Cool Tools

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Ikea Utility Cart

I work at home at my dining room table. I am also a stationery nerd. But as I don’t have a desk, I searched for way to store the items I need during …

IKEA

ThinOptics Reading Glasses

I was looking for reading glasses and wanted neither the usual ones with their lumpy cases that are too thick to carry in my pants pocket, nor the …

Eyeglasses

Anaconda Slide-Hammer Manual Log Splitter

I needed something besides the usual axe and log splitter — which I’m both too old and clumsy to wield — to reduce my firewood to burnable size. …

Anaconda

Nitecore Tube Keychain LED Flashlight

The Nitecore Tube is my go-to keychain flashlight after using many giveaway promotional products or $1 LED lights sold next to convenience store cash …

Micro-USB

Universe/Futurology/Create a board game/Truecaller

<b>APP:</b><br>I’ve had a lot of fun in the past few days playing with a new iOS app that creates a mosaic of video, still images, and sound, and into which you …

Board Games

Scotchlite Spoke Reflector Bicycle Clips

As the days get shorter, bike commuters have to find ways to make themselves more visible when riding in the dark. Usually cyclists buy lights for …

Bicycling

Mighty Mug Travel Thermos Mug

My wife likes to drink water. She keeps a cup or glass with her as she works, and also has one on the night stand when she sleeps. She knocks over …

Travel

Rii Mini Wireless Keyboard with Mouse

I teach a few informal computer courses at my local community college. While I use the projector and “instructor workstation in the classroom, I …

Wireless

Best Comment of the Week

Reader comments are useful for us and, we hope, for you. We learn good information from comments – Is there a better tool than the one reviewed? Is …

Swiss Army Knives

Stand and Store Lobby Broom and Dustpan

We needed a broom after I had used the house one out in the garage, and it was now too dirty to bring back in. At the store, the “Quickie Stand and …

Powerlock 33-212 Measuring Tape

I think I began regularly carrying a tape measure when I started working on the high school stage crew, 45 years ago. I started with one snapped to …

CPI (Marxist)

Death countdown/How to wrap cables/Revisionist History

<b>HACK</b>: I hacked up a death countdown clock to show me how many days I have left to live. I went to the actuarial tables for life expectancy to …

Gopher Goo

In late winter, early spring, the gophers arrive in my neighborhood. Everyone is familiar with trapping and other forms of dealing with gophers. I …

Soap Mesh Bag

A few years ago I decided to reduce the petrol footprint in my house, as I had started shaving my head: no shampoos, no creams, no hydration lotions… …

Amazon

Reader Survey Results

A month ago we offered you a survey to give us all a glimpse of who is reading this blog. About 1,400 people replied to the 30 or so questions. The …

What’s in My Bag — Wayne Ruffner

I’ve been in a few mosquito-plagued areas enough times to know that the “just use DEET” advice doesn’t really get it. DEET has a bad habit of melting …

Northern Canada

Victorinox Swiss Army Cadet

Several previous reviewers have recommended Swiss Army knives and they make good points (no pun intended), but let me make a case for the Cadox Alox …

Swiss Army Knives

Everlast Leather Jump Rope

I have been jumping rope for about 2 years intermittently, but in the past 5 months it has become my regular go-to for daily exercise and …

Running

Two Books About Pregnancy

Pregnancy is like home renovation: suddenly you have to make a multitude of decisions about things you never thought about before, on very short …

Amazon’s Interesting Finds/Prehistoric Invertebrates/Fraudster Calls

<b>TIP</b>: Any bones or skulls you collect can be whitened up without using chlorine bleach, which can weaken the bone. Use concentration hydrogen …

Amazon

Ask Cool Tools Featured Questions

MrGripe is interested in mechanisms to affix to cardboard box flaps so each box can be opened and closed regularly.Mark would like to know the best …

Upholstery

Timeout Automatic Shutoff Valve

My sister had a washing machine hose burst. This was a very expensive disaster – her washer/dryer was in her kitchen. I had been paranoid about the …

Domestic Technology

Star Simpson, Electronics Designer

Our guest this week is Star Simpson. She is an electronics designer whose greatest joy is designing objects and tools that are useful to others, …

DIY

Casio GW M850 Atomic Solar G Shock Watch

The Casio GW M850 is a dive watch rated to 20 BAR, it sets itself from an atomic reference and recharges from sunlight. I bought it because I wanted …

Casio

Magazine File Holder

I have a moderately-sized but rapidly growing vinyl LP collection. It was getting very difficult to store them properly on an open shelf, however. …

Amazon

Hoopla

As a long-time fan of both audio books and getting stuff for free, I often look towards such awesome services as LibriVox for free, public-domain …

Overdrive

Museum/Escape Room/Hamilton/Meditation

<b>DESTINATION</b>: The world’s coolest nature museum: The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, England (pictured above). It’s a day trip from London. Take the …

Meditation

Hugh Howey, best-selling author

Our guest this week is Hugh Howey. Hugh is the New York Times bestselling author of WOOL, SAND, BEACON 23, and over a dozen other novels. He lives on …

Books

Early Bird Books

If you’re an ebook junkie like me, you know that the cost of them is normally way, way, WAY too high. I’m not sure where I first found these guys, …

e-Books

What’s in My Bag — Tee Cardaci

When you are constantly on the road, your personal/carry-on bag can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. When I returned from my summer tour …

DJs