10 Ways to Use Technology to Find What You Want
The TV Remote
If you’re forever misplacing it (or your keys or your purse), consider the KeyRinger. It operates on the same principle as the Find button on a cordless phone. Press one KeyRinger, and it triggers a “loud, distinctive sound” and a “bright flashing light” in its mate, which can be up to 300 feet away. Order the $29.95 sets at keyringer.com (or call 800-776-4888).
Your Car in a Giant Parking Lot
You’re so goofy with fatigue after a full day at Walt Disney World that you can’t remember if you parked in Mickey or Pluto. What to do? Tell the tram driver the approximate time you arrived, and he’ll drop you in the vicinity. Then walk the rows, pressing the alarm button on your remote. To keep this from happening again in any giant lot, download Car Finder, a 99-cent iPhone app by Intridea. (BlackBerry’s Carfinder, by Neosistec, is free.) After you park, use it to get a GPS fix. When it’s time to go home, it’ll guide you back. Do the same with portable GPS units by setting your parking spot as a waypoint.
New Music You'll Love
If you have an iPod and purchase music from the iTunes Store, the site’s Genius function will automatically recommend new artists and songs based on your previous purchases and ratings. Other options: pandora.com and slacker.com. Type in the name of your favorite artist to create a virtual radio station that plays his or her music and stuff that’s similar. Both sites are free, and they’re even streamable to your mobile phone.
News You Want
To follow breaking stories, track business competitors, stay abreast of medical advances, or just monitor what other people are saying about you, go to google.com/alerts. Once you register for a free gmail account (it’s not necessary to sign up, but you’ll find it’ll be easier to manage your alerts), you can create alerts on anything you want. Essentially, it’s like having your own personal search engine that scans the Internet and reports back via e-mail.
The Right Computer Height
Dig out the measuring tape and protractor. Apply these expert ergonomic recommendations to your workstation:
• 2 to 3 inches between the top of your thighs and bottom of the desk
• 2 to 4 inches between the edge of the chair and the backs of your knees
• 90-degree knee angle (feet flat on the floor)
• 90-degree elbow angle (forearms are parallel to the floor and 1 to 2 inches above the keyboard and mouse)
• 90- to 115-degree angle between your torso and thighs
• 18 to 30 inches between your eyes and the monitor
• The top of the screen should be at eye level (if you wear bifocals, lower the monitor or raise your chair 1 to 2 inches; you may need a footrest to maintain that 90-degree knee angle) Now get back to work!
The Lowest Price
Online is where the biggest savings are. Here’s your shopping strategy: 1) Get the exact product name from the manufacturer’s website, 2) enter it into shopzilla.com to find the retailer with the lowest price, 3) enter the name of that retailer into retailmenot.com to see if there are any free-shipping or bonus-discount coupons, 4) buy.
A Seat at that Allman Brothers Concert Your Mom Wouldn't Let You Attend
On wolfgangsvault.com, Hendrix, the Dead, and other classic rockers are still touring, and you can score free, front-row tickets … years later. This site streams rare, vintage concerts (jazz and country too) at no charge. (Headliners will not, however, come out for encores if you flick your Bic.)
A Needle in a Haystack
The MythBusters show on the Discovery Channel undertook this challenge. To make it even tougher, they used traditional bone needles as well as steel ones, which eliminated the obvious solutions of high-powered magnets and metal detectors. Competing teams built two different contraptions. The first spun and burned the hay as it was blown through a series of tubes, with the hope that only the needles would survive. The second agitated the hay as it floated through a tank of water, hoping the needles would fall to the bottom. It took both teams six hours of burning and agitating before finding a single needle, but it was the water approach that proved more fruitful. Watch the episode at video.google.com.
Can't Find It?
Try these websites and free apps.
A fresh start. Out of work? Jump-start your new career with free business cards at vistaprint.com.
An escape. Need to get out of a boring dinner or an interminable meeting? Escape Call Free will ring your iPhone, providing you with the perfect getaway.
Your travel plans. E-mail the details to tripit.com. It’ll organize it all and send you a master itinerary.
Help with technology. Go to cnet.com for unbiased reviews of electronics.
The score. Get real-time scores and game summaries for sports leagues around the world (ESPN ScoreCenter, iPhones).
Your way around town. Poynt will locate businesses, make reservations, and find a movie (BlackBerry).
Apps for your cell phone. Don’t have an iPhone or a BlackBerry? Go to getjar.com and type in your mobile model to see what’s available.