Monthly Archives: February 2013

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How To Possibly Get Your Post Featured On The Jalopnik Front Page

Y’all have heard, and have now seen, that we can repub posts from your personal Kinja sites to the front page of Jalopnik. It’s a good thing for everyone and we’re having a lot of fun with it thus far. Here are a few tips on how to get us to notice your fine work.


If you’ve noticed, Jalopnik posts have a certain style. There’s a snappy headline, a good picture, and a short paragraph that makes you want to read the rest of the post. Then there’s the body, or meat, of the post. What’s that? You don’t want to call it the meat? Too bad. I already did.


Headlines: Gotta have one. Make it active, not passive (Ex: "Goes" sounds better than "is going"). Use some creative language, you don’t want to sound like everyone else, make it stand out. Try not to use commas or other punctuation (except a question mark at times). Capitalize every word. Most of all, have some fun with it.


Image: There has to be an image at the top of the post. No ifs, ands, or buts. That image should be 970 x 546, which is pretty close to the standard 16 x 9 aspect ratio. It’s the size we edit images to. Also, make it interesting. A boring image won’t make anyone want to read. 


Lede: That first little bit before the first paragraph break that reels you in is called the lede. It should grab the reader’s attention and give them a reason to read the story. If the first part of the post doesn’t interest you, will the rest of the post interest you? I bet it won’t.


Body: We all make mistakes, but try and make sure the copy of the post is clean. That means no typos, or at the very least a severe lack of typos. In the posts, additional images should still be in that landscape aspect ratio I mentioned above.


These are just a few tips. If you follow them, there is no guarantee that you will end up on the front page of Jalopnik. Likewise, we might see something so good that it doesn’t adhere to any of these and put it on our front page. 


So far you all have found some awesome content we’ve been excited to feature.  As the platform evolves, so will the style, but if you’re interested in seeing your work shared on Jalopnik these steps are a good place to start. Go get ‘em!

How We Work: Alan Henry’s Favorite Gear and Productivity Tricks

How We Work: Alan Henry's Favorite Gear and Productivity Tricks Every week, we share the shortcuts, workspaces, and productivity tips of our favorite experts and internet personalities. This week, however, we’re giving you guys a glimpse into how we work, and all the tips and tricks that keep our blogging wheels spinning. Today, I’m running through my favorite gear, gadgets, apps, devices, and tricks to stay productive when I’m on, and to have fun when I’m off.

The last time we did this series I was a pretty cross platform guy. Nothing’s changed there, and most of my hardware is still the same, but I’ve been making some small changes here and there as I get more comfortable with my flow.

How We Work: Alan Henry's Favorite Gear and Productivity Tricks Location: Washington, DC
Current Gig: Writer, Lifehacker
One word that best describes how you work: Efficient
Current mobile device: Motorola Droid Bionic, running Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich.) Also in the drawer: an iPad 3 (iOS 6.1), a Motorola Droid (Original), running MIUI (Gingerbread), and a rooted Nook Simple Touch.
Current computer: Ganymede, my 15″ MacBook Pro (2010), Deneb, my custom-built Windows PC (Win 7), and when I’m really bored, Europa, my 15″ MacBook Pro (2008) running Ubuntu.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

On the desktop side, it would be a pretty bad day if I couldn’t use Google Docs/Drive, or fire up Sparrow (Postbox on my Windows machine) to keep my multiple Gmail accounts under control. Luckily, all it’s taken up to this point is an itchy delete finger and effective Gmail filters. It’d also be a pretty bad day if I couldn’t use Dashlane to manage my passwords and logins. I gave it a trial run not too long ago, and really fell in love with it. I still love LastPass, but I’ve been loving Dashlane’s secure checkout options lately, and it’s free.

Reeder keeps me up to date on the news both on my Mac and on my iPad, and if I have a choice, I tend to read my feeds on my iPad. On the Android side, I don’t know where I’d be without Camera ZOOM FX, since I use it far more often than I carry my beloved Sony Alpha NEX-5N around with me. Oh, and of course Pandora, since I plug my phone into my head unit in the car anyway—Pandora has all but replaced the radio at home and on the road for me. Yay for unlimited data!

What’s your workspace setup like?

How We Work: Alan Henry's Favorite Gear and Productivity Tricks

It’s a little cleaned up for this photo (I usually keep a few toys on my desk just to fiddle with when I’m thinking) but I try to keep it as tidy as possible. The lamp there pulls double duty as a light source and a webcam stand—my Loigtech HD C920 (which I bought on the Hive’s reccomendation) is mounted there using a Joby Gorillapod, so when I do Google Hangouts or Skype calls the camera is close to my face instead of on top of my monitor.

The core of my setup hasn’t changed, but I added a couple of Space Bar organizers (When they were much cheaper and still in stock) to get a little extra space for keyboards to slide under when I’m not testing a new one. On my Mac, I swapped out my Apple Wired Keyboard for a Logitech Illuminated Keyboard and rather like it. Still rocking the Performance Mouse MX though.

How We Work: Alan Henry's Favorite Gear and Productivity Tricks On the Windows side, I upgraded to a 256GB OCZ Vertex 4 SSD last year, and can vouch for how much of a performance improvement an SSD makes. My Logitech G9x has taken a backseat to the wireless Razer Mamba, and my old Logitech G19 finally died, so I opted for a more modest Logitech G510 instead (although here you see the Moshi Luna I’ve been testing, which is a really nice keyboard if you like scissor keys—it’s not even bad for gaming, which surprised me.)

Out of frame is my home server/HTPC. I got into the nitty gritty there last year, but I’ve been meaning to rebuild it or buy a NAS instead. Also out of frame is my Herman Miller Embody office chair—probably the most expensive purchase I’ve made for my workspace (especially considering I got the desk at a University surplus store 10 years ago for $30—bonus, it has great cable management channels on the top and in the back!) but when you sit in front of a screen all day for work and play, you need a good chair.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?

Being fearless with the delete key. Seriously, I was pretty good at keeping my inboxes trim and responding when I needed to, but when I joined the team at Lifehacker those skills were put to the test. I still try to reply whenever I can, but if I didn’t have such an itchy delete finger, I’d be drowning in email. My biggest time-saver though, one I suggest everyone use: Chill out, relax, and do your thing. Angry at something, or someone on the internet is wrong? Resist the urge to engage and think instead about how much time you’d waste on it. Then move on and do awesome stuff instead. It’s a better use of our limited time.

More pragmatically, I happily pay to automate tasks I’d rather not spend the time or money to do myself. Whether it’s Amazon Subscribe and Save deliveries, regular vegetable boxes from my local door-to-door grocery delivery service, (something I’ve discussed in the past) I’m happy to spend as the time I get back from the task is worth it. After all, that’s what being “productive” is really about: getting the things you have to do done quickly so you can spand time doing the things you want to do.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

How We Work: Alan Henry's Favorite Gear and Productivity Tricks I’m currently using Astrid on my Android phone (Astrid notifications are pretty much the only ones I allow, and I’ve gotten accustomed to calling a line of tiny Astrid icons in my notification bar a “squid attack”) and iPad. I even keep it open as a pinned tab. I still use Wunderkit as my personal idea bank, even though it’s going away soon. I’m still looking for a new idea bank—considering Asana or even Wunderlist, since many of Wunderkit’s features are in Wunderlist 2, but I’m always on the lookout for a better to-do app.

I also use Springpad to keep track of things around the web that I want to make note of—recipes, gadgets to look into, products to save up for, things like that. The only list I tend not to use something digital for is my grocery list—I’ve tried, but for some reason I just can’t get into it. For that it’s pen and paper, every time.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

How We Work: Alan Henry's Favorite Gear and Productivity Tricks Even though I have a (sorely underpowered) XBMC HTPC, I use my Xbox 360 to stream Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, and Hulu. I’m more of a PC gamer, but when I need to get away from the keys, my consoles are there for me. I have an Apple TV in the bedroom, but it sees less use. Other than that, my newly-acquired Fitbit has been instrumental to getting me off my butt more often, which I definitely need to do. Oh, and I can’t leave out my Sony Alpha NEX-5N, one of the best purchases I’ve made in a long time. I love that camera.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

I don’t know if I’m better than everyone else, but I’m a pretty mean typist. I mean, I type really fast, and touch-type at that. I can hold entire conversations with people, making eye contact, and my fingers fly across the keyboard at the same time. It’s pretty handy.

I’m also kind of a clean freak—I clean as I go along when I’m cooking, I’m a little obsessive about mise en place, and I’m pretty well known for having all of the dishes in the dishwasher and ready to clean by the time I’m finished plating dinner. The same is true for everything else: I try to do things when they occur to me and as quickly as possible so I can get them off my plate, so that’s how I tend to approach everything: life, work, play. That way I can free up my mind to think about something else.

What do you listen to while you work?

How We Work: Alan Henry's Favorite Gear and Productivity Tricks Pandora fills the quiet gaps for me, and I happily pay for a Pandora One subscription. When I’m not listening to one of my 15 or so Pandora stations, I head over to the previously mentioned Noon Pacific (if you don’t get his weekly playlists every monday at—you guessed it—noon, pacific, you’re missing out) or another favorite, This Is My Jam. I also really dig Relaux‘s curated playlists, which I’ve also praised before. If I’m head-down writing, I’ve probably saved a two-hour Freefall Radio podcast or two to help get the words flowing. Give it a try and subscribe—you won’t be disappointed.

When I’m not in the mood for music, I usually try to fill my time with some of my favorite audio and video podcasts from the folks at TWiT and Revision3. I subscribe to entirely too many to name, but you can see them in this iTunes snap here.

What’s your sleep routine like?

I have the early shift at Lifehacker, so I’m up every morning around 6am ET (3am PT) so we can start our broadcast day at 7am ET (4am PT.) For that reason I try to be in bed around 11pm or so the night before, just to get a decent amount of sleep. That’ll probably surprise my old coworkers considering how I hated being in the office early—I tend to be a night owl, and definitely stay up late on the weekends. I tend to feel more creative and connected after dark, so I tackle most of my personal projects in the wee hours.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

I’m the most talkative introvert you may ever meet. I used to think I was an extrovert because I enjoyed being around people so much, but even though I love it, I need to retreat to a private space to recharge, not the other way around. When I plan trips to visit friends or go to a party with people I don’t know, I’m usually stressed out beforehand, even if I actually really want to go. You wouldn’t know it once I’m there, but I probably agonized over it before I left. That’s not to say I don’t love it once I’m there—I just need a kick in the pants to get out the door and have a good time sometimes.

Is there anyone you’d kill to see answer these same questions?

How We Work: Alan Henry's Favorite Gear and Productivity Tricks We’ve had some really incredible people do How I Work, but I’d love to see how Maya Angelou or Nikki Giovanni works, or maybe current NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, since all three of them are people of note that I’ve looked up to since I was a child. Speaking of science, I’ve been following Brian Greene’s work since I was an undergrad. I’m curious how he gets things done, and if it’s anything like the offices of other physicists I know.

I’d also love to see how Alton Brown works, partially because I hope he’d answer our questions on Post It notes like he does on Twitter. Oh, and just for kicks? I’d love to know how Hayao Miyazaki gets things done. He’s extremely prolific and very busy, but also makes time to recharge and nurture his creativity, even when he has a billion things to do and projects to work on.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Back in 2006, I was struggling with living a kind of double life. On the one hand, I was working in tech and going to grad school, trying to decide if I wanted to work in an office with enterprise technology for a living. On the other hand, I was already writing on my own, and really wanted to that into a career. I reached out to Xeni Jardin, founding partner and co-editor of Boing Boing (still one of my favorite sites), on a whim for advice as a fledgling writer looking for tips from someone more experienced. She replied:

Find untold stories, things that fascinate you, and do your best to tell them honestly. There’s so little truth in the world these days, any small morsel of it is a precious thing that will be appreciated, and find a grateful audience.

Don’t look for “big” stories, just look for ones that matter to you. The more you work at it, the better your work will be, and the more people will see it.

I’m still working on it, but every day I appreciate her words. I’d also share a quote from the 8th century father of Zen, Shitou Xiqian: “The vast sky is not hindered by the floating clouds.” Something else I try to remember, especially in this line of work.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers/fans?

I’ve often been accused of being a robot. Mostly it’s because I have a nasty habit of responding to emails in the middle of the night, staying up late working, writing dozens of articles on multiple sites, and in general looking like I never sleep. I have no comment on these baseless accusations.

These Modern Bunny Ears Are Your Free-TV Deal of the Day

One of the most frugal ways to watch TV is to simply pluck public channels from over-the-air broadcasts. Public channels include the majors — NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC — plus other great free programming, like shows on PBS, often broadcasting with better image quality than cable. That means you don’t miss many major events. Last night’s State of the Union, the Olympics, and NFL football all have a home on public stations. All you need is a TV with a digital tuner (so, basically any flat screen from the past ten years) and an antenna and you’re in. But which antenna? There’s no best antenna — hell, there’s no such thing as an HD antenna — but the Mohu Leaf is a good choice, especially if you’re in the city or suburbs. Lifehacker’s Alan Henry reviewed the Leaf and had nice things to say: More »


Malware attacks spike against Apple OS X users in China enclave

One of the pages displayed by a booby-trapped Word document that exploits a vulnerability Microsoft patched in 2009.

Researchers are reporting a spike in hack attacks targeting Mac OS X systems for the purpose of surreptitiously monitoring users’ e-mail and chat contacts and maintaining persistent control over their computers.

The increased attacks are targeting supporters of the Uyghur people, a Turkic ethnic group who primarily live in a region of China, according to two separate reports independently published by researchers from Kaspersky Lab and AlienVault Labs. They are the latest to document the growing vulnerability of Mac users to so-called advanced persistent threats, which target users over a span of months or years to mine specific proprietary or social information of interest to the attackers.

“With these attacks, we continue to see an expansion of the APT capabilities to attack Mac OS X users,” wrote Costin Raiu, director of Kaspersky’s global research and analysis team. “In general, Mac users operate under a false sense of security which comes from the years-old mantra that ‘Macs don’t get viruses.’”

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When Every Student Realizes They Can Reply All and Spam Every Other Student It’s Fun for Everyone

When you connect a bunch of young college kids together on the Internet, any meeting eventually devolves into a crying mess of memes, Internet hall of fame pictures and a whole lot of trolling. So when students in Stanford’s computer science program realized that e-mailing one address would contact EVERY student, well, you bet it got real fun real fast. People were dropping tubgirl, rickrolls, meatspin and because it’s Stanford and it’s computer science, offering jobs at startups. More »


Climbing the ranks: ASRock’s Z77E-ITX Mini-ITX motherboard reviewed

This review is brought to you by our friends at The Tech Report. You can find the article in its original state here.

When you think of the top three retail motherboard makers, Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI probably come to mind. Those firms dominated the market for ages. Asus and Gigabyte still have the top two spots sewn up, but MSI is no longer on the podium. Starting as early as 2010, ASRock has been shipping more retail boards than the former number three. ASRock may crank out fewer than half as many mobos as Asus and Gigabyte, but its lead over MSI appears to be growing.

The rise of ASRock is particularly notable because the firm started out as an Asus subsidiary focusing on low-end products. ASRock was eventually spun off as part of Pegatron, an independent design and manufacturing company that makes a wide range of computing hardware. With independence came the freedom to expand beyond the realm of budget boards and into enthusiast territory.

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Micron P400m Review (200GB)

Micron has remained one of the more stable players in the SSD space over the past few years. Although not typically at the top of our charts, Micron (and its consumer brand, Crucial) have generally paired the latest in NAND technology with custom firmware that’s well validated. It sounds like a simple combination, but it’s so rarely found in an industry that’s growing quickly enough to both those that are first to market as well as those that are most reliable.

On the enterprise front, Micron is looking to fill a gap in its product lineup. In the 2.5” SATA form factor, Micron really only had two offerings: the dated SLC-based P300, and the entry level P400e. The former was built for a market that has increasingly moved to high-endurance MLC NAND, while the latter wasn’t robust enough to deal with any of the more write-heavy enterprise environments. Filling the gap is the drive we’re looking at today: Micron’s P400m. Read on for our full review!



Micron P400m Review (200GB)

Micron has remained one of the more stable players in the SSD space over the past few years. Although not typically at the top of our charts, Micron (and its consumer brand, Crucial) have generally paired the latest in NAND technology with custom firmware that’s well validated. It sounds like a simple combination, but it’s so rarely found in an industry that’s growing quickly enough to both those that are first to market as well as those that are most reliable.

On the enterprise front, Micron is looking to fill a gap in its product lineup. In the 2.5” SATA form factor, Micron really only had two offerings: the dated SLC-based P300, and the entry level P400e. The former was built for a market that has increasingly moved to high-endurance MLC NAND, while the latter wasn’t robust enough to deal with any of the more write-heavy enterprise environments. Filling the gap is the drive we’re looking at today: Micron’s P400m. Read on for our full review!



This Is The First 2014 Corvette To Crash On A Public Road


We knew this was bound to happen sooner or later, but it doesn’t make us any less sad.

According to reports on several Corvette blogs, this is a photo of the first Corvette Stingray to crash out on public roads. The photo apparently originates from the Digital Corvettes forum, who said they received this photo in an email last week from a reader in Arizona who stumbled upon the wrecked ‘Vette. Here’s part of what they were told:

Car is in worse shape than looks. Hit guardrail on left and bounced back to rocks.

That’s a real shame. Anyone else have any details on what happened here? Let us know in the comments. 

Photo credit Digital Corvettes forums

Double the Number of Shortcuts on Your Home Screen with Swipe Actions

Crafting the perfect home screen can take a lot of work, but if there’s one Android feature we think everyone should try out, it’s swipe actions. With the swipe of your finger, you can add an extra shortcut to every icon on your home screen, doubling the number of things you can do.

This isn’t a feature of stock Android, but you can get it in nearly every launcher out there (I’m using Nova Launcher Prime myself—yes, it’s a feature only available in the paid “Prime” version). It isn’t a new feature, either, but it is one that a lot of people forget about, so we’ve decided to take a closer look into its awesomeness.

The basic idea: Every icon on your home screen has an action associated with it when you tap it. Tapping the Chrome icon opens up Chrome, and tapping the Contacts icon brings up your contact list. Swipe actions let you give those icons a second action, that you access by swiping up on the icon. For example, I’ve set up the following shortcuts:

  • Swiping up on Chrome opens Chrome and goes directly to Lifehacker, my most frequently visited site
  • Swiping up on the Contacts icon directly calls my girlfriend, my most frequently called contact
  • Swiping up on the Maps icon immediately navigates me home, so I don’t have to type in the address every time
  • Swiping up on the Google Voice icon toggles whether I use Google Voice to make calls

You see the pattern.

How to Set It Up: To assign a swipe gesture in Nova launcher, just tap and hold on the icon in question, and choose Edit. Under Swipe Action, you can pick from a launcher-based action, launch another app, or choose from one of Android’s many shortcuts (direct call or message a contact, navigate you to a location, open a Gmail label, and so on). Assign these to the icons on your home screen and you have double the shortcuts, without having taken up any more space. Check out the video above to see it in action.