Friday, May 14, 2010

RFID blocker

Maybe I am just overly paranoid, but these days RFIDs are everywhere. They're in your credit cards, your cell phone, employment badges, public transportation passes, electronic toll booths, retail packaging. They are used to find lost pets, track livestock, and in some cases implanted in you.

If you are worried about someone stealing your identity or credit card information using a RFID reader, here is a simple trick for you:

Cut a piece of aluminum foil about the size of a dollar bill, and place it in your wallet. When your wallet is folded up in your pocket, any credit cards or ID badges wrapped inside the foil will be impervious to an RFID reader. I experimented at work, and sure enough my proximity card won't open my office door if there's a sheet in aluminum foil between the card and the reader.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Great Marinades and Seasoning for Free

The summer grilling season is almost here, and the only thing better a marinated tri-tip, is not paying $4.00 for a bottle of marinade. Here's how:

We've all seen the marinaded meats behind the glass at our local grocery store, but what you may not know is that most butchers will happily add your choice of marinades, and seasonings to any meat you buy for free.

Our local Safeway, has a very friendly butcher. He's always talking about what's on sale, grilling techniques, and all his must try recipes. It seems like every time we go in he's got a new marinade. Routinely we'll select a nice package of ribs, steak, or chops, and bring it to the butcher counter. He'll ask us what kind of marinade we want, put the meat in a zip lock bag, and add a generous portion of marinade. The marinade begins soaking into the meat before we have even finished shopping, and it is usually ready to cook when we get home.

So, the next time you buy grilling meat, try having the butcher add a marinade or seasonings.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Understanding Time Constraints

Always strive to do your best, but take into consideration uncontrollable factors like time.

Suppose we are entering a sand castle making contest, and the lucky winner will receive a new pick-up truck. You are probably already thinking about how to build your castle. Now ask yourself how time can affect the quality of your castle. If you were given a week to build the castle, it would probably include a tower, a mote, windows, and a working drawbridge. If you were only given 30 seconds, the castle would probably resemble a square shaped ant hill. In this example, time plays a significant role in the outcome of your castle, regardless of your effort. This concept carries over to many situations in life.

When you are confronted with any task, the first question to ask yourself is how much time and effort is needed to accomplish it. If while hiking, you come across a stream, you may want to use a log to make a temporary bridge. But if this stream was on your property and used daily to get to your house, it might make more sense to construct a proper bridge.

Trying to build the Great Wall of China in a day will surely lead to disappointment, just like using chewing gum to fix a plumbing leak is a bad idea. The appropriate time and effort must be factored into every task to get adequate results.

If my boss asks when I'll have a report ready, I usually estimate the time and add another day or two. This way when I finish early, I look like a hero, and if I run into problems I can still get it to him on time.

By understanding time constraints, you can better allocate you time and paved the way to achievable success.