It was a mighty fine experiment: Take an original fast-forward science fiction writer, who has been subscribing to Cool Tools from day one (before it was a blog), who edited the final issue of the Whole Earth Catalog’s zine (the original model for Cool Tools), and who had worked with me many times before (appearing on the cover of the first issue of our zine Wired) — take this fellow and turn his creative mind towards the utilitarian workaday routine of Cool Tools. That was the idea a month ago in hiring Bruce Sterling as editor of Cool Tools.
Well, that fine experiment did not work out. Bruce Sterling is retiring from his very energetic stint as Cool Tools editor. Some kind of personality mismatch. These things are always mysterious, even when they work. No big deal. Only thing is to move on. I am really looking forward to working with Bruce again because if you want “think different”, if you want true originality, street level honesty, entertaining insight, and a remarkable stylist, Bruce Sterling is your guy. Really. I learn something from Sterling in every encounter with him, and I am easily bored. Sterling has never bored me.
Cool Tools is boring in that workaday jeans and boots sort of way. Utilitarian. WYSIWYG. No “skins.” So we are going to stick to our workaday useful ways. The newest new Cool Tool editor, Elon Schoenholz, is not boring but not flashy either. Elon was one of the 200 candidates rounded up in the casting call last month. He has experience as a editor and reviewer at Consumer Guide, Mountain Bike magazine, a weekly paper, and is currently a professional architectural photographer. His home site is here.
As always, most of the reviews on this site are written by readers (and every one of them by actual users). This site is only as good as the material that flows into it. The job of Elon, or Bruce, or Steven, or Charles, or myself, is only to sift, edit, tidy up, and to head off misunderstanding before the review is posted. Send Elon a rave about your favorite cool tool; address to elon at schoenholz dot c o m.
To reiterate what is wanted:
Cool Tools publishes only positive reviews of stuff that works. We love tried and true tools, rather than flimsy and faddish gadgets that only look good on the screen. A cool tool…
1) Is not commonly known, or if known, not appreciated for this particular use.
2) Really works over a long time period.
3) Is significantly better than the competition.
4) Assists individuals (verses institutions) in self-empowerment and self-learning.
5) Is not one you’ve invented, sell, or promote.
The ideal Cool Tool review begins: “Over the years I’ve tried dozens of tools to accomplish X, but this one is by far the best thing. After using this tool every day for 2 years, it continues to amaze me. The problem it solves for non-professionals is this…” and it goes on to say why this item is so wonderful compared to other choices.