Card Buddy/Bread Book/Pocket Translator

Recomendo - issue #409

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Draggable index cards 

I’ve tried using mind maps and Kanban board tools for brainstorming and organization, but they often become overwhelming. So far, I am very satisfied with the minimalist Card Buddy app, which is incredibly intuitive. I didn’t need to learn anything new to start using it. You can create an infinite canvas, drag around cards, drop in images, and customize the layout, style, and colors. It requires a one-time payment of $20 and is available exclusively on Mac and iOS. — CD 

Ultimate home bread 

If you have any interest in baking bread at home, check out this nerdy, obsessive, gigantic tome, Modernist Bread At Home, by Nathan Myhrvold. Sure, you can find bread recipes online, but this is different. Every possible type of bread in the known world, in all possible variations, tested through all manner of mistakes, are clearly illustrated. There are two volumes ($120), one with astounding images and one spiral bound for the kitchen with recipes, but the two are actually a digest distillation of a larger ultimate 5-volume set aimed and recalibrated for the home. This reference is very good for giving you enough guidance to try new kinds of bread you would not have tried making before. Not every home baker will need this level of expertise, so check it out at your local library. — KK

Pocket translator that works

This recommendation comes from my friend, Charles Platt, who purchased a translation device called PockeTalk for an upcoming trip to Japan and found it to be “amazing.” He said the phone-sized gadget is “does a voice-to-text conversation, then translates the text (you see it on the screen) and speaks it in a lifelike voice. It also has character recognition. It is intended for menus and street signs, but I gave it the back cover blurb of the Japanese edition of a book of mine, and even though the text was bold and in a weird color, it gave a very good conversion. It requires internet access but is preloaded with 2 years of credit for phone systems all over the world, and can also use WiFi. After 2 years, you pay $25 per year for global phone access. I tried a $75 translator last year, which was awful. This one is $300 [cheaper on Amazon] but much more than 4 times as good.” — MF

Cat cameras 

For an instant oxytocin boost, I’ve been visiting to watch livestreams of cute, hungry cats eating. The webcams, attached to automatic feeders, only activate when a viewer is watching. It’s surprising how much happiness this brings me! You can favorite specific feeders and come back anytime to check in your furry friends. — CD 

Music generating AI

After years of crummy AI-generated music apps, there are now several music generators that are worth spending time with. I’ve been staying up late at night tweaking prompts to make complete songs using Suno. Just like using an image generator, I give Suno a wordy description of the song, mood, beat, that I am looking for, and it generates a very listenable song, with pretty good lyrics, bridges, choruses, and album cover art! The free version of Suno gives you 10 songs per day, maxed out at 2 minutes per track. I use these as soundtracks for video shorts. There are a couple other recent apps, but I like Suno the best and will pay for a subscription. It is good enough for anyone to try out. — KK

How to criticize something you disagree with

Here are social psychologist Anatol Rapoport’s rules for criticizing something:

  1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.”
  2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
  3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
  4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

Via Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking, by Daniel C. Dennett. — MF


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