The best of Lifehacker April 2014

life hacking

Foldable toolkits for optimizing your work space

Lifehacker has written an interesting article about foldable toolkits that are available for better organizing work benches and the like. They are not just handy for keeping things neat but they force the user to keep their most important tools most easily accessible. The article basically goes over the main benefits and features of these boxes.

According to the article, they are great if you live somewhere there isn’t alot of space. They can also be great if your need to be able to get your hands on your most handy tools from anywhere. They enable you to also carry them everywhere as the box is so portable. They unfold at will any place and at any time.

However, it’s more than just a tool box that’s really portable. It folds out to become a work bench as well. You can actually create a bench top with it to be able to put your work on. In addition, as the tools are displayed in front of you in the box, you have easy access to them while you work away.

The article provides a forewarning to would be buyers as well. Apparently, the box is highly customizable. It requires the user to put it together and customize to their requirements. It sounds like it’s definitely one for the technically minded and those who can work though these kinds of problems effectively.

Gmail solves the reply all email length issue

Another article in Lifehacker this week presents one of Google gmails newest features. It solves the problem of getting into email threads that become too long because other people in the thread continuously use the ‘reply all’ button. Eventually, people in the group email start having their own back and forth replies. After a while some of the thread or worse a lot of it can become irrelevant to you. Despite this, and very annoyingly, you’ll still recieve the emails going back and forth.

Gmail has a feature that deals with this. Funnily enough, its not a new one. It’s their email mute button. It’s been around for a long time but goes under the radar a lot. Life hackers post is meant to be a timely and helpful reminder about this aspect of Gmail.

They finish with another reminder that the same can be achieved in outlook. All you have to do is hit the ‘ignore’ button and all will be resolved.

A great way to improve computer security

Lifehacker has a post near the top of their recent posts at the moment about using NFC tags to improve computer security. We thought we’d summarize it for you as we think it’s a handy tick.

Near field communication or NFC is a nifty computer trick. It can do a number of handy things. One of them is to lock and unsecure the computer. Essentially, you get a tag and a scanner is hooked up to the computer. When you swipe it the computer password can be automaically entered and bam your computer is secure while you go off and do something. When you come back to do your work all you need to do is reswipe and hit enter and off to work again. This saves you from having to switch the computer off and reboot it just to go to the toilet while your at the library or somewhere similar.

Setting it up is pretty technical. Thankfully, Lifehacker have provided an install video which may be viewed here. It requires you to use some tools. These are an Arduino Leonardo and and NFC shield, tags and a iron that solders wires.

Yes, it may seem obvious, why couldn’t I simply enter the password and reenter manually? Well this one is for the truly geeky at heart. Some people just love the idea of swiping quicly to lock and unlock automatically. It’s also recommended by the author is a great way of learning how to put together gadgetry with a soldering iron and the tools mentioned herein. Again, check out the video here.

The latest from Techcrunch

In case you live under a rock, Techcrunch is a news blog that reports on breaking news from the world of technology. It’s one of the most read blogs in the global blogisphere. Today we take a look at the latest stories from Techcrunch.

Andrew Auernheimer

Hackers fighting for democracy and constitutional rights

Techcrunch has written the following feature about Andrew Auernheimer who was imprisoned for discovering that AT&T had not fulfilled its legal responsibility to protect the email addresses of 114,000 of its customers. Despite this, Andrew or ‘Weev’ as he’s also known, was sent to prison for accessing AT&Ts computer system. He ended up spending months in solitary confinement. Then his case was brought before the court again for an appeal. This was on the basis that the law under which he was convicted was redundant. More over it was argued that there was no sound legal basis for his conviction. Read more about this ongoing issue here at techcrunch.

Dropbox with questionable hiring of former politician

Alex Wilhelm of Techcrunch has published an artilce about how Dropbox has just hired former Bush chief of staff Ms Rice. As with the Weev issue, again this raises serious concern for the constitutional and democratic rights of citizens to have their privacy protected. Rice is known to have been at the forefront of government hacking and wire taps on unsuspecting citizens while Bush II was president. This is concerning because dropbox is a software that enables its user to store data. Put into the wrong hands, peoples lives could be monitored through this.

Are robots the future of armed conflict?

Techcrunch have been following the development of a robot at MIT Boston called Atlas. It’s a humanoid robot that is used to test how soldiers’ equipment will respond to wear and tear. The robot is very human like and its size is proportionate to the average male. The question raise in techcrunches article is whether this robot is being developed as future ground inventory.

Overvaluations in Silicon Valley

Leena Rao has posted about how Tinder is not valued properly. According to her article, Bloomberg said ten percent of the company had recently been purchased for over five hundred million dollars. This would have meant that overall the company would be valued at over five billion. When this was suggested, many people were taken aback in disbelief. Later the person who purchased a share, Chamath Palihapitiya, confirmed the report as false. He confirmed that it was not valued that high. It has since been reduced to around half a billion dollars. However, it’s also believed that even this amount could be stretching the truth a bit too much.

Is there a sense of purpose and intent in tech development now?

Josh Costine has just written an interesting piece asking the question, is silicon valley losing its way? What this means is, are startups being motivated entirely by money or are the founders more being driven to solve important problems of our times. However, it’s more positive than that. He is reporting on the founder of Asana’s up coming talk at a Techcrunch conference. Asana is software that allows virtual teams to collaborate on projects and write at the same time. In his talk he is suppose to be discussing some uncomfortable truths related to living with purpose and trying to make the world and our orgaizations better places. Further to this, it’s suggested we may be too much driven by the bottom line without enough attention paid to how we can really affect meaningful change in the world.

Here’s another article by Huff Post about this amazing story.