Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How taking a step back from social media can help you progress - via simplyzesty.com

How taking a step back from social media can help you progress

Having to work is a fact of life and the majority of us are doing it with the help of computers and other digital equipment, allowing us to work from anywhere, staying connected and up to date with any changes or situations that may occur.

However, as handy as this is, fatigue can set in when we’re trying to keep up to date with many different sites and streams or have easily hit a rut in how you’re using social media through overuse.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or you’re finding yourself blankly staring at the screen, unsure as to what to write, then taking a step back can help you become more effective and productive in the long run. If you’re feeling like this, here are some things worth considering:

1) The internet changes quickly but not immediately

Not a tip per say but perhaps the most important point made here. The internet may be a rapidly changing beast but rapidly doesn’t mean instantaneous meaning you don’t have to be online all the time.

Think about social media along the same lines as a watching a 24 hour news station. While there’s a chance that you’ll get a new news update immediately, the reality is that such updates tend to be very slow, leaving the reporter to repeating the same updates regularly until then. The real purpose of 24 hour news stations is that you can catch the news at a time that suits you and you could say that social media follows a similar train of thought.

If you’re addicted to the internet and find it difficult to wean yourself off, ask yourself this: is there a difference if you reply to your friend tweet ten minutes later rather than ten seconds? The answer is no. Quite simply, don’t let the internet dictate your schedule. It’s very useful but it will still be there if you just so happen to leave it for an hour or two.

The exception to the rule is if you’re a company and you deal with queries and complaints through social media. Then it’s not a bad idea to divide such duties between two or three people so that someone will be able to give a quick and sufficient response at times throughout the day.

2) Dedicate time away from your computer

Tying in with the last point, if your job requires you to work on a computer for most of the day, then you’re going to feel somewhat jaded from sitting in the same spot and staring at a monitor for a prolonged period.

You owe it to yourself  to dedicate some time away from your computer and spending an hour doing an alternative activity to refresh your mind. Go for a walk, meet up with friends, play sports, exercise; anything that takes you away from the screen. If you’re feeling that way at work then take small 5-10 minute breaks every now and again to move about and stretch out

That way, when you come back to your computer, you’ll be more refreshed and your eyes will feel better from not straining them by looking at a screen continuously. Also tweets and status updates tend to be more interesting when they’re about things that can’t be experienced when you’re online.

3) Take things one step at a time

If you’re building up your twitter profile and are trying to come up with tweets or status updates that will make people want to follow you from the get go, then you’ll only be disappointed. Such a process doesn’t happen overnight and instead it’s those who are consistently tweeting or updating their profile are the ones that have been using social media for a while.

If you were running a marathon, you would spend weeks or months training to prepare for it instead of just turning up on the day. Social media is the same except there’s no deadline meaning you can take things at your own pace. There’s no rush nor is anyone telling you what you should do, just tweet what you want to say and soon enough, people will begin to respond to you and vice versa.

If you’re feel somewhat aimless, then set achievable and reasonable targets – for example if you had just started twitter, then aim to publish at least one tweet and one reply every day – and then build from that. By making it a habit, you’ll quickly get better at it before it until it becomes second nature for you.

4) Put things down on paper

Sure you can write a to-do list on MS word or a similar word processor but that’s missing the point. If you’re having problems deciding what you need to do  or processing your thoughts, then take out a notepad and pen and write down everything you need to do that day or week.

Not only does it break up what jobs or tasks you need to do into more manageable chunks making you more productive but you’ll feel more inclined to complete them as it’s there in physical form, adding more value to you psychologically then it would on-screen.

Also using your pen to strike out something on your list is perhaps one of the most satisfying feelings you can get.

Posted via email from ://allthings-bare

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Download.com Adds Opt-Out Bloatware to Software Installers - via Lifehacker


Download.com Adds Opt-Out Bloatware to Software InstallersIf you're in the habit of downloading software installers from CNET's Download.com, you may want to reconsider: The popular download site now wraps most of the software installers it hosts with opt-out bloatware.

A developer on Hacker News first noticed that Download.com had started wrapping his application installer in their own installer—one with a required opt-out that, if missed, installs a "StartNow" toolbar, sets Bing as your default search engine, and sets MSN as your browser homepage. As ExtremeTech's Lee Matthews points out, you can tell in advance if an installer includes Download.com's crappy wrapper by looking at the installer's name—if the file starts with cnet_, it includes their bloatware installer.

Like most Lifehacker readers, we're not keen on applications that try installing opt-out-required toolbars or those that hijack your browser's defaults. The somewhat forgivable aspect: Developers like to make money, and in a world with so much great freeware, those tricky toolbars can be an effective option. But it only seems appropriate for it to be the developer's choice, and if the developer so chooses, that she reaps the financial benefits.

So keep your eyes open, and if you do commonly grab apps from Download.com, you might want to consider a new destination.

Hacker News | ExtremeTech | gHacks

Posted via email from ://allthings-bare

Monday, August 22, 2011

Square Card Case now available | TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Square has released their Square Card Case app today, which allows anyone to open up a tab at a local merchant and pay without having to swipe their credit card. The Square Card Case works by allowing users to enter their credit card details into their Square account.

Once at a local merchant who uses the Square Register app, users can start a tab of things they've purchased. When they are ready to check out, the Square Card Case user speaks their name into the app and their tab is displayed on the merchant's Square Register app where the transactions are tallied and paid for using the Card Case user's credit card on file. Upon completion of a transaction, a digital receipt is sent to the email address on file.

A big plus of using Square Card Case is the ability to pay at local merchants right from your iPhone. However, right now, the Card Case app is only useful if you live in New York City, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Los Angeles or St. Louis. But as more merchants start using Square, the Card Case app is sure to catch on. Square Credit Card users don't have to worry about any extra fees on their end either. Like using a regular credit card, Square charges the merchant per transaction.

Square today also updated their Square credit card reader app. The update offers improved transaction speeds, no signature required for transactions $25 or less and the ability to enter $0.00 transactions (useful for when the merchant wants to keep track of items, but doesn't charge for them -- like a free bottled water when you buy a hotdog). The Square Card Case app and the Square credit card reader app are free downloads in the App Store.

Posted via email from ://allthings-bare

How To Access Your Machines Using DNS Names with DD-WRT - How-To Geek

We’ve shown you how to statically set the IPs on your network, now lets flip that DNS switch for added elegance and ease of use. Today’s guide will show you how to access your machines using DNS names on your DD-WRT enabled router.

Image by Henk L


On our How To Set Up Static DHCP on Your DD-WRT Router guide, we’ve talked about making sure that your clients will always get the same IP address from the router. So now if you want to access one of the machines on your network, as you know it’s IP, you can use that… but using IPs just doesn’t have the same elegance as using names. Also, with the usefulness of “static IP”s dwindling due to the rise of UPnP, and the inconvenience of setting up “static reservations“ (having to find the MACs and alike)… What if you don’t want to remember IPs at all?
That is where DNS comes in.

The Problem

Your trying to reach from one machine/device on your network to the other using its IP address (using ping for example) and it works. However, when trying to do the same using it’s hostname like “mydesktop” or “mylaptop”? it is a hit and miss… sometimes it works…. usually it doesn’t… :\

What is going on?

Your devices don’t know who and how they should ask for the “name” to “IP” translation, because they are missing a key configuration, the “DNS suffix”.

When a computer needs to translate a name to an IP address (called “resolve”) it has a couple of ways to do it, one of the ways is to ask a Domain Naming System (DNS) server. However, to be able to do so, the client must ask the question in the form of a “Fully Qualified Domain Name” (FQDN).

An FQDN consists of the hostname like “mydesktop” and the DNS zone it belongs to like “geek.lan”. So in our example, the FQDNs for the hosts would be “mydesktop.geek.lan” and ”mylaptop.geek.lan” respectively. When a client doesn’t have the “DNS zone” at hand, it is unable to ask the DNS about a  “flat” name (a name that doesn’t specify the “DNS zone”). That is, to actually reach your host by name, you would need to ping “mydesktop.geek.lan”.
However, if the DNS suffix was defined in some way (either manually or automatically), the client will automatically try to append it to the requested hostname and ask a DNS server if it can help with the resolve.
With that said, if the DNS suffix is not defined, the client does try to find out the name on its own, using a “DNS broadcast”. The problem with that is that not all clients are configured to answer, or are actually configured to deliberately not answer such a request. In contrast, it would simply be annoying to specify the FQDN every single time.

The solution

In order to have the full infrastructure that will fix this problem, one only needs to set the “DNS suffix” on the “DHCP scope” of the *router. Doing so will both make it so the router will now have a “dynamic DNS” server service that clients can register themselves to, make it so the DHCP service it self will do the same for none-self-registering hosts and deliver the “DNS suffix” as part of the “DHCP lease” given to the clients. Therefore making the entire solution a self sustaining, default behaving solution that solves all the problems in one fail swoop…. neat, A?

*When using DD-WRT… with other routers, your mileage may vary.

To do this, go into your router’s Administration page:

dhcp suffix1

  1. Go into –>  Services
  2. Change, “Used Domain” to be “LAN & WLAN”
  3. Choose a Domain name, we’ve used “geek.lan” for this example, but you can use *whatever you want.
  4. While using Static DHCP reservations is optional for this procedure, if you chose to implement it, it is recommended that you set the hostname, to match the one that is set on the machine/device’s OS. Now if it just so happens that the devices OS, doesn’t register a name in DNS (like phones) this is a good way to force one on it.
  5. Click “Save” –> “Apply Settings”.

*The one exception to that rule, is that if you use “.local”, while your windows machines will probably do just fine, your Linux machines will adhere to the mDNS (Multicast DNS) standard and will again ignore the DNS server. There is a workaround, but it’s beyond the scope of this guide.

Now to check that the settings have taken affect, go to the command line and issue an “ipconfig”.

You should see that your DNS suffix is currently none-existing as below:

dhcp suffix2

Issue an “ipconfig /release” followed by an “ipconfig /renew”, and you should see something like:

dhcp suffix3

Repeat the procedure on at least one more machine and try pinging, using only the hostname name.

You should see that the client has “auto-magically” understood that the full name of the device you’re pinging is “hostname.dns.zone”, and was able to translate (resolve) the FQDN to a ping-able IP:

dhcp suffix4


As this guide is about using DNS like the How to Remove Advertisements with Pixelserv on DD-WRT guide was, If you run into problems there are a couple of things to do:

  • Clear your personal machines DNS cache.
    This is because of a DNS cache, that may fool your computer into thinking it already knows the hostname, without consulting the DNS for it. On windows this would be “ipconfig /flushdns”.
  • Make sure your client is using the router as the DNS and that it resolves the FQDN.
    Especially when using a VPN or a network that is more complex then the normal router to computer setup, it is possible that your client computer is simply not using the router as its DNS. It is very easy to see using the command “nslookup” below what is the DNS server the client is using. If the IP is not the same as the router, you have found the problem.
    dhcp suffix5

That’s it… you should be all set Smile

Hurry, all I see is darkness.

Posted via email from ://allthings-bare

Friday, August 19, 2011

Where's Wall-E?

How to Close a Program That Is Not Responding


How to Close a Program That Is Not RespondingEvery computer user at some point will likely have to deal with a program that just stops responding. The application simply freezes or hangs. Here's how to completely close the program with Windows' Task Manager or Mac OS X's Force Quit.

Remember what it was like when applications never froze? Me neither. But new computer users who have never hit Ctrl+Alt+Del (or the more direct Ctrl+Shift+Esc shortcut) will definitely need to learn how to use End Task on Windows or Force Quit on the Mac; you could email these directions to them or print it out as a handy reference for the future.

Windows: End Task on the Task Manager

To close a program that's frozen on Windows:

  • Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to directly open the Task Manager.
  • In the Applications tab, click on the program that's not responding (the status will say "Not Responding") and then click the End Task button.
  • In the new dialog box that appears, click End Task to close the application.

Mac: Force Quit

Mac OS X has both keyboard shortcuts for closing applications that aren't responding and menu options.

  • To force quit an application with your mouse, click on its icon in the dock and just hold down the left mouse button until the "Force Quit" option appears. Or, optionally, you can right-click and choose "Force Quit"
  • To select from a list of applications to quit, click on the Apple icon in the menu bar, then "Force Quit"
  • The keyboard shortcut to quit the application on top that isn't responding is Cmd+Opt+Shift+Esc
  • The keyboard shortcut to get the Force Quit menu of all applications open is Cmd+Opt+Esc

Alan Henry's got a nice video showing these Force Quit shortcuts in action.

Going Forward

If a specific program keeps freezing on you, it's a sign that someting's wrong. Application freezes can be due to a number of issues, though, like software bugs or hardware driver issues, which makes troubleshooting a bit difficult.

Your best bet is to make sure your operating system is up to date, check if there are any updates for your software and hardware drivers, and make sure you have your anti-virus and anti-spyware running and up to date as well. These are all part of basic Windows maintenance and Mac maintenance essentials (we've got a Linux maintenance guide too). If you continue to have problems with one specific program freezing, check the vendor's support website for a solution.

Emailable Tech Support is a tri-weekly series of easy-to-share guides for the less tech savvy people in your life. Got a beginner tech support question you constantly answer? Let us know at tips@lifehacker.com. Remember, when you're just starting out computing, there's very little that's too basic to learn.

You can follow or contact Melanie Pinola, the author of this post, on Twitter.

Posted via email from ://allthings-bare

Know Your Network, Lesson 4: Access Your Home Computers from Anywhere via lifehacker.com


Know Your Network, Lesson 4: Access Your Home Computers from AnywhereYou've picked out your hardware and set up the basics, and configured your network to perform at its best and fastest. Now it's time to open the gates to the outside world. In this lesson, we're going to walk you through how to set up your router so you access your home computers from anywhere—and with your own friendly, easy-to-remember URL.

Setting up remote access to your local network is one of the coolest things you can do with your router, as it allows you to remotely view your screen, access files, control services like BitTorrent remotely, and so on. Basically, anything you can do at home can be made possible by just opening a few ports on your router. It can seem a little daunting if you've never done it before, but once you understand what everything means and where to find the information you need, you should have no trouble getting things to work. We're going to go over basic setup and then talk briefly about a few bonus options as well.

Port Forwarding and More

By default, your local network is local and cut off from the rest of the internet. In most cases you have just one IP address that's shown to the world, despite the many that your router distributes to your individual computers and devices locally. What port forwarding does is take a port on that shared IP address that's available to the rest of the web and forwards it to one of your local machines. This lets people from outside access services on your local network.

Setting up port forwarding is pretty straightforward, but before you get started, you need to know what ports you want to open up. Most of the time, you'll set up port forwarding on an as-needed basis—say after you've set up a new service on your computer For example, if you're trying to run a web server off your machine you'll need to open up port 80. If you want to open up SSH access, you'll need to open up port 22. Those are just two of many possibilities, and you probably don't have every port for every service memorized.

This is where a site like PortForward.com can help, as it provides a handy list of common ports for specific services. You can use this list to check which ports you need to open for whatever services you want to make available from outside your home network.

Once you've figured out all the ports you want to open, just head on over to the port forwarding section of your router (if you don't know where it is, just click around a little). In DD-WRT, it's in the NAT & QoS section. Other routers may list it simply as Port Forwarding (all on its own) or Virtual Servers. Let's take a look at what a filled-out port forwarding table looks like:

While things may differ slightly depending on your router's firmware, this table is pretty standard. Here's what all of those fields mean:

  1. Application - The name of the application you're forwarding this port for. You can use any descriptive text you want—this field is here to help you remember why you set this up; like the name suggests, you normally want to use the name of the application you're setting up port forwarding for. I also include my computer's name along with the service, since I forward ports for the same applications on different computers. For example, you'll see VNC service set up for both Grey and Hunter. I include their names in the Application section so I know which port forwarding rule is for which computer.
  2. Port to - "Port to" is the port on your local IP address. If you were setting up VNC for a local computer, you'd fill this in with 5900 as that's the port number VNC uses.
  3. Port from - "Port from" is the port on your external IP address. Generally you'll also enter the same port as you would in the "Port to" field. This works just fine when you're configuring only one machine for one type of service. But say you wanted to be able to remotely access two or more computers using VNC. If you used 5900 on a single, external IP address they would be in conflict. The router would see a request for port 5900 and not know which local IP address should handle that request since the port forwarding table has two. To solve this problem, you can use the standard port for one and not for the other—kind of like an apartment building has a single address but multiple apartments. As you can see in the sample routing table above, Grey's "Port from" is set to 5900 while Hunter's "Port from" is set to 5901. If you try to use VNC normally on my external IP address, you'll be asked to log in to Grey because it uses the standard port. If you want to access Hunter, however, you can easily do so by just using port 5901 instead of the default. This way you can set up identical services with a single external IP address without conflicts.
  4. Protocol - This is where you specify whether or not your service uses the TCP protocol, UDP protocol, or both. When you look up your ports you'll also want to make note of the protocols used. In most cases it will just be TCP.
  5. IP Address - This is where you specify the LAN (local area network) IP address of the computer you want to use for this port forwarding rule. You can easily find this information in your computer's network settings. The IP address will generally be in the 192.168.x.x or 10.0.x.x format. Because these IP address are generally dynamic (meaning they can change), you'll want to either set up static IP addresses or DHCP reservations. More information on that is available below.
  6. Enable - You need to check this box to enable the port forwarding rule. If you don't check it, you'll still be able to save the rule but it won't be active or function in any way.

Now that you understand what these fields mean, click the "Add" button at the bottom to add a new port forwarding rule. Fill everything out with the desired information (such as port 21 for FTP, 22 for SSH, 5900 for VNC, etc.) and don't forget to check the enable box to make sure everything works. When you're done entering all your rules, save it and you're all set.

Port Range Forwarding

Sometimes you want to open a range of ports on a particular machine and not just one at a time. Some routers offer the option of port range forwarding in addition to regular old port forwarding (like we just discussed). This works in the same way, except you specify a range (e.g. ports 21 - 80).


DMZ stands for De-Militarized Zone and is a simple way to open up every port on a single computer. If your router has this feature, just visit the DMZ page and enter that computer's IP address. While convenient if you only have one computer you want available for remote access, this isn't very secure. You're essentially allowing any kind of traffic to be forwarded to this machine. Even if you only have one computer, you're still better off manually entering each service you want to open. Only use this if you really have a good reason to do so.

DHCP Reservations

One of the annoying aspects of port forwarding is that your router dynamically assigns IP addresses to your computers. That means the local IP addresses of you computers may change, which can render that port forwarding you did incorrect or non-functional. While setting up static IP addresses on your local machine is one option, DHCP reservations are better if you've got the option in your router. This is common in Linksys and D-Link routers but generally not included in Belkin. It's also available in DD-WRT in the Services section, but it's easy to miss.

DHCP reservations let you specify static local IP addresses on the router's side so that when your computer connects to your network, your router will always assign it the same local IP address. To set it up, decide what local IP address you want for a given computer (or other device) and find it's MAC address. Your MAC address is a 12-digit alphanumeric string separated by two digits at a time. It generally looks like 1A-2B-3C-4D-5E-6F or 1A:2B:3C:4D:5E:6F. To locate it on Windows, click the Start menu and choose run. Then type ipconfig/all. The "Physical Address" is your MAC address. On Mac OS X, just open System Preferences, choose Network, click More Info, and then the Hardware tab. Your MAC address should be the first thing displayed. Once you've got that you can just enter it in the reservation list with the local IP address you want and you're also set. Just be sure to save and enable it. You may need to restart your router to see the changes take effect, but once you do the computers and devices in the reservations table will retain the same local IP addresses. This solves pretty much every kind of problem. For information on setting this up, check out our guide to DHCP reservations.

Assign a Friendly Domain Name to Your Router with Dynamic DNS

DNS is a service that lets you access your home computers using a nice doman name (e.g. myfancyrouter.net) instead of a numeric IP address (e.g. Depending on your internet provider, however, your external IP address may periodically change. That's why you need Dynamic DNS. It points a friendlier domain name to your numeric IP address just like regular DNS, but compensates for that IP address' proclivity to change. So, rather than typing in 76.xxx.xx.xx every time you want to remotely access your home computer, you can type something friendly like myawesomecomputer.dyndns.tv.

You can accomplish this task in a couple of ways. First, you can download some software from your dynamic DNS provider that will automatically check and update your external IP address at a set interval. Second, your router may already support some dynamic DNS providers and can perform this update for you automatically (which is the easier method). Two of the most popular providers of dynamic DNS services are DynDNS and No IP, but there are others. These services are generally free but offer perks at a cost. Some routers only support one of these services, but custom firmware like DD-WRT support both and more.

To set up dynamic DNS, you just need to sign up for an account with one of these services and enter your account credentials into the dynamic DNS section on your router. If your router doesn't support your service of choice, you can just download software from your service provider like we mentioned earlier. You'll need to keep this software running pretty much 24/7, so it's definitely better if you can leave the task of dynamic DNS to your router.

If you want further setup instructions, here's how to set things up with DynDNS and No IP. Your router may support other services, but it's likely to support at least one of those.

That's all for today's lesson. In our final lesson, we'll be taking a look at some fun and useful bonus features you may have on your router plus resources for learning more. As always, if you're behind on our lessons, you can always find everything you've missed on the Lifehacker Night School tag page. You can follow Adam Dachis, the author of this post, on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.  Twitter's the best way to contact him, too.

Posted via email from ://allthings-bare

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Know Your Network, Lesson 3: Maximize Your Speed, Performance, and Wireless Signal via lifehacker.com


Know Your Network, Lesson 3: Maximize Your Speed, Performance, and Wireless SignalYou've picked your router and set up all the basics, so now it's time to optimize your network. In this lesson, we're going to look at how to improve your network's speed and wireless signal so it's operating at full capacity.

In theory, your network should work just fine as-is, but we all know that reality can differ from what should ideally be the case. How well your router performs is going to depend on a lot of factors, so these tips and tricks might work better for some than others. For example, strategies for improving your wireless signal aren't going to do much unless your router is dealing with some interference. On the other hand, tweaks can only do so much if you're dealing with really bad interference. That said, whether the improvement is marginal or great, we're going to look at all sorts of ways to get your network running as fast and efficiently as possible.

Use Your Wires Whenever Possible

Know Your Network, Lesson 3: Maximize Your Speed, Performance, and Wireless SignalWi-Fi is nice, but it's rife with signal issues and slower than a wired ethernet connection—even when Wi-Fi is performing its best. If you can wire up your devices, you should. When transferring files between devices you'll always get better performance over a wire, and internet connections over 25mpbs will also benefit from wires. That may seem strange when many routers advertise wireless speeds that are much higher, but real-world performance is generally far lower.

If you can't wire up your home, power line ethernet adapters (like Belkin's gigabit option) can be a good alternative. It's pretty rare that you'll have a power line capable of maintaining gigabit speeds, but you may still achieve better performance than you would over the air with 802.11n. If you want to give power line adapters a shot, just buy a set from a store with a good return policy and see how they work. If they don't, you can always take them back. If they do, you can buy as many as you need. Just be sure to test them on every outlet you're going to use, since some outlets work better than others with power line adapters.

Check out our guide on ditching wireless and going completely wired in your home for more tips.

Improve Your Wi-Fi Signal

There are plenty of tricks you can employ to improve your Wi-Fi signal. Your mileage may vary depending on your situation, but most methods are pretty easy and worth a look. In this section, we're going to take a look at our favorites. They're all things you can accomplish with very little effort.

Choose the Best Wireless Channel

While radio frequency interference is going to be an issue in your home, one of the biggest causes of interference that'll slow down your Wi-Fi speed is other Wi-Fi routers in your area. That's often because most Wi-Fi routers default to the same channels: 6 or 11. (You don't need to understand all of this to fix the problem, but we'll explain.) Additionally, the standard channel width is 20 MHz, which means that even though you're on channel 6, which has a frequency of 2.437 GHz, your channel width spans 20 MHz around that frequency. Since each channel is only 5 MHz apart from the next, your signal is bleeding into the others. While you can adjust the channel width, this may only help some of the time as your router's needs will change. Ideally channel width would be adaptive, but since that isn't a reality the best thing you can do is pick a channel as far from the others as possible.

Previously mentioned wireless network locater WiFi Stumbler is a webapp that provides a simple way to check what channels are in use in your computer's range. Simply look for the channel with as much space around it as possible and use that channel instead of what you're currently using. Also note that while you may pick up competing signals on the same channel, if they're all very weak that can be a better choice than choosing a lesser-used channel with a strong, competing signal.

Basically, if your neighbor's on channel 1 and a few people down the block are using channel 4 (and you're somehow picking up their Wi-Fi), you're still probably better off using channel 4 for your Wi-Fi. That is, unless there's a huge amount of interference on channel 5. As you can see it can get a little tricky, but the goal is to pick a channel that keeps its distance from other signals with the same or overlapping frequencies.

We discussed where to change this settings in the previous lesson, but you'll generally find it in your basic wireless settings on your router. It tends to sit in the same section as your SSID.

Boost Your Signal's Transmit Power

Your Wi-Fi router transmits its signal with a set amount of power, but that's something you can adjust. In theory, if your signal sucks you'd want to just transmit it as powerfully as possible. In reality, boosting your router's transmit power too much can actually make things worse. But there's a magic number: 70 mW.

In general, your router's transmitting at 28 mW, but most routers can handle 70 mW without issue. According to the DD-WRT documentation, setting this any higher could fry your router's radio chip because your router's not designed to handle the excess heat. You technically can turn it all the way up to 251 mW, but if you do you're just asking for trouble. If your router overheats, it's going to perform far worse—or die. Staying in a safe range may only show marginal improvements, but that's much better than a dead router.

Unfortunately most routers don't allow you to boost your transmit power, so if you're not using custom firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato, you're probably out of luck on this one. If that includes you, just read on as the next section can help solve signal issues with virtually any router.

Extend Your Signal with DIY Projects

Sometimes router settings just aren't going to cut it, so you need to put on your tinkering hat and make a DIY booster. In episode four of the Lifehacker Show, we built this simple Windsurfer booster out of card stock and tinfoil. On top of that, we have many more Wi-Fi boosting projects, such as this tin can extender or a repurposed satellite dish. There are also several range-boosting products on the web (like this one), but if you can avoid shelling out another $70, it's worth giving a DIY option a try.

Use QoS to Help Prevent Bandwidth Hogging and Network Overloads

In our previous lesson we talked a little bit about Quality of Service, which is essentially a set of rules that throttles bandwidth when a person (your roommate) or application (BitTorrent) is trying to hog it all. Say, for example, you want to video chat while your roommate is downloading a movie. QoS helps make sure both endeavors have enough bandwidth. We have a full guide on configuring QoS, but here's a quick overview of what you need to do.

First things first, navigate to your router's QoS page (if it exists—not all router firmwares have this feature) and enable QoS. That's not going to do anything yet, because we have some settings to fill out first, but I always forget to enable features so I like to do that first. In your QoS settings you should have a few settings and toggles to deal with. Here's a quick look at your options in DD-WRT (note: this will vary from router to router, but obviously we can't go over every single brand's firmware):

  • WAN, LAN, or Both - Generally QoS is used to handle traffic from outside your local network, so it defaults to WAN (Wide Area Network). Unless you have a reason to change it, just leave this setting as-is.
  • Packet Scheduler - This can be set to HTB or HFSC. HTB is the default method that uses a "token" system to manage bandwidth. Don't change this to HFSC unless you know what you're doing.
  • Uplink and Downlink - Here you can set a limit for the total network bandwidth can be used on your network. If you don't want to max out your connection, you can set these speeds to less than their theoretical maximums. DD-WRT recommends 80-95% for uplink and 80-100% for downlink.

Once you've got those global settings taken care of, you can start specifying rules. DD-WRT splits these rules up into three categories: Services, Netmask, and MAC priorities.

Services Priority will let you set bandwidth priorities for different applications. These applications are pre-set and include everything from SMTP to BitTorrent to Xbox Live. If a particular service isn't listed, you can add it yourself.

Netmask Priority can give bandwidth priority to a range of IP addresses. For example, if you have three computers that use the IP addresses,,, you can specify that range to receive priority. This can be useful if you want to ensure that your machines will always take priority over any guest computers that show up on your network.

MAC Priority is a way to set which specific devices receive priority over others. Here you enter your device's MAC address (a MAC address is a unique identifying address for your computer's network adapter) and set a relevant priority.

Once you've chosen a service, IP range, or MAC address, and added it to your priorities list, you have to actually define the priority. By default the priority will be set to Standard, but you can promote it to Express or Premium to give it a higher bandwidth priority over other items on the list. These categories are good for applications that will sometimes require additional bandwidth, such as video chat and VOIP. You can also set any item to Exempt to let the app or computer use as much bandwidth as it wants and Bulk if you want it to only use bandwidth that is left over from other applications.

After you've finished adding all your devices and setting their priorities, you can save your settings and let your router reboot (if necessary). That's really all you have to do to get QoS working.

That's all we've got for today's lesson. Join us again tomorrow when we'll be going over how to set up your computers for remote access. If you've missed any previous lessons, you can always find them on the Lifehacker Night School tag page. You can follow Adam Dachis, the author of this post, on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.  Twitter's the best way to contact him, too.

Posted via email from ://allthings-bare

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Goodbye Religion? How Godlessness Is Increasing With Each New Generation | Belief | AlterNet

August 10, 2011  |  

Photo Credit: apdk via flickr

Join our mailing list:

Sign up to stay up to date on the latest Belief headlines via email.

Something strange is happening to American teenagers. If you believe popular wisdom, young people are apathetic, cynical and jaded; or, they're supposed to be conformists whose overriding desire is to fit in and be popular. But if you've been paying close attention over the past decade, you might have seen any of a growing number of cases that conspicuously defy these stereotypes: stories of teenagers who have strong principles they're unashamed to display and which they're committed to defending, even at great personal cost, against the bullying of a hostile establishment.

For example, in 2002, an Eagle Scout named Darrell Lambert was threatened with expulsion from the Boy Scouts, despite his having earned dozens of merit badges and having held literally every leadership position in his troop. His crime? He's an outspoken atheist. When the news of his beliefs reached scouting officials, they demanded that he change his mind. He was given a week to think it over. All he had to do was lie, but if he did that, he said, "I wouldn't be a good Scout then, would I?" For his honesty, he was kicked out of the organization he'd devoted his life to.

In New Jersey in 2006, a public high school teacher named David Paskiewicz was openly preaching Christianity in the classroom, advocating creationism and telling a Muslim student she would burn in hell if she didn't convert. A junior named Matt LaClair reported this illegal government preaching to the school administration. In a meeting with the principal, Paskiewicz denied everything -- whereupon LaClair produced audio recordings of him saying the things he specifically denied having said.

In Indiana in 2009, the senior class at a public school was asked to vote on whether to have a prayer as part of their graduation ceremony. A senior named Eric Workman, knowing full well that school-sponsored prayer is illegal even if a majority votes for it, filed a lawsuit and won an injunction against the prayer. The school administration responded by announcing it wouldn't review graduation speeches in advance, clearly hoping that some student would use the opportunity to say the same prayer -- except that the class valedictorian was Eric Workman, and he used his graduation speech to explain why the school's actions were unconstitutional and to explain the importance of the First Amendment.

Stories like these are multiplying all over the nation. In South Carolina just this year, a graduating senior named Harrison Hopkins put a stop to school prayer with help from the Freedom from Religion Foundation. In Louisiana, a senior named Damon Fowler fought against similar school-sponsored prayers at his graduation. In Rhode Island, an amazing sophomore named Jessica Ahlquist is leading the fight to get an illegal "School Prayer" banner removed from her school's auditorium.

Granted, stories like these aren't entirely a new phenomenon. There have always been brave young free thinkers who dared to stand up for their rights, and there has always been a hostile, prejudiced religious majority that's tried to silence them with bullying, persecution and harassment.

For instance, when church-state hero Ellery Schempp prevailed in a landmark First Amendment case against school-sponsored Bible reading, his principal wrote to the colleges he had applied to and asked them not to admit him. (It didn't work: Ellery was accepted to Tufts University, graduated with honors and became a successful scientist.) Likewise, when Jim McCollum and his mother Vashti challenged their school over a released-time program, raving bigots assaulted him, got her fired from her job, pelted their home with rotten fruit and killed their cat. (The McCollums didn't relent, and won a precedent-setting Supreme Court decision striking down religious instruction on public school time.)

Regrettably, this hasn't changed as much as I'd like. Most of the student activists I named earlier have faced harassment, some from peers, some from the teachers and authority figures who are supposed to be the responsible ones. Damon Fowler was demeaned by a teacher and disowned by his own parents for opposing prayer at his graduation. But what's different now is that young people who speak out aren't left to face the mob alone. Now more than ever before, there's a thriving, growing secular community that's becoming increasingly confident, assertive, and capable of looking out for its own.

When Fowler was kicked out of his house, a fundraiser on Friendly Atheist netted over $30,000 in donations to pay for his living expenses and college tuition. The Secular Student Alliance, a national organization that supports student atheist and freethought clubs, is growing by leaps and bounds in colleges and high schools. (This is especially important in the light of psychological experiments which find that it's much easier to resist peer pressure if you have even one other person standing with you.) Student activists like the ones I've mentioned are no longer just scattered voices in the crowd; they're the leading edge of a wave.

All these individual facts add up to a larger picture, which is confirmed by statistical evidence: Americans are becoming less religious, with rates of atheism and secularism increasing in each new generation. This demographic transformation has been in progress ever since World War II, but in recent years it's begun to seriously pick up steam. In the generation born since 1982, variously referred to as Generation Y, the Millennials, or Generation Next, one in five people identify as nonreligious, atheist, or agnostic. In the youngest cohort, the trend is even more dramatic: as many as 30% of those born since 1990 are nonbelievers. Another study, this one by a Christian polling firm, found that people are leaving Christianity at four times the rate that new members are joining.

What could be causing this generational shift towards godlessness? There are multiple theories, but only one of them that I'm aware of both makes good sense and is corroborated by the facts.

Over the last few decades, society in general, and young people in particular, have become increasingly tolerant of gays and other minorities. For the most part, this is a predictable result of familiarity: people who've grown up in an increasingly multicultural society see less problem with interracial relationships (89% of Generation Nexters approve of interracial marriage, compared to 70% of older age groups) and same-sex marriage (47% in favor among Nexters, compared to 30% in older groups). When it comes to issues like whether gays and lesbians should be protected from job discrimination or allowed to adopt, the age gap in support is even more dramatic (71% vs. 59% and 61% vs. 44%, respectively).

But while American society is moving forward on all these fronts, many churches not only refuse to go along, they're actively moving backward. Most large Christian sects, both Catholic and Protestant, have made fighting against gay rights and women's rights their all-consuming crusade. And young people have gotten this message loud and clear: polls find that the most common impressions of Christianity are that it's hostile, judgmental and hypocritical. In particular, an incredible 91% of young non-Christians say that Christianity is "anti-homosexual", and significant majorities say that Christianity treats being gay as a bigger sin than anything else. (When right-wing politicians thunder that same-sex marriage is worse than terrorism, it's not hard to see where people have gotten this impression.)

On other social issues as well, the gap between Gen Nexters and the church looms increasingly wide. Younger folks favor full access to the morning-after pill by a larger margin than older generations (59% vs. 46%). They reject the notion that women should return to "traditional roles" -- already a minority position, but they disagree with it even more strongly than others. And they're by far the least likely of all age groups to say that they have "old-fashioned" values about family and marriage (67% say this, as compared to 85% of other age groups).

In a society that's increasingly tolerant and enlightened, the big churches remain stubbornly entrenched in the past, clinging to medieval dogmas about gay people and women, presuming to lecture their members about how they should vote, whom they should love, how they should live. It's no surprise that people who've grown up in this tolerant age find it absurd when they're told that their family and friends don't deserve civil rights, and it's even less of a surprise that, when they're told they must believe this to be good Christians, they simply walk away. This trend is reflected in the steadily rising percentages of Americans who say that religion is "old-fashioned and out of date" and can't speak to today's social problems.

The Roman Catholic church in particular has been hit hard by this. According to a 2009 Pew study, "Faith in Flux," one in ten American adults is a former Catholic, and a majority of ex-Catholics cite unhappiness with the church's archaic stance on abortion, homosexuality, birth control or the treatment of women as a major factor in their departure. But evangelical and other Protestant denominations are feeling the same sting. According to a survey by the sociologists Robert Putnam and David Campbell, moderates and progressives are heading for the exits as the churches increasingly become the domain of conservatives:

From the early 1970s to the late 1980s the fraction of Americans age 18 to 29 who identified with evangelical Protestantism rose to 25% from 20%, but since 1990, that fraction has fallen back to about 17%.

...Today, 17% of Americans say they have no religion, and these new "nones" are very heavily concentrated among Americans who have come of age since 1990. Between 25% and 30% of twentysomethings today say they have no religious affiliation -- roughly four times higher than in any previous generation.

Even the mainstream, relatively liberal Protestant churches are dwindling and dying at an astonishing rate: collateral damage, perhaps, in a political war that's led young people to view them as guilty by association. As the journal First Things observes in an article titled "The Death of Protestant America," the mainline churches have fallen from more than 50% of the American population in 1965 to less than 8% today.

What all this means is that the rise of atheism as a political force is an effect, rather than a cause, of the churches' hard right turn towards fundamentalism. I admit that this conclusion is a little damaging to my ego. I'd love to say that we atheists did it all ourselves; I'd love to be able to say that our dazzling wit and slashing rhetorical attacks are persuading people to abandon organized religion in droves. But the truth is that the churches' wounds are largely self-inflicted. By obstinately clinging to prejudices that the rest of society is moving beyond, they're in the process of making themselves irrelevant. In fact, there are indications that it's a vicious circle: as churches become less tolerant and more conservative, their younger and more progressive members depart, which makes their average membership still more conservative, which accelerates the progressive exodus still further, and so on. (A similar dynamic is at work in the Republican party, which explains their increasing levels of insanity over the past two or three decades.)

That doesn't mean, however, that that there's nothing we freethinkers can contribute. On the contrary, there's a virtuous circle that we can take advantage of: the more we speak out and the more visible we are, the more familiar atheism will become, and the more it will be seen as a viable alternative, which will encourage still more people to join us and speak out. This is exactly the same strategy that's been used successfully by trailblazers in the gay-rights movement and other social reform efforts.

At the same time, the churches aren't entirely oblivious to what's happening. The rising secular tide of Generation Next hasn't gone unfelt or unnoticed, but is increasingly being reflected in dwindling donations, graying congregations, and empty churches across the land. As John Avant, a vice president for evangelization of the Southern Baptist Conference, lamented:

A study by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary's Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health showed that only 11 percent of SBC churches are healthy and growing... And we are doing worse with young people, with 39 percent of Southern Baptist churches in 2005 reporting baptizing no teens. (source)

The Catholic church is experiencing a similar slow fade, with declining Mass attendance and a crippling shortage of priests worldwide. Land once owned by religious orders is being sold off for conservation or public use, turned into schools or nature preserves. The Pope's response, meanwhile, is to accelerate the decline by ordering bishops not even to discuss the possibility of ordaining women or married men, even as he welcomes Holocaust deniers and ex-Angelican misogynists.

And religious giving has declined as well, leaving shrinking churches grappling with layoffs and angry creditors. The recession has worsened this trend, but didn't create it; like all the other patterns, it's generational, with each increasingly secular age group giving less than the last. As one conservative rabbi says, the dip in giving stems from a "growing disinterest in organized religion."

Of course, Christianity is still by far the largest religious affiliation in America, and likely will be for some time. But the numbers don't lie, and the trends of the last several decades show more and more evidence of the same secularizing wave that's overtaking most countries in Europe. The major churches, clinging to the inferior morality of long-gone ages, are increasingly out of step with a world that's more enlightened, rational and tolerant than it once was. And the more they dig in their heels, the more we can expect this process to accelerate. I, for one, can't wait to see the young atheist activists who will emerge in the next few decades.

Adam Lee is the author and creator of Daylight Atheism, one of the largest and most popular weblogs on the Internet whose primary focus is on atheism. His original essays written for the site explore issues in politics, science, history, philosophy, and popular culture. Lee is the author of a forthcoming book, also titled Daylight Atheism, which advances the atheist viewpoint and argues that lack of religious belief is a positive liberation and the gateway to a moral life filled with purpose and joy.

Posted via email from ://allthings-bare

Could Rick Perry really beat Obama? - The Week

Burning Question

Could Rick Perry really beat Obama?

His credentials impress Christians and fiscal conservatives. But how would the Texas governor's politics go over in a general election?

posted on August 15, 2011, at 12:57 PM
Texas Gov. Rick Perry jumped into the presidential race, Saturday, offering Republicans a more conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry jumped into the presidential race, Saturday, offering Republicans a more conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images SEE ALL 11 PHOTOS

Best Opinion:  Mother Jones, Hot Air, Daily Beast

Texas Gov. Rick Perry launched his long-anticipated presidential campaign on Saturday, instantly shaking up the race for the Republican nomination. In a year when conservatives complain that Mitt Romney is too moderate, and centrists consider Michele Bachmann a Tea Party extremist, Perry boasts a resume that offers something to both crowds. Is Perry the "superhero" Republicans have been waiting for to take on President Obama?

No way. He is too extreme: "Perry may come out of the gate strong," says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, "but he might not wear well once the national spotlight is on him." His overt, "fire-and-brimstone" Christianity won't go over well outside the Bible Belt. And some of his more outrageous declarations — "Social Security is a Ponzi scheme," Texas might secede from the union — are too extreme, even for most Republicans. He'd never survive a general election.
"Why Rick Perry won't win"

Actually, Perry could be the guy to defeat Obama: Rick Perry didn't come out of nowhere, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. He has spent the last year "picking very national fights with the Obama administration" over regulation and federal trampling of states' rights. His legislative agenda has included border security and abortion, plus he has a "jobs record for which Obama will have no answer at all." This guy's the "real deal."
"Why Perry may be the real deal"

One thing is certain — Perry vs. Obama would not be pretty: Rick Perry is just the kind of Texas "shit-kicker" Republicans love, says Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast, which is precisely why he makes liberals' skin crawl. And I know full well that Republicans' "conservatives feel similarly about Obama," whom they see as a Chardonnay-swilling elitist. That's why I don't relish the prospect of a general election pitting Perry against Obama. "We're divided enough, thanks."
"Rick Perry: Red-state warrior"

Posted via email from ://allthings-bare

VMware Fusion: Run Windows Seamlessly On Your Mac

VMWare-Fusion-how-to-icon2Following Apple’s switch from PowerPC to Intel processors as the engines to power their computers, the horizons of Mac users were thus widened to enable booting into a fully native copy of Windows, with all respective drivers and settings taken care of via Boot Camp. All of a sudden the potential market share for Apple’s computers skyrocketed and Macs became much more flexible for gaming and the workplace.

Mac users are not limited to Boot Camp to run Windows on their Macs however, with applications such as VMware Fusion allowing the user to run Windows within OS X; as long as your Mac is powered by an Intel processor and has enough RAM to do so (4GB recommended, though less is possible), you can now seamlessly move between each OS’s flagship programs and enjoy the increase in productivity which this brings.

Read on to see how this process works…

Why Run Windows Within OS X?

There are various reasons you may wish to run a copy of Windows within your Mac – sometimes there’s that last piece of legacy software which you can’t let go of, a printer or other hardware peripheral not supported in OS X, or a job which requires you to run Windows software. Whatever the reason, we’ve got you covered, albeit with one caveat; though great strides have been made with running Windows-based games within a virtual environment, unless you have a powerhouse of a Mac, your machine may struggle with any but the more lightweight or previous generation Windows games.

Getting Started

There are a number of ways to go about running Windows within OS X but the leading three programs are:

  • VMware Fusion
  • Parallels
  • Virtualbox

Each have their own strengths, weaknesses and method of use. My own experience with the trio on various platforms has led me to believe that Parallels is the strongest for gaming, Virtualbox is best for non-gaming use and is less intuitive to get running (though the fact it is free negates this point somewhat), while VMware Fusion is the finest all-rounder and easy to use too – so I shall be using VMware Fusion in this guide.

To get started, first head over to the VMware Fusion website and download a free 30-day trial, then go through the installation process and move on to the next step below.

Installing Windows


Launch VMware Fusion and, assuming you do not already have a BootCamp partition in place on your Mac (if you do, select it from the menu), choose the second option titled “Install Windows or another operating system in a new virtual machine“. Now either insert your Windows disc or navigate to the place on your hard drive where your pre-ripped disc image is located.

This done, be sure to select an “Easy Install” and then a decision must be made whether to create an installation which is “More Seamless” or “More Isolated”, depending on your needs and browsing habits. As you can see in the screenshot above, I chose the former, since I will keep a close eye on what my Windows install is doing and feel comfortable I can avoid any issues. If in doubt, choose “More Isolated”.

Further settings can be customised at will to suit your particular system. For instance, I upped Windows’ RAM allowance to 2GB since I have plenty to spare on my MacBook Pro, though the default preferences be safely left alone if you’re unsure which values to enter. Once this initial setting up of your virtual machine is done, press on the green play button to begin installing Windows, which will install as it normally would in a typical environment.

Note: Though I am using Windows 7 for this walkthrough, most iterations of Windows should work without issue within VMware Fusion

Running Windows Fullscreen


You may prefer to run Windows fullscreen, just as it would be if you were running a normal Windows computer, to do so is as simple as launching VMware and clicking on your virtual machine, then waiting while Windows ‘unfreezes’ – this is an important aspect of running Windows within a virtual machine to note: You need not shutdown and power off your virtual computer each time you access Windows, instead VMware will ‘suspend’ your Windows session in its current state and allow an ‘unfreezing’ of this later.

As shown in the screenshot above, Windows 7 runs perfectly well and Internet Explorer, Outlook and all the other Windows applications run as normal. Since I’m running OS X Lion and make use of the new Spaces layout, a four-finger swipe to the left is all that’s required to move me back into Lion’s environment. This is a handy method of using both operating systems at once, but if you only want one or two Windows applications running within OS X, it seems somewhat cumbersome, so read on to take a look at VMware Fusion’s Unity and Application Menu options.

Making sure you quit any applications you do not need running in OS X will help VMware Fusion run quicker

Unity View


VMware Fusion also has the ability to integrate Microsoft Windows software within Mac OS X in a more seamless manner, even placing applications into OS X’s dock and making those applications behave as one would expect a Mac OS X application to behave, responding to Option-click ‘Quit’ commands. Running Windows in this way is called Unity View – to begin using VMware Fusion in Unity Vew, simply navigate to the view menu located at the top of VMware Fusion’s window and select “Unity”.

As you can see in the screenshot above, I have Windows 7′s Start Menu visible alongside OS X Lion’s Dock and can switch between Mac and Windows software without any noticeable lag.

Application Menu


Another useful tool within WMware Fusion’s feature set is the Application Menu. Sitting in the Mac OS X Menu Bar, the Application Menu serves as a shortcut to Windows’ Start Menu and enables applications to be launched without needing to first manually boot into Windows. Though there is some lag when initially using the Applications Menu, once Windows is fully loaded, it works quickly and unobtrusively. Utilising the Application Menu in this way is my own favoured method of launching Windows applications within Mac OS X.


Hopefully the above walkthrough will show you how surprisingly easy it is to have the best of both worlds and boot into Mac OS X’s stable and virus-free platform, while enjoying the ubiquitous software which can be found on Microsoft’s own OS. Though this is by no means an exhaustive guide to running Windows in OS X, it should serve as inspiration for your own experiments and a launching-off point to begin. The great thing about running operating systems in a virtual machine method as employed by VMware Fusion is that it does not require potentially destructive partitioning of your hard drive, so long as you’re careful, it’s a very safe and easy way to run Windows on your Mac

Posted via email from ://allthings-bare

Monday, August 15, 2011

Top 10 Ways to Survive Your Crappy Job


Top 10 Ways to Survive Your Crappy Job / jobYour job sucks and for whatever reason you can't leave. At the same time, if you don't leave you're pretty sure you're going to lose your mind. What can you do about it? Here are our top 10 strategies.

10. Get Some Perspective

Today is one day out of your entire life. Unless you're going to die soon, it's probably not going to be that big of a deal. If it's one of your days off, you may find yourself doing nothing because you want to figure out the best way to spend such limited time. If it's one of your work days, there will be other days where other things happen. Whatever the moment is, it's a blip in your life. Chances are you won't remember it in a week. That's not to say you shouldn't pay attention to what you truly care about, but you shouldn't dwell on it either. You have food, a place to live, and something to do most days. You probably have fun once in a while. Maybe you even have people who care about you. Focus on the good stuff, and remember the rest is going to be a distant memory very quickly. Spending your time moaning to yourself (and others) about how awful your job is won't solve the problem. Just don't do it, and focus on the positive.

9. Bring Yourself to Work

Top 10 Ways to Survive Your Crappy Job / job Presumably you're already doing this in the physical sense, but if you have a creative side or other interests it can make your job more fun if you find ways to integrate them. One of my primary duties at a job a long time ago involved addressing catalogs for an advertising school. I made this more fun by illustrating the envelopes based on the person's name. Eventually some people called because they liked it and I was given some design work. At another job we had to learn a new product the company acquired that made online slideshows by actually using it to make one. I wrote a song about a womanizing spatula named Denny who finally met the woman (or, well, "female" inanimate object) of his dreams, took some photos of household objects, and put together a stop motion music video. Also, the entire thing was in Google-translated Spanish. Whenever my job got me down, either because it was boring or I just needed something to break the monotony, I'd try to bring something I enjoyed to the work. Obviously this takes more time, but all the little strange things I did at those jobs are my favorite memories. While not every job will let you bring your (potentially strange) personality to the table, I highly recommend doing it if you can find a way. Nothing brightened up the day more.

8. Watch Out for False Starts

Top 10 Ways to Survive Your Crappy Job / job Bad days generally occur when a number of little frustrations happen in succession. On their own they might not be a big deal and you'd go on forgetting about them, but together they make you think the universe is plotting against you. These are false starts, and they're often the root of bad days. When things appear to be going worse than usual, take a step back and look at what happened. You are not so important that an entire day has been set aside specifically for your personal misery. Dissect each moment, realize your being ridiculous, and make fun of yourself when you can. If you look at a situation realistically, you can sometimes stop a potential bad day before it starts.

7. Be Healthy

A balanced mind and body makes a big difference when it comes to everything that you do—even the things you don't like. The idea isn't to just become a person who hates their job with fancy muscles, but to allow your physical and mental needs to take precedence over pretty much everything else. For starters, decide when you have to go to bed each night (it can be a range) and follow it. Find exercise you can and will do 3-4 times per week and do it. Don't worry about how minimal it is. Start making some cheap and healthy food. Set aside some time each day to just relax and do nothing. Schedule it all if you need to, but make sure you don't let your job get int the way of your well-being. If you already don't like it, neglecting your health is going to make it much, much worse.

6. Block Out Negative Conversation

Complaining about your job can be fun because it seems cathartic, but venting your frustration will only make your anger worse. If that negativity spreads to your coworkers, you can exacerbate the problem by creating a hive mentality, or at least making everyone more miserable as a result. While you don't want to bottle up your feelings until you go postal one day, you don't have to approach everything negatively. Instead of complaining, consider solutions. Try to find ways to improve things. If you can't change the way things work in the office, consider ways to help you cope with those problems. Being more proactive and less negative may not fix everything, but it can improve your situation.

5. Take a Pay Cut

Seriously. Take a pay cut and get some extra job flexibility in return. Apparently many of you wouldn't mind that option at all, and your company probably would love to pay you less. If you want to cut back on your hours, work from home on occasion, or get some other benefit that's important to you, ask for a pay cut in exchange. You might just get it, and that benefit may make you a lot happier than money.

4. Get Along With Your Co-Workers

When you hate your job, it's easy to not want to get involved with your co-workers. Doing so means getting attached, and you don't want to feel attached to any kind of employment that's destroying your livelihood. That said, if you have friends at work you have people to make you less miserable. Also, according to one study, you might actually live longer. Even if you don't think you'll get along with certain people in the office, give it a shot. If it doesn't work out, you can always just go back to being a loner.

3. Find Balance

Top 10 Ways to Survive Your Crappy Job / job Finding balance is easier said than done, but small, strategic changes can make a big difference. Sometimes it's not so much that the work you do is soul suckingly awful, but that it's consuming your life. Rather than find a new job and end up in the same situation all over again, stick with the one you've got and and pay attention to the small things. Take note of the little moments that make you happy and those that drive you up the wall. Try to remove the details you hate and replace it with more of the details you like. Big, grand decisions can be pleasing for a short amount of time, but if you never fix the little problems and neglect to embrace the little moments of happiness, history will be doomed to repeat itself.

2. Learn to Deal With Your Crazy Boss

If work sucks, chances are your boss has something to do with it. But you can learn to cope. One way to deal with your boss' insanity is to create some distance. For example, see if you can have your assignments filtered though someone else. You may also want to keep a crazy log and get as much as you can in writing so should things ever get so bad that you need to go to human resources you will be prepared. Just be sure not to engage your boss in a crazy contest, because they're probably better at it than you are. For more details, read this.

1. Just Quit

If you're truly at the end of your rope and there's no way you'll survive much longer, you need to create a quitting plan. Yes, you think you have to stay to pay your rent, and yes, you think you'll never find another job in this market. Save up enough money to make it at least one month and then you need to quit. You can take a few days to relax and recoup but then you have the rest of that month to find another place to work. There's no better motivator than potential homelessness. Plus, you'll have all those work hours to dedicate to your search. At eight hours a day, that comes out to about 180 hours for the month (give or take a few). That's a lot of time. If you're diligent and use that time wisely, you should be able to find something else.

Got any other strategies for surviving a crappy job? Share 'em in the comments!

Title photo by Angela Waye (Shutterstock)

You can follow Adam Dachis, the author of this post, on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.  Twitter's the best way to contact him, too.

Posted via email from ://allthings-bare