Steripod Toothbrush Sanitizer

I travel for a living, with limited space and staying in campgrounds 6 out of 7 nights a week. Most of my toiletries find their way into a single dopp kit, haphazardly tossed in as I try to avoid setting anything down in that puddle of questionable liquid on the counter.

This year I had the unfortunate experience of discovering what it tastes like to brush your teeth with a toothbrush full of lotion. I had to replace the brush because it wouldn’t lose the taste.

Days later I came across the Steripod Toothbrush Sanitizer. Traditional toothbrush covers don’t easily fit on many electric toothbrushes where these are universal. Gone is the snap cover that doesn’t always hold, replaced with a simple clip. The spring is strong enough that it won’t open on its own in your bag.

A simple rinse of your brush before brushing removes any taste that the sanitizer (which is infused in small pads on the interior walls of the sanitizer and is made from the herb thyme) might leave. I can’t vouch for the effectiveness of the sterilizing feature but the whole package has kept my toothbrush cleaner.

-- Matt Johnson  

Steripod Clip-on Toothbrush Sanitizer
$6 for a 2-pack

Available from Amazon



GoodRx.com

I recently needed to fill a particularly expensive prescription. The first pharmacy I visited, a big box retailer with a reputation for low prescription drug prices, quoted a price of $800.

A few moments later, I found the exact same prescription from a pharmacy just down the road for less than $300.

The market for prescription drugs in the US is ridiculously inefficient. Fortunately, companies like GoodRx.com are creating tools that can help you find the best prices online, making true price comparison fast and efficient.

GoodRx works by pulling in price feeds from most of the top pharmacy chains in the US, allowing you to search and sort by drug, delivery form, dosage, count, and pharmacy type. It’s trivial to compare prices for brand name vs. generic, and the website automatically sorts the results by price.

If you create an account on GoodRx.com, you can save searches for later reference, which is handy. Prices change daily, so it’s worth re-checking prices before refilling your prescriptions.

Once you find the best option, you can print out a “discount card” that contains GoodRx’s Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) information, so the pharmacist can find the GoodRx quoted price. (They’ll also mail you a card for your wallet if you request one.) Every time you fill a prescription using GoodRx’s group information, they make money via referral fees, so the service itself is free to use.

Out of curiosity, I had the pharmacy quote prices using the GoodRx rate vs. my major health insurance company’s negotiated group rate. GoodRx won by $150.

A quick search on GoodRx.com saved me over $500 in less than a minute. If you live in the US and need to fill a prescription, search here first.

– Josh Kaufman

GoodRx.com
Free

-- Josh Kaufman  



Fogless Shower Mirror

Shaving in the shower this morning I was trying to think of a tool that is really useful as I’ve appreciated all the tips others have provided.

Then I looked at the fogless mirror I’ve been using for nearly two years now. (Never ran across the smaller Shave Well shaving mirror recommended here back in August. Shave Well is 6×4″ as opposed to 7×5″ for this product.)

This fogless mirror, with the unfortunate company name of Toilet Tree, is the best we’ve found for this task.

Nothing fancy, just a mirror filled with hot water in a container. But it works. Even the silicone glue has been working great in adhering to the shower tile.

Simple and utilitarian, it the “#1 Selling and Ranked” product in its category by customers on Amazon.

-- Ira Altschiller  

Fogless Shower Mirror with Squeegee
$30

Available from Amazon



Mind Metrics

One of the self-tracking projects that I always wanted to do was to determine the impact of sleep, diet and exercise regimen on my mental and cognitive abilities. I needed an app to measure my cognitive or mental skills/abilities — rather than training or improving them. I also wanted measurement methods to be as close to scientific as possible. And of course the tests should take as little time as possible (preferably under 5 min), and run off portable devices. I settled on Mind Metrics — it’s an awesome phone app that lets me measure alertness, higher cognitive abilities such as attention and memory, and their combination.

For instance, in the alertness test you are asked to tap the sun as soon as it appears in the same part of the screen randomly every few seconds. You can control the number of trials and timing for both tests. After completing a preset number of trials, you get both average reaction time and average attention/memory score. You can see all your current and previous scores on the screen, and also e-mail them to yourself in comma separated format.

I’ve been using Mind Metrics to measure mental alertness in a couple of experiments, including finding the optimal time to go to bed (my finding was that going to bed between 11 and 11:15 leads to higher alertness next morning and better sleep), and validating orthostatic heart rate test (difference between standing and resting heart rate right after waking up reasonably well predicts mental and physical performance later in the day). I am currently using Mind Metrics to track my cognitive well-being on a daily basis.



LightDims

Found this tool at the local computer store. I used to apply small pieces of Post-It Notes over the LEDs on equipment in my home office. I replaced them with the original strength LightDims to cover several irritatingly bright LEDs and they work really well. I haven’t found anything else quite like it. I can still read the status of the LEDs, but they no longer light up my office like a Christmas tree.

-- Chris Knight  

DimIt light-dimming stickers
$6 – $14

Available from Amazon



Camelbak Eddy Bottle

At night I wake up with a dry throat and reach blindly for water. I used to knock over glasses and cups until I found this two years ago. It’s basically a sippy cup for adults. It has rubber mouthpiece that doesn’t open until you squeeze slightly with your lips, so no dribbling, and it has a straw so you don’t even need to tip it. Plus it’s dish-washable. I love my sippy cup.

-- Ross Reynolds  

Available from Amazon



Treadmill Desk Set-Up

geekdesk
Walking while working on a computer became a necessary and life-changing experience for me in 2010 after a nasty sciatic injury prevented me from sitting in a chair. I got lucky with the purchase of the electric adjustable desk frame from GeekDesk. (Reviewed here.) It cost $549 plus shipping. I saved a fair bit of cash by making a custom top out of a nice piece of birch plywood.

Finding a proper treadmill to fit under the desk was a challenge back then. The first one from Sears, bought on sale, was adequate but noisy. I bought quieter, second-hand machine and blew the motor after a few months. I got lucky on my third purchase with the LifeSpan TR1200 treadmill, specifically designed for walking while working. A small control panel replaces the upright arms and large display on standard treadmills.

Over the past three years, a great variety of treadmills and complete treadmill desks have become available and the technologies have greatly improved. Since you’re buying a tool that will get daily use, spend as much as you can afford. I ended up spending about $1,600 on the desk and treadmill (if you don’t count my two duds).

But think of it as an investment. Slowly walking an average of 4-5 miles per day while typing, talking on the phone, designing pages or cruising the news has provided many benefits. In the wintertime, I turn on a SAD lamp hanging from the ceiling for light and perceived well-being.

-- SalishSeaSam  

LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 Standing Desk Treadmill
$999

GeekDesk v3 Frame
$549

Available from Amazon



UpLift Electric Sit-Stand Desk Base

I’ve used this for a few weeks now in my home office and will never look back. A knowledge worker for 20+ years, I’ve spent my work life sitting. The increasingly virtual work culture means I now work from home most days, which supports even more sitting (I may work the extra hour I save commuting, and even the trip from my home office to the restroom is only a few steps, in contrast to the 100 yard trek required for the same purpose in my office.) And now research corroborates what my body has been whispering to me for a while: sitting is bad for your health.

I was able to easily attach this desk base to my existing desk top, which not only saved me some money but also allowed me to keep my existing office layout exactly as it has been. I stand for most of the day now, usually taking a short sitting break once in the morning or afternoon. I can even raise the desk to a height that allows me to stand on my rebounder (a mini-trampoline) and gently bounce while I work. The real benefit is the ability, with the touch of a button, to adjust the height of the desktop at any time, without disturbing any of my peripherals – the extra monitor, the external keyboard and mouse, the speakers – even in the middle of a meeting.

The flexibility of this desk helped me endure and shorten a back-pain episode that popped up recently. I tend to be a frugal person and the sticker price seemed hefty at first — but the product’s high quality and the likelihood that it will save me visits to the chiropractor justify the price… not to mention that just feeling a little less pain and stiffness is priceless.

-- Emily May  

UpLift 900 Sit-Stand Ergonomic Desk Base
$549



Dr Tung’s Tongue Cleaner

Just a simple tongue scraper but the only one I can find made with stainless steel. I’ve had same one for 8 years, as it refuses to break. Easy to clean and gets all debris off my tongue in a couple of quick sweeps.

-- Greg Schellenberg  

[I have not used this particular tongue cleaner, but I am a tongue scraper convert. They improve the bad taste I have in the morning, especially after eating onions the night before. -- Mark]

Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner
$7

Available from Amazon



Worx Hand Cleaner

Over the past 10 years I have worked in a garage, machine shop and most recently an automotive research lab. I have never found a better hand cleaner than Worx.

It is a dry powder type of soap, not a sandy paste. Worx is incredible. It gets the hard-to-clean dirt and great from under and around fingernails. It even cleans in fingerprint ridges with little or no scrubbing. It cleans oily grease and dry dirt/grit equally well. It removes the smell of gasoline, cutting oil and ethylene glycol from skin. It is not harsh on skin. Unlike Gojo you never need to wash your hands twice. Usually the towel I use to dry up even has enough leftover residue to tackle the dirt that gets on my forearms up to my elbows.

I keep a small pouch in my glove box and bicycle bag for dry/semi-dry clean-up after chain or tire repairs.

The manufacturer says the product is organic, biodegradable and all natural. It smells fine, better than many hand cleaners at local part stores. It is not widely distributed in the U.S. but Grainger has it in many locations, and even some Wal-Mart stores. I brought some back to my lab from Canada and my co-workers line up to use it.

-- Kevin Cedrone  

Worx All Natural Hand Cleaner
$13/lb

Available from Amazon