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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

The Hacks You Need to Know

I've collected several helpful little "hacks" over the years to help me get things done.

For example...

Want to download a YouTube video, but you don't subscribe to YouTube Premium?

Go to Y2Mate, enter the address of the video you want, and hit download. You could also type "pi" after the word "Youtube" in the video's URL, and you'll get to the same place.

Is the video you just downloaded too large to use the way you need to use it?

Upload your video to FreeConvert, choose your desired "Video Quality & Size", and after a few moments, you'll have a smaller file size.

Want to watch content that hasn't been made available in your country?

Download the free Opera browser, then turn on the built-in VPN.

This trick allowed me to watch the fascinating (and disturbing) Last Week Tonight with John Oliver segment on Data Brokers on YouTube, which as a Canadian, I wouldn't otherwise have been able to do because "The uploader has not made this video available in your country."

Want to read an article that lives behind a paywall?

If the paywall appears as a pop-up once you visit the site, you might be able to use the Instapaper Text bookmarklet to access the content.

To use this trick, go to this site and drag the "Instapaper Text" button to your bookmarks toolbar. Then, whenever you come across a site that shows you the start of the article before hitting you with a paywall, simply click the button: the full text will be available in a clean, easy-to-read format.

Want to see exactly how it works? Business Insider recently published an article titled, "Leaked Amazon audio shows CEO Andy Jassy address several of the company's most pressing issues — but dodge employees' top concerns about low pay" but it lives behind a paywall... a paywall that was no match for the Instapaper Text button.

Want a better deal while online shopping?

Go to the site that's selling what you want to buy, register for an account, add whatever it is you want to buy to your shopping cart... then do nothing. Close your browser, and don't visit the website again for a few days. If you do all of that, there's a very good chance the website will send you a "reminder email" with a little encouragement (read: discount code) to complete your purchase.

Want to sign up for a free account, but don't fully trust the sender with your information?

If you use Gmail, there's an easy solution: use the "+" to add an identifier to your address.

Here's how it works. Let's say you want to sign up for Company A's email newsletter because they're offering you 10% off your first purchase... but you're worried they're going to email you seven times a week until the end of time. If your email address is, give them instead. The 10% offer will still be delivered to your regular Gmail inbox, but if Company A begins to send you too many communications, you can block all emails going to the YOU+CompanyA address.

Bonus tip: if you get a message to that email address from anybody OTHER than CompanyA, you know CompanyA has sold your data to somebody else and can't be trusted.

Want to download a whitepaper but don't want to give the company your email address?

Use a burner email. I like because it gives you a temporary inbox, which means if the site requires you to confirm your email before giving you access to their content, you can still proceed.

Want to get people to trust you instantly?

Sorry, friends, but I haven't found a hack for that... and I'm fairly certain one doesn't exist.

Technology hacks are easy and plentiful, as you can see from everything you read above.

But trust is built by being helpful, honest, vulnerable, empathetic, transparent, courageous, and consistent over time... and there's no shortcut or cheat code to get you there any faster.

For better or worse, trust needs to be earned.

I think it's for the better, though, don't you?


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Disclosure: As an Amazon Affiliate and a member of select other referral programs, I may earn a commission if you click on links found within my blog posts and subsequently make a purchase. The commissions earned are negligible, and while they help fund this website, they do not influence my opinions in any way.

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