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When we find something on the web we really like, or have just a short comment not warranting an entire article, we put it here. Check often for updates or subscribe to our RSS feed.

DIY Lotion Bits – melt in your hands

I thought this idea was really clever. Have you ever needed to keep some lotion on hand while you are out? Instead of dealing with a messy liquid container, these easy to make lotion bits are great to have on hand when you need them. They just melt in your hand.… Read the rest

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DIY Docking Station for Cell Phone

Here’s a simple how-to for making your own cell phone charging station. The author takes a flat plastic bottle and hacks it so that it hangs from a wall outlet. It has a nice appearance and is tidy.

I have been thinking about DIY charging docks for awhile now, and I think this one can be improved by fashioning an actual docking base from Sculpy. Then glue the charging plug into it, and you can then just drop your phone into the holder.

Any other ideas out there?… Read the rest

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DIY Camping Tent

This great instructable – The Near-Perfect Tent provides exquisite detail on how to make your own camping tent.

Its author also gives a good summation of why we prefer to do things ourselves – to obtain something that meets our needs; something we can’t get from corporations. The reason for DIY is should not be to save money. Mass production and the division of labor is what gives us the abundance we have as Matt Ridley in his book The Rational Optimist posits.

What it doesn’t give us sometimes is something that meets our needs. Mass produced goods are only half-suitable for everyone and rarely ideally suited for anyone. Before you go camping again, be sure to check out this article first.… Read the rest

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Novel Ideas for LED Lighting

This article describes some wonderful new applications envisioned for LED lighting. While many of the links don’t work, it still contains some great photos of LEDs being used for decorating buildings, night-time gardens and more.

I can’t help commenting on the article’s main premise – that LEDs will lead to greater energy use than incandescent lights. This is absolutely true, but it is not a bad thing. As pointed out in their excellent book The Bottomless Well any time energy efficiencies are achieved, greater energy use is the result. The main reason for this effect is because of new applications found for the new technology. LEDs are a perfect example.

Some might be saying, “but we are in an energy crisis, don’t we need to conserve energy?” The answer is that the energy situation might be in a state of flux right now, we are in no way in a shortage. The US is on the verge of developing massive petroleum deposits which will make it a leading producer in a few years, and the price of solar is dropping to the point where powering our lights and appliances is now at the point that almost everyone can afford it … Read the rest

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Add to the Adventure of Life – Experiment with Yourself!

I came across this great article which talks about how to experiment with your own life. I heartily concur with this idea. Far too often we just lumber through life, accepting what we have been told with little thought. It is time to get off the treadmill and start living.

When I lived in Florida, I belonged to an exotic fruit tree club. In this club we collected exotic fruit trees and tried to get them to fruit (the fruit of our labors were quite delicious). I wanted to grow this particularly tasty fruit, but all the literature said that it could only be grown in cool, high-altitude locations. When I mentioned this to a veteran member he told me to not pay any attention to what the common wisdom held. His words were – “You don’t know if it will grow or not. You won’t really know until you have tried.” Indeed, many of the wonderful fruits we have today are the result of adventurous souls trying to do what was said couldn’t be done.

Do as the article says and perform experiments on yourself. The rewards can be incredible. For example, I have cured myself of three incurable … Read the rest

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Ideas for a Sideline Business

In these tough economic times, good jobs are hard to find. Even if you find one, the pay may not be so great. This article provides ideas for 37 different sidelines. These ideas are better than most and can also inspire you to think of some of your own as well.… Read the rest

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A Cardboard Bicycle

Izhar Gafni should be an inspiration for us all. He made a bicycle out of cardboard. Everyone thought he was nuts – impossible they said. The idea kept bothering him, so his wife encouraged him to try – he wouldn’t have peace until he at least tried it. You can see the results in the video from this article.

Don’t let naysayers discourage you from pursuing your ideas or dreams. Just do it – what have you got to lose?… Read the rest

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When something goes wrong…

I love to build and sail wooden boats when I have the time. One of my favorite boat designers – Ross Lillistone, has written a very encouraging article on how to deal with obstacles and mistakes made when working on a project.

Although the article is geared toward boat builders, it contains good advice for all of us. Frequently we make a big mistake in our project. It then leaves us frustrated and we often abandon the project. Abandoned projects are very hard to come back to. Instead of being stymied by setbacks, we should correct the mistake as best as we can and continue on. It is the overall quality in a project that makes the difference – not the absence of any mistakes. Don’t let perfectionism stand in your way.… Read the rest

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Make Your Own Money Pad

You’ve just got to love this. Steve Wozniak uses a pad of $2 bills in sheets as spending money. It is real money, but perforated and glued on top like a regular pad of paper. See the interview and read Woz’s own account for how he uses these for laughs.

You can buy your own currency sheets in many demonations ($2 ones are sold out right now), but unless you have deep pockets like Woz, it isn’t practical for most people. One thing is for sure – Wozniak sure has a creative mind. No wonder he is so successful.… Read the rest

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Make Your Own Solder Flux

I found this great video on making your own flux for soldering. Flux is a must have product when doing any electronics work, especially for surface mount parts. It helps to clean dirty parts and improves the surface tension of the molten solder so it stays on the pads instead of running between them (called bridging).

One would think that making your own solder flux wouldn’t be as good as the real thing. That may be true in some cases, but for most this at-home method is not only inexpensive but allows you to vary the thickness of the flux. Commercial flux comes in viscosities ranging from a watery liquid to a waxy paste. To understand how to create your own viscosity, let’s look at the recipe:

  • Isopropyl alcohol – the kind in your medicine cabinet
  • Pine Rosin – thickened sap from trees. Used to make violin bow hairs grab the strings and make them sing. Search for violin rosin on e-bay, and buy for a few bucks.
  • Glycerin – just a drop or two per batch (2-3%). Buy in drugstores.

To make a batch, simply crush the rosin into a powder with a hammer (put into an envelope first … Read the rest

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