Kevin, Mark, Claudia (Cool Tools Team)
Cool Tools Show 291: Cool Tools Team
This is a special episode of the Cool Tools podcast, because we have our regular crew of the small Cool Tools team of Claudia, Kevin, and I, and we’re each going to talk about two of our favorite tools.
YouTube Premium Subscription ($12 per mo.)
I am using YouTube Premium as an alternative to Pandora or Spotify. You can listen to YouTube on your phone, but the issue that I was having was that you cannot close the app and continue to listen to whatever you’re streaming without paying for it. So I debated for a long time, whether or not I was going to subscribe. Then I realized that I was listening to a lot more YouTube soundscapes than I was Pandora and that’s pretty much what I listen to all day while I’m working or taking walks. I needed the ability to close out of YouTube on my phone and still be able to listen to whatever I was streaming. And I’ve had it now for a few months and I canceled my Pandora account because I realized this is all I pretty much need. With YouTube Premium, you also get access to YouTube Music, which is a separate music streaming app, like Pandora and Spotify.
SAMSUNG T7 Portable SSD 1TB ($150)
This is for a portable hard drive, and I think most people are familiar now with these USB powered portable hard drives. All you have to do is have a USB cable. There’s no power adapter or anything. They’re very convenient. They’re very rugged. They’re pretty inexpensive now. I think you can get like a one terabyte for under a hundred, but I did get this solid state one for the first time. They are much, much smaller, much lighter and super fast. It’s a great way to back up your stuff quickly or for a scratch disk, if you’re doing audio or video editing and things like that. I am now going to just start using SSDs for everything and not use spinning media anymore because that stuff is like antiquated junk.
30 Ft Retractable Extension Cord Reel ($38)
It’s a workshop tool. It’s a tool I have been putting into my studio anywhere where I’ve had extension cords. My solution up until now has been to cable chain these long extension cords. Just dealing with long extension cords is a hassle. And the solution is kind of like an automatic roll up that’s very similar to what you have in the vacuum cleaner in your house, where you pull the cord out and then you can kind of tug it. It clutches, and then you can undo it and it spools back in. If you have an area where you are always trotting out an extension cord, this is the way to do it. You put one of these in. You can hang them from the ceiling and put them on the side or underneath something. And you just unroll it when you need it and you tug it and it closes up and it’s done.
Mindful Beta (Free Chrome Extension)
My second tool is a Chrome extension because I basically live in Chrome and it’s called Mindful. It’s designed by a designer at Google. It’s a text editor. Every time I open a new tab in Chrome, I go back to my ongoing list. For me is it’s a growing list of things to do, reminders, links to things I want to check out. And because it’s saved in Chrome, I go back to the same list, whether I’m on my desktop or my laptop. So if I move, every time I open a new tab, my to-do list is just there in my face waiting to be checked off. This project was inspired by Psychologist Daniel Kahneman, whose concept is “What you see is all there is.” So the only notes you remember are the ones you see.
Trader Joe’s 100% Natural Ginger Drink Mix ($14)
This is something that I discovered a few weeks ago at Trader Joe’s, but people are reselling them on Amazon and it is an amazing powdered ginger. There’s no sweeteners or anything. It’s not just a powdered ginger root, but it is the powdered ginger juice. You can mix it into hot or cold water, and then you have like a really great ginger beverage that you can make as strong or as dilute as you want. You can add honey or lemon, and it’s really refreshing. I will mix a half a pack with about eight ounces of hot water and it makes for a really good herbal tea. I feel like it kind of clears your nasal passages and it’s an astringent. So it just feels really cleaning to your mouth and nose and throat. Also, I feel like just the pepperiness is an alternative to caffeine. It can kind of make you feel a little perky when you’re a little sleepy. What I love about it is how easily it dissolves, too. So you have a pure solution and that makes a big difference in the mixing and the enjoying of it.
Justrite 8 oz Polyethylene Red Dispenser Can ($33)
In a workshop, you often need to have a solvent to clean things. That’s kind of a really common thing where you were cleaning something to prepare for painting, or just to clean it in general. Degreasing, cleaning a surface for a 3D printer pad. There’s just tons and tons of uses. And because it’s a solvent, you have to really make this tight. And so there’s this thing of opening up a can of solvent from a really tight lid and then finding a cloth to pour it onto. Anyways, it’s a hassle, but this little device has a seal that you just press on. You have a little finger hole and you turn it upside down, you press it and the solvent comes out. And when you let go, it’s a complete seal that keeps the solvent in, which you can store it in. It’s OSHA safe, meaning that it can’t tip over very well and leak stuff out. It’s not escaping. So it’s a really, really convenient way to have a solvent on hand at all times very quickly so you can just pour something in, because otherwise, this is kind of a multi-step process that you would have to deal with. It’s the size of a mug with a brass spring-loaded dispenser on top. And it has a kind of industrial look and it’s about $30 and it should last forever.