Win a signed copy of Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities

We are giving away a copy of Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities, signed by Kevin Kelly. To enter in the drawing, subscribe to our free weekly Cool Tools newsletter. (If you are a current subscriber, you are already in the running). We will select one person at random on May 5, 2014 at Noon PT, so make sure you sign up before that.

Have a great weekend!

-- Mark Frauenfelder  

Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities
$31

Available from Amazon



Wink’s remarkable book picks of the week

Wink is Cool Tools’ website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed an interactive book that invites you to complete drawings of robots, costumes, monsters, secret lairs, zap guns, sidekicks, superpowers, utility belt gadgets, weapons, vehicles, and secret messages, a book of photographs that show how landscapes change over 120 years, a book filled with facsimile documents about ten popular conspiracy theories, a 600-page graphic novel that reads like a dream, a quest to authenticate 181 would-be masterpieces of the Russian Avant-Garde, and inflatable art and architecture

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

-- Mark Frauenfelder  



Wink’s remarkable book picks of the week

Wink is Cool Tools’ website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed books about inflatable art and architecture, the art of mid-century modern pet food labels, basic home repair and maintenance, personal photo journal of a German officer in World War I, photos of the homes of creative people, and Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens’ beautiful comic book art.

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

-- Mark Frauenfelder  



Wink’s remarkable book picks of the week

Wink is Cool Tools’ website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed books about Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens’ beautiful comic book art, unusual maps of an ordinary neighborhood, the history of economics told through comics, visual representations of history, a visual guide to psychology, and hundreds of excellent optical illusions.

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink. And sign up for our Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.

-- Mark Frauenfelder  



Wink’s remarkable book picks of the week

Wink is Cool Tools’ website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed books about excellent optical illusions, the events of one day in WW1 told in the form one long continuous pen drawing printed on a fold-out scroll, Ernest Shackleton’s brave yet disastrous attempt to cross the Antarctic continent, hundreds of science-themed tattoos worn by working scientists, the sketchbooks of artists from around the world, and the greatest comic books ever published in a bound slipcase.

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink.

-- Mark Frauenfelder  



Wink’s remarkable book picks of the week

Wink is Cool Tools’ new website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them.

This week we reviewed books about the greatest comic books ever published, provocative ads that defined the world of fashion, the art and revelations of hand-drawn maps, a an eccentric genius’ explanation of how half-Yeti hybrids have enslaved mankind , Rex Ray’s merging of design and fine art with retro-mod flair, and
spectacular close-up photographs of the elements
.

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink.

-- Mark Frauenfelder  



 

Part-Time Sysadmin Help Wanted

We are looking for a part-time sysadmin type for our blog networks. We have recently moved to Word Press, and we use Amazon as our host. We need someone to do basic OS maintenance, to perform upgrades, maintain security, and provide rare emergency support. The work comes in spurts. Most months we don’t need any help, and some months we might need a few hours; occasionally we’ll be doing development and will need a string of hours.

Here are some of the technical skills/knowledge this person would need for the job:

* Amazon Web Services
* Security awareness
* Experience with high-traffic site
* PHP
* NginX, MySQL
* WordPress familiarity
* Integration with Disqus
* Working with MailChimp
* Github
* Bonus: OSQA / Django  (for Ask Cool Tools)

Our tasks will be hard to do without ALL the above skills. This is not for novices. This is ideal for someone already doing this kind of stuff and would like an additional client.

Some of the projects (above ongoing maintenance) you might expect to tackle:

•    Start a redundant instance of our content on Amazon.
•    Change over to “origin pull” for content delivery in the network.
•    Test newly redesigned WordPress site for robustness.
•    Install new “ask us” forum software package.
•    Migrate DNS to new hosts.

We can either pay an hourly fee, or agree on a retainer. If you are interested, please describe your previous experience solving similar tasks. You should have a solid portfolio of previous similar work, and personal references. If you possess these skills and would like to help us, send an email to editor@cool-tools.org.

-- KK  



Wink’s Remarkable Book Picks for the Week

Wink is Cool Tools’ new website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them. This week we reviewed books about spectacular close-up photographs of the elements, bubble-gum-sweet yet provocative French girls of the 1960s, a mapped guidebook to the underground city of Hong Kong, a grab-bag of 100 fascinating topics related to black, wonderfully weird medieval clip-art, and Chip Kidd’s ingenious book covers.

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink.

-- Mark Frauenfelder  



Wink’s Remarkable Book Picks for the Week

Wink is Cool Tools’ new website that reviews one remarkable paper book every weekday. We take photos of the covers and the interior pages of the books to show you why we love them. This week we reviewed books about Chip Kidd’s ingenious book covers, Jill Greenberg’s delightful photo portraits of primates, Jimmy Nelson’s stunning high-fashion portraits of tribal people in their most distinguished, authentic costumes, Annie Leibovitz’s stories behind her best photographs, the world of Game of Thrones in the form of a large pop-up, fold-out map, and Thomas C. Card’s photos of exuberantly colorful Japanese street fashion tribes.

Take a look at these books and many others at Wink.

-- Mark Frauenfelder  



Wink Books

Books are not dead! Books printed on paper have their uses. Printed tomes, vs digital books, are more useful for archived knowledge since they don’t need a reader, and won’t go obsolete. In a thousand years you’ll still be able to read a book (if you learn old English), or just want to look at the pictures. In fact, books full of pictures and illustrations are still a little better today on paper than on screens. This won’t always be true, but for the moment, the large size of high res paper, and the immediate no-lag turning of pages mean that large format, heavily illustrated material is best viewed as ink printed on paper.

One of the most popular sections in the Cool Tools book (on paper) is the 6 pages of visual reference items. These are 50 or so seriously visual books that I recommend for designers, artists, and tinkerers as sources of ideas, tips, and inspiration. On paper they work great. The Cool Tools book itself is one of the best examples of the benefits of paper books — its wide horizon of multi-tasking items that optimize browsing could not be done on a small screen.

Another mode that is superior on paper is a how-to craft book that includes materials, or samples bound in it that can get you started. Sometimes a how-to book in paper offers an unusually handy binding that is better than a dainty screen. Pop-up books with their clever engineering only work in paper. Or an atlas with pull-out maps. I’ve also found that children sometimes prefer a picture book in paper so they can sensually turn the pages themselves. And finally, as good as the best retina screen is today in 2014, it cannot quite match a hardback graphic novel printed on nice paper whose illustrations pop better in ink than in pixels.

For all these reasons, there should be a place that recommends and introduces books that belong on paper. There wasn’t one, so we created it: Wink Books. Wink is a website similar to Cool Tools that recommends and reviews one remarkable paper book each weekday. The books will be curated by Cool Tools editor Mark Frauenfelder, former Craft editor Carla Sinclair, and myself. Each weekday we’ll scour our libraries, used bookstores, flea markets and Amazon for the most cool and unusual books on paper. We photograph sample pages from each book and supply the reasons why we find each one worth your while. Of course, we are always eager to hear your recommendations as well. If you know of a favorite book that works perfectly on paper, clue us in. We pay for suggestions used.

Check out your daily dose of paper here at Wink.

-- KK