A cool tool can be any book, gadget, software, video, map, hardware, material, or website that is tried and true. All reviews on this site are written by readers who have actually used the tool and others like it. Items can be either old or new as long as they are wonderful. We post things we like and ignore the rest. Suggestions for tools much better than what is recommended here are always wanted.
Mike Streetz, Citrix ConsultantOur guest this week is Mike Streetz. Mike is a new dad, home automation aficionado, electronics tinkerer/maker, and IT Consultant by day. He hails from Sydney, Australia, and is currently based in Los Angeles with his wife and son. You can find him on Flicker and Twitter @O_P.
Subscribe to the Cool Tools Show on iTunes | RSS | Transcript | See all the Cool Tools Show posts on a single pageShow notes:Lifetime Folding Table ($40)
It's a white plastic table. It's got a hinge in the middle. It's about double the width of a card table. It has sort of metal legs on either side with a crossbar between the legs, but there's no crossbar going across that would hit your legs, so it's all nice and out of the way in that regards. I use it for a lot of things. At the moment, I'm using it basically just to clean up my main desk and move stuff off of that, but I used it over Christmas, actually, as a present wrapping station because you can raise the height to standing height and work with it that way. It’s great for when you need extra space to sort out the contents of some boxes, also doubles as a work surface.
Synergy from Symless
Synergy is a keyboard and mouse sharing software essentially. You run the software on every computer that you want to share the keyboard and mouse with. You said it up as a server on the machine that the keyboard and mouse are plugged into, and then all the other machines are clients. It has a configuration screen where you can show the physical location of the monitor that you want to move into. Basically, you just drag your mouse to the edge of the window and it automatically jumps onto the window of the other machine. To give you an example, I have on my desk in front of me now a Mac laptop and a Windows laptop, and my Mac laptop is to the left of me and my Windows laptop is to the right. I've got two external monitors plugged in. If I'm doing work on my Mac, which has my keyboard and mouse plugged into it, I can start typing. I can copy a block of text. I can move my mouse all the way to the far right corner of the screen. It will automatically move into the Windows screen, and then I can control V and it will paste the contents of the clipboard from my Mac into my Windows machine.
NEBO Ratcheting Screwdriver ($22)
I don’t even remember how I found out about this, but it’s one of the best screwdrivers I own and I never see it pop up on anyone’s lists despite how good it is. It has a great ratcheting mechanism, comfortable and grippy handle, can work at 45, 90 degrees straight and has a bit holder in the handle and holds both SAE and metric sockets in the supplied case. I’ve had mine for 2 years and use it multiple times a week. The main advantage to this one for me is that it's a ratcheting screwdriver and a ratcheting socket wrench essentially. You can move back and forth from one tool to the other just by swapping the head out really quickly. My only complaint would be that the base cap should have been reverse threaded, as if you apply pressure when driving a screw or ratcheting, it will unscrew itself.
PortPlugs SIM Card Removal Tool Set ($6, 6pk)
I kind of went down a weird internet rabbit hole trying to find a tool that was the right diameter, the right length, and that was sturdy enough to use as a pin reset tool, but also a tool that could hit the reset holes on all of the electronics that I have around that I need to reset. Pick up any electronic device that's sitting next to you and you'll probably see that there's a little hole with "reset" written underneath the hole. Essentially what you do is that when you power on the device, if you insert like a paperclip or this specialty tool into that hole, it hits a button that's recessed and it tells the device to essentially blow away all its settings and go into a fresh configuration mode. I've been needing to do that with these little security cameras I have because I changed the Wi-Fi network that they were on. The problem I have with paperclips is that the paperclips that I always have on my desk are never the right diameter to fit into all of the holes. They're either too big or they're so small that you try to put them in and they'll wobble around and they'll bend. They won't stay straight and they won't hit the little button on the back. A paperclip is generally not sturdy enough to eject the SIM card on a phone I find. It turns out watch band removal tools are the perfect tool for this. I settled on a cheap 6-pack set of these. This looks like a better tool though as it has a cap and a replaceable pin, it’s also a little longer for certain recessed reset buttons.