Artbreeder/AirPod cleaning kit/Tally


Recomendo: issue no. 165

Sign up here to get Recomendo a week early in your inbox.

Generating art
I’ve waited all my life for a tool that would create art for me. It’s here. Artbreeder is a website that breeds new visual images from existing images. Using deep learning (AI) algorithms it generates multiple photo-realistic “children” mutations of one image. You — the gardener — select one mutant you like and then breed further generations from its descendants. You can also crossbreed two different images. Very quickly, you can create infinite numbers of highly detailed album covers, logos, game characters, exotic landscapes. I find it fiendishly addictive. Wanna see the zoo of unearthly creatures I found/made? (Note: If Artbreeder is not out of beta use Ganbreeder, it’s predecessor.) — KK

Clean the earwax out of AirPods
It’s really hard to clean earwax from the speaker meshes in Apple AirPods and EarPods. I’ve assembled a kit of 3 tools to make the job easier. 1) OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set ($6) — use the smaller of the two brushes and the silicone wiper to loosen up and wipe out as much wax as you can; 2) Poster Putty ($3) — press this into the opening and it will pull out a surprising amount of residual gunk. Resist the temptation to press the putty too hard, or you’ll push the earwax through the mesh; 3) Handheld Illuminated Magnifier ($7) — this will help you make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned the mesh openings. My AirPods now look great, not grungy.  — MF

Favorite iOS habit tracker
The only habit tracker that I have consistently used and enjoy using is Tally: The Anything Tracker (iOS only). You can color code and group habits by type, set targets, track by day, week, month or year and have them reset whenever you want. You can track 3 habits with the free version and upgrade for more. There are a lot of other features too, but what I like the most about it is the cool, colored grid view and that I am able to add notes for the tallies I make. I am trying to read at least 20 books per year and I use the notes to track titles. I’ve been using this app for almost a year now and I like being able to see the historical data — like of my miles hiked per month — because it motivates me to outdo myself. — CD

Inexpensive neck massager
My husband has suffered from chronic neck pain for a few years. He does posture exercises and uses a cervical pillow, but could not find a way to massage the pressure points that radiate pain up and down his neck. Then he found this cheap and wonderfully designed neck massager ($12) and can not stop touting its effectiveness. He loves it so much he even packed it and brought it on our current overseas trip. — CD

Translate this, always
I am finding the new Google Translate mobile app to be indispensable when traveling. About 100 languages are available, including Kazakh, Igbo, Maori, etc. About 60 of those languages can be downloaded to your phone so you can translate offline when your phone is off, not working in the country, or out of cell range. (Instructions here.) The offline translation is text only, but surprisingly smart enough for touring needs. Having a language downloaded offline (about 40MB) also seems to help when translation is online as well (like using your phone camera to read menus and signs.) It’s all free and one of the best bargains in the world. — KK

Pop-up emoji keyboard (Mac)
Here’s a tip for Mac users: Control + Command + Space reveals an emoji keyboard. My friend Glenn Fleishman added an extra tip: “If you type text in the little field, it shows both the literal characters in the preview, but also any matching text among Unicode, etc. And you can select a character, and it shows alternates that live among the Unicode jungle. — MF

-- Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson 09/22/19

© 2022