Archive for the Methods Category

Life Tips – Balancing your wallet

Posted in Knowledge, Life Tips, Methods with tags , , , , , , on May 30, 2015 by Sirusdark

Hello! Today I’d like to share with you one of my most useful life technique: wallet balancing.

You may also combine this tip with this great financial tip:

Never bring more cash than you can or wanna spend!

Show me the money

In today’s era of electronic transactions, cash may seem obsolete, but it’s not. This technique literally saved my arse the day countless times!

Here are some true stories on how this simple method saved the day:

  • Went for an onsite residential job: customer was suppose to pay with cheque, but instead, decided to pay cash. That wasn’t planned… Still, I was able to give the exact change on the spot.
  • Went to see a relative and by some unplanned circumstance, had to take the bus back home. Fortunately, I had the exact amount to pay the trip’s fare!
  • Went for a bite with a friend: AFTER eating, waitress gives us the addition and tells us the debit/credit card machine is out of order; cash only! You guessed it: I was able to pay. I was even able fill in the missing cash/change for my friend who didn’t have a balanced wallet. (Now does!)

How is when

The most important aspect of this wallet balancing technique, is to do it “daily“. What it really means is the second you use your cash, your wallet becomes unbalanced (I know… Rocket science). The “hard” part is balancing it the same day or the next morning before grabbing it for a new day.

My Settings

Safe (can give change for any bills up to 50$)
2×20$+2×10$+2×5$ (Total of 70$)

On budget
20$+10$+5$ (Total of 35$)

wallet_budget_001

Change (never, EVER changes)
2×2$, 2×1$, 6x 0.25$, 3x .10$, 2×0.05$ (Total of 7.90$ or 13.90$)

wallet_sparechange_001

Instead of keeping a total count of my spare change, I simply configure them in a specific layout: all that’s left to do is empty my wallet’s change pocket and match my original layout.

The above picture shows my basic pattern (left) and the extra pattern add-on (right), if needed.

Voilà! I hope you find this tip useful. Now, by all means, do adapt this technique YOUR specific needs!

Enjoy!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

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Blizzard Overwatch Tracer Statue Pre-order follow-up – Business Best-Practice Example

Posted in E-mail, Methods with tags , , , , , , , on February 8, 2015 by Sirusdark

Hello dear readers and followers!

Last Friday I received a follow-up e-mail on a pre-order of mine and felt like writing about it because it’s a nice example of a well crafted e-mail. It also demonstrates how to properly communicate with customers; good communication is EVERYTHING in business and it’s key to success. (and for oh, so many other life’s aspects…)

Here’s the follow-up message I received for my pre-order:

Blizzard Order *********

“Cheers, love!  The cavalry’s here!”

Greetings Sirus ****,

You may have noticed a recent authorization attempt from Blizzard Entertainment on your credit card. This authorization occurred because the current pre-order period for Tracer has ended and we’ve started to prepare for the next stage of the process.  Please be aware that this authorization is only a temporary hold of funds to authenticate your purchase.  You are not being charged at this time.

The Tracer statue is expected to ship in the second quarter of 2015.

Regards,

Blizzard Gear Store Team

Scalpel Please…

Although the e-mail is short, EVERYTHING’S there. Let’s see in detail why it’s a great example to follow:

Numbers

Using an order number or a reference number (aka ticket number), gives both parties the ultimate information: a unique number that refers to a specific interaction between them. I love those.

Humor

The funny quote at the beginning is a very clever way to introduce the purpose of the message (subject). Just like an inside joke, only the recipient knows what it’s about. Anyone familiar with Blizzard’s products knows the e-mail is about Tracer, a game character from Blizzard’s upcoming title Overwatch, as the quote is from her. It creates a deeper intimate connection for something very process-oriented. A nice touch.

Content

Then, the user is politely greeted and the message clearly explains what’s going on: they simply checked the validity of my credit card so that when it’s time to charge for the product, it’ll work. Fine by me! For the control freaks out there, they even explained that it’s NOT a charge. Twice… Hum… no. Make it three.

Using quarters, bubble gum not included

Finally, a time frame is given. In the world of pre-orders, dates are a rare commodity. Using quarters instead of precise dates is also very clever: it tells the customer approximately when to expect the product, and at the same time, gives the company a 3 months grace period to deliver. Smart, huh? I’ll definitely use that for my big quotes!

Conclusion

For good communication (or a radio hit), repetition is essential, even critical. Reiterating the origin of the message in the signature is a good idea. In this case, the Blizzard Gear Store.

Voilà! Just a little example of how to build a clear concise follow-up message.

For those wondering who’s “Tracer” and what this pre-order is all about, here, some pictures.

Enjoy!

overwatch-tracer-04overwatch-tracer-03overwatch-tracer-02overwatch-tracer-01

TIME SENSITIVE BONUS!!

Though they said the pre-order period has “ended“, that “Add to Cart” button still looks pretty darn workin’! :D
pre-order_tracer
Last chance for collectors! Check it out!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

References
-http://us.blizzard.com/
-http://us.battle.net/overwatch/en/
-http://gear.blizzard.com/index.php/default/collectibles/overwatch-tracer-statue.html

Firefox – New One Click Search review – How to use, disable and manage it

Posted in Browser, Methods, Workflow with tags , , , , on December 10, 2014 by Sirusdark

Hello dear readers and followers! Sorry for this delayed post, I didn’t scheduled it last week! O_o

Today’s article is about Firefox new One Click Search feature.

If your browser is up-to-date and it’s Firefox, you must have noticed a few changes since the last updates. One of those is the different search system.

I thought I’d do a quick review since my first impression was not so good and after doing some research and tests, I’ve concluded that it’s a bit better, but still needs improvement.

What about speed?

My first searches using the new system were a real pain in the a$$: I couldn’t use my usual keyboard shortcut to change the search engine! (Alt+Arrow_Down) So, after some research, I was finally able to adjust and get back on track.

Lemme show you!

Let’s search 3 terms in 3 different tabs using 3 different search engines; the first search is made using the browser’s default configured search engine (Ex. : Ixquick).

Here’s how it goes, without using the mouse of course :

Old Search Box

Ctrl+E, search_term1, Enter

Ctrl+T,Ctrl+E, search_term2, Alt+Arrow_Down, Arrow_Down, Arrow_Down, choose Bing, Enter, Enter,

Ctrl+T,Ctrl+E, search_term2, Alt+Arrow_Down, Arrow_Down, Arrow_Down, Arrow_Down, choose Google, Enter, Enter,

One Click Search steps

Ctrl+E, search_term1, Enter

Ctrl+T,Ctrl+E, search_term2, Arrow_Up, Arrow_Up, choose Bing, Enter

Ctrl+T,Ctrl+E, search_term2, Arrow_Up, Arrow_Up, Arrow_Up, choose Google, Enter

What about old school?

If you prefer the old version, it’s very simple to switch back :

Type about:config in the URL bar

Search for (Ctrl+F) : “oneoff” which will find “browser.search.showOneOffButtons

Double-click it to turn it to False

Restart Firefox

BUG – Removing search providers

With the new search system, you can’t “remove” search providers, only disable them. If you’re like me and prefer removing things completely, you’ll need to switch to the old search system and then remove the search providers you don’t want. BUT, if you have the new One Click Search, I DON’T recommend you do that; you won’t be able to add again the “removed” search providers as they will NOT be removed from Firefox. It’s a bug.

Good news everyone

Finally, one of the cool feature, is you can add website search strait in your browser’s search bar. When it detects a search box on a website, you can add it to your search engines! For example, if you want to quickly search articles on this blog without loading the blog every time, you simply add it to your search engines. Problem is, you can’t rename them… it’s sometimes hard to tell which icon is for which website.

In conclusion, Firefox’s Once Click Search is nice, but it’s far from ready. IMO, it’s an incomplete system that should’ve been delayed before being pushed to the public…

Enjoy!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

Browsers – Duplicate bookmarks, keep notes and save time!

Posted in Browser, How to, Methods with tags , , , on November 17, 2014 by Sirusdark

Hello!

Here’s a quick tip on bookmarking (aka favorites)!

Adding #

Simply add # to the page’s URL (address) you want to bookmark and type after that character whatever info you want. Make sure there’s no spaces between words. That’s it!

Example

This :
http://www.sirusdark.ca/
Becomes this :
http://www.sirusdark.ca/#send-feedback-css-corrections

This works for any web browsers and the real beauty is if you copy that URL or export your bookmarks to another browser or a text file, you won’t lose those notes as they’re “part” of the address.

Duplicates case Duplicates

It’s also useful when you want to save a bookmark you’ve already bookmarked, but want to add a different note/comment along. Some browser allow duplicates, some don’t. This trick allows you to bypass such restrictions.

Enjoy!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

Firefox Quick Tip – Close it without losing any windows and tabs!

Posted in Browser, Computer, Methods, Workflow with tags , , , , , on November 14, 2014 by Sirusdark

Here’s a nifty trick when you’re in a hurry and need to close Firefox and/or shut down your computer but have several windows opened with plenny of tabs in each windows you don’t wanna lose. Usually, there would only be a few ways to save your browsing session:

Friggin too long methods

1. The PITA method: you manually bookmark each individual pages of each windows in your Bookmarks in folders. Have fun with that.

2. The monk method: You manually move/transfer all tabs one by one in a single windows, then exit, which will save the session and re-open all the tabs the next time you launch Firefox. Have fun with that too.

3. The pro method: you install a session manager add-on, then save the session and windows. You’re awesome.

Now, even I who DO use a session manager in Firefox, there’s often times I need to close Firefox quickly AND keep all my browsing sessions. The aforementioned methods just don’t cut it.

KISS method

Here’s my ultra-fast-lazy-simple method: kill Firefox from the Task Manager:

Press Ctrl+Alt+Del > Click End task

There ya go. Let it handle the crash. Firefox is so awesome it’ll prompt you to “restore” your “lost” session. I do it all the time. :D

Enjoy!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

Convention Runner? Montreal Comiccon 2014 Debriefing

Posted in Event, Methods, World with tags , , , , , on September 23, 2014 by Sirusdark

Hello and welcome!

Last previous weekend (12-14 Sept.) was Montreal Comiccon 2014. Being among the few survivors, I thought I’d share some personal tips on how to prepare for conventions in general. Having attended many trade shows (commercial, educational, career, entertainment, etc.) I think you’ll find these information quite useful or if not, at least educational.

Preparation

Attending any kind of event requires planning. As soon as you know when you’ll addend an event, add it to your calendar/schedule and start planning ahead of time.

To DO List

The single most important thing you can do to prepare yourself is a “To DO List“. It’s pretty simple: you list everything you’ll regret if you were to leave without doing.

Here are some To-DOs examples:

[  ] Ask Artist Doe for a Batman sketch at booth #1740
[ ] Have my movie X signed by Actress Doe at booth #23 at 3pm
[ ] Check out Sony Playstation booth #46
[ ] Attend Microsoft panel on the new Windows 9 at 14:00, room 501
[ ] Take a picture with Actor Doe, photo session ticket at 10:00, at the Photo-Op desk
[ ] Meet and punch Craig in the face during interview at 18:00, room 205
etc.

List everything you need/want to see, do and attend.

Budget is the word

If goods are sold at your event, merchants will most likely ask for CA$H. Although this is changing with the growing popularity of mobile payment processing technologies (Ex.: Square) or depending on the type of trade show (I doubt anyone buys a car ca$h at a trade show), ca$h still is the preferred payment method, as it doesn’t incur processing fees.

Now, the trick for clever spending is to NEVER bring more than what you planned to spend (aka the budget). Absolutely need a credit card? Get a prepaid one for the event.

One or more of the following WILL happen when you have a budget:

1. Suddenly, everything seems more expensive.

2. You will most likely spend it all.

3. You will run out of money to buy something you really want.

4. You will start thinking twice before buying useless stuff.

5. You will know how much money you have at ALL time. Trust me.

The greater consequence though is you’ll make far more valuable, better purchases, leaving the event with proud satisfaction.

Physical shape

Depending on how big the venue is, you might want to think twice before going without being in proper physical (and mental) shape. The Montreal Comiccon was/is HUGE (takes the whole venue’s 200,000 sq.ft space & 60+ meeting rooms!). So lots of walking & standing in lines on the menu. Have good socks & shoes too.

Gear junky

Once you’ve added that date to your calendar, made your To-DO list, planned a budget,  it’s time to prep your convention’s gear. Here’s what my gear checklist for this year’s Comiccon (with comments) looked like:

Water bottle (you need to drink. Believe me. Some people even fainted last year.)
Meal replacement bars (in case I forgot to eat)
Clean pants with large pockets (making sure they aren’t in the washer or in the “to wash” basket when I need ’em)
Backpack: Sharpies, silver ink pen (for autographs), pens, pencils, paper, scissors, 2Gb USB key, map, subway map, etc. (always test your equipment; I had 3 dead pens! Never assume something works; try it.)
Document holder (to prevent important documents from bending in the backpack or in crowds)
Shoulder bag aka Freebie stuffer (perfect for books, documents, flyers, artbooks, business cards, etc. Helps keeping both hands free too)
Plastic bags (different sizes)
-TOP SECRET TIP : Rigid TopLoaders (to carry prints, in case I find good ones. Carry around in a bigger bag.)
Ca$h money cut: Don’t bring hundred dollar bills. Have different cuts (Ex.: 100.00$ = 3 x 20$, 2 x 10$, 4 x 5$)
Comic board & plastic sleeve (a few, just in case)
Printed schedule and printed list of all Exhibitors & Artists.
Movies to get signed by celebrities (I changed my mind after seeing how expensive it was…)
-Make space on cellphone’s SD card for pictures (pretty self explanatory)
Volunteer T-Shirt (yeah, I’m crazy like that. Absolutely required to get free autograph. Nah, just kidding.)

Meeting people

Finally, you usually will meet many people. Make sure you meet the ones who are the most important to you first (aka Planning). Only then, proceed to meet other human beings. A trick I use to remember who I talked to is to ask for a business card and then immediately write down their names on the back. Even if their name is already on it, I’ll still write down a note for myself. Doing so allows me to remember who I talked to and what the conversation was about. I can then follow-up by phone/e-mail easily.

I know it’s a bit longer than my usual articles, but hopefully, you’ll be better prepared for your next big event!

Enjoy!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca

100th post! How to be successful

Posted in Knowledge, Learning, Methods, World with tags , , , , on September 10, 2014 by Sirusdark

Greetings dear readers!

This article is the 100th posts on this blog! Whoo!

To mark this milestone, I gathered and summarized some of the best wisdom on how to be successful:

– Set your life priorities and always plan ahead.

– Act as if you were what you want to be and you’ll be what you act like.

– Set many small achievable goals to achieve your bigger goal(s).

– Cultivate your mind: keep positive thoughts, drop the bad ones. In with the good, out with the bad.

– Be available for others. All the time.

Make these statements yours and repeat daily.

Enjoy!

Sirus
sirusdark.ca