Super awesome Life Hacks site

via boingboing
The Japanese have a lot of cool words for stuff. They call what we would call “Little awesome, obscure but simple-when-you-think-about-it Life Hack and Hints”: Urawaza. This site (EDIT: tumblr page) is amazing, it has 99 examples of these tricks and they are so good. I have always been obsessed with Urawaza, and I especially love it when you use something that would be trash for something useful. There are lots of these types. I also love it when an item has a brand new use that was there all along if you just took the time to expand your thinking. Example:

From the Birdhouse…

via yourmonkeycalled:

Here’s another batch of Twitter almosts that have been kicking around my Birdhouse for a long time. It feels good to purge and start fresh every now and then, but I didn’t just want to delete these proto-toots:

> Just tried to donate blood but the guy turned me down. He was like, “This is a Hallmark Store.”

> My favorite app is the Febreze app which is a bottle of Febreze.

> At a school assembly I show extra support for my son by booing the other kids. To establish contrast.

A list of all the cool discoveries I made so far this week:


1. I didn’t know that they found evidence that the mark of the beast might actually be 616 and not 666. They’re even going to notate it in new versions of the Bible. It’s going to cost a fortune to revise all the incorrect tattoos and heavy metal album covers.

2. Spotify. I know I am late to the party on this one. Amazing service – makes Pandora look old. I am on the free trial and I discovered so many new bands I love already (see #3). Awesome. Awesome. Double Awesome.

3. How did I not know about the band: be your own PET? Also I found Operator Please, Rival Schools, and the Wavves song “I Wanna Meet Dave Groehl” (again, late to the party on that one).

4. The Lose It! iPhone app (It’s free!). Late to the party one last time. How cool is it to scan a bar-code and then it captures all the data about what you just ate and have it track it for the whole week? I am eating waaaay too much sodium. Found this via Quantified Self. Which is a cool website, and I also discovered it this week.

5. Found an envelope of old letters written from my Dad to his sister from an aircraft carrier where he was a crewman during WWII in the Pacific Islands. They are dated from 1945 and 1946 and they are such a window into my dad. He passed away in 1995 and I hear his voice when I read the letters. I am not through all of them yet. I might post snippets of them on here – it’s so weird looking back at that time in history through your own father. Very cool.

Gas Shortage 1973

I was only 2, but for some reason I have a vague recollection of waiting in line with my dad to get gas on an odd numbered day that matched our odd numbered license plate That was how they regulated who’s turn it was to fill up that day. I just can’t imagine that now – how surreal that would be that you simply could not get gas. I love the sign in this picture and the car is so classic.

via retronaut

Hot Tub Fax Machine

I’m in the middle of refinancing a loan, so I’ve been back in the 1980’s again with cover pages and thermal paper. But I read this article in Wired this month, which is a really good read if you are interested in how startups get funded and some of the new ideas people have for web businesses, one of them being HelloFax.
I wouldn’t think faxes would be on anyone’s radar for a lot of reasons, but I do still use faxing for some stuff, and I don’t like to use eFax because I don’t need to sign up for monthly fees when I don’t fax that much. I just don’t need to fax that often enough. I’d like to just pay per fax, but not have to drive to Kinkos because I can scan in anything I need to, and Kinkos charges too much. The only time I can’t just email someone a .pdf is if it’s something confidential or something that needs to be signed that I don’t feel like rescanning in. That’s what I am dealing with now. I keep getting emailed these papers to write my social security number and signature on, but then I refuse to email them back unsecured (is it just me, or do a lot of people still think it’s okay to email their social security number to someone?). I can send them something PGP encrypted, but most of the time that confuses or scares them and they can’t get them open. So I am stuck.
Then I remembered HelloFax, so I figured I’d check them out. Their monthly plan is $4.99 for 50 faxes, you get your own fax number, and they offer a free trial. That’s perfect. That’s all I need. I cancel anytime I want – and they are not sleazy about it. They have an actual CANCEL button under your account options, which is huge for me. If I had to call them to cancel, I am out. I do not want to have to do a DirectTV dance with them to cancel the service, because I won’t always need it, and I will have to cancel at some point and then rejoin. If I go over the 50 faxes, then I can pay 10 cents a page. I am cool with that. The website design is very clean, too. It’s iPhone interface clean. Everything is where you want it to be and it’s not confusing. The buttons and links make sense in placement and function. You can sign pages electronically and send them, that’s a key feature that you need.
I actually had an issue with my first fax and I got nervous. It was a 40 page fax and I was afraid I’d get recharged if I resent it – and also I wasn’t sure why there was a hiccup in the sending. The business I was faxing had gotten 17 pages and then it stopped. To be fair, the problem might have been at the business I was faxing , but I wasn’t getting the confirmation email saying my fax went through and it had been a while. HelloFax says longer faxes can take some time, and that sometimes there are problems on the receiver’s end, but I was getting twitchy. They had an email for customer service and I was skeptical anyone would answer, but I emailed them anyway. One of the actual FOUNDERS OF THE COMPANY emailed me back and made sure everything was good. The fax did go through, and everything was cool. I can’t recommend them enough. A company that “gets it” is rare and awesome. So this is me telling my friends. I’m also giving myself an A+ for the title of this Blog entry. Thank you.

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