General

Find your stolen camera

If your camera has been stolen, you can use stolencamerafinder.com to possibly find out who stole it. Just drag and drop a photo you have that was taken with your camera to the box provided on the website, and stolencamerafinder will immediately scour the web for other photos taken with your camera. You can also use the camera’s serial # (e.g. off the box or info that came with it).

stolencamerafinder.com

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Doodle.com for scheduling student conferences

I know that Doodle.com (easy way to schedule a meeting time for a bunch of people and–much appreciated by me–does not require any sort of registration for participants or administrators) is old news to many people. Not sure that everyone realizes that it can be used to schedule a bunch of individual meetings too, though. This makes it awesome for instructors who need to schedule student conferences (or presentations, etc.). No paper sign-up sheets, and no wasted class time. Just click, under “Settings,” the boxes “Participant can only choose one option” and “Limit the number of participants per option” (to one). Then sit back and watch them sign up.

Partial screenshot from a Doodle poll

Google Advisor – now defunct

UPDATE: Sadly, Google has gotten rid of this, and it doesn’t seem that it’s coming back.

If you’ve never used Google Advisor, how on earth are you making your banking product decisions? It lets you compare CD interest rates, credit card rates & benefits, and savings & checking account rates & benefits, for both in-person and online-only companies, for ones near you and ones not. It also tells you what eligibility restrictions there might be, how much money that CD will earn you if you put x amount into it, etc. You can search for CDs by the minimum amount you’re willing to put into it and maximum length of time you’re willing to do it for.

Thanks to Google Advisor, I have a CD with a rate of 2.25% and it’s at a bank just a mile away from me. I had a high-yield online savings account for 1.14% APY (with Sallie Mae) and then, when they dropped it to a measly 0.75%, I said goodbye and put all my money into another one that’s 1.25%.

If your credit card doesn’t give you at least 1% cash back, if not more (or airline miles, if that’s your style and if you actually make use of them), what’s your excuse? (Mine gives 2% on gas and groceries and 1% on everything else.) If your bank account is giving you nearly ZERO interest, why stay with them? If a CD rate isn’t better than online savings accounts rates, why lock your money away in it? You don’t have to deal with pathetic rates and benefits. Just hop on Google Advisor, look around, and take your business elsewhere!

Screenshot from Google Advisor, CD rate search

Clear your personal information

Did you know that you can remove your personal information from those creepy info-aggregating websites? (Spokeo is one of the worst; in most cases, it immediately pulls up a satellite photo of the person’s house). Surprisingly, getting rid of this information is often just a click or phone call away.

This site tells you how to purge your information from Intelius, Acxiom, MyLife, Zabasearch, Spokeo, BeenVerified, PeekYou, USSearch, PeopleFinders, PeopleLookup, PeopleSmart, PrivateEye, WhitePages, USA-People-Search, Spoke, PublicRecordsNow, DOBSearch, and Radaris. Note: Some of these require a scan of your driver’s license. That sounds nuts but apparently you can black out the picture and most other info aside from the stuff they presumably already have: Your name, DOB, and address.

Be Kind to Your Eyes; Use f.lux

You don’t realize how badly your eyes need f.lux until you have it, at which point you swear never to be without it. You have to see it to believe what a difference it makes. What does it do? It makes your eyes happy. As its website explains,

“During the day, computer screens look good—they’re designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn’t be looking at the sun. […] f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you’re in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again.”

Once you’ve got it running, and it’s night time, try switching back to the old, normal colors… It will literally hurt, whereas transitioning into the f.lux colors is like slipping into a warm bath.

Get it at stereopsis.com/flux.

Image

screenshot of f.lux’s website

Don’t Want the Yellow Pages?

Did you know that you can opt out of receiving the Yellow Pages? For most of us, they’re just a big, sad waste of paper. Even worse? You generally can’t recycle them with the rest of your recycling. (If you throw them in there anyway, the recycling center might reject the entire bin that they’re in.) So, if you don’t want them, the best thing to do is opt out at yellowpagesoptout.com.

If you continue to receive them after opting out, you can go back to that website and report it, so they know about the problem.

Getting to & from airports

Have you ever found yourself wondering how you’re going to get yourself to and/or from the airport in an unfamiliar place? Steve Pells had the very useful idea of squeezing all that information onto one website, www.toandfromtheairport.com. Type the city/airport and it gives you the lowdown on public transportation, shuttles, etc. It’s probably wise to double-check things at the official websites for the services you intend to use, but toandfromtheairport.com is an excellent and convenient starting point.