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This appliance can be used for so much more than just cleaning dirty dishes
If you’re anything like me, you still remember the first apartment you rented that came with a dishwasher; after years of washing dishes by hand in the sink, the feeling of kicking your feet up and relaxing after dinner while the dishwasher did all the cleanup was pure magic. But chances are good that over the years you’ve started to take your dishwasher for granted. You load it up with dirty dishes, hit the wash button, and walk away; you’ve forgotten how amazing this appliance really is. Prepare to be amazed again, because your dishwasher can do a whole lot more than clean plates.
7 Things You Didn’t Know Your Dishwasher Could Do
If you’re anything like me, you still remember the first apartment you rented that came with a dishwasher; after years of washing dishes by hand in the sink, the feeling of kicking your feet up and relaxing after dinner while the dishwasher did all the cleanup was pure magic. Prepare to be amazed again, because your dishwasher can do a whole lot more than clean plates.
Sanitize Your Toothbrush
Shine Your Hubcaps
You read that correctly; you can shine your hubcaps in the dishwasher. Simply load the hubcaps into your dishwasher with a cup of white vinegar (if you’re also cleaning the lug nuts, place them in a mesh bag before loading them into the dishwasher) and they’ll come out squeaky clean.
Clean Canvas Sneakers
Tired of hearing your Converse sneakers clunk around in the washing machine? Put them in the dishwasher instead. Just remove the liners before you wash them and skip the dry cycle (let the sneakers air-dry). After you’re done washing your sneakers, run the dishwasher without anything in it to clean it.
Sanitize Dish Sponges and Towels
Everyone knows that dish sponges and towels can harbor tons of bad bacteria; kill the germs by tossing these items into the dishwasher and setting it for a high-temperature, sanitizing cycle.
Clean Sports Gear
Anything that doesn’t fit well in the washing machine and that can withstand high temperatures could be a good candidate for a spin in the dishwasher. Sports gear like knee pads, shin guards, and mouth guards all fall into this category.
12 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do on Your Chromebook
Chromebooks continue to find success as affordable, simple, cloud-based laptops. Chrome OS isn’t as complex as Windows or macOS, but sometimes less is more (especially when you’re saving money ). If you have a Chromebook of your own, these are some of the most useful features you need to make yourself aware of.
1. Record screen activity
The screen capture capabilities of Chrome OS have been significantly improved recently. Press Ctrl+Shift+Show Windows (the fifth button from the left at the top), or click Screen capture in the Quick Settings pane, and you get a new pop-up panel. This lets you switch between image and video capture, opt to include the microphone in video recordings, capture part or the whole of the screen, or capture activity in one specific window.
2. Pin files to the shelf
Need easy access to a specific file or group of files in Chrome OS? If you open up the Files app on your Chromebook, then right-click on a particular file or folder and choose Pin to shelf, you’ll then be able to access it by clicking on the icon just to the left of the Quick Settings buttons. Note that some types of file, including screenshots and downloads, automatically appear in this pinned section so you can access them more quickly.
3. Change wallpapers automatically
Make sure you’re fully aware of all the options you get for setting the wallpaper on your Chromebook. If you right-click on the desktop and choose Set wallpaper, you can pick from a wide range of gorgeous-looking images provided by Google (or select an image of your own). Note that some categories on the left (including Landscapes and Art) reveal a Daily Refresh toggle switch when selected. E nable this to get a new backdrop every day.
12 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Your Amazon Kindle
Your Kindle e-reader isn’t the kind of gadget you upgrade all that often, and you might have one that’s been serving you well for years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you know everything that Amazon’s e-reader can do. Here are some of the lesser-known features and settings you can play around with on your Kindle, from enabling the dark mode to remapping device buttons.
1. Use cover art on the lock screen
Amazon has seen the light and updated the Kindle software so that you can now use actual e-book cover art on the screen when the device is in standby mode. It’s available on all relatively new Kindle devices, though you do need an ad-free model for the feature to be available, and it’s still rolling out . Open up the main Settings screen, then tap Device Options and Show Cover. Most e-books, magazines and comics support the feature.
2. Use X-Ray vision
A select number of e-books written in English support a Kindle feature called X-Ray, which really shows off the advantages of books in a digital form, where available. It links together clips, themes, characters, images, and more for the title you’re reading, and can help you make sense of particularly dense tomes. While you’re reading, tap near the top of the screen to bring up the toolbar, then tap the three dots to see if the X-Ray option is there.
3. Set a warmth schedule
One reason you might pay extra for the most recent (2019) Kindle Oasis 3 is that it’s the only Amazon e-reader that can change the screen warmth—making it easier on your eyes at night, and making it feel more like a worn paperback to look at. If you have the Oasis 3, you can open Settings and then go to Device Options, Display Settings, and Warmth Schedule to have the screen hue shift based on the time of day or any timings you like.
4. Open up websites
The “experimental” browser on Kindle devices has barely been touched by Amazon for years, so we’re assuming it’s not a huge priority for the Kindle development team. A lot of pages won’t render properly, but the built-in Kindle browser can be useful for quickly checking up on basic sites. F rom the home screen, tap the three dots (top right) then Experimental Browser to launch it. Type the URL you want in the Web box at the top.
5. Group together e-books in a series
A small but very handy change that Amazon has made to the Kindle software recently is the ability to group e-books together on the library screen, if they’re from the same series. It makes a lot of sense and helps give you a sense of progress as you work your way through whatever series you’re reading. From the Settings page, tap Device Options, Advanced Options, and Home & Library, then select Group Series in Library.
6. Switch between listening and reading
If you subscribe to Amazon-owned Audible’s audiobook platform , you can switch between reading e-books and listening to them on select titles—assuming you’ve bought both versions and have a pair of Bluetooth headphones hooked up to your Kindle. With an e-book open on your e-reader, tap near the top of the screen to bring up the toolbar, then tap on the headphones icon (bottom right) to start listening to it.
7. Make sure pages turn properly
Amazon Kindles don’t always refresh the entire screen completely every time you turn the page, in the interest of speed and battery life—which can sometimes leave a few ‘ghost text’ effects behind. To make sure the screen gets fully reloaded every time you turn a page on your e-reader, open up the Settings screen and then choose Reading Options. Turn the Page Refresh toggle switch to On, and see if you prefer the change in refresh rates.
8. Quickly change the brightness
Kindle devices have a brightness slider that you can bring up by tapping the Settings button on the toolbar (tap near the top of the screen if you can’t see it). However, scrolling up and down the brightness slider in small increments isn’t always going to be the sort of adjustment you need. If you’d rather jump to the brightest or the least bright setting on your e-reader in an instant, just press and hold on the minus or plus button.
9. Set a passcode for your Kindle
As on your smartphone, setting up a passcode for your Kindle e-reader stops random strangers and close family members alike from picking up your device and playing around with it. It perhaps wouldn’t be the worst security breach in history, but someone else could still access your reading history and make purchases from your account. From Settings on the Kindle, tap Device Passcode to add this extra layer of protection.
2. Spice up your Home and Lock screens
If you don't want your health and emergency information showing on your phone, try a new background. Change the appearance of your screen by going to the Settings menu, then tapping Wallpaper. Tap Choose a New Wallpaper and decide if you want to use a Dynamic, Still, or Live image. Then, select the location where you want to get the new wallpaper. You can get one from Apple's gallery, your camera roll or download one from a website.
Finally, if you don't like the default settings for your specially chosen image, you can change that as well. For example, if it's a photo from your camera roll, you can slide it around and pinch to zoom in and out to frame it the way you want it.
Now, tap Set Lock Screen if you only want to change the wallpaper of the Lock screen. Select Set Home Screen to change just the Home screen. Or, select Set Both to change both the Lock screen and the Home screen wallpaper.
7 cool things you didn't know about Outlook
Outlook allows you to send and receive email messages, manage your calendar, store names and numbers of your contacts, and track your tasks. However, even if you use Outlook every day, you might not know some of the cool things it can do to help you be more productive.
Did you forget to attach a file?
Outlook can't remind you about a task you never entered or an appointment you forgot to write down, but it can prevent you from sending an email without an attachment. If you compose a new email and type the words attachment or attached, then try to send the email without including an attachment, Outlook will remind you that you may have forgotten to attach a file. You can halt the sending process, attach your file, and then send your message. For more cool attachment features, see Attach files or insert pictures in Outlook email messages.
Never miss a flight again
If you receive flight, hotel, or rental car reservations by email, Outlook will automatically add those to your calendar along with much of the associated information like your confirmation or tracking numbers, and even links. Unfortunately, Outlook can't yet calculate travel time to the airport, so be sure to check traffic before you leave.
Stay focused and ignore that conversation
Have you ever found yourself on an email thread you want to ignore? If you work for a large company, someone might add you to a distribution list without your knowledge. For a humorous (and somewhat painful) anecdote about Microsoft's own experience with this situation, see the Exchange Team Blog. Rather than delete every single message in the thread as they arrive, you can Ignore the entire conversation. All messages in the conversation will be moved to the Deleted Items folder and future messages in that conversation will bypass your Inbox entirely and go right to the Deleted Items folder. Want to know more? See ignore all email messages in a conversation.
Don't worry about missing an important message
Perhaps you're waiting for a job offer or a concert pre-sale code, or a legal brief from your boss. Yet, you also have work to do that doesn't involve staring at your Outlook message list for hours on end.
Use Outlook's new item alerts to tell you whenever an incoming message meets specific criteria. This alert will display over any other application you're working on so you never miss that message. For more information on message alerts, see Turn new message alert pop-up on or off.
Do you have multiple threads in your Inbox with dozens or even hundreds of messages in them? Chances are a lot of those messages are near duplicates of one another. You've read them, you've responded to them, but you've never deleted them.
You can use the Clean Up button to delete many of these messages, leaving only the messages that are unread or have unique information in them. Try it and see how much closer you get to Inbox Zero. See folder and conversation clean up for more information.
Open multiple Outlook Windows
Have you ever wanted to quickly go back and forth between your inbox and your calendar or view them side-by-side? Switching between Email, People, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Folders, Shortcuts, and Add-ins is simple. Select the appropriate button on the navigation pane.
If you want to open any of those options in a new Outlook window, right-click the buttons rather than clicking or selecting them. Select Open in New Window.
Have you ever sent an email to a dozen coworkers, but only needed an answer from two of them? You might have used text effects like bold and underline and bright font colors to highlight their names. Now, you have another option.
Type @ followed by their name, and several things happen.
Their name is automatically added to the To line of the email message.
Their name is highlighted in the message body.
When they receive the message in their inbox, they'll see the @ symbol in the message list, indicating they're mentioned by name.
Do you have a tip to share?
One of the coolest things about Outlook is how much it can do. From managing your contacts to creating and assigning tasks, to printing beautiful mailing labels, and managing your digital schedule, Outlook can do it all. We're pretty sure you have your own tips and tricks to share with us and the rest of the world. Leave us a comment with your pick for the coolest thing Outlook can do.
If you want to open any of those options in a new Outlook window, right-click the buttons rather than clicking or selecting them. Select Open in New Window.
What can the Google Home Mini do?
From using your voice to shut off the lights, unlocking the front door with just a tap, smart home devices, like the Google Home Mini, can make life a little easier.
Here are 15 things you probably didn’t know Google Home Mini can do.
1. Make your smart home even smarter
Google works with more than 30,000 smart devices from over 3,500 different brands. Many smart home devices can be controlled using Google Assistant so you can ask your Google Home Mini to dim the lights, control your thermostat, lock your doors, turn on the news, or change the volume on your television. You can even start your robot vacuum and dictate which rooms in the house you want audio to play in.
Easter Egg (the just-for-fun commands sure to bring you a laugh) #1: “Hey, Google, wubba lubba dub dub.”
2. Find your lost phone
Lost your phone somewhere in your house? Ask your Google Home Mini to help you find it.
Sure, Google can call (and hang up on) anyone from your contacts list with a few simple commands, but that’s not the full beauty of the Google Home Mini call feature. If your phone has disappeared, there’s no reason to waste hours searching for it. Instead, call out an “OK, Google, find my phone.”
Your Google Home Mini will clarify, “OK, should I call the number ending in XXXX?” Once you confirm, you should hear your phone ringing wherever it’s been lost. Bonus: If you have an Android, your Google Home Mini will make sure it rings even if you left it on silent.
Easter Egg #2: “Hey, Google, self-destruct.”
3. Create a routine
Picture this: You wake up and say to your Google Home Mini, “Hey, Google, good morning,” and it responds by automatically starting your coffee and then telling you the day’s weather, the traffic you can expect to encounter on the way to work, the biggest news headlines for the day, and a reminder of what you have on your calendar.
Through your Google Assistant app, available for download on iOS and Android devices, this routine (and several others, to include “Bedtime,” “I’m Leaving,” “I’m Home,” “Let’s Go to Work,” and, “Let’s Go Home,”) can be established so that your Google Home Mini knows exactly what you want, day after day.
Easter Egg #3: “Hey, Google, inconceivable.”
4. Make an announcement the whole house can hear
The beauty of having more than one Google Assistant-enabled speaker throughout your home is that when you have an announcement you want to make to your entire brood, you don’t have to yell it down the halls. This is as simple as saying, “OK, Google, broadcast that breakfast is ready,” or, “OK, Google, broadcast that it’s time to go.” You can even use your phone to broadcast to anyone who may be home that you’re on your way there, too.
Easter Egg #4: “Hey, Google, crystal ball.”
5. Pull up your favorite playlists
As a smart speaker, your Google Home Mini can connect to your Spotify, Pandora, YouTube music, or TuneIn playlists to keep your space jamming all day long. You can request songs by artist, album, even by lyrics you may recall off the top of your head. And if, for some reason, you don’t have accounts with any of those, Google Home Mini will still happily provide you with free playlists from YouTube music (they just aren’t quite as customizable). And music isn’t all Google Home Mini will play for you. You can also request white noise or the day’s news.
Easter Egg #5: “Hey, Google, make me a sandwich.”
6. Entertain the kids for days
Equipped with a library of knock-knock jokes and animal noises, the Google Home Mini can provide your kids with endless fun. Just team them to say, “OK, Google,” and they’ll be set for hours of enjoyment. Especially if you start with, “Hey, Google, did you fart?”
You can ask Google to tell them a story, play a game, or beatbox for them. And with responses to commands like, “Hey, Google, clean my room,” and “Hey, Google, what’s that smell?” they’re sure to be rolling. You can even now set character alarms for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Lego City, Lego Life, or Lego friends. All you have to do is say, “Hey, Google, set a Lego Friends alarm for 8 am” and your Google Home Mini will take it from there.
However, it’s a good idea to fine tune the device’s restricted content controls to your liking before letting your kids loose with the Google Home Mini.
Easter Egg #6: “Hey, Google, I am your father.”
7. Set a sleep timer
Google Home Mini comes in four colors including charcoal, aqua, coral, and chalk.
If you like falling asleep to music or white noise, but you don’t want it to be playing all night, just say, “OK, Google, set a sleep timer for one hour,” once the sound is playing. Don’t let the name fool you, though the sleep timer doesn’t just have to be for nighttime, and there’s no set amount of time you need to stick to.
You can also use it as a guideline to yourself for how long you need to work on a project that day, as a timer for when you need to get out of the shower, or as a way to keep your pets company while you’re gone.
Easter Egg #7: “Hey, Google, my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.”
8. Speak your language.
Your Google Home Mini is well-versed in a number of languages. And it can even be set to respond to two languages at a time including English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. Adding a second language can be accomplished through the Google Home app on your smartphone or tablet. Google Home Mini can also act as your translator when you say, “How do you say [word] in [language]?”
Easter Egg #8: “Hey, Google, I’m naked.”
9. Get in shape
Not only can Google Home Mini integrate with your Fitbit, providing updates on your vitals and tracking your workouts and caloric intake throughout the day, it can also give you workout tips and exercise ideas.
Additionally, Google Home Mini is equipped to answer any questions you may have about the caloric, sugar, protein or nutrient content in any number of foods you may be eating, or considering eating. The tiny Google-enabled device can also help you find healthy recipes, create your shopping list, and guide you through making those recipes in the kitchen.
Easter Egg #9: “Hey, Google, it’s my birthday.”
10. Keep your day moving
Overwhelmed by your to-do list? Not to worry because your Google Home Mini can help you tackle all of your pending tasks.
With your Google Home Mini, you can keep track of your daily calendar, any meetings or appointments you may have coming up, and any reminders you may have set for yourself. For instance, you can ask Google to remind you to pick up milk or to remember where you hid the password for your computer. Your Google Home Mini can also help you manage connecting with people in different time zones by letting you know what time it is wherever they may be. And if you’re worried about losing track of time yourself, you can always set an alarm for anything you may have coming up—to include waking up every morning to your favorite playlist.
Easter Egg #10: “Hey, Google, it’s not my birthday.”
11. Help you plan a vacation
If you’re itching for a trip somewhere far away, Google Home Mini can help get you there. Just start by asking, “OK, Google, tell me about flights to [your preferred destination].”
From there, Google has hooked up with several hotel booking sites (to include Expedia, Priceline and Choice Hotels) to help you book rooms wherever you may be traveling. You can even ask about commute times, local traffic or weather information, and for directions to anywhere you may want to visit.
Easter Egg #11: “Hey, Google, what is your quest?”
12. Do your math homework.
You may not want to let the kids know this, but Google can definitely answer their basic math questions—and yours! Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, counting, measurement and currency conversions, even fractions your Google Home Mini can do it. You can also ask Google to flip a coin, roll a die, or choose a random number.
Easter Egg #12: “Hey, Google, sing a song.”
13. Lighten the mood.
If it’s been a rough day, consider calling out, “OK, Google, tell me something good.” The result will be a happy news story sure to warm your heart and bring a smile to your face. You can also play games with Google. Try, “Hey, Google, I’m feeling lucky.” Or, “OK, Google, Mad Libs,” for something light, fun, and stress-relieving.
Easter Egg #13: “Hey, Google, up up down down left right left right B A start.”
14. Google all your questions
One way to control your Google Home Mini is by downloading the Google Home app that's available for iOS and Android devices.
This may come as a shock to you, but your Google Home Mini is equipped with quite the impressive search engine. Never again do you have to sit around wondering who starred in that movie, what local Italian restaurants you have to choose from, or how to find a good heating specialist nearby. Google can find it all for you. And if you’re just bored, ask Google to surprise you. You’ll end up with a random fact you’ve probably never heard before.
Easter Egg #14: “Hey, Google, set phasers to kill.”
15. Stay quiet at night
Your Google Home Mini is a pretty awesome little tool, but that doesn’t mean it’s infallible. If you’ve had it set up for a few weeks now, it’s possible you’ve been woken up by unexpected notifications or an alarm that was much louder than expected. You can prevent this by setting up night mode through your Google Home App, available for download on iOS and Android devices.
There, you have three options: setting a time frame for night mode to go into effect, putting your Google Home Mini into Do Not Disturb mode, or adjusting the nightly brightness and max volume.
Easter Egg #15: “Hey, Google, winter is coming.”
2 Smart Power Management
While Apple has had power management in its phones for years for things like charging while protecting the battery or Low Power Mode, with the iPhone 12 they’ve added a new Smart Data mode. One of the drawbacks of 5G has been a high power consumption- and now that Apple has released phones capable of 5G service, they’ve added this new mode. The phone will automatically use existing LTE networks to save battery whenever the faster speeds of 5G aren’t necessary based on the current use. If the user switches to something more data-intensive, or an app in use needs more bandwidth, the phone will switch over automatically without input from the user.
What to do when bored: 53 boredom-busting activities
1) Run from zombies
Alternately looking at the four walls of your house can get pretty tiring. Take a walk outside and get some fresh air. If you’d like to do more, go for a short (or long) hike and enjoy nature. If you want added excitement, give the app Zombies, Run! a whirl. It transforms your walk, jog, or run into a mission to save the humanity from a zombie apocalypse.
If you prefer to be on wheels, riding a bike or taking a drive around the neighborhood is also a great option.
2) See how long you can last in P90X
Challenge yourself and see if you can get through a P90X workout. There are quite a few videos you can access through YouTube.
If you don’t feel like listening to a trainer, then opt for something simple and accomplish 100 jumping jacks. If you’re feeling energetic, follow it up with a full-on calisthenics workout.
3) Clean the house
If you’ve got carpet, do some vacuuming, and if it’s hardwood, sweep the floor and maybe polish it as well. Make an effort today and ensure that all beds in the house are made up. Do the dishes (or run the dishwasher). Do and fold the laundry. Mow the lawn, and if there’s a layer of snow, shovel it.
Make sure you list all your chores using the best to-do list apps on Android (some of them are also available for iOS). Ticking every accomplished task off your queue will give you the satisfaction as well as the drive to do more.
You’d be surprised at how much time it takes to get through all the household chores, but you’ll be even more surprised at how productive you’ll feel once you’re done with everything.
4) Rearrange your furniture
It doesn’t have to look perfect right away, and it doesn’t have to follow feng shui (unless that’s important to you), but sometimes all you need is a brand-new view to make a room feel exciting again.
You can check YouTube for arrangement how-to videos or Pinterest for design inspiration.
5) Give your closet a makeover
Sort through your wardrobe and get rid of clothes you haven’t worn in over six months. Organize more efficiently by downloading a wardrobe app like Stylebook.
Additionally, pick items you think you can sell and donate the rest to charity. This activity will help you feel good inside as well as create space in your cabinet for new apparel.
6) Eat, drink, and be merry
Prepare a meal and try a new recipe or reinvent one you already know by heart. If you prefer to use food items you already have on hand, Supercook is a cool website that generates recipes according to what’s already available so you don’t have to go on a supermarket run.
Better yet, order food to be delivered to your house. Feel free to splurge!
7) Do some gardening
Get down on your knees and feel the earth with your hands. Pull out the weeds and plant some pretty flowers. If it’s too wintery/cold/dreary where you are, do either of the following: Shovel the snow or lay in it and make snow angels.
8) Finish a puzzle
Do a crossword or try out Sudoku. Try to do both without peaking at the answer page. If you prefer clicking or tapping, download a crossword or Sudoku app on your device for the same effect.
9) Reconnect with your inner bookworm
Read that novel you’ve always been meaning to read. Plus points if it’s more than 500 pages or is part of a book series.
If you prefer to read something completely new, check out Goodreads for some recommendations.
10) Get to know the country you live in
Try to recreate the U.S. map by drawing it on paper and labeling the states. If you don’t know where the places are located, today seems like a good day like any to find that out. And of course, as always, there’s an app for that.
11) Watch something educational
Netflix has a slew of programs you can choose from like Bill Nye the Science Guy or Iron Chef America. (You’d be surprised to know how much you can learn from cooking competition shows.)
12) Read the news
Plus points if you read an actual newspaper, but if you don’t have one handy, browsing the Web will do.
13) Explore Wikipedia
You can learn so many things from the main page alone, but it’d be a lot cooler to use the site’s random page tool. Challenge yourself by reading and clicking the link for at least an hour.
14) Shop online for bargains
Amazon and eBay are both quick and easy stops to make for nothing specific, but feel free to check out specialty stores as well for daily deals and special discounts.
Check out your favorite brand of clothing, shoes, makeup, gadgets, and whatever else you can think of. You can pretty much buy anything online these days… even fancy cheese!
15) Make a list—any list
Jot down the things you need to buy at the supermarket. Take note of the tasks you need to accomplish each day this week. If you feel like it, stretch out your to-do’s to cover every month of this year. Again, there are apps for that.
16) Learn a new skill
Go on YouTube and follow a tutorial video of your choosing. Download an app that’ll help you learn something from scratch, like a new language.
17) Create a personal website
Design it according to your personality. Start a blog. Or better yet, start a vlog.
18) Play a game
If you’re by yourself, choose an online or video game that lets you battle against the computer. If you’re with other people, consider games that let you play in teams and utilize your creativity.
19) Improve your Instagram game
Look up a photo a day challenge list online and take photos with your phone. Feel free to download and use Instagram companion apps.
20) Take up the art of paper folding
Once you’ve mastered the basics, try to see if you can pull off more complicated origami (click on “Look Inside”).
21) Listen to a podcast
If you’ve neglected to keep up with the times last year and didn’t get on the Serial bandwagon, start with season 1 as soon as possible. Other shows to check out are This American Life, Snap Judgment, and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Star Talk Radio.
22) Watch a classic movie made before you were born
Pick one from the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest American Films of All-Time list or check out our list of the best free movies on YouTube.
23) Take a nap
Sometimes, the best solution is the simplest one.
24) Create a vision board for the year
Unleash your creativity and create a scrapbook of goals that you can hang on your wall. Use all sorts of coloring materials and old magazines for picture cut-outs.
Don’t forget to share it on social media.
25) Write, write, write
Start with something easy, like a poem. If you’re musically inclined, try composing a song and singing it out loud. If you’ve got the gift of the quill, create a short story or a play. (The last one is especially recommended if you’ve got people around you to act out the roles.)
Having a hard time getting started? Check out writing prompt apps and websites to get the creative juices flowing.
26) Go on a chick flick binge
See how many it takes to make you cry. Check out list of the best romantic comedies on Netflix and the best rom-coms of all time.
27) Listen to music
Create a music playlist or two. Pick multiple themes and have at least 30 songs per mix. Then have a dance party and play your lists on full volume.
28) Take a long bubble bath
If you can throw in a face mask and some aromatherapy candles, the better. (This is where an appropriate music playlist would come handy as well.)
29) Write handwritten letters to your friends
Practice calligraphy or writing in cursive while you’re at it.
30) Embrace your body
Hang out naked in your home for an hour or two. See what it feels like. (You probably shouldn’t take selfies during this time.)
31) Pick a TV show to binge
Opt for shows that have already concluded, like Friends, House, Dexter, The Office, or Gilmore Girls.
32) Reconnect with an old acquaintance
Pick a Facebook friend you haven’t spoken to in months and initiate a catch-up chat. If you’re not feeling particularly chatty, cull your Facebook friends list instead and unfriend contacts who haven’t spoken to you in years. (They probably won’t notice and besides, it’ll help make your newsfeed run better.)
33) Clean up your Facebook account
While you’re cleansing your friends list, go through your old photos and status updates and delete anything incriminating or anything that makes you cringe so it doesn’t show up under the “On This Day” feature.
34) Look up your family tree
Finding out about scandalous family members from earlier centuries and your ancestry could be fun.
35) Bake a bunch of desserts
Then feel absolutely zero guilt over eating all of it by yourself.
For a quick and easy source for instant treats, head to YouTube or follow Tip Hero on Facebook.
36) Watch funny videos on YouTube
YouTube is a rabbit hole, so expect to blow hours browsing through tons of hilarious clips.
37) Write yourself an email to receive in the future
38) Sit on your porch with a hot beverage and watch the sunset
Take a moment to meditate and feel the peace and gratitude wash over you.
39) Invite people over for a hang-out at your house
Nothing beats boredom than having other people to experience it with. Make it an impromptu party and call for a potluck.
40) Ride a bike
Going for a bike ride around our city or neighborhood is a great way to get exercise, fresh air, and maybe discover areas you didn’t know existed. If you don’t own a bike, no need to panic. A lot of cities are now adding bike-sharing programs like B-Cycle .
41) Download a dating app
Dating apps put its users under a spell where they hold on to the hope that maybe the next person they stumble upon will be their soulmate, causing them to continue an endless cycle of swiping left or right. There are many dating apps to download if you are tired of Tinder, and if you want to take it a step further, you can download a hookup app to get straight to the point.
42) Go to the farmers market
Farmers markets are typically held on weekends and offer a wide and colorful selection of fresh produce from local farms. It’s nice to know where your food comes from, and buying local produce gives back to the community by supporting local businesses and families.
43) Join an intramural sport
Joining an intramural sport like volleyball, softball, or soccer has a lot of benefits other than getting exercise without suffering. Intramural sports give people the opportunity to make new friends and possibly meet someone special, so show off those coordinated skills.
44) Go to your local coffee shop
Get out of your house and head over to a local coffee shop for a cup of cold brew. Reading a book in a bustling shop can be calming for some people, or if you are more the social type, make friends with the local barista and regulars that always chat it up with newcomers.
45) Treat yourself
Go to that new restaurant you’ve been craving that opened a few weeks ago. If you don’t feel comfortable sitting alone, you can invite a friend or order the food to-go. Sitting at the bar top is the best option for mingling and meeting new people while pairing a couple drinks with your meal.
Photo via Sodanie Chea/Flickr (CC-BY)
46) Watch porn
If you haven’t already thought to do this (and odds are, you have) skip the taboo mentality and just watch porn. There are a lot of websites to watch porn on, and a handful of surprising benefits when it comes to doing the deed as well. If you dive deep enough into the archives of different categories of porn, you may be amazed more than impressed.
47) Go to a museum
Depending on how big a museum is, or if the new exhibit is rich with history, you could spend hours studying every brush stroke and reading every description. Many art and history museums offer free entrance on Sundays and student discounts, but that is unlikely in cities like New York City and Washington, D.C.
48) Enroll in a class
Now, this may not sound like a “fun” option to some, but when tax season rolls around and you find yourself in a financial rut or are looking to start a business, it may be a good idea to enroll in a finance or an entrepreneur 101 course at your local community college. Or if you’re interested in picking up a new hobby, enroll in an art or music intro class.
49) Watch a trilogy
Nothing kills time like watching all of the Lord of the Rings movies or the entire Harry Potter series. Bonus points if you have a day to watch the whole Star Wars timeline in its entirety, including Rogue One.
50) Plan a trip
Plan out every aspect of a trip to a city you’ve never been to. Sure, traveling is a quick way to escape crushing boredom, but it also helps you grow as a person and take a necessary break, even if you’re just heading to the next town over.
51) Learn how to lucid dream
There’s something to be said for sleeping away your boredom, but what if you took it a step further? There’s a ton of research (professional and amateur) about lucid dreaming, or the state of being able to recognize and control your dreams as you’re in them. Read up and start napping.
52) Read some erotica
The internet is chock-full of sexy stories, and they’re probably more entertaining and time-consuming than your own fantasies. Check out the best erotica sites like Literotica and Reddit for hot submissions. Plus, read up on queer porn and erotica and even BDSM stories.
53) Become a relationship expert
Even if you’re not actively in a relationship, it’s alwyas interesting to read up on dating theories and best practices. There is no more useful art than the art of breaking up with someone, or actively defining the relationship. By the end of the day, you’ll be spewing psychology at your bae or sending a strategically flirty text to your potential future bae.
Still bored? Here’s the ultimate guide to getting consent , the best Tinder conversation starters, and the best self-care tips and ideas. Plus, read up on ethical and fair-trade porn and the best of NSFW Tumblr.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
Jam Kotenko is a technology reporter who specializes in coverage of Instagram, Facebook, and other social media apps. Her work has been published by Digital Trends, Bustle, and Gotta Be Mobile.
Kristen Hubby is a tech and lifestyle reporter. Her writing focuses on sex, pop culture, streaming entertainment, and social media, with an emphasis on major platforms like Snapchat, YouTube, and Spotify. Her work has also appeared in Austin Monthly and the Austin American-Statesman, where she covered local news and the dining scene in Austin, Texas.
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12 Things You Should Never-Ever Do With Your Kitchen Knives
Knives are crucial for cooking&mdashthey help you chiffonade your basil, dice your onions, and fillet your fish. But knives are also expensive, sharp, and a little daunting. Chances are good, however, that you have at least one knife you love in your kitchen&mdashbut are you treating it right? Whether it's that 8-inch chef knife you bought yourself when you got your first kitchen, the beautiful meat-cleaver you couldn't resist adding to your registry, or the itty-bitty pairing knife that's as cute as it is useful, following these little tips will ensure it'll last.
(Also, not to be a nag, but it's also important to choose the right knife for the job. You should check out that list, too.)
1. Never wash them in the dishwasher. You've heard this before&mdashit's basically the golden rule of knife care, for a number of reasons. They can get warped, the high-temperatures can damage the metal, and having knifes in the dishwasher is dangerous (see above). Wash your knives by hand with the blade pointing away from you and the sponge wrapped around the spine (aka the not sharp edge).
2. Never leave knives in the sink. Yes, this is a mixed message, especially since you shouldn't be putting your knives in the dishwasher. But the sink is not only a dangerous spot (hard-to-see-through water doesn't mix well with a sharp object), leaving your knife there can lead to rust.
3. Never put them away wet. It's the same concept: Wet knives can lead to rust, so save yourself time and money by drying your knives before storing them. (Also, putting a wet knife into a knife block can lead to mold and other disgusting bacteria. which is more gross than it is harmful to your blade.)
4. Never store them unprotected. Knifes are delicate, they should never end up in a drawer unprotected. Other knives (or forks and spoons) can nick your them and render them forever blemished. Instead use a knife blocks or a magnet strip to keep your knives safe and sound. Just remember to clean your knife block.
5. Never use glass cutting boards. We're not even sure why people make them in the first place: Chopping on any surface that's harder than your knife will hurt the blade. Always opt for a wood cutting boards to ensure you are treating your knife with adequate respect. (Be sure to use a cutting board this is the right size for your knife too! You can measure your cutting board by laying the knife you want to use across it at a diagonal. If the cutting board is 2-inches longer than you knife, you have the right size cutting board to use with that knife.)
6. Never use them when they're dull. A dull knife is a dangerous knife. You know how hard you have to work to get a dull knife through a piece of food. and your fingers are just there, waiting to be sliced? Enough said.
7. Never let your knife sit with food residue. Acid can corrode the metal, so it's important to rinse (and dry!) your knife as soon as you are done using it.
8. Never scrap up your food with the knife. Seems harmless, but you should never use your knife to scoop your chopped onions into your hand or your food scraps into the trash. This method, while seemingly convenient, dulls your knife&mdashwhich is a problem (see above). Instead use a bench knife (a must have kitchen tool) or the spine of your knife (the non-sharp edge).
9. Never chop up and down&mdashalways rock. Like this: When you are chopping up your garlic, use a gentle swaying motion instead of an aggressive up and down motion, which is both dangerous for your fingers and bad for the blade.
10. Never leave your knives near the edge of the counter. This is a no-brainer, but it begs repeating: The closer a knife is to the edge of the counter, the closer you are to a really bad accident.
11. Never try and catch a falling knife. It's natural instinct to reach for falling things&mdashseriously&mdashso just back out of the way when your knife tumbles towards the floor.
12. Never use your knife directly after sharpening. Honing and sharpening your knife produces microscopic bits of metal that can get into your food. So after you sharpen, wash it or wipe it down with a dish cloth.
21 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Your Kindle
Here's a list of the over 8,000 e-book titles you can read for free. Project Gutenberg is another great resource for free, downloadable e-books.
Pixel of Ink and Centsless Books feature e-books that are free or sold at a deep discount for a limited time. Open Library is a site where you can borrow or read over 1 million titles.
If you have the older Kindle Keyboard 3G ($139), you can access up to 50MB of cellular data for free all over the world. Wikipedia and the Kindle Store can still be accessed after hitting the 50MB limit. In the menu, tap Experimental > Launch browser.
Kate of See Kate Sew crafted a genius DIY zippered book clutch made out of an old hardcover. It's easily adaptable to fit Kindles — just use extra zipper. See the full tutorial here.
Conversely, press and hold "–" for minimum brightness, instead of having to tap multiple times. This feature only applies to Paperwhite and Voyage models.
The Kindle Owners' Lending Library makes over 800,000 titles available to people with e-ink Kindle e-readers or Kindle Fire tablets and an Amazon Prime membership.
To access the free collection on your Kindle, head to the Kindle Store, tap All Categories and click on Kindle Owners' Lending Library. Browse books and, when you've found your desired title, tap Borrow for Free.
On the Kindle Voyage and Paperwhite, press two opposite corners of the screen at the same time to capture a screenshot. For the Kindle Touch, hold down the home button, then tap the screen. If you have the original Kindle, hold alt + shift + G.
To download the images, you need to plug the Kindle into your personal computer via USB. The screenshots are exported as .png files.
Follow the instructions above!
Like reading in the hot tub or bath? Slip your Kindle into a Ziploc.
TheFictionary.net offers comprehensive, spoiler-free Kindle dictionaries for works of fantasy, sci-fi, young adult, and classic literature. A must for those who love A Song of Ice and Fire or J.R.R. Tolkien's books.
Clear up some space on the homescreen. On your Kindle, tap the menu bar in the upper right > Settings > Parental Controls > Restrictions > slide Kindle Store to off and tap OK.
You can send over 10 file types to your Kindle — including .pdf, .doc, .html, .rtf, .jpeg, .mobi, .gif, .png, and .bmp — by emailing the attachment to your Kindle email address.
There are two ways to do this:
1. Download to Send to Kindle for Mac or PC.
2. Find your Kindle address at Manage Your Content and Devices > Settings > Personal Document Settings. It should look like this: [email protected]. Then add your personal email to the Approved Document Email List.
Enable Wi-Fi on your Kindle. Add "free" to @free.kindle.com to send the document without charge. Without adding "free," you will be charge 15 cents per megabyte domestically, and 99 cents per megabyte internationally.
When creating PDFs, keep your Kindle dimensions in mind. Make a 5.5 x 7 inch document with small margins (like .25). K2pdfopt is a useful online tool that will reformat existing PDFs for smaller e-ink screens.
Repurpose your janky old three-ring binder! Find the full tutorial at Chica and Jo.
Any standard book stand should fit the Kindle. Buy it for $8 on Amazon.
There are many ways to transfer web articles to your Kindle, but the most efficient is via Instapaper, a bookmarking app for iOS, Android, and the web. Once you create an account, go to Settings and scroll down to Kindle for delivery options. Now, every time you save an article to Instapaper, it's automatically pushed to your Kindle account.
Wordcycler is a Windows-only app that allows two-way sync for Instapaper. Once an article is deleted on your Kindle, the app archives it on Instapaper.
Eligible books can be lent one time, for 14 days. Log on to your Amazon account, then head to Amazon.com/mycd. Select the title, click the ellipses action button, then select Loan this title. If that option isn't available, that book can't be lent. Here's a list of lendable Kindle books.
Reading time is the amount, in hours (or days) that you have left to finish a book. It's based on your personalized reading time. To reset it, type ResetReadingTime (caps matter) in the search bar. It'll then show you a search page that will yield no results. Tap the back button and you should see "Learning reading speed. " at the bottom left.
Calibre is *the* file converter for e-books.
BookDrop is a simple way to transfer books to your Kindle. Once a book is dropped into the BookDrop folder, it will be sent to your Kindle.
NOTE: For advanced techies only! The No. 1 reason why most people do this is the ability to use a custom Kindle screensaver or wallpaper. It's the image you see when Kindles without ads are in sleep mode.