kottke.org posts about paulboutin

Clever low-tech hacksFeb 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.

BitTorrent = launching a mission to MarsApr 28 2006

Must be something in the water today...Paul Boutin has a story on Slate today that makes the same point about BitTorrent, YouTube, and Google Video that I did this morning (although somewhat more succinctly and entertainingly):

The guys behind YouTube hit the sweet spot. Most important, they made it head-slappingly easy to publish and play video clips by handling the tricky parts automatically. Given up on BitTorrent because it feels like launching a mission to Mars? If you've sent an e-mail attachment, you've got the tech skills to publish on YouTube.

The final paragraph of the article contains this interesting bit:

The same Alexa plots that show MySpace and YouTube obliterating top sites reveal that Flickr, Digg and del.icio.us have plateaued with audiences barely bigger than Slate's. Photos, news, and other people's bookmarks just aren't as interesting as bootleg TV and checking out the hotties. The easier it gets to use, the less geeky the Net becomes, and the more it starts to look like real life.

Expect more bootleg TV and hotties from kottke.org in the future...I need some Alexa love.

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