Cable coiling tip/ Boom/Bust / Text Expander


Recomendo: issue no. 210

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Custom coiled cables
I’ve been making my own coiled cables thanks to a tip I learned from Gareth Branwyn’s Tips newsletter (which we co-publish). Gareth pointed me to a John Park’s YouTube tutorial on heat treating ordinary USB cables into expandable coiled cables, like the ones on old telephone handsets, or headphones. (Jump to the 23-minute mark.) The hack really works and results in much more manageable cables for audio, photography, and desktop gear. — KK

The story of the once-viral trivia app
I binge listened to all 8 episodes of Boom/Bust: The Rise and Fall of HQ Trivia in one day. I was obsessed with the viral game back in 2017, but eventually lost interest and didn’t follow the demise of the trivia startup. This documentary podcast series gave me an insider glimpse into what really happened and helped me better understand the very fickle attention economy. — CD

Speed for slow typists
I’ve been using TextExpander for at least 10 years and it has saved me hundreds of hours of typing. It’s a global utility that converts short snippets of text into canned text. For instance, when I type “mf” it changes it to “Mark Frauenfelder.” When I type “adr” it changes it to my home address. “Bio” spits out my biography and a link to my headshot photos. I have a lot of canned boilerplate for email responses that save me a ton of time. It can also add anything that’s saved in my clipboard to a chunk of boilerplate. It also corrects frequently misspelled words. The Mac OS has snippet expansion but lacks many of the features and the snap of TextExpander. I can’t stand using other people’s computers to write or do email because not having TextExpander slows me way down. — MF

Ultimate refrigerator containers
My second favorite activity in the kitchen (after eating good food) is to stowe leftovers in our trove of Snapware Glasslock containers with snap-on lids. Glass makes the leftovers clearly visible, and re-heatable in their container, and the snap lids with gaskets create a nearly vacuum seal, and their sturdy flat tops can be securely stacked in the refrigerator. They will never spill, and are superior to all the other systems we’ve tried in the past. Snapping them shut on all four sides makes me really happy. By now there are 10 different brands of glass with snap lids (including Amazon Basics), all with the same design, though they are not interchangeable. I have not tried other brands; we are still using the original Snapware/Glasslock ones from a decade ago and they seem to last forever. — KK

Low maintenance label maker
I bought this DYMO Portable Label Maker ($23) because it was an Amazon best seller and I didn’t want to put that much research into it, but now it’s been almost a year that I’ve owned it and it’s still incredibly useful and has not let me down. It’s so intuitive that months have gone by between use and I don’t have to remind myself how to work it. I love that it’s so light. I can walk around with it, type on it, print and cut my label and put it back in one fell swoop. — CD

The 1913 dictionary is better
I found out about Webster’s 1913 Dictionary from David Perell’s excellent Friday Finds newsletter. Perell uses this 107 year old dictionary because he thinks “modern dictionaries have lazy definitions that focus too much on simplicity at the cost of precision.” I also love the extreme Simplicity of the interface. it’s worth bookmarking. — MF

-- Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson 07/26/20

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