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Laundry Hacks

You wouldn't use one this large, but this is the idea

Here's a bunch of neat tricks I found today how to hack your laundry:

  • Use a small ball of tin foil instead of dryer sheets to eliminate static
  • Toss a ball or yarn or a tennis ball into the dryer for baster drying times
  • Avoid dryer sheets entirely because they leave a film on your lint catcher that can blow out your dryer.

Be sure to read the comments and check out some of the links there to see other related tips and tricks. Tags: , , ,

Simple Fruit Fly Deathtrap

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On Lifehacker today: the fruitfly deathtrap! This is brilliant. Using only a cup, some vinegar, and a folded piece of paper, you can lure and destroy all the fruit flies in your house.


Save on Textbooks

Save some money. Always a good thing.
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

Funny that I was just talking about this with someone yesterday, but today there's an article on Lifehacker about saving money on textbooks. I have used their first suggestion, Bigwords.com many times myself though I've often found even better deals by simply looking for a previous edition book. For example, if your class is using the 5th edition, look for the 4th for big savings.

Anyway, if you or someone you know is looking for textbooks, perhaps you should give it a try.

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Landline NOT Required for DSL

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Did you know that you could get DSL service WITHOUT having to have a phone land line with the same company? Probably not since the phone company won't tell you. Check out this article for tips on how to teach the "Customer Service Reps" what and how to do it.

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Top 10 Things You Should Know About Your Credit Cards

Credit Cards
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I've seen businesses do 4 and 5 so I guess next time, I'll call them on it.

  1. Unsigned Cards Are Not Valid And Merchants Can And Will Refuse Them
  2. The Maximum Liability For Unauthorized Use Of A Credit Card (not debit even if it's got a credit card logo) Is $50 According To Federal Law
  3. Merchants Cannot Require You To Present ID, Unless Your Card Is Unsigned
  4. Merchants Cannot Require A Minimum Transaction Amount
  5. Merchants Cannot Charge A Surcharge For Using A Credit Card, However, They Can Offer A "Cash Discount"
  6. Many Credit Cards Have Programs That Will Automatically Double The Manufacturer's Warranty And Other Excellent Benefits
  7. Merchants Are Not Allowed To Make You Give Up Your Right To A Chargeback
  8. Merchants Are Not Allowed To Place A Hold For The Estimated Tip
  9. If Merchants Suspect You Of Fraud They Are Supposed To Call With A "Code 10"
  10. If Merchants Break These Rules, You Can Report Them To The Credit Card Company
  11. Read the details for each of these at The Consumerist.


Me on Blogger Radio This Thursday

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This Thursday, I'll be doing an interview on Techtips blog radio. You can listen or call in to talk with me about Identity Theft issues. Link here:


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How to Peel an Egg in 10 Seconds

Egg Peeling
(Image is in the Public Domain)

This is one of the coolest things I've seen and the best part is that it works! Take a hard-boiled eggs, crack and then tear a little bit of the shell from the top and bottom, blow into it and it pops right out! I was making egg salad yesterday and I found this tip online and tried it right then. 7 perfect eggs in a row.

The only thing this video and others like it doesn't tell you is when to do it (when they're still warm, cooled down, etc). I looked up some info that said to take the hot egg, run it under cold water for a few seconds, and then peel normally.

I combined the two and took my hot egg, ran it under cold water for about 8 seconds, cracked the top and bottom, tore a bit off each end and blew. Perfection.

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Protecting Yourself From Suspicionless Border Searches

Don't tempt pointless attention
(Image is in the Public Domain)

The EFF has an excellent article about how to avoid being searched at the border. Specifically, how to protect your laptop data that courts recently ruled could be searched without warrant.

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Darken Your Windows to Reduce Eye Strain

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I don't know about the accuracy of the claim that a screen with darker colors and more black will reduce eyestrain, but I'm going to try it out. Besides, it looks really cool 🙂

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The Credit Freeze Process in Practice

Credit Freeze
(Image is in the Public Domain)

So I got around to getting my credit filed a few weeks ago and now I'm sitting pretty with freeze letters from all three credit reporting companies. Here's a breakdown by company:


They sent me a simple one page letter explaining that the freeze had been placed and giving instructions on how to lift it along with a 9ish digit pin. Simple enough. It's nice to note that you can lift the freeze by calling a phone number rather than having to mail something in. They also point out that you have the option to lift it for a specific party or for a period of time. So far so good.

They don't say how long it takes to lift the freeze so I called them to ask (but they were closed). Their hours kind of suck so I'll try again soon and post the results.


Like Equifax, they sent a single page description of the freeze and how it works with them. They even have a website I can log into to lift the freeze temporarily. Unfortunately, they say it could take up to 3 days to lift the freeze (which is crap since the computer system could lift the freeze in mere seconds). Otherwise, no issues.


At first I had a little trouble because I piled all the mailings together and Transunion sent me a credit report along with my freeze. When I couldn't find the freeze data (in a separate mailing), I called them and had to navigate through their brutally hostile phone system (which insulted me and hung up on me once). Fortuneately the person who finally answers was polite and clearly a native English speaker. Once I sorted out the confusion, I opened the correct letter and found what I needed.

The freeze notification is 5 pages long and the PIN is a full 4 digits shorter than the other two companies. Amusingly, they seem to be chiding me for getting the freeze by reminding me how difficult it will be to get credit now (heh). Interesting note: they can't update my name and address information while the account is frozen. Bonus!

They are easily the most detailed in describing how lifting the freeze works though. They say that if you specify a specific entity to access your credit, you will be issued a custom number to give to whoever wants to run your credit. In other words, no one gets your PIN ever. Good.

Like Equifax, they have a phone number that I can call to lift the freeze, but because of their hours of operation (even worse than Equifax), I couldn't call to see how long it takes.

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