Tech Tips, to Mitigate Calamity and Streamline Life

Disaster can strike at any time.

From burning your grilled cheese sandwich, to getting pooped on by seagulls, the trials of life are never-ending. Thankfully, with the help of modern technology, some of the pain is preventable.

The tips outlined in this list are what I use personally, to make the little things easier. From recovering lost keys to getting a card with no limit, most of the solutions are surprisingly simple.

Enjoy these ideas, and comment with your own!

Cheers,

Nick Davis

November, 2015

SituationSolutionCost
Keys
Left my keys somewhere.Put a pet tag from Petco on the keychain, with your name and phone number.$15
Dropped my keys in the well.Hide duplicates separately, around the neighborhood.$10
Photos
Quickly access iPhone Camera Roll on PC.Install iCloud on your PC, which will sync you phone’s Photo Stream (wifi only).Free
Re-size multiple photos.FotosizerFree
Remove location data from digital photos.Filemind Quickfix – ScrubberFree
Car
Someone broke into my car!Keep valuables in the trunk, quick-release latch locked.Free
My street parking is about to expire.PayByPhone (remote refill)$0.35 per transaction.
Quick car wash, the counter-intuitive way.Wash it after a long rainstorm (when dirt is loose).$2, at Brown Bear Self Wash
Health
Do I snore at night?SnoreLab Premium$7
Is this packaged guacamole healthy?More than 5 ingredients? Then no.Free
Did this raw egg go bad?Does it float? Then yes.Free
Music
What song is this?ShazamFree
Hear songs similar to an artist, no ads.Pandora One$5/month
Hear songs from a specific artist, no ads.Spotify Premium or Youtube$10/month.
Chores
Need quarters for laundry!Stash them in an empty plastic spice container, which holds two rolls. Keep one at home, and one in the car. If the container falls in the laundry and goes through a load, it will be ok, unless made of glass…$40
Avoid discoloration on laundry from detergent contact.Start the laundry cycle and pour detergent in before loading clothes (Water will dissolve the detergent first, preventing stains. For top-loading washers only).Free
Get dry-cleaning picked up and delivered, at home or work.Blue Sky CleanersFree Delivery
Recycle wine corks.Cork Reharvest drop at Whole Foods.Free
Recycle Brita filters and #5 lids/caps.Gimme 5 recycling at Whole Foods.Free
Recycle Batteries.Dropbox at Whole Foods.Free
Recycle motor oil and other chemicals.King County Household Hazardous Waste Facility.Free
Drinking
What is my BAC?Portable breathalyzer.$50
What type of obscure beer is this?Beer Advocate search.Free
Does this place make decent Manhattans?Is their vermouth refrigerated?Free
What wine is this? (label ID)DelectableFree
How do I pronounce this like a local?ForvoFree
How do I write this term, in French?Google TranslateFree
How was this wine made?Google the name and vintage of the wine, plus “pdf”, “specs”, “sales sheet”, or “tech sheet”.Free
Travel
Stay with awesome local people when traveling.CouchsurfingFree
Enter Mexico and Canada without carrying a passport.Enhanced Drivers License: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/edl.html$72
Get into Canada or Mexico without waiting.NEXUS Program.$50
Get back into the USA without waiting.Global Entry Program.Free, with NEXUS.
Security at the airport without waiting.TSA PreCheckFree, with NEXUS.
Paper-free boarding pass (more secure, easier).Mobile App (Alaska, Delta, etc.)Free
When is my bus coming?One Bus AwayFree
Money
See financial balances, across all accounts.MintFree
What is my credit score? (Equifax and Transunion)Credit Karma (Doesn’t hurt credit by checking. Ignore suggestions to apply for more credit accounts.)Free
Another way to check credit score? (Equifax)MintFree
Someone applied for credit in my name! (Identity Theft)Freeze your credit online, separately with all 3 bureaus.$90
Take CC payments with your phone. (business payments)PayPal Here (same charge per card type)2.7% per swipe.
A card with no limit, like Kanye.Amex Green, Gold, Platinum, Centurion cards. (Must have good credit, and pay off balance in full each month.)$95 – $2,500 annual fee.
Bank account with no ATM fees.Charles Schwab BankFree, with brokerage account.
I lost my driver’s license!Get a replacement online ahead of time, and lock in your glove compartment or fireproof box. http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/replacelostlicense.html$20
Get cheaper gas, if you shop at QFC or Fred Meyer.Use your Reward Points at a Shell station. (Discount of $0.10 – $1.00 or more, PER GALLON)Free
Work
Share images and music files.DropboxFree
Easily collaborate on documents with colleagues.Google Docs (within Google Drive)Free
Get an awesome to-do list manager.WunderlistFree
Keep track of my appointments, across devices.Google Calendar, synced to computer and iPhone.Free
Keep track of Facebook events.Sync it from Facebook to Google Calendar.Free
Keep track of iCloud events.Sync it from iCloud to Google Calendar.Free
Scan business cards, and automatically connect on Linkedin.Evernote for Business, mobile version.$12/month
Who owns that Washington State business?http://bls.dor.wa.gov/licensesearch/Default.aspxFree
Connect with any CEO.Add lower-level employees on LinkedIn first, then add company management once a 2nd-Degree connection is established. Make your profile thorough and polished.Free
Phone
Phone is dying!Portable quick charger and cable.$10
Too loud/inconvenient to check voicemail.Text transcription with Youmail.$5/mo
Who is calling me? (ID an unknown number)Caller-ID (phone app)Free
I need a forwarding local phone number.Port AT&T burner-SIM to Google Voice.$30
Learn amazing ways to customize an iPhone.Jailbreak it:

https://www.youtube.com/user/EverythingApplePro

Free
Record live phone calls.Super Recorder (jailbreak tweak)Free
My phone is somewhere in my house. Where?http://callmylostphone.comFree
My phone is lost. I cannot find it!Find My iPhone (Apple)Free
Prevent thieves from deleting Find My iPhone, and other apps.General > Restrictions > Deleting Apps (toggle off)Free
I lost my phone contacts.Back them up automatically with iCloud, or manually with Easy Backup.Free
Internet
Where is this photo from?Veracity, or drag it into Google.Free
Who owns this website?http://mxtoolbox.com/NetworkTools.aspx (Whois lookup)Free
Did a recipient open my email, and click any links?Bananatag$12/month
Block all ads on websites.Adblock Plus Firefox Add-OnFree
I wanna watch that current show online.Google “Project Free TV” (enable Adblock Plus)Free
I wanna watch that current movie online.Google “Solarmovie” (enable Adblock Plus)Free
What’s my password for that site?KeePass 2Free
Access the guts of your website (root files).Core FTP LE (must have admin access codes, of course).Free
Email from a website alias, automatically.Set up in Gmail.Free
I permanently deleted that email!!Set up a backup Gmail account, where all messages forward from your main account.Free
Setup email aliases for your website.Google Apps$5 per user/month
Prevent jerks from getting your site owner info.Setup “Domain Privacy” with your host.$10/year
Free AntivirusNorton Antivirus (Century Link gives it out too)Free
What is the email address for my Facebook friend?Import and sync all friend emails with a Yahoo! Email account.Free
What is the email address for my LinkedIn friend?Export CSV of all connection emails from LinkedIn settings, then import to email.Free
My computer crashed! (Hard drive failure)Keep all files stored securely in the cloud. (Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive)$100/year, Terabyte

A production of Medium Plus, 2015.