Join 3,514 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


10 minutes to master, a lifetime to enjoy...
September 3, 2013 8:04 PM   Subscribe

What skill can learn right now in 10 minutes that will be useful for the rest of my life? Is a Quora thread that goes beyond the usual "life hacks" (though it has them, too) to include some neat skills [Quora requires registration, but links go to direct sites]. Learn to read Korean, eat a chicken wing properly, fold a t-shirt, become a better Google searcher, crack an egg with one hand, whistle with your fingers, learn to speed read (the most popular answer), use the peg system to remember things, and learn to change a tire.

Some text-only ones, with credit:
From Himanshu Yadav: phones charge twice as quickly in airplane mode.

From Karen Opas:
How to tell if you are about to buy a juicy orange or grapefruit, no matter what the skin looks like:
Pick up the orange or grapefruit. If it feels light, it's not juicy and will taste rather woody.
Go through the bin picking the ones that feel heaviest compared to oranges or grapefruits of a similar size. They'll be the tastiest ones.

From Vinayak Pathak,:
In Firefox/Chrome/Safari (don't know about IE), you can take the cursor to the URL bar by typing Ctrl+L.
In the same browsers, you can take the cursor to the google search bar by typing Ctrl+k.
CTRL+tab to change to next tab. Ctrl+Shift+Tab for the previous tab.
Actually all the effects of "tab" key can be reversed by "shift+tab"
In most text editors (including the web based ones, such as Gmail compose), you can delete one entire word by pressing Ctrl+Backspace or Ctrl+Delete.
In most text editors, while moving the cursor using the arrow keys, you can skip entire words with Ctrl+Rightarrow and Ctrl+Leftarrow.

And the following for Windows computers (thanks to Fajar Marta for suggesting these):
Windows + D to minimize all windows.
Windows + E to open windows explorer.
Windows + L to lock the computer
posted by blahblahblah (50 comments total) 198 users marked this as a favorite

 
Get Around Quora's Content Restrictions With This Quick URL Hack.
posted by davel at 8:21 PM on September 3, 2013 [33 favorites]


I got halfway through the compulsory registration process for the first link before quitting in disgust.

Now I will never know how to change my life :(
posted by Sebmojo at 8:22 PM on September 3, 2013


But wait! Hope dawns anew!
posted by Sebmojo at 8:22 PM on September 3, 2013 [8 favorites]


Well, now I can decipher Korean, but I don't still don't actually speak Korean :(

If I could have 10 minutes with you, I would teach you how to crochet. At least to chain stitch and single crochet. Then you'd beg for another 10 minutes and I'd teach you to make a magic ring. And THEN you could make amigurumi! Yes, your first several would be horrible, misshapen lumps, but that's the point of the whole "lifetime to master...er, enjoy" bit, right?
posted by Biblio at 8:32 PM on September 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


People subvocalize when they read? This is fascinating and surprising.

If I read aloud I don't retain anything, but I imagine that with practice I could change that. These speed reading instructions, though, suggest that for many people reading aloud is the natural state of affairs — somehow I've come at it backward!
posted by Renegade Duck at 8:48 PM on September 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


While I can speed read quite effectively, it's only good if you're able to turn it off as well. Trying to actually read all the words in something like Pynchon is something I find surprisingly difficult.
posted by solarion at 8:51 PM on September 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Straight Dope: Does Speed Reading Really Work?

(Spoiler: not really).
posted by smoke at 9:07 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know all the Windows shortcut, but I read the whistle-with-your-fingers tutorial three times and still can't do it. I've wanted to whistle with my fingers longer than most of you have been alive.
posted by Fnarf at 9:07 PM on September 3, 2013 [13 favorites]


Does Speed Reading Really Work?
You haven't tried Evelyn Woodhead's Sped Reding course.
posted by Fnarf at 9:08 PM on September 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


I've wanted to whistle with my fingers longer than most of you have been alive.

I'm not very good at it, but practice in the shower. The extra lubrication is quite helpful and you probably don't have anything better to do. Don't hyperventilate and black out.
posted by smoke at 9:09 PM on September 3, 2013 [6 favorites]


Worth it for the nugget about flight mode charging.
posted by arcticseal at 9:11 PM on September 3, 2013


Get Around Quora's Content Restrictions With This Quick URL Hack.

come on man, that trick isn't even weird
posted by rap and country at 9:12 PM on September 3, 2013 [12 favorites]


... practice in the shower. The extra lubrication is quite helpful and you probably don't have anything better to do.

There is plenty to do in the shower with extra lubrication. Only need three minutes to learn.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:13 PM on September 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Gah? Win+M to minimize all windows. On many browsers, Alt+D will move the cursor to the URL bar and also highlight the contents. More importantly, Shft+Ctrl+T to reopen the most recently closed browser tab.
posted by Nomyte at 10:01 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


What. That RSOD thing. Where was that when I was in grade school?
posted by jason_steakums at 10:14 PM on September 3, 2013


This was great. I'm going to teach myself how to tie proper official knots now.
posted by fever-trees at 10:26 PM on September 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Almost finished your jar of Nutella?
END IT WITH ICE CREAM

...is possibly the most depressing "lifehack" I've ever read.

*surreptitiously spoons ice cream into almost-finished Nutella jar*
*weeps quietly between mouthfuls of ice cream and Nutella*

posted by Doleful Creature at 11:10 PM on September 3, 2013 [19 favorites]


The "Learn to read Korean" comic is by prolific webcomics artist Ryan Estrada. 9GAG is notorious for rehosting webcomics and artwork without attribution, several times even removing author signatures from the images, and it would be nice if we could replace the link in the post and never link to 9GAG ever again.
posted by narain at 11:34 PM on September 3, 2013 [14 favorites]


I like these. How to crack an egg, or eat a wing is totally the minutia that will fascinate future scholars thousands of years from now.

Note to future Scholars: Anyone actually eating wings like that would look like a total dork. The real way humans eat wings is we bite with our front teeth (teeth are small hard apendages we use for cutting or crushing food (food is what we use for nourishment, as we still have physical form and have not evolved into a higher plane of being and we are also biological based lifeform)) between the two wing bones and pull me apart. Alternatively, we use our fingers (you've already seen those in the video) to pry them apart.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:19 AM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


[Thanks, narain; good catch, and duly changed. ]
posted by taz at 12:32 AM on September 4, 2013


The Straight Dope: Does Speed Reading Really Work?
(Spoiler: not really).


I used to read quite fast, but I eventually came to realize that my retention wasn't as great as I wanted. Further, sometimes if you skip over a word it changes the entire meaning of a sentence. Now I try to make sure I catch every word, which slows me down a lot, but it also helps me to understand better what I read. (I also catch a lot more typos in my own writing, which I'm not sure if were always there and I never noticed, or if they're a relatively new thing.)
posted by JHarris at 1:12 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Speed reading: Took a class in college. I can read fast. I will not be able to tell you much about what I read. I will answer multiple-guess questions correctly. Memory of the material will fade in hours.

Normally I read slow. (PAINFULLY slow). I re-read as I go, as I wish, sucking the juice from the bone words. And then it is mine. Review is usually unhelpful.
posted by Goofyy at 2:41 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh, forgot to add: I am suddenly able to whistle w/my fingers. Never could do that before. Thanks for the video.
posted by Goofyy at 2:42 AM on September 4, 2013


I am a firm believer in the Evelyn Waugh speed reading method, and revisit it often.
posted by kinnakeet at 4:59 AM on September 4, 2013


Further, sometimes if you skip over a word it changes the entire meaning of a sentence.

I do that typing. A lot.

Reading my tweets and facebook status updates is goddamn cringeworthy.
posted by DigDoug at 5:06 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do that typing. A lot.

You ever run two sentences together while leaving a clause off of each one? Now that I'm a much faster typist, I don't do that, but back in the day, I turned in a few papers with that kind of mistake. There's nothing like getting a paper back with a sentence marked up when not even you can figure out what you were trying to say.
posted by Ickster at 5:19 AM on September 4, 2013


That silly t-shirt folding thing, which has been linked to countless times, has come to represent the whole "life hacks" thing for me. "You know that thing that takes you 5 seconds? Would you believe there's a way to do it in 3?"
posted by gwint at 5:32 AM on September 4, 2013 [18 favorites]


That silly t-shirt folding thing...

It may be silly, but every time I show it to someone the response is always the same:

"You're full of magicks!"

Or something like that.
posted by sutt at 5:42 AM on September 4, 2013


I asked Metafilter about the whistling thing 8 years ago. I still haven't worked it out.
posted by Acey at 5:43 AM on September 4, 2013


Here was my "You're full of magicks!" moment:

1. Make a fist with your left hand, squeezing your thumb with your index finger.

2. You now don't have a gag reflex.

Ta-DA!
posted by leotrotsky at 6:19 AM on September 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Incidentally, the 10 minute skill I would suggest is finger binary - so you can count over 1,000 on your fingers.
posted by blahblahblah at 6:46 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


1. Make a fist with your left hand, squeezing your thumb with your index finger.

2. You now don't have a gag reflex.


When I get X-rays at the dentist I lift my legs up and focus on that. Same deal, no gagging.
posted by bondcliff at 6:54 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Knowing how to change a tire does not make you able to change a tire. I learned that in 10 minutes.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 7:15 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can get the car jacked up, even with the dinky portable jack that came with the car. I can get the lug nuts off. Where I fail is then getting the wheel off the car. Man, those things get stuck. That part seems to be a two-person job. I can get the donut back on and etc. just fine after that. So, know-how, yes. Necessary upper body strength, not so much.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:31 AM on September 4, 2013


Karmakaze--I tend to give it an off center kick to get it to come loose.
posted by sperose at 7:37 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


That part seems to be a two-person job.

I think that somehow varies depending on the region you're living in. Rust is the culprit, I believe, and humidity and rainfall can affect how fast it forms. I had my tires rotated at a Valvoline recently (well, a year or so ago), and it took them over an hour of beating on the tires with a 2x4 to dislodge them all.

So, that might be of help. Keep a 2x4 in the trunk, and a mallet. If the wheel is stuck, try taking the 2x4, put its end up against a part of the rim, and hit it with the mallet. Then make your way around the rim, doing the same. That may help to break up some of the rust that's keeping it stuck.
posted by sutt at 7:38 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Or what sperose said.
posted by sutt at 7:39 AM on September 4, 2013


Down near the bottom there's one for giving your nearly-dead batteries a little boost. The submitter suggests tapping the positive ends together - "As my high school chemistry teacher explained it to me, it frees up the ions." It got 11 upvotes.

I'm an EE, not a ChemE, but I'm puzzled as to how this works. I supposed it's possible that mechanically disturbing the battery guts could result in more of the reactions that produce free electrons (or holes), but why must one tap the positive ends together? And what if your flashlight has only one battery? Heck, just warming them in your hands will do the trick (if they are colder than your hands).
posted by achrise at 7:44 AM on September 4, 2013


When you're changing your wheels (say, from your summer to winter set), spraying the hub contact area and lug nuts/bolts with some T-9 will help inhibit the corrosion that sticks your wheels on and makes your lugs difficult to remove. WD40 or PB Blaster will do in a pinch but doesn't leave the protective film that T-9 does.

Plus you can use it on your bike chain!
posted by a halcyon day at 7:46 AM on September 4, 2013


WD-40 is my solution for everything.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:32 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Keep a 2x4 in the trunk, and a mallet.

Or if you forgot to do that, and it's dark and raining, and the wolves are moving in you can also undo each of the nuts a couple of turns before jacking the car up and rock it (laterally): use its own weight against it.
posted by titus-g at 8:32 AM on September 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I also tend to keep a piece of steel pipe in the trunk with my tire changing kit so I can get more leverage on the lug nuts because my brother is fond of putting them back on with the fucking air gun so I can't get them back off. Plus, it makes a convenient weapon.
posted by sperose at 8:34 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, the 10 minute skill I would suggest is finger binary - so you can count over 1,000 on your fingers.

You can also use finger binary to implement a pseudo-random number generator, to quote myself from a previous comment:

Implement a 10-bit Fibonnaci LFSR using your fingers. The maximal length polynomial for ten bits it X7 + X10 + 1 so you want taps at the seventh and tenth fingers.

Initialise your LFSR with whatever number you want (not all zeroes though), finger up is a one, finger down is a zero. Now XOR the rightmost bit (right thumb) with the 7th bit (right ring finger), that will feed back into your register from the left. Shift all the finger positions over - so the right thumb is now in whatever position the right pointing finger was and so-forth. The position of the left thumb is the ouput of the XOR you just did.

This random sequence will repeat every 1024 iterations. If you are sufficiently skilled at memory palace / method of loci memory techniques then I suspect you could implement a fairly large bit-count LFSR in your head.

posted by atrazine at 9:01 AM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


In most Google products (Gmail, especially) pressing the question mark key (?) brings up a list of keyboard shortcuts.

(Calendar, Drive/Docs, Groups, Contacts, etc.)
posted by talldean at 10:20 AM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


To add onto the Ctrl-Arrow keys for getting around documents and text fields quickly, which I use very often: Other cursor movement keys like Page Up and Down work for this too. Once you get them down, you can rapidly shuffle around large sections of your document without touching your mouse. These work nearly universally on Windows and most Linux window managers. On Mac, replace Ctrl with Command.
posted by JHarris at 12:35 PM on September 4, 2013


In much less than 10 minutes you could learn to sabre champagne which is the most fun ever.

I learned a few years ago and it is enduringly my most requested party trick. I taught myself using a chef's knife but a year ago was at a friend's birthday party and when I offered to sabre the cava I'd brought he produced an ACTUAL SABRE from his closet. (He explained this as "the type of thing one acquires as an opera singer").

It is all the fun.
posted by Saminal at 2:45 PM on September 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love me some Keyboard shortcuts! Typing in the number 1 then hitting return while in a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation will take you to your first slide. Also typing in any number larger than the total count of your slides in the presentation will take you to your last slide.
posted by HappyHippo at 5:14 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you need to make a brine (say for the best fried chicken ever), but don't have time to let it cool (you can't safely put meat in warm/hot brine), dissolve the salt and any other ingredients in half the amount of water called for in the recipe. Then, before you put the meat in, stir in enough ice to make up the remaining half. This becomes a lot easier if you can weigh the ice.
posted by AceRock at 5:40 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of Jacques Ellul - "There is a technique of friendship, there is a technique of swimming" - all human activities subordinated to the quest for the most efficient methods.
posted by thelonius at 6:44 PM on September 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


UGH the last time I had to change a tire it would NOT COME OFF and I kept throwing myself at it dramatically while it spun around and around MOCKING ME and eventually my ex came home and found me lying facedown in the muddy gravel of our driveway next to the jacked up car, wailing, while the dogs frolicked around me.
posted by elizardbits at 7:44 PM on September 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


« Older If perception of sound depends on our state of min...  |  "[W]e all recognize that the l... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments