10 Common-Sense Hacks I Figured Out This Year

Here are 10 basic hacks I figured out this year either from a tip, looking at something and going, "why not?" or finding a better way to make things happen I do every day.

1. Cooling a Laptop - Is your laptop running too hot? Do you have a set of game dice? Take them, prop up the far end of your laptop on a flat surface when using it so that the keyboard is on a slight angle towards you. Use the dice as a low level support prop on both sides. Believe it or not, the simple air flow allowed will cool your laptop down by up to 5C simply allowing heat to escape from underneath where the fan usually vents as well as to the sides. This is really handy when running a high-processing program or script cranking out your CPU or GPU. Also, make sure to check if your laptop has performance settings. If so, crank your laptop fan up to extreme when the CPU is working. It saves you from having to do the same manually. This is practically a built-in tool on MSI laptops, for example. 

2. Can't Get the Last Peanut Butter - Okay, this one is for anyone who has food in a jar container and the opening is smaller than the diameter of the container. If you do nothing, you end up wasting like 10 percent of the food you already paid for. Instead of using a butter knife or spoon, use a flat baking rubber spatula, the flexible kind. Now, insert, spin the jar, and scoop up all the peanut butter you were otherwise going to throw away. Makes about 3 more sandwiches doing that. Works for jams too.

3. My House Feels Cold All the Time - Wear a hat. Two-thirds of your body heat goes out the top of your head trying to protect your brain. Wearing a hat traps it, and makes the rest of your body warmer. 

4. My Coffee Gets Cold Too Fast - Use a thermos. There are lots of smaller ones available now. I use Contigos. Pour in creamer and fill up two of them when the coffee is piping hot. You'll have warm coffee for about 4-5 hours afterwards. 

5. My Chicken Has No Taste When Cooked - Brine it. Learn how to soak your chicken in the fridge with salt and water prior to cooking then next day. The chicken soaks up the water and salt, and you have better taste. It works the same way as a marinade. 

6. The Inside of My PC is a Mess - Get small zip-ties and organize your internal PC wires. This will help with air flow, make it easier to move and change out parts, and keep your PC unit a lot easier to manage.

7. I'm Bored - Go to the hardware store, get a grabber tool (looks like a long stick with a squeezable handle on one end and a closing claw on the other), and then go for a walk. Look around, grab anything that looks interesting. More than likely, you'll end up with about $5 in recyclable bottles and cans, and you may find more valuable stuff like money, dropped tools, lost property and even weird things. I found a jacket pin to the Church of Jesus Christ Inc. the other day. 


Grabber Image: Shmuser, CC SA

8. I Need Something to Do - Visit goodwill stores. These places are bit like a modern day treasure hunt. People donate stuff to them for tax deductions, and the stores sell the stuff for income. Sometimes they just have junk, but once in a while they have some awesome finds. I found a brand new, unwrapped Cisco network switch for $5, and I got my kid a triple set for anime artwork books for $10. I also find cool IT books for $1, like Unix Bash Scripting and C++ guides. 

9. I Want to be Entertained for Free - Connect with your local library. In addition to books, they lend a ton of DVD movies, video games and for in-person borrowing they even let patrons borrow equipment. Some will lend tools, bikes and even video game consoles.

10.  I Need a New Job - Become an AI Generative Scripter. Apparently, people still need writers who can describe things to then create the right computer-generated AI they want (yes, there is a joke in that sentence). AI scripting is apparently all the rage now in 2024 because, as we all know, you need to know how to write to get AI to do anything. That will work until probably Alexa figures out how to think up AI for us without writing.

Seriously, people think I'm joking about #10, and then I get stuff like this on Twitter...


I put some more hacks in the links below. My favorite is the kid's pool noodle hack for transferring water.


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A professional freelance writer for the last 20 years and a budding photographer by hobby.

The Intersect of Crypto Musings & Consumer Impacts
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