Thursday, August 21, 2008

Use Filters to Pare Down Your Spam Folder

The biggest problem with spam filters is false positives. The very prospect of a false positive means that you cannot erase all of your spam without at least quickly scanning through it. If you do, you're in for trouble.

As the amount of spam that I receive at my gmail account grows, I have been adding filters to delete email that is definitely spam. This significantly cuts down on the amount of spam that sits in the spam folder. Less spam in the folder means less spam to scan.

The drawback of this is that I have to pick my filters carefully to avoid any false positives in them. This means that I may not want to filter for "pharmaceutical", but I can filter "Paris Hilton" with impunity.* It's also difficult to filter foreign language spam, though that's easier to scan through.

A couple minutes spent setting up a filter now can save me a couple minutes every week or so when I check my spam for legitimate email.

*If you send me legitimate email about Paris Hilton it will be deleted. It's a false positive that I'm okay with.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I've known of the Lifehacker blog, and the concept of lifehacking, for some time now. I've openly practiced lifehacking on occasion, but normally I thought I was just being over-analytical. Recently, I've come to embrace the idea of myself as a lifehacker for a while.

I'm trying to clear up my time so that I don't feel so overloaded. I also need to find a working process that keeps me focused. I have conflicting goals of being more productive at work and spending more time, and also being more productive and helpful, at home. These things require some high level and low level changes to my processes, habits, and lifestyle... basically, lifehacking.

If this blog is nothing else, it's an outlet for my wandering thoughts and ideas. So I'll be trying to document some of my hacks here.

Keep a Quarter in Your Pocket

This is a little tip that I think would help most men. If you keep a quarter in your pocket then you should never receive more than 75 cents in change. This can really cut down on jingly pockets.

I settled on a quarter because anything smaller is virtually useless, and anything larger requires two coins or rarely used coins. Fifty cent pieces are rare and annoy cashiers, but that would be the optimal coin to carry. Two coins doesn't work because they would always clank together, the exact scenario you're trying to avoid.

As a variation, you could carry two quarters in separate pockets. You could carry a penny as the second coin, to avoid getting four pennies as change. If you can and do carry a coin purse, then you're probably better off carrying some other combination, maybe 41 cents (a quarter, a dime, a nickel, and a penny) or 52 cents (two quarters, two pennies).