As we approach Christmas (or as the quaint locals here call it: “Parking Lot Season”), I thought it would be helpful to present to the world a list of things that don’t make me angry. Many many things fail to deliver on their promises, and so few live up to them that I feel it’s valuable to offer to you, fair reader, a few gems that in my own personal experience, don’t suck.

Item 1
Situations High-Back Microsuede Manager’s Chair, Black

Having done heavy computer use for years being only supported by my friends, family, and a folding chair, my lumbar was in need of some lumber. Bringing about much relief was this chair. It’s cheap (by chair standards), easy to assemble, and — most importantly — it doesn’t suck. There’s a headrest if you feel like using it, and enough controls to get you comfortable( up/down, tilt/no tilt, and tilt-tension ) without the ridiculous Aeron problems of 1) needing a chair technician and 2) always having that sneaking suspiscion that your chair adjustment could be more optimal.

Unfortuntely for you, fair reader, this chair seems to be discontinued. If you can find it anywhere (ebay?), it doesn’t suck.

Cost: $70.
Savings: back spasms.
Overall Rating: Doesn’t suck.

Item 2
Best Wheel Products Folding Hand Truck

Mrs. Angry Immigrant and I are moving to a new apartment, so I popped out to the atrocity that is the local mega-strip mall and picked up one of these folding hand carts. While compared to a real hand truck this is a glorified luggage cart, you don’t need anything more for moving boxes of books.

It holds ~200 lbs of boxes without breaking (it wobbles, but doesn’t fall down). It has big wheels for a small unit, it folds up very flat, and it’s light enough that it’s easier to carry it than roll it when it’s empty.

Cost: $40.
Savings: taking 3 boxes to the car per trip instead of one (and the aforementioned back spasms)
Overall Rating: Doesn’t suck.

Item 3
Forearm Forklift

These (admittedly hideously colored) straps help transfer the weight of bulky objects so that you can maintain good lifting posture and use larger muscles when trading your valuable weekend time for pizza & beer while helping people move.

Especially helpful for mattresses where there are no good handholds, these let you concentrate on steering through doorways rather than just maintaining your grip. When my parents moved a few years ago, Dad stumbled on these, and it really made the whole thing a lot smoother. Yes they’re “as seen on TV”, but that doesn’t mean it’s a 100% cheap plastic kitchen gadget.

Cost: $25
Savings: Helps get a grip on bulky objects, saves back strain (notice a theme?)
Overall Rating: Doesn’t suck.

Item 4
Firefox keywords

Hopefully everyone visiting this site already uses Firefox. If not, please stop reading and go install it. Unless you’re reading from work. Then send an email to your sysadmin (copy your PHB) insisting that he install this on all company workstations. Then continue reading.

They’re quick, they’re easy, and they help you quickly navigate to common places you have to get to. To set it up, right-click over any search input box, and select “Add a Keyword for this Search”. Next time you want to ask the Internet a question, just use the keyword.

The company I work for uses web-based source code navigation tools, so I use these to quickly move through the code and the versioning system databases rather than starting at the search page each time.

Cost: One right-click
Savings: Repetitive Typing Time
Overall Rating: Doesn’t suck

Item 5
Heat-reflective Window film

Given that the local pagan populace here is so amazingly adept at appeasing their sun god with burnt offerings of Malibu canyon homes and other low-lying shrubbery, it’s important for those of us with south-facing patio windows to take steps to repel the major effects of the day star.

Although this is a little annoying to install, (and looks terrible if you do it wrong) the effect is immediate and significant. After applying the film to one patio door, you could feel the difference between the heat still coming through that one relative to the heat coming through the empty door. It’s basically like sunglasses for your house.

It made my living room much more bearable as the outside temperatures got over 110F in the summer. Plus the shininess adds to the privacy for a window that’s a bit too close to a sidewalk for my taste.

Cost: $50
Savings: gallons of sweat, and $$ on A/C bill.
Overall Rating: Doesn’t suck

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a start. Your mileage may vary.

Merry Parking Lot Season!

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