Category Archives: Online tips & tricks

Simple tips & tricks to better your online experience

Control of your personal data online (infographic)

INFOGRAPHIC: Control of your personal data online

I’M not usually a fan of these ‘shocking’ infographics as it’s quite difficult to check their sources and verify the information contained within. But as someone who receives scam emails via Gmail on a regular basis, this one seems more or less accurate (or at least believable).

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SEO Secrets: with love from a WordPress snob

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SEO SECRETS: What you likely know already but will read anyway

Yes, it’s another damn article on SEO secrets. I’ve been pondering this one for a while, but thought I might be able to add 1 or 2 useful SEO tips to the thought-pool.

For starters, I don’t consider myself as an SEO guru or pharaoh, as I believe anyone can teach themselves how to do good SEO. It’s not overly complex and shouldn’t be thought of as such. It merely takes practice and a willing attitude.

Note: This SEO guide is largely intended for bloggers who use WordPress

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Glühwein Recipe: Quick, Simple & Tasty

EASY GLUHWEIN RECIPE: Christmas in a cup

Glühwein – that magical elixir that seems to come around during the Winter months. It’s Christmas in a cup – a real hug in a mug. I’ve been surprised to see that few pubs and bars in Cape Town serve glühwein. It’s the perfect drink to have on a cold night – whatever the occasion.

Anyway, I decided to try make it myself and combined about five glühwein recipes I found into one, super recipe! It’s cheap, tasty and very easy.

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Treating fish with Ich in a fresh water aquarium

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TROPICAL FISH: Guide to treating Ich in a freshwater aquarium

THE following guide to treating Ich in a freshwater aquarium is a collection from various fish forums and experts. As someone who has dealt with Ich before, I can attest to the accuracy of the following treatment method for ridding your freshwater aquarium of Ich entirely.

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Creative Blogging: Better content, more fun

CREATIVE BLOGGING: Better content, more fun

BLOGGING is a creative process by nature, but many bloggers tend to stick to formulas. Content that isn’t fresh and doesn’t look and feel inspired, tends to drag the audience on. This is not good for your blog as this method of blogging is the most definitive way of preventing your blog from growing and evolving. Like SEO, content creativity is critical to content quality and accessibility.

Creative BloggingThe blogging market is partly responsible for the tendency to treat a blog like a day job – going through routine processes. Creative blogging, which was the original basis of blogging, has become somewhat “industrial”, and the result has been a large number of blogs doing the same things simply because they’re the norm. The creative impetus is reduced, and that hasn’t done much for the blogs either – inflicting lower standards.

This very bad habit has done nothing for bloggers generally, and has taken a lot of the fun out of blogging. In marketing and advertising, “product identity” is critical, and the very samey content and presentation of blogs is arguably marketing suicide.

Creative blogging is really the only antidote to this situation. Good content is the core business model of successful blogging, and creativity is its main driver. It is also the major asset of blogs – the ability to develop new materials and new approaches. This is an extremely flexible medium and allows a lot of experimentation – synergistic with the creative process.

Blogs really are the most effective method of expression for a range of content that couldn’t possibly be done by mainstream media. The creative options are almost limitless and form a major part of the value of blogs as a media genre.

Creative options in blogging

The creative options are quite literally limitless. Subject, content and presentation can be developed and evolved into a unique product. These are also extremely valuable to blogs as both intellectual and commercial property. Some creative blog materials have become true classics and have formed part of the global culture.

Creative product can also fund the development of blogs and blog operators. This is one element of the creative process that can produce excellent results across a range of operations, and also pay for new media assets.

The creative options include:

  • Media content: Unique content is particularly valuable – even salable.
  • Opinions: The original basis of blogging. Opinions (particularly expert opinions) are major products and sources for media information.
  • Graphics: Graphic content on blogs are the most likely to go viral. This material translates into everything from T shirts to merchandising.
  • Journalistic content: Blogs are making major inroads into mainstream news media, and this content is becoming useful commercial property.

There is plenty of scope for creativity in blogging. This is “best practice” for blogging and is also the commercial basis of blogging. Your creativity is your greatest asset as a blogger. Develop your ideas and your blog will evolve with them.

Memory Palace: step by step technique

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MEMORY TECHNIQUE: A step by step guide for creating a memory palace

IF there is one person whom I could meet in this world, it would be Derren Brown. The BBC recently broadcast a one-hour special to celebrate 10 years of the psychological illusionist’s work. I personally endeavour to watch everything ever made by Derren Brown and I’m currently­ immersed in his latest book Confessions of a Conjuror. Great read.

Although Derren Brown is something of a trickster — making use of suggestion and misdirection to manipulate people and accurately predict their behaviour — his skills are something to behold. His newer TV shows also seem to be about helping people in areas such as self-improvement and increasing self-confidence.

Thousands of ‘ordinary’ people apply to be on his shows where he teaches participants some of his psychological techniques. In a recent Trick or Treat episode, an applicant in his mid-40s claims to have a very bad memory (as many people of that age might advocate).

After teaching said participant to speed-read and passing on various memory techniques, Derren Brown enters the man in England’s top pub quiz. After just two weeks of preparation, the participant single-handedly earns second place.

One fantastically simple memory technique that is mentioned here is that of the memory palace. This creative approach is not only simple, but it is highly effective in committing long lists of information to memory that can then be recalled at will. It has been used since ancient Rome and goes something like this.

A Virtual Memory Palace

Virtual Memory Palace

The memory palace technique is based on the fact that we’re extremely good at remembering places we know (image: web.science.mq.edu.au)

Step 1: Creating a Memory Palace

The whole memory palace technique is based on the fact that we’re extremely good at remembering places we know. So, the first step is to create a memory palace of your choosing in your mind’s eye. A memory palace is essentially a physical location that you are very familiar­ with — such as your home or route to work. So long as you can clearly visualise each room or landmark within your memory palace, it will serve you well.

Step 2: Define a route

The second step is to trace a clearly defined route through your memory palace and visualise particular objects along the way. If you are considering your home for example, your route may start with your front door. You may enter into a hallway and notice a mirror hanging on the wall. Start with one object per room and follow an easy path (such as from left to right) until you are back at your starting point.

Practice following this route in your memory palace — making an effort to remember each specific object in order. This shouldn’t be hard to do if you choose a place deeply embedded within your mind; perhaps the house you grew up in. Each object is generally known as a “memory peg”.

Step 3: Peg it to memory

Now think of something that you’d like to remember, such as a shopping list or your agenda for the week ahead. Place items in a particular order and integrate each with a memory peg (object) within your memory palace. It helps to conceptualise objects as being bizarre or perhaps cartoon-like at this stage. Memory does, after all, perform best when operating in a strong, visual way.

For example: your week could start by going to the post office. If you have chosen your home as a memory palace, visualise a letter box spewing out envelopes. Perhaps your child is playing a school cricket match on Tuesday. Visualise a school cricket match happening inside the mirror in the hallway. Animate­ things as best you can and they’ll be sure to stick in your head. You could even add smells and sounds to things to remember.

Step 4: Remember to practice!

The memory palace has proven to be a powerful memory technique that anyone­ can use to awaken the memory they already have. Your imagination really is the limit. Also, remember that you can have more than one memory palace for dealing with different kinds of information. There is also always the option of upgrading your palaces once you’ve got the hang of it.

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Cooking tips and household tricks

DID YOU KNOW …

Cooking Tips: In the kitchen …

  • Red pepperStore opened chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much longer and not go moldy.
  • Heat leftover pizza in a nonstick pan on the stove on medium-low heat. This keeps the crust crispy.
  • If you take bananas apart they will not ripen as quickly if you were to leave them connected at the stem.
  • Make scrambled eggs or omelettes taste richer by adding a couple of spoonfuls of sour or heavy cream or cream cheese, then beat.
  • Before pouring sticky substances like peanut butter or honey into a measuring cup, rinse it out with hot water and don’t dry before pouring in the goo.
  • Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating than peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom which are firmer and better for cooking.

Household Tricks: Around the house …

  • chalkboard eraserUse a wet cotton ball or Q-tip to pick up small bits of glass which are not easy to see.
  • Eliminate a foggy windscreen or windows using a blackboard eraser. Works like a charm.
  • Hairy legs? Use some hair conditioner to shave. It leaves legs smoother than a baby’s nether region.
  • To open a sealed envelope without tearing it, place it in the freezer for a couple of hours.
  • Wet torn bits of newspapers and layer them around the plants, overlapping them as you place. Cover with mulch and forget about weeds.

And just for fun: 8 amazingly simple home remedies …

  • If you can’t fix it with a hammer, you’ve got an electrical problem.
  • Avoid arguments with the females about lifting the toilet seat – use the sink.
  • If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives. then you’ll be afraid to cough.
  • Mouse trapAvoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold the vegetables while you chop.
  • If you’re choking on an ice cube, simply pour a cup of boiling water down your throat. presto! the blockage will instantly remove itself.
  • A mouse trap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.
  • You only need two tools in life – Q20 and duct tape. If it doesn’t move and should, use the Q20. If it shouldn’t move and does, use the duct tape.
  • For high blood pressure sufferers ~ simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure on your veins. remember to use a timer.

If you have any of your own cooking tips or household tricks you would like to share, please do!