20 February 2019
Instantly transforms into 8 different shapes
What I find most useful and unique about this adaptable rolling cart ($100) is that it folds to a relatively compact size that I can easily fit into a normal car while being able to unfold and expand to carry a large number of boxes.
I like it better than the common folding dollies that have a lower load capacity and have only two wheels that only operate in an upright position. Being able to put into a long horizontal position allows the Rock N Roller carts to carry unusual loads that might not stack in a stable fashion on a typical upright dolly.02/20/19
(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2010 — editors)
19 February 2019
Wire dough mixer
I try to bake by hand as much by hand as possible because it’s a nice contrast to working in front of a computer every day. But one part of baking I never used to enjoy was the mixing of the dough. At first, it gets all gummed up on the spoon or spatula. Then, once the dough comes together, it doesn’t seem as if you’re mixing the ingredients so much as pushing a big ball around the inside of the bowl.
For a year, I’d seen the dough whisk ($9 for 2) in the King Arthur catalog. I never ordered it because I thought the wire part looked a bit fragile. I finally decided to give one a try, figuring I’d send it back if I didn’t like it. Well, I’m never sending it back.
The whisk’s wire is extremely stiff. I’ve yet to encounter a dough it doesn’t slice through with ease. I don’t know how much thought went into designing the twists of the wire, but it’s amazingly efficient at bringing dough together. When I made a double batch recently, I was worried I might have given the whisk more than it could handle. Nope. Mixing took no more effort than a smaller batch.
Clean-up is a breeze: Only a little bit of dough adheres to the wire, which is easy to dislodge with a wipe of the fingers. After that, it goes into the dishwasher.
So far, I have the large model, but I’m planning to buy the smaller one to use in smaller mixing bowls. I suspect that once I also have the smaller one, I’ll never have to order another, unless it’s for a gift. I’ve seen similar-looking whisks on Amazon for a few dollars less, but I don’t know how well they’re constructed. King Arthur’s whisks have their logo on the wooden handles and feel very, very sturdy.02/19/19
(This is a Cool Tools Favorite from 2010 — editors)
18 February 2019
The ultimate mix of juggling ball and beanbag
Having the right weight in a juggling ball is extremely important.
You need a weighted ball. The bounce of the ball, how hard it is, and whether it’s likely to bounce is extremely important. You want a ball that has a dead bounce, that’s not going to bounce right off your hand, and that you can catch.
MMX Plus Juggling Balls are fantastic. They’re weighted and they’re sort of a cross between Hacky Sack and a ball. They’re squishy and they’re filled with beads. It’s a silicone kind of exterior, a thin exterior. It doesn’t hurt your hands. They don’t stick together either.
Whenever I walk by these, I can’t help but pick them up and use them for a few minutes. I think that’s why they’re so cool. I immediately got better when I started using these balls. I definitely would say these are worth it.02/18/19
(The review is from our podcast with Mike Evans. — editors)
17 February 2019
Recomendo: issue no. 134
News from the Future
In addition to Recomendo, I also write a newsletter for Institute for the Future, called “News from the Future.” It comes out twice a week and each issue has four or five short news items that are signals of possible futures that await us. Subscribe here. — MF
New ways to work
I am not into management or business books, but this one is an exception: Brave New Work. It’s an intelligent and readable summary of the best practices (so far) in remaking what we used to call “work.” Aaron Dignan evaluates all the crazy ideas (open books, no bosses, etc.) to see which ones are effective in creating organizations that get us to do our best. He distills practical advice, too. — KK
Russian Doll on Netflix
In Russian Doll, a video game programmer finds herself in an endless loop of dying and repeating the same day. Each reboot requires her to dig deeper into her own existence, relationships, and trauma to figure out the purpose of the paranormal glitch and try to fix it. It is Groundhog Day meets Twilight Zone meets a life coaching session from hell. It’s great — I finished it in two days. — CD
Add Weather to your Google Calendar
I like using Google Calendar’s “month view” to plan my life, and I realized it would be helpful if I could see a weather forecast while I’m scheduling hikes and social outings. The easiest way I found to add a weather calendar was here. Now I have a two-week forecast always visible. — CD
Dark chocolate bars with cashew butter and vanilla bean
I bought these dark chocolate bars for my wife as a Christmas present, and now we’re hopelessly hooked. They’re a bit like peanut butter cups, but in bar form, and less sweet. A 4-pack runs $25, but if you order them via Amazon subscribe and save, it’ll cost you $21.25. — MF
Here are a few quotes that keep kicking me. — KK
“If you’re not ready to find exceptional things, you won’t discover them.” — Avi Loeb
“I don’t explain — I explore.” — Marshall McLuhan
“Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me.” — Sigmund Freud
“The genius is the one most like himself.” — Thelonious Monk
“There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.” —Salvador Dali
15 February 2019
Cool Tools Show 162: Tommy Honton
Our guest this week is Tommy Honton. Tommy is a Los Angeles-based experience designer who specializes in weaving interactivity and game mechanics into narrative storytelling. Across the United States, he’s produced interactive and immersive work for audience sizes ranging from 1 to 80,000. He’s also the co-creator and designer of the critically-acclaimed escape room Stash House and co-founder of the interactive exhibition Museum of Selfies. You can follow him on Twitter @angelalansburyd.
Scheduling system: Using Trello with Google Calendar
I live and die by my calendar. I struggled to find a way to organize tasks by project and deadlines along with my daily agenda and personal schedule that could fit in one space on my phone and computer. I finally found my rhythm with Google Calendar integrated with Trello. All my projects are on Trello and every deadline or milestone now appears automatically on my calendar which makes it easy to manage and schedule my entire life in one spot.
Note taking system: Ultra fine sharpie and Field Notes End Papers Edition
I take notes constantly. I prefer to keep everything digitally in the Google Drive ecosystem, but there’s something satisfying about using a good notebook and pen. Plus, in meetings, typing on a computer or phone can give off the appearance of being distracted or not paying attention. I prefer using ultra fine tip Sharpies as my typical writing tool in a durable notebook. I used to use pocket-sized Moleskines (they’re actually vegan which is important to me), but lately I’ve used Field Notes brand notebooks. My favorite is their End Papers version which is thinner and slimmer and fits in pockets very easily. Once I finish with a meeting, I always photograph the pages and mark them through so I know I have a digital copy. Then I’ll transcribe them or add notes in Google Keep which I’ll transfer over into a Google Doc sorted in Google Drive based on the project.
Consumed media list: Trakt integrated with Series Guide
I like keeping track of all forms of entertainment I consume, not only because I like data for some reason, but it’s been practical when I’m trying to remember a show or something I’ve listened to or want to make notes on it. For media, the service Trakt is fantastic and I have it integrated with the app Series Guide on my phone since Trakt doesn’t have a first-party app. I wish they kept track of books, Podcasts, etc, but they don’t, so I just have a Google Sheets page where I keep track of that stuff manually. And, me being me, I have a sheet for escape rooms, immersive productions, LARPs, and other stuff that I have to do manually as well.
Toolbox: Sugru, E6000 and Rustoleum multi-purpose clear paint
Creating tactile experiences means stuff is going to break, crack, tear, smear, etc. I’ve really learned to appreciate the magic of three things: Sugru which is a putty-like glue that cures into a hard rubber. E6000, a craft adhesive that bonds pretty much any material to any other material. And a good clear coat to protect or finish any surface to make it smooth and safe from UV damage, scratches, or peeling. I prefer Rustoleum brand’s clear paint version.
Stash House is a 90-minute escape room experience that plunges guests into the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles’ criminal underworld. Coming face-to-face with Ray Jones, notorious criminal kingpin, players must navigate Ray’s test or risk the consequences. It is ranked 15th by the most experienced players in the world.
We have hired professional editors to help create our weekly podcasts and video reviews. So far, Cool Tools listeners have pledged $400 a month. Please consider supporting us on Patreon. We have great rewards for people who contribute! If you would like to make a one-time donation, you can do so using this link: https://paypal.me/cooltools.– MF02/15/19
15 February 2019
Open your garage with your iPhone or Android
GarageMate ($50) is compatible with all the major garage door openers. It comes with a simple Android or iPhone app. Suppose you’re going biking and you want to open the garage door and you don’t want to take your keys with you. You can just open up this app on your phone, press one button, and the garage door opens up. It’s just like magic. All you have to worry about is taking your phone, and it’s much more convenient.02/15/19
(This was reviewed in our podcast interview with Matt Cutts. — editors)
Recomendo: issue no. 133
COOL TOOLS SHOW PODCAST
WHAT'S IN MY BAG?
23 February 2017
An avid cyclist shares his road gear
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