Online Insights on fiveAA, Sunday, June 8, 2008

June 8, 2008

50 things everybody should know how to do

This article is a rich resource of how-to links and videos covering a pretty comprehensive list of basic life skills. Sadly, the only one missing that I think is important is “how to make or find the perfect espresso”, but I guess they had to cull some things from the list. The full list is here and the headings are below.

1. Build a Fire – Fire produces heat and light, two basic necessities for living. At some point in your life this knowledge may be vital.

2. Operate a Computer – Fundamental computer knowledge is essential these days. Please, help those in need.

3. Use Google Effectively – Google knows everything. If you’re having trouble finding something with Google, it’s you that needs help.

4. Perform CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver – Someday it may be your wife, husband, son or daughter that needs help.

5. Drive a Manual Transmission Vehicle – There will come a time when you’ll be stuck without this knowledge.

6. Do Basic Cooking – If you can’t cook your own steak and eggs, you probably aren’t going to make it.

7. Tell a Story that Captivates People’s Attention – If you can’t captivate their attention, you should probably just save your breath.

8. Win or Avoid a Fistfight – Either way, you win.

9. Deliver Bad News – Somebody has got to do it. Unfortunately, someday that person will be you.

10. Change a Tire – Because tires have air in them, and things with air in them eventually pop.

11. Handle a Job Interview – I promise, sweating yourself into a nervous panic won’t land you the job.

12. Manage Time – Not doing so is called wasting time, which is okay sometimes, but not all the time.

13. Speed Read – Sometimes you just need the basic gist, and you needed it 5 minutes ago.

14. Remember Names – Do you like when someone tries to get your attention by screaming “hey you”?

15. Relocate Living Spaces – Relocating is always a little tougher than you originaly imagined.

16. Travel Light – Bring only the necessities. It’s the cheaper, easier, smarter thing to do.

17. Handle the Police – Because jail isn’t fun… and neither is Bubba.

18. Give Driving Directions – Nobody likes driving around in circles. Get this one right the first time.

19. Perform Basic First Aid – You don’t have to be a doctor, or genius, to properly dress a wound.

20. Swim – 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. Learning to swim might be a good idea.

21. Parallel Park – Parallel parking is a requirement on most standard driver’s license driving tests, yet so many people have no clue how to do it. How could this be?

22. Recognize Personal Alcohol Limits – Otherwise you may wind up like this charming fellow.

23. Select Good Produce – Rotten fruits and vegetables can be an evil tease and an awful surprise.

24. Handle a Hammer, Axe or Handsaw – Carpenters are not the only ones who need tools. Everyone should have a basic understanding of basic hand tools.

25. Make a Simple Budget – Being in debt is not fun. A simple budget is the key.

26. Speak at Least Two Common Languages – Only about 25% of the world’s population speaks English. It would be nice if you could communicate with at least some of the remaining 75%.

27. Do Push-Ups and Sit-Ups Properly – Improper push-ups and sit-ups do nothing but hurt your body and waste your time.

28. Give a Compliment – It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give someone, and it’s free.

29. Negotiate – The better deal is only a question or two away.

30. Listen Carefully to Others – The more you listen and the less you talk, the more you will learn and the less you will miss.

31. Recite Basic Geography – If you don’t know where anything is outside of your own little bubble, most people will assume (and they are probably correct) that you don’t know too much at all.

32. Paint a Room – The true cost of painting is 90% labor. For simple painting jobs it makes no sense to pay someone 9 times what it would cost you to do it yourself.

33. Make a Short, Informative Public Speech – At the next company meeting if your boss asks you to explain what you’ve been working on over the last month, a short, clear, informative response is surely your best bet. “Duhhh…” will not cut it.

34. Smile for the Camera – People that absolutely refuse to smile for the camera suck!

35. Flirt Without Looking Ridiculous – There is a fine line between successful flirting and utter disaster. If you try too hard, you lose. If you don’t try hard enough, you lose.

36. Take Useful Notes – Because useless notes are useless, and not taking notes is a recipe for failure.

37. Be a Respectful House Guest – Otherwise you will be staying in a lot of hotels over the years.

38. Make a Good First Impression – Aristotle once said, “well begun is half done.”

39. Navigate with a Map and Compass – What happens when the GPS craps out and you’re in the middle of nowhere?

40. Sew a Button onto Clothing – It sure is cheaper than buying a new shirt.

41. Hook Up a Basic Home Theater System – This isn’t rocket science. Paying someone to do this shows sheer laziness.

42. Type – Learning to type could save you days worth of time over the course of your lifetime.

43. Protect Personal Identity Information – Personal identity theft is not fun unless you are the thief. Don’t be careless.

44. Implement Basic Computer Security Best Practices – You don’t have to be a computer science major to understand the fundamentals of creating complex passwords and using firewalls. Doing so will surely save you a lot of grief someday.

45. Detect a Lie – People will lie to you. It’s a sad fact of life.

46. End a Date Politely Without Making Promises – There is no excuse for making promises you do not intend to keep. There is also no reason why you should have to make a decision on the spot about someone you hardly know.

47. Remove a Stain – Once again, it’s far cheaper than buying a new one.

48. Keep a Clean House – A clean house is the foundation for a clean, organized lifestyle.

49. Hold a Baby – Trust me, injuring a baby is not what you want to do.

50. Jump Start a Car – It sure beats walking or paying for a tow truck.

Pick Up Pal

No, this is not an online swinger’s service, this is car pooling service with a slight twist. Drivers and would-be passengers both register independently on the site and then the site’s proprietary system matches drivers to passengers using a raft of preferences. Part of the twist is that you can also find a driver to deliver some goods for you, rather than just take you for a ride.

Who pays? The passengers pays an agreed price to the driver and the driver is then billed for 7% commission by Pick Up Pal.

It was launched in January 2008 by a Canadian, whose mum signed the Kyoto Protocol on behalf of the Canadian government. I guess that gives some street cred to a service like this! The site claims to have saved 480,000kg of CO2 emissions and to have coordinated 1.5 million km of travel.

Another clever aspect of this site is the free website offer for groups holding events or organisations with high people traffic. It is called the eco-rideshare program, and the free sites helps people come together to share transport to/from the event or organisation.

If you want to explore the site, sign up as a passenger and look around, at PickUpPal Adelaide.

Juice Bag

Here’s a glimpse into the future. Reware, a US-based company, has just released a solar powered attaché case that can recharge your mobile phone, PDA, and other accessories while you are on the move.

The bag sells for about AU$330 and can power an army of small devices. It doesn’t have the “juice” to charge a laptop at the moment, but you never know what’s around the corner. You can find out more at – hat tip to Lee Hopkins

Wiki Send

If you have ever had to send a large file to someone and did not want to burden your recipient’s email server, Wiki Send is a free tool you will find useful. You can use this service to upload large files, up to 100 meg, and then send a link to your recipient who can visit the site to download your file. If you give your recipient a week to download the file, the service is fast. If you choose to give them more than a week up to 90 days, the file will be put into the second class service area, and will download at half the speed.

I have also been using YouSendIt but WikiSend has a cleaner and simpler interface. Start sending files now at