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