Clever low-tech hacks  FEB 19 2009

Paul Boutin shares a number of low-tech fixes for high-tech problems.

Suppose your remote car door opener does not have the range to reach your car across the parking lot. Hold the metal key part of your key fob against your chin, then push the unlock button. The trick turns your head into an antenna, says Tim Pozar, a Silicon Valley radio engineer.

Mr. Pozar explains, "You are capacitively coupling the fob to your head. With all the fluids in your head it ends up being a nice conductor. Not a great one, but it works." Using your head can extend the key's wireless range by a few car lengths.

Regarding the solution for too much camera flash (tape a piece of paper over the flash), I've also seen people hold a spoon in front of the flash and bounce it off of the ceiling or a nearby wall.

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