Hone Your Programming Skills


Use the "Incremental-Hacking Cycle" to Hone Your Programming Skills

Learning how to become a hacker is a lot like learning to play an instrument, says software developer and open source advocate Eric Steven Raymond. ESR, as he's often referred to, lists seven steps to help would-be programmers learn how to hack.

"Hacking" here is defined as "exploratory programming in an open-source environment"—a style of programming, not security breaking or crime. The "incremental-hacking cycle" suggested here will likely be familiar to anyone who's taken a hands-on approach to learning to code: Pick an open source program you're interested in, find a small feature to change or add, make your change, and share it back with the open source community. Then pick a new, harder project. (There's more to that, but that's the gist of it.)

That bit about sending your patch to the program maintainers is an essential part, ESR says:

I originally described this as an optional step; a wise friend pointed out that probably I shouldn't have. Solitary noodling on your instrument is all very well for practice, but music is completed and validated when the creativity in it is heard by other people. Solitary noodling on your computer is similarly good for practice, but hacking is completed when other people use what you wrote. That real-world test is important.

Sometimes (oftener when you are just starting) your patches will be rejected. You need to learn to cope with this. It doesn't mean you're doomed to fail in your quest; usually what it does mean is that you have not read the code carefully enough, or (just as usually) you have missed something important aboout the culture and practices of the developmemt group you are trying to contribute to. These mistakes can be repaired.

The benefit of this incremental approach is you immerse yourself in lots of code, with increasing complexity, and then eventually you'll be able to create more original code—much like musicians with a wealth of music listening and practice are able to turn musical patterns into original compositions.

Check out the full post from the esteemed author of The Cathedral and the Bazaarfor more details.

How to Learn Hacking | Eric Steven Raymond

Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg.

Do You Have a Best Friend at Work?


Do You Have a Best Friend at Work?

Many of us keep our work and personal lives separate; we might have acquaintances at work but maybe not close friendships. Psychologists say, though, that having a close friendship at work can make us more productive.

New York Magazine's Science of Us cites Donald Clifton, founder of Gallup and a former educational psychologist, for the reasons:

It's one of the strongest predictors of productivity. Studies show that employees with a best friend at work tend to be more focused, more passionate, and more loyal to their organizations. They get sick less often, suffer fewer accidents, and change jobs less frequently. They even have more satisfied customers.

Work friendships also hold us more accountable to our work:

Research suggests that workplace friendships yield more productive employees, and it's not just because friends are easier to work with. It's also because there is more on the line. Feeling a connection with colleagues can motivate employees to work harder for a simple reason. When colleagues are close, a poor effort means more than a dissatisfied customer or an unhappy manager. It means letting down your friends. The social pressure to do a good job can often serve as a stronger motivator than anything a boss can say.

So, let's hear it. Do you have one or more close friendships at work? Or is it time to start making workplace friends? (The article below offers some suggestions for doing so, including sharing your problems.)

You Need a Work Best Friend | New York Magazine

Photo by mihai's place (Shutterstock).

Step Buy Step Turns Walking Into a Game


iPhone: You've got a ton of choices for pedometer apps, but if you're looking for something decidedly cute and fun, Step Buy Step fits the bill. Instead of just counting your steps, it turns the whole thing into a game.

As you take your daily steps you collect a series of companions and each of them adds to your step count. The more steps you take, the more companions you get. While Step Buy Step isn't nearly as complex as the studios other games like Zombies, Run!, it is fun and makes checking out your pedometer a little more entertaining.

Step Buy Step ($1.99) | iTunes App Store

Behind the App: The Story of LastPass


Behind the App: The Story of LastPass

Using secure, complicated passwords is incredibly inconvenient, as the most secure passwords are the ones you can't remember. And as high profile security breaches become commonplace, many people are looking for solutions to securely manage their passwords. Like LastPass.

Behind the App: The Story of LastPass

LastPass was born from such a need, as Joe Siegrist and his co-founders needed a way to manage their own passwords out of necessity. They set out to create a platform for managing randomly generated, secure passwords, regardless of when and where you need to log in to your sites. The service has evolved over the years, becoming available on as many platforms as they LastPass team can manage, and continues to escalate security measures for the benefit of users. We spoke with Joe to learn more about how it all came together and how they manage their progress.

Where did the idea for the service come from? Were you trying to solve a problem you'd experienced, or did the inspiration come from somewhere else?

LastPass CEO Joe Siegrist: Four developers founded LastPass after we were having password problems ourselves. It was overly complex to do it in a way we considered safe. At the time we used an encrypted file, but it was painful to decrypt, come up with passwords, encrypt the file again if you added a new password, keep the file synchronized, look up data... It was a mess to do it right.

When we started asking people what they did, we heard two responses consistently:

  1. "I reuse variations of the same password everywhere."
  2. "I have a 'tiered' password approach (a 'throwaway' password for some accounts, a slightly stronger password for more important accounts, and one 'strong' password for banking and financial accounts)."

Both of these are risky and unsustainable. We knew we were on to a problem that was only going to keep growing.

After you came up with the idea, what was the next step?

We set up the company and got to work! We previously ran a cloud services company for eight years at a start-up called eStara. We knew we wanted the convenience of a cloud-based application with local backup and local encryption, erasing the two typical downsides of using the cloud: not having local access, and the ability for the cloud vendor to access your data.

How did you choose which platforms to target and which to ignore or wait on?

Universal accessibility was a priority of ours from the start. We wanted everyone to be able to access their passwords and other stored information regardless of what they used when they were at work, at home, or on the go. We started with the major platforms (Mac, Windows, Linux) and browsers at the time (Internet Explorere and Firefox).

When we started, the landscape was a lot less complex. iOS version 1.0 didn't even allow external developers to upload apps yet!

What was your biggest roadblock and how did you overcome it?

The first year we spent a ton of time educating. Everyone we talked to online and offline was skeptical of a cloud-based password manager and challenged our solution. Their instinct to distrust the service was due to the fact that, before LastPass came out, all data in the cloud was susceptible to hacking and rogue employees. Once people understood that we were encrypting data locally with a key that never touches our servers, there was an "aha!" moment, and we started building a community that accepted and used LastPass.

What was launch like for you?

Our beta launch was exciting and stressful: round-the-clock watching and responding to people trying our product. You can still see a fair amount from that period in our forums, if you look at posts in the late-August and early-September 2008 time frame. People loved the product, but were suspicious of who we were and if they could trust us. We made mistakes, but we were transparent and upfront about them, something that has also helped earn our community's trust.

How do you handle user requests and criticisms effectively?

Our community has been an important feedback loop for us over the years, and we have always actively monitored email (and later our ticketing system), comments on the blog, Twitter, Facebook, the forums, and other online hubs. It's a great temperature check for us to see how our users feel about the service and how they talk about LastPass in their circles.

In the beginning, I personally read all of the support emails coming in, though that became unsustainable a few years in. Relative to the size of our user base, we've maintained a small but dedicated support team that fields customer bug reports, feedback, and feature requests.

It's tougher to evaluate what users think should be next or what features should be developed. We've often found that they're great at telling us what's currently working and not working, but for taking the service forward, it's better to rely on our experience in the industry, how we see the space evolving, and what our gut says.

Now, how do you split time between developing new features and managing existing ones?

At any given time we have a dozen platforms to keep an eye on. Whenever there's a major new release due to come out, like Mac OS X Yosemite or Android's new Lollipop, we have to understand how it may impact our product, if any new functionality is possible, and how we can take advantage of the advancements in the platforms to improve the service for our users. We want to have our service ready for release day whenever possible. And if something isn't working the way it should, we have a strong community that gives us valuable feedback immediately so we can make improvements.

Since we offer both a consumer product and LastPass Enterprise for teams, we also have to develop for two very different communities and understand how the product is used by each.

We also have to watch what's going on in the big picture of authentication technology and cyber security. And as the landscape changes we have to steer our service to where we can provide maximum value for our users. It's a hard balance to strike, but one that's critical.

What advice would you give to others that want to take on a similar project?

Start small: Once you have something that any group of people would want to use, it's time to launch. Focus on traction early: Get a core group of people using your product and communicating with you consistently. User feedback matters but be careful that it doesn't distract you from your vision. Stay passionate, and remember that "overnight success" takes years.

Every other Wednesday, Behind the App gives an inside look at how some of our favorite apps came to be—from idea to launch (and beyond). Have someone you'd like to see featured? Email Andy.

How To Fight Odometer Fraud


How To Fight Odometer Fraud

Ever bought a car with a tampered odometer? Despite the existence of Carfax, Autocheck and the like, odometer fraud still happens all the time. But, they have laws for that – if you catch it in time. Here is what you need to know.

In the analog days, odometers only showed six digits and contained little dials you could watch spin – from right to left as a car was driven. I owned a car in high school and had the opportunity to watch the odometer roll over from 99,999 to all zeroes one night on Woodward Avenue. Crafty ne'er-do-wells were tempted to open up those instrument clusters and reset the figures to lower numbers. An afternoon of tampering might increase the value of the car a few thousand dollars.

Over time, car makers added a seventh digit to allow the odometer to register hundreds of thousands of miles. One had to drive 999,999 miles to experience the all-zero rollover. Oh, how times have changed. In recent years, odometers have even been made digital – hey, welcome to the modern world! – but that has not stopped odometer fraud.

How To Fight Odometer Fraud

I cannot possibly go into all of the makes, models, and configurations of odometers here. Suffice it to say that the mileage displayed on the dash of your car can probably be tampered with. The difficulty of doing it – and the odds of getting caught – vary from car to car but everyone needs to know that odometer statutes protect people who buy cars with spun odometers – even in the digital age. And sometimes, those laws call for the jailing of people involved in this activity.

Odometer fraud can be discovered a variety of ways. A Carfax or Autocheck report might note an odometer "discrepancy" – usually because odometer figures were reported to them that were not in sequence. i.e., the numbers did not always increase. And, as Ferris Bueller taught us, numbers on an odometer never go backwards. NEVER.

If you don't want to spring for the full Carfax or Autocheck, get the NMVTIS report put out by the government on your vehicle. It's less than $5. It won't have all the info that a Carfax does but it will have all of the odometer reports from each title transfer.

Modern cars also have electrical devices called Control Modules which, among other things, track the mileage on a vehicle. This control module is not what controls the number displayed on the dash. So, it is quite possible for someone to tamper with the visible number on the dash while the control module still holds the correct figure. Many of the bad actors who tamper with the displayed mileage do not bother trying to do anything about the stored figure because they do not need to. Checking the stored number is not something the average person does. It requires a tool – something common at a car dealership but not something most consumers have access to. Have a question about the actual mileage on your car? Take it to the dealer and ask them to pull the number from your control module. You'll get a bunch of information that looks something like this. Note the middle line.

How To Fight Odometer Fraud

That number is not merely mirroring the figure from the dash. In this case, the number on the dash read in the 40s. Where did the other 20K go? I suspect the previous owner swapped out the instrument cluster around 20,000 miles. But I digress.

There are two avenues of attack if you have an odometer claim. There is a Federal statute and most states have laws against odometer tampering as well. The Federal statute itself has two parts. It makes odometer tampering a felony and it creates a private cause of action. That is, you can sue someone for tampering with an odometer. This is good because the Feds do not pursue criminal actions very often against odometer tamperers. If you sue one successfully, you can recover treble damages or $10,000, whichever is greater, along with your attorney fees and court costs.

Many states have odometer laws, too. For example, Michigan's allows the victim to sue for treble damages or $1,500, whichever is greater, along with attorney's fees and court costs. And it too has a criminal prohibition against tampering. Again, it it just rarely enforced.

You might wonder why we need state laws when Federal laws appear to have this covered. For one thing, the Federal statute requires a showing of intent. One section says a person may not "disconnect, reset, alter, or have disconnected, reset, or altered, an odometer of a motor vehicle intending to change the mileage registered by the odometer." As you can imagine, the first thing the seller will claim – when they get caught – is that the odometer somehow got disconnected or altered innocently.

However, some states – Like Michigan – do the smart thing and remove the requirement of intent. After all, how often does one innocently reset or alter an odometer? MCL 257.233a(6): "A person shall not alter, set back, or disconnect an odometer; cause or allow an odometer to be altered, set back, or disconnected."

And because these statutes allow for the recovery of attorney fees and court costs, there are attorneys out there who will take them on contingency. This happened to you? Call an attorney forthwith. State laws vary but the Federal statute requires you to bring your action within two years of it accruing. Every attorney I know who handles lemon law claims also handles these. Something about cars creates the commonality for us.

Follow me on Twitter:@stevelehto

Steve Lehto has been practicing law for 23 years, almost exclusively in consumer protection and Michigan lemon law. He wrote The Lemon Law Bible and Chrysler's Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Coolest Creation. Hear his podcast Lehto's Law on iTunes here.

Top photo courtesy of Mark Lieberman.

This website may supply general information about the law but it is for informational purposes only. This does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not meant to constitute legal advice, so the good news is we're not billing you by the hour for reading this. The bad news is that you shouldn't act upon any of the information without consulting a qualified professional attorney who will, probably, bill you by the hour.

Don't Waste Your Mornings On Email and Social Networks


Don't Waste Your Mornings On Email and Social Networks

We're well aware that checking email first thing in the morning is a bad idea, but in a Reddit AMA, psychology and behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely reminds us that the best way to derail a day is to waste the first hours on any low cognitive tasks.

It's easy to settle into a routine where the first couple of hours of your day are spent doing things that don't require much thought. You might check email, mess around on Facebook, or absent-mindedly read the news. Ariely suggests that your should spend your morning doing what you want to accomplish:

One of the saddest mistakes in time management is the propensity of people to spend the two most productive hours of their day on things that don't require high cognitive capacity (like social media). If we could salvage those precious hours, most of us would be much more successful in accomplishing what we truly want.

Generally people are most productive in the morning. The two hours after becoming fully awake are likely to be the best.

Obviously Ariely's generalizing here and everyone's a bit different, but the point here is that many of tend to waste our best moments on stupid things because of habit and routine. If you can break out of that, you might end up having a happier day overall.

I'm Dan Ariely... | Reddit via 99U

Photo by Incase

Secure Loose Drawstring Garbage Bags with an Adhesive Wall Hook


Secure Loose Drawstring Garbage Bags with an Adhesive Wall Hook

Sometimes it's a pain to get a garbage bag to fit your trash can perfectly. If you just can't seem to get your drawstring garbage bags to fit, attaching a wall hook to the side can keep your bag from getting pulled all the way in.

Redditor MildandFire shared a trick that his wife uses to keep their garbage bags securely in place. She merely attached one of those adhesive wall hooks to side of the trash can so the drawstring could hook on to it. This keeps the bag firmly in place without destroying the integrity of the bag's structure. Sure, you could just tie a knot with the bag's excess, but once you've put the hook in place, this seems much simpler. It's not the most attractive-looking thing, but it certainly gets the job done.

My wife's simple approach to fix garbage bags that don't fit tight enough and fall inside in the container | Reddit

A Simple Method for Adjusting a Vehicle's Mirrors to Fix Blind Spots


A Simple Method for Adjusting a Vehicle's Mirrors to Fix Blind Spots

We've talked about how your mirrors should be set up to safely remove your vehicles blind spots, but finding the sweet spot for each mirror can be tricky. This method makes it easier to adjust your mirrors properly in any vehicle.

Jason Crist is an administrator and instructor with BMWCCA Club Racing Schools and shares his method for finding the right position for each mirror at ITS Tactical:

Sit inside your vehicle on level ground, while keeping your head level and looking forward. Now, lean to your left until your shoulder touches the inside of your door and then keep leaning until your head touches your window. This may seem awkward, but stick with me. In this leaned over position to your left, now look into your mirror and adjust it to the normal picture you're used to, picking up a small amount of your door. When you return to center you shouldn't see the side of your car at all in the mirror. Now, lean your body and head over to your right, just above the center console and set the right side mirror to display what you saw in your left mirror while you were leaned over.

As we've mentioned before, this will take some getting used to. It might feel a little weird at first, so it's a good idea to practice driving with this mirror setup in a parking lot or quiet streets. Crist also suggests you make small adjustments as you go along since no two car models are the same.

What If I Told You That Vehicles Don't Have Blind Spots | ITS Tactical

Photo by Miki Yoshihito.

Manage Your Self-Doubt by Setting Goals and Expectations


Manage Your Self-Doubt by Setting Goals and Expectations

Sometimes it may feel like everyone else is climbing the corporate ladder, getting book deals, and otherwise finding success while you struggle to get started. But everyone feels self-doubt about their work. It's just a matter of managing that feeling and making progress, step by step.

This post originally appeared on James Clear's blog.

When I started writing, I wrote in a private document for over a year before I published my first article on JamesClear.com. In the beginning, it was easy. There was no pressure. There were no outside eyes. There were no expectations. I wrote about what I wanted to write about. I wrote because I wanted to get my thoughts down. I wrote because I felt like I needed to write.

After a few months of sharing my work publicly, things began to change.

As I developed an audience, I noticed that I began judging my work. At first I was just happy to get my ideas down on paper, but now I felt like they had to be "good" ideas. I began comparing new articles to my most popular ones. I was constantly measuring everything I wrote against my internal standard of good and bad—even though I didn't know exactly what that meant.

Thankfully, I didn't let my self-doubt stop me from writing. I figured this was part of the creative process for anyone who created things consistently. I told myself that judgment and self-doubt was just a toll that I had to pay to continue the journey and create better work.

In a way, this is true. Everyone deals with self-doubt—artists, creators, entrepreneurs, athletes, parents. But in a way, I was wrong. Self-doubt is not a cost you have to pay to become better. Let's talk about why.

The Inner Game of Tennis

I just finished reading a book that has been on my reading list for quite some time, The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey. It is a book about life, not just tennis.

In particular, there was one quote from Gallwey that made me pause and rethink my early months of writing and self-doubt:

"When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as "rootless and stemless." We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don't condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is."

Ambition and contentment are not opposites, but we often make the mistake of thinking that they are incompatible. On the one hand, experts tell us that we should be mindful, focused on the present, and content with our lives regardless of the results. On the other hand, coaches and champions tell us that successful people out work everyone else, that we must never be satisfied, and that complacency is undesirable.

The rose seed, however, is both content and ambitious.

As Gallwey says, at no point are we dissatisfied with the current state of the rose seed. It is perfectly all right at each moment. Yet, it is also incredibly ambitious. The rose seed never stops growing. It is constantly seeking to get to the next level. Every day it is moving forward, and yet, every day it is just as it should be.

Is Judgment Required for Success?

Do you have to be unhappy with your work to discover the drive to become better? Does judging ourselves make us any better?

I don't think it does. Deliberate practice is what makes you better. Putting in your reps is what makes you better. Falling in love with boredom is what makes you better.

Those tasks are easier said than done, of course. When I find myself falling into the trap of judging my work, here's a strategy I use to pull myself back on track: I try to remember that each outcome is simply a point along the spectrum of repetitions.

Manage Your Self-Doubt by Setting Goals and Expectations

Here are a few examples on how you would apply this to your work:

Writing: In this case, repetitions might be "number of articles published."

  • Point A is getting your first 1,000 readers.
  • Point B is landing a book deal.
  • Point C is speaking internationally about your work.

You start with relatively small goals—even if your initial goal is simply to get into the habit of writing—and then you consider what the far-off possibilities are, so that you can realistically manage your expectations without judging yourself too much.

Entrepreneurship: In this case, repetitions might be "years in business" or "number of sales calls."

  • Point A is making $10,000.
  • Point B is making $100,000.
  • Point C is making $1,000,000.

Weightlifting: In this case, repetitions might literally be "squat repetitions" or "number of sprints."

  • Point A is squatting 100 pounds.
  • Point B is squatting 300 pounds.
  • Point C is squatting 500 pounds.

Photography: In this case, repetitions might be "number of photos taken" or "number of galleries called."

  • Point A is selling your first print.
  • Point B is showing your work in a gallery.
  • Point C is making a full-time living from your work.

Every outcome you can achieve is simply a point along the spectrum of repetitions and time. The number of repetitions you need to put in for a particular goal is dependent on your circumstances, your experiences, your training, and many other factors. Everyone's spectrum of repetitions is unique: your spectrum is different than mine.

It is important to realize is that just because you are at Point A and someone else is at Point C that does not mean you are doing bad work. In fact, there is no bad work or good work. Just as there is no such thing as a rose seed that is a bad rose bush. There are just points in time and repetitions completed.

Release the desire to define yourself as good or bad. Release the attachment to any individual outcome. If you haven't reached a particular point yet, there is no need to judge yourself because of it. You can't make time go faster and you can't change the number of repetitions you have put in before today. The only thing you can control is the next repetition.

What I Do When it Feels Like My Work Isn't Good Enough | James Clear

James Clear writes at JamesClear.com, where he uses behavior science to help you master your habits and improve your health. For useful ideas on improving your mental and physical performance, join his free newsletter. Or, download his 38-page guide on Transforming Your Habits

Image by bplanet (Shutterstock).

Want to see your work on Lifehacker? Email Andy.

Why Your PC "Whines," and How to Avoid It


You turn on your PC, start up a particularly taxing program, and then—you hear it. A high-pitched sound emanating from somewhere as if your ears are ringing. You're not going crazy, it's coil whine, and it can come from a number of components in your computer.

Coil whine, as Linus from Techquickie's YouTube channel explains, is a phenomenon found in a lot of technology today, but especially in video cards. It usually occurs when a component is working really hard and begins to vibrate, emitting a high-pitched noise in the process. This is pretty common when playing games as they tax your video card the most for substantial lengths of time. Additionally, games or other graphic intensive software will tax your video card at different levels, causing a variety of high pitched sounds to occur. If you're playing or working with speakers or certain kinds of headphones, it could become pretty annoying.

What can you do? Well, the unfortunate truth is that once you've got it, you can't really get rid of it. Your best bet is to prevent it in the first place by reading reviews and researching which products tend to have the most coil whine. So before you jump into buying that delicious new video card, be sure to check that it doesn't also come with some distracting coil whine on the side.

Coil Whine as Fast As Possible | YouTube

The Proper Way to Peel and De-vein Shrimp


You can buy pre-cleaned shrimp, but you usually pay a premium to have someone else do something you can do easily at home, and know you're doing right. This video shows you how it's done so you can do it yourself.

Use kitchen scissors to cut down the back of the shrimp. Then, pull the shell downward to remove it—make sure to get the legs. Whether you leave the tail on is up to you. Next, lay the shrimp on a paper towel and gently use the tip of a small knife to pull the vein out of the back of shrimp. Learning to do this yourself can save you money, but it's a good kitchen skill to have anyway. Hit the link below to see more.

How to Peel and Devein Shrimp | Sunset

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014


Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Every week, we feature customized desktops and home screens submitted by readers that show off beautiful wallpapers and great customization and UI tweaks. Sometimes they're fun, sometimes they're functional, and sometimes they're both, but 2014 was a great year for all of them. Here's a look at the most popular ones.

The Cascading Desktop

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Flickr user Profound Grafx has a thing for docks and launchers. This desktop is a testament to that, but it also keeps games, productivity tools, websites, media, and more neatly separated and organized. Here's how it's all set up.

The Minimal Academic Desktop

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Reader sgosp3 wanted a desktop that was minimal and helped him focus on the task at hand—his research—so he built this Windows desktop so he has plenty of space to work, and the right tools at the top, just in reach. Here's how he did it.

The Fusion Desktop

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Flickr user Alexandru Tropenpflanze's desktop is a great example of what you can do with Rainmeter in Windows, and it's not difficult to set up. Shortcuts, a few well-placed widgets, and some useful information is all it takes. Here's what you'll need to make one of your monitors look this way.

The Clear Skies Desktop

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Ami Banerji's Linux desktop is clean, simple, and pretty open. What it gives up in widgets it gets back in simplicity, and what's a good thing. Here's how to get the same look for your computer.

The Skyline Desktop

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

We've highlighted some of okubax's desktops before, but this Arch Linux desktop is a joy to look at, with or without the wallpaper up. Plus, it's easy to configure. Here's what you'll need.

The Very Yosemite Desktop

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Reader joshnroy just upgraded to Yosemite, did just a little tweaking, and submitted this serene desktop of Yosemite National Park running on OS X Yosemite. Here's what he used to set it up.

The Galactic Desktop

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Reader ninjacharlie uses GeekTool to keep things like his Twitter feed and the song he's listening to embedded in his wallpaper while he works, so he doesn't need another app to keep track of them. Here's how you can do it too.

The Tiny Tardis Desktop

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Reader Karth is a Doctor Who fan, so he put together this Windows desktop to be part expression of his fandom and part set of tools to help him work. We can't really blame him. Here's how he set it all up.

The Simple Text Desktop

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

We've highlighted some of Okubax's desktops before, but the simplicity of this one called to us. Some simple tools in the center and around the outside, and a solid wallpaper make for a simple but elegant desktop. Here's how he set it all up.

The Foggy Lake Desktop

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Sometimes customized widgets are the way to go, and sometimes minimal is the best approach—and we've definitely seen a trend in the minimal direction. Flickr user Imminient Fatesubmitted this good-looking desktop a while back, but it still caught our eye. Here's how you can set it up too.

The Android L Home Screen

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

One of the best features of Android L is its slick new interface. Now, courtesy of My Color Screen user empol, you can get it on your home screen right now. No need to wait for an OTA update.

The Space Home Screen

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Android: If you've been obsessed with the new Cosmos series, or you're just playing Portal 2 for the jillionth time, a space-themed home screen would not go amiss. My Color Screen user Pedro Gelli has you covered.

The Blurred L Home Screen

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Android: While the styles have gotten closer together lately, Android and iOS are pretty distinct. This design bridges the gap, utilizing the frosted, layered themes of iOS, combined with Android's new material approach for a unique look.

The Sliding Vertical Home Screen

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Instead of creating a bunch of screens with your most used apps, My Color Screen user Peszek created a simple home screen with four columns that expand to show appsand information.

The Soft Green Home Screen

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Android: We feature a lot of bold, if harsh home screens here. This design, courtesy of My Color Screen user Jobe1785 goes for a calmer look, with easy-on-the-eyes translucent panels and lightweight icons.

The Conceptual Home Screen

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Android: This home screen from My Color Screen user ogkillergreen uses clean, easy-to read widgets to give you just the essential information you need at a glance while looking pretty great.

The Timeline Home Screen

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Your phone can display so much information and let you do so many things, it can be hard to keep track of it all. This home screen puts everything you need on one, easy-to-read home screen.

The Darkside Home Screen

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Android: While it's neither tempting Skywalkers nor battling Superman, this Darkside theme is not only attention grabbing, but neat to use. It uses a distinct dial-style interface to place everything in one place.

The Chrome Experience Home Screen

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

Android: Chrome and Android may go together like a raccoon and a talking tree, but this Chrome OS design for Android home screens might bring the relationship to the next level.

The Glow Home Screen

Most Popular Featured Desktops and Home Screens of 2014

"Simple with a splash of color" is a pretty common theme in interface design. This look goes down a traditional path with a distinct flair, going for simply outlines and text on bright backgrounds.

There you have it - the most popular home screens and featured desktops of 2013! If you want to see your customized desktop or your phone's home screen in a post or list like this one, here's what to do:

You never know, it may be the next one featured on the site!

Want more awesomely customized desktops and home screens? Check out our most popular featured desktops and home screens of 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008.

Learn Which Programming Language to Choose With This Infographic


Choosing a programming language takes a lot of consideration: what do you want to do with the language, what platforms you're working with, and what salary range can you expect in the field, and more. This infographic gives you a ton of information about some of the more popular languages.

It also includes what cities a language is popular in, top employers, and "tidbits of wisdom" which are unique to each language. Check out the graphic for yourself below.

What Code Should You Learn? | WhoIsHostingThis

Learn Which Programming Language to Choose With This Infographic

Do You Have a Financial Goals Timeline?


Do You Have a Financial Goals Timeline?

Most of us might have a budget of our finances, and we may even have goals for what we'd like to save or pay off. But fewer of us have likely planned out exactly when we hope to achieve those goals.

A few goals tend to come with a deadline built in. Your house or car loan has a term length that, at the end, you're expected to have it paid off. Some credit cards offer no-interest plans with a deadline. Personal finance blog Money Ning, however, suggests having a timeline for all of your financial goals, so you know exactly when you want to achieve specific targets and how long it will take to get there:

Think about end dates for each of your financial priorities. Some of them may be far into the future, and it may seem silly to be tracking something that's so far away. However, it's helpful to have it all written down, so you can see the big picture. Next to each goal, put an actual date.

For example: Pay off Credit Card #1 — January 1, 2016

By doing this, you're setting the intention for your goals and giving yourself a clear plan of action.

How do you deal with the time aspect of your finances? Do you use spreadsheets? Calendars? How do you mark out when you want to have certain financial events in order? Or do you prefer to manage what you can pay month to month and let the future sort itself out?

How to Successfully Manage Multiple Financial Priorities | Money Ning

Photo by Neil Cummings.

What's The Best Car Comparison Site? 


What's The Best Car Comparison Site? 

When you're shopping for a new or used vehicle, you have to do your homework. Prices, models, mileage, repair and lifetime cost of ownership stats, you need to know it all to make an informed decision. This week we want to know which sites you think are the best.

For example, we love enthusiast sites like our friends over at Jalopnik, and when you're researching numbers and trying to compare models, you probably have a few sites you head to in order to make sure you're getting recent information, updates on recalls and repair costs, and more. What are your go-to destinations?

Let's hear your vote in the discussions below! To cast your vote, follow these guidelines:

  1. Follow this format for your vote, including the bold print. If you don't, it won't be counted:


    Why: Why is this site the one you think is the best to research your next ride? Maybe they have a huge user base, or they make comparing so easy. Maybe they have a ton of users willing to help you compare and contrast vehicles and models. Whatever it is, make your case! Try to keep it to a single paragraph, maybe two.

  2. Don't duplicate nominations! Instead, if someone's nominated your pick, star (recommend) it to give it a boost, and reply with your story instead.
  3. Please don't leave non-entry, direct comments on this post. They'll just get pushed down. Save your stories for others' submissions!

If you're not sure what we mean, just check out the nominations by our writers below. We'll give you a head start, and they should all be in the proper format, so you can just follow our lead.

The Hive Five is our weekly series where you vote on your favorite apps and tools for any given job. Have a suggestion for a topic? Send us an email at tips+hivefive@lifehacker.com!

Photo by NRMA Monitoring and Services.

Get Free Answers to Your Personal Finance Questions Today


Get Free Answers to Your Personal Finance Questions Today

Maybe you have a specific personal finance question, or maybe you could simply use some financial advice. Either way, today only, Kiplinger is hosting a live chat with 20 financial advisors ready to offer you some insight. Best of all, it's free.

As part of their "Jump-Start Your Retirement Plan Day," Kiplinger is hosting a Q&A with experts from National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). The stream begins at 9:00 am ET and ends at 5:00 pm ET. You can head to the Kiplinger's "Jump-Start" page to get questions in early.

While the Q&A seems focused on retirement, they're opening the floor to general money questions, too. According to the site, topics will include:

  • Taxes and Retirement— including gift taxes, estate taxes and wills
  • Saving for Retirement— IRAs, Roth IRAs and 401(k)s for those building a retirement nest egg
  • Income in Retirement— Social Security and income investing strategies from those in retirement and about to retire
  • Other financial challenges— from investing to saving for college to paying down debt

Use the link below to join the live chat.

Jump-Start Your Retirement Plan Day, December 2014 | Kiplinger

Photo by stina jonsson.

Two Cents is a new blog from Lifehacker all about personal finance. Follow us on Twitter here.

Stop Saying You "Have to" Do Unimportant Stuff


Stop Saying You "Have to" Do Unimportant Stuff

Some of us lead genuinely busy lives. But for plenty of people, the list of things we "have to" do includes plenty of crap we could easily say no to. Part of the problem may be our obsession with saying that superfluous things are necessary.

As business blog Harvard Business Review explains, when we say things like "I have to get such and such done," we trick ourselves into thinking that it's more important than it may be. While you certainly "have to" pick the kids up from school, you don't necessarily "have to" take on pro bono work for your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate on the weekend:

Every time we say, "I have to take this call" or "Ihave to send this piece of work off" or "I have to go to this client meeting," we are assuming that previous commitments are nonnegotiable. Every time you use the phrase "I have to" over the next week, stop and replace it with "I choose to." It can feel a little odd at first — and in some cases it can even be gut-wrenching (if we are choosing the wrong priority). But ultimately, using this language reminds us that we are making choices, which enables us to make a different choice.

Changing out how we describe the things we plan to do may not actually clear up room in our schedule. But it can help us make better decisions about how we spend our time. Certain tasks have to be a priority but most of us can choose to lighten the load with a simple "No," once in a while.

If You Don't Prioritize Your Life, Someone Else Will | HBR via 99u

Photo by Ryan Ritchie.

You Can Hack Keurig's DRM With Scotch Tape to Use Knock-Off Coffee Pods


The latestKeurig 2.0 arrived with more than just a welcoming scent of coffee; it also came loaded with security measures to stop you using cheap coffee pods. While other manufacturers have already cracked the code, you can actually hack the machine yourself—and all you need is scissors and tape.

Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee have already released coffee pods that circumnavigate the machine's DRM. But if even that's too rich for your tastes, this video shows that merely cutting out the identifying tag from an old, official coffee pod and taping it to the inside of the machine where the sensor lies dupes the Keurig into thinking that every pod it sees is official.

The result: cheap pods merrily burst open and forth into your mug while Keurig looks on wondering why it even bothered investing in DRM in the first place. [WIRED via Verge]

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