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January 2011
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March 2011

Finding your lost luggage

If you've ever had the airlines lose your luggage, and it's only a matter of time until they do if you've been lucky so far, then you know that when you file a claim you're asked to describe your bag. "Umm, it's black and about this big," you say, making a box-like shape with your hands.

It turns out that there are standard ways of describing luggage, but that's arcane knowledge that you and I aren't hip to. Instead of memorizing if you have a Pullman or a trolley, just take out your iPhone and show the person behind the counter a photo of your bag. Then ask them how they'd describe it. They're professionals and spend their entire day figuring out how to distinguish between hundreds of look-alike bags, so what they say is what you want to write on your form.

Taking a photograph of your bag is best, because it will also show the bright pink ribbon you tied on the handle, but you can also use a photo from the manufacturer's website, as I've done for my beloved Filson bag, shown here.

Filson carryon bag

Automate and save water

Water Pebble is a fascinating device that is designed to help you lower your water consumption by slowly conditioning you to take shorter showers. It's inexpensive, cleverly designed, and available via Amazon.

This is sure a lot friendlier than the Smart Home Hack of having your home automation system turn off the lights in the bathroom after a preset period of time. Yes, while it didn't make the cut for the book, that is a technique that some people use.