Thursday, February 19, 2009

Urawaza - Japanese for cheap fix

Dropped your cell phone in here? Try rice.

The modern Japanese tradition of Urawaza (secret trick) started after World War II when Japanese households had to make due without the basics. It's now the subject of a book by the same name that offers clever and frugal household tips like picking up broken glass with a piece of bread or taping two Bandaids to the bottom of slick-soled shoes on a rainy day.
Yesterday, The New York Times offered some useful tech urawaza, which I've condensed since who of us these days can afford to lose a cell phone in the loo?
  • wrap one layer of a black plastic bag around a credit card magnetic strip that refuses to scan.

  • keep your cell phone in the fridge to make the charge last longer.

  • extend the range of your car key remote by placing the metal key fob against your chin. (Your head acts as an antenna.)

  • run a hair dryer over an almost empty ink cartridge to loosen dried ink.

  • put a wet cell phone in rice to draw out the water.

  • use a curved cookie sheet behind your wireless router to extend its range.

  • clean CDs or DVDs with mouthwash.

  • reduce the brightness of the flash on your digital camera by taping a small piece of paper over the flash. (My personal favorite.)

  • stick a bad hard drive in the freezer to allow recovery of data. (I've done this and it works. But be warned - you only get one chance at it.)
Here's an extra via my highly technical friend Jaron - Tired of getting zapped by winter static every time you touch a doorknob?

Yes, that's an anti-static bag - the kind that computer parts and electronics come in.

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