Category Archives: How To

Where I show you how to (or how not to) do stuff.

How To Fold Your Shirts

How to fold your shirts (and organize your closet in the process)

Here’s how you can fold your shirts like a pro and save space in your closet while you’re at it. This way of folding them doesn’t cause creases, allowing you to stack them nicely on shelves in your closet or in your travel bag.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy lugging around large garment bags when traveling. I’d much rather have a rolling suitcase and be done with it. While I haven’t yet found a way to fold suits so I can do away with the garment bag entirely, at least I don’t have to put my shirts in it, meaning it’s lighter and easier to carry.

This video is part of The Elegant Gentleman series.

Advanced Battery Charger-Analyzer (Thumbnail)

Here’s why should you get an advanced battery charger-analyzer

In this video, you will find out why it’s important to use a proper battery charger-analyzer and how using one helped me spot bad batteries in the batch of Ni-MH batteries used in my electronic equipment.

Before I got my charger-analyzer, I always wondered why some of my batteries seemed to last so little when I put them in my camera’s flash or in my keyboard or some other piece of electronics. It turns out some were of inferior quality, some were at the end of their life and some were just plain gone. Unknowingly, I was mixing good and bad batteries in my electronics and expecting them to perform properly.

The simple chargers I had previously used were reporting the batteries as fully charged when they were actually defective. This is why anyone who depends on batteries for their work should get a serious battery charger-analyzer, which has the circuitry and the capability necessary for proper testing of the batteries it charges and the ability to spot bad batteries right away.

As I say (repeatedly) in the video, I’m not trying to advertise any particular model of battery charger-analyzer but if you want to get the one I’m using, it’s the MH-C9000 from PowerEx.

From my personal experience, I can also recommend the following brands of Ni-MH rechargeable batteries to you:

I hope I’ve helped you!

My bed frame comes to life in France

You may remember my post on the sturdy king-size bed frame a while back? It’s inspired many people to build their own frames at home, saving $$$, avoiding the purchase of cheaply made furniture and learning about carpentry in the process.

This time, Jérôme Tirolien from France wrote to thank me for the article and he also sent  pictures, which he graciously agreed to let me post here:

“I want to tell you THANK YOU for your article ‘Making the custom bed frame’. I based on it to build mine. In March 2011 I asked which size of beam you used.
So for now I almost finished it. I have to build the drawers. In attached files, some pics.”

Hair Care Advice for Men

Hair care advice for men

Do you want to know how to get great hair and keep it that way? Tired of bad hair days, of dandruff, of itchy scalp, of putting up with what you think is the “norm” for your hair? Have a look at this video I made, where I’ll give you detailed advice on the matter and I promise you that you’ll gain valuable insight that will pay off down the road.

Here’s what I talk about in the video:

  1. Genetics
  2. Diet
  3. Haircuts
  4. Hair care products

I truly hope this helps you! Enjoy!

How to make sun-brewed coffee

With the warmer spring weather, I tried something different when making my coffee one day: I decided to brew it using the sun’s heat. I was hoping for a different, milder taste and I was right!

The basic coffee-making equation doesn’t change: use your favorite coffee, use as much or as little of it as you prefer — but instead of putting it in the coffee machine, put it in a glass pitcher and add cold, filtered water. Then, cover the pitcher to stop insects or dust from getting into it and set it on the window sill or somewhere outside, in direct sunlight.

Monitor it periodically. Once it gets hot to the touch, the coffee’s done. You can leave it out a little longer if you want a stronger coffee, or leave it less if you don’t. I live in a temperate climate and in moderately warm spring weather (18-25° Celsius), my coffee was ready in 1½ – 2 hours. If you live in a warm climate, it should be ready even faster, maybe even in 30 minutes or so.

The taste of sun-brewed coffee is unique: it’s mild with no bitter aftertaste and there’s a distinct caramel flavor to it.

A few pieces of advice:

  • Use alkaline water, it will make it taste even better
  • Use a French Press, it’ll make it much easier to pour the coffee out of the pitcher once it’s ready
  • Use regular filter-ground coffee even though you’re using a French Press… it doesn’t make sense at first, but know that the water temperature in the sun will only be about 40-50° Celsius as compared to 90-100° Celsius with boiling water. This means you’ll need a finer grind in order to get more flavor out of the coffee. 

Enjoy!

Sun-brewed coffee

All-Season-Shoe-Care-(Thumbnail)

A comprehensive guide to all-season shoe care

During the past few weeks, I worked on an extended video (about 50 minutes long) on shoe care, where I explained how I take care of my shoes. In order to offer as much advice as possible, I selected three pairs of shoes: a summer pair, a pair of winter boots and a pair of old shoes that had been abused in the garden and the yard. The point was (and is) to show the viewers how to take care of all sorts of shoes, whether they be warm weather, cold weather or just plain old shoes. As an added bonus, you’ll also learn how to get a spit shine (also known as a mirror shine or a bull shine). Here is the video, enjoy!

This video is part of my “Elegant Gentleman” series, to which you’re encouraged to subscribe, here or on YouTube and on Facebook.

How to create a Fusion Drive on a mid-2011 iMac

Yes, you can enable Fusion Drive on older Macs. I’m not sure how this method will work with Macs older than 2011, but I know for sure that it works on mid-2011 iMacs, and quite possibly on other Macs made since then. I have just completed this process for my iMac and I thought it would help you if I detailed it here.

I like Fusion Drive because it’s simple and automated, like Time Machine. Some geekier Mac users will likely prefer to install an SSD and manually separate the system and app files from the user files which take up the most space, which is something that gives them more control over what works faster and what doesn’t, but that’s a more involved process. Fusion Drive works automatically once you set it up, moving the files that are used more often onto the SSD and keeping the ones that are accessed less often on the hard drive. This results in a big performance increase without having to fiddle with bash commands too much.

The hardware

My machine is a 27″ mid-2011 iMac with a 3.4 GHz processor and 16GB of RAM. I bought it with a 1TB hard drive, which I recently considered upgrading to a 3TB hard drive but decided against, given the fan control issues with the temperature sensor and the special connector used on the factory drive.

imac-basic-specs

I purchased a 128GB Vertex4 SSD from OCZ. It’s a SATA III (6 Gbps) drive and when I look in System Info, my iMac sees it as such and is able to communicate with it at 6 Gbps, which is really nice.

ocz-vertex4-ssd-128gb

ssd-specs

The hardware installation is somewhat involved, as you will need to not only open the iMac but also remove most of the connections and also unseat the motherboard so you can get at the SATA III connector on its back. You will also need a special SATA wire, which is sold as a kit from both OWC and iFixit. The kit includes the suction cups used to remove the screen (held into place with magnets) and a screwdriver set.

2nd-drive-ssd-kit

You can choose to do the installation yourself if you are so inclined, but realize that you may void the warranty on the original hard drive if something goes wrong, and this is according to Apple Tech Support, with whom I checked prior to ordering the kit. Here are a couple of videos that show you how to do this:

In my case, it just so happened that my iMac needed to go in for service (the video card, SuperDrive and display went bad) and while I had it in there, I asked the technicians to install the SSD behind the optical drive for me. This way, my warranty stayed intact. When I got my iMac back home, all I had to do was to format both the original hard drive and the SSD and proceed with enabling the Fusion Drive (make sure to back up thoroughly first). You can opt to do the same, or you can send your computer into OWC for their Turnkey Program, where you can elect to soup it up even more.

The software

Once I had backed up everything thoroughly through Time Machine, I used the instructions in this Macworld article to proceed. There are other articles that describe the same method, and the first man to realize this was doable and blog about it was Patrick Stein, so he definitely deserves a hat tip. I’ll reproduce the steps I used here; feel free to also consult the original articles.

1. Create a Mountain Lion (10.8.2) bootup disk. Use an 8GB or 16GB stick for this, it will allow you to reformat everything on the computer, just to clean things up. Otherwise you may end up with two recovery partitions when you’re done. I used the instructions in this Cult of Mac post to do so. The process involves re-downloading 10.8.2 from the Apple Store (if you haven’t bought it yet, now is the time to do so) and an app called Lion Diskmaker.

2. Format both the original HD and the SSD, just to make sure they’re clean and ready to go. Use Disk Utility to do this, or if you’re more comfortable with the command line, you can also do that (just be aware you can blow away active partitions with it if you’re not careful).

2. List the drives so you can get their correct names. In my case, they were /dev/disk1 and /dev/disk2.

diskutil list

3. Create the Fusion Drive logical volume group. When this completes, you’ll get something called a Core Storage LGV UUID. Copy that number, you’ll need it for the following step.

diskutil coreStorage create myFusionDrive /dev/disk1 /dev/disk2

4. Create the Fusion Drive logical volume. I used the following command:

diskutil coreStorage createVolume paste-lgv-uuid-here jhfs+ "Macintosh HD" 100%

5. Quit Terminal and begin a fresh install of Mountain Lion onto the new disk called “Macintosh HD”.

6. Restore your apps, files and system settings from the Time Machine backup using the Migration Assistant once you’ve booted up. Here’s an article that shows you how to do that. When that completes, you’re done!

The result

Was it worth it? Yes. The boot-up time went from 45-60 seconds to 15 seconds, right away. And over time, the apps and files I use most often will be moved onto the SSD, thus decreasing the amount of time it’ll take to open and save them.

At some point, I expect Apple to issue a utility, like Boot Camp, that will allow us to do this more easily and automatically. Until then, that’s how I set up Fusion Drive on my iMac, and I hope it’s been helpful to you!