Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cheat Hacks - License Plate Camouflage

This post initiates a series of "cheat hacks." Simply put, this category focuses on using illegal or mischievous tricks for your own benefit. The area is broad and will cover tips for your school environment, tips for your work atmosphere, and tips for your life. Essentially, I'll explain ways to make your life a lot easier, albeit slightly fraudulent...

Toll roads are annoying in a number of ways. Firstly, the road fees are incessant and expensive. To add, the payment process is time-consuming, peaking one's irritation as it squanders both time and money. It takes several minutes to stop, to gather the necessary coins for the toll, to wait in line. Moreover, its not uncommon for a person to the necessary change to pass. In such a case, that person will generally wait for other drivers to spot them the toll, all the while leaving others to wait in line. Admittedly, there is the option of buying a fast track pass. In doing so, a driver is allowed to altogether surpass the toll stop. Still, the pass is expensive. Some drivers can't afford a large deposit of money at one time. Furthermore, for many the pass simply would not be used enough to become beneficial. Without a pass, drivers can either pay the toll or run it. In most cases, that driver will be photographed and fined for the latter.

Under certain circumstances, red lights are also an indignation. When it's 4:30am, with no other cars in sight, there isn't a reason to wait minutes at each stop light. Once again though, cameras keep drivers from running lights, fearful of severe monetary consequences.
The commonality in each situation is that there is a camera to keep the drivers honest. In capturing the license plates of trespassers, law officials are able track and fine the car's owner. There are ways to beat this "system" though:
  • Phantom Plate - For $29.99, you can buy "Phantom Plate," a spray which effectively "hides" your license plate from cameras. With just one spray, your license plate becomes a reflector and is essentially invisible to cameras. Moreover, you can use one bottle on up to four license plates, making the purchase increasingly beneficial. One particular plus of using this product is that it remains unseen to the naked eye and won't attract attention.

  • Sanyo Remote Control Covers - Posted on Deal Extreme, a remote control license plate cover can be bought for just $121. The cover drops down upon the driver's command to show a black plate and can rise again, revealing the original license plate. One advantage of this product relies in its guarantee to block plate photographs - unlike some reflecting products which may or may not work.

  • Anti-Photo Shields - In this category of camera protection, there are a myriad of options to choose from. Essentially, a license shield is a glass (or other see through substance) plate to put on top of your license plate. Looking straight-on, the cover is undetectable to all eyes. However, seen from different angles - like that of a street camera - a license plate becomes foggy and unreadable. One slight disadvantage of this option is that the plate trick is not solely inherent to cameras and can be noticed by people as well. Online, you can find license plate shields for as low as $14.99.

  • The Loover - Finally, there is a basic, low-tech option that is just as effective as the aforementioned ones. The Loover, a license plate cover with thin, evenly spaced slits, sits on top of your license plate, easily readable to eye-level viewers. In effect, the slits block the a camera's view of a car's license plate from high angles. Keep in mind that this product is easily seen to all eyes or recording devices. Nonetheless, this is a proven product which can be attained for $42.95 - one which is not questionable in its abilities like reflecting products.
Before buying any of these products, you should research the various options and their effectiveness. If possible, converse with others that have used the products. Additionally, beware of laws banning license plate "camouflage" products in your state. Above all, think if such a product would be an asset to your life and something that would return its expense. Do you use toll roads daily? Do you needlessly stop at red lights each morning? And lastly, is using such a product worth the legal risks it presents?

Post-Script: Have you used a license plate shielding device with success?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Internet Hack - iStockPhoto For Extra Cash

There aren't a lot of easy ways to make money. If you're a decent illustrator or photographer though, you could potentially make thousands of dollars each year using iStockPhoto. The website is a graphic provider service which uses a micropayment business model - and is royalty free. Found in 2000, the website simply requires you to apply and answer a few questions to become a seller. For an anecdotal experience of one users effortless journey to $2000 dollars a year, check:
Post-Script: What others services/websites do you use to make easy money?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Internet Hack - URL Shrinkers

Simply put, some website url's are too long. There's an easy fix to this annoyance, though. Just as most technology’s irritations have been solved with innovation and work, new resources have spawned which enable you to turn an overwhelming url into a small, simply one. There are several sites that offer this service, but some of the best include:

So next time you need an easy to remember web link or are sending many long url’s, consider using one of these sites to make your task a lot easier. Here's one example of a url shrink using Tinyurl.

Post-Script: Which url shrinking resource do you use?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"How To" Hack - Keyboard Thumbtacks

In this post, I just thought I'd share a neat DIY project I came across today. You'll need an old, out of commision keyboard, super glue, thumb tacks, and a drill. With a little time and effort, you can take ordinary thumb tacks and add different keys to them. This trick is not only fun, but also useful. You can organize flyers and documents on a board using different letters and even have the special keys (ctrl, enter, shift...) mean certain things. Moreover, the makeover would give your board a fresh, rad look. For a complete step by step guide on how to make the thumbtacks, visit Instructables' Keyboard Thumbtack schematics. Here's some sample "keyboard tacks":
Post-Script: So who did you vote for and how was your experience?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Political Hack - It Ends Today...

Firstly, get out and vote. It's not very often that you can directly influence your own future, as well as that of your state and country.This will be the last political hack for a little while as I'm going to dive into other areas.
If you do vote, there are several freebies to take advantage of:
  • Krispy Kreme - The company is offering free start shaped donuts to any voters with an "I Voted" sticker.
  • Starbucks - Anyone with an "I Voted" sticker is eligible for a free tall drink.
  • Ben & Jerry's - Bring proof of voting and receive a free ice cream scopp from 5 to 8pm tonight.
So if your future is not reason enough to get out and vote, do it for the free food and drinks!

Post-Script: How was your voting experience today?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Political Hack - Vote for Donuts

I don't have too much time to post this want to let you in on an opportunity for free food on election day. This Tuesday, Krispy Kreme, the infamous donut chain, will be giving out a star shaped donut to anyone with an "I Voted" sticker. Moreover, the stores are not going to take your sticker or mark it. If desired, you could use the sticker at several stores close to your home or even return to one store later in the day. To check which Krispy Kreme locations are participating in the event you go visit Krispy Kreme's website.

Post-Script: Who are you voting for and why?