Neil Day, CTO at rZero Systems


Cool Tools Show 264: Neil Day

Our guest this week is Neil Day. Neil been writing software for over 40 years, and loves coffee, making things and outdoor adventures. He’s led technology teams at Walmart.com, Shutterfly, Blue Bottle Coffee and Dr. Consulta, as well as having started a number of companies.

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Show notes:

The Millwright Hand Grinder ($149)
One of my passions is good coffee. And it’s a great area if you’re into tools and noodling around with new devices and technology. And one of the things I really enjoy doing is being able to take my coffee gear with me on the road. And so having a really nice portable hand grinder is a really important part of that. And one of the things people don’t know about making great coffee is that grind is actually the second most important thing. Getting good beans is the most important, but being able to grind them well and consistently is really what leads to a fantastic cup. So I’ve played with tens of grinders and a bunch of hand grinders. And when I saw the Saint Anthony’s industry hand grinder come out, I was really intrigued and ordered one of their early units. And the thing that’s amazing about it is, it’s so smooth. They did an incredible job with all the mechanical aspects and they put amazing bearings into it. So it removes almost all of the friction, and it creates such a nice smooth motion and a really tactile experience while you’re grinding the beans. It’s amazing for everything from Espresso to Pour Over coffee.

A friend of mine told me about Fictiv, which is an amazing service where you basically just upload your 3D models and they organize a set of affiliates who can print them for you using the latest and high-end equipment. And the two things that really blew me away about the service were, first of all, they’d built software that checked your models to make sure they were printable. But the other thing was the turnaround time was phenomenal. In a lot of cases, I’ve been able to get parts same day and certainly within one to two days. And also being able to send a whole suite of parts out for printing and have Fictiv deliver them to a bunch of different printers and bring them all back for you meant that we could get a lot more done a lot faster. So the access to high-end printing technology, the fact that they did a great job, making sure your models would work and the fact that you could get stuff back so quickly and pretty cost-effectively was just a game changer for us.

I love writing on paper. I went through a big fountain pen and mechanical pencil phase and still love the very tactile feel of writing with nice instruments on nice paper. But, the problem is you end up with a desk full of chicken scratchings and half done drawings and things like that. And you can never find them, especially when you’re moving around a lot. The appeal of being able to do everything digitally and have it all in one place where it’s easily accessible has always been really, really strong. But, for a long time, the technology just didn’t work well. About 3 years ago I finally was able to go 100% paperless with an iPad Pro and Goodnotes. It completely gets out of the way and lets me forget that I’m not on paper. I can honestly say I’ve mostly abandoned paper as the way of sketching and outlining and all of that. The thing about it that’s nice is the software just completely disappears. You select the pen or an eraser and it so closely mimics what you do. In the analog world. It’s just great.

JH Audio In Ear Monitors, JH-7 ($599)
I love music and all things audio. By far the best bang for the buck are JH Audio In Ear Monitors. I have a pair of the bottom of the line JH-7’s and the mic cable, and they are absolutely incredible. In terms of definition and accuracy, you’d have to spend more than $50k in loudspeakers and amps to come anywhere close. And the thing that’s interesting about these inner monitors are, you actually have to go to an audiologist and have them take a mold of your ear canal. You go to a doctor effectively and they squirt silicon in your ear to get a perfect mold of your ear canal. And then you send this off to JH audio and they CNC a specific earbuds for you that really tightly fits into your ear canal. And the drivers are incredibly accurate. And the effect is it produces this incredibly realistic, accurate, high fidelity audio image and also blocks out all of the surrounding noise. So it’s this very immersive experience. I got them initially for listening to music and monitoring recording and stuff like that. But then realized they had a little mic attachment. So you can use them as just like your ear pods or your standard phone earphones. And the difference in sound quality and the isolation just made them my all time favorite audio purchase. And so I’ve had these, and I use them every day. There are two or three things that I reached for every single day. And these are pretty much at the top of that list.

About rZero Systems:
I’m currently CTO at rZero Systems. Inspired by the Pandemic, we make BioSafety tools that help eliminate pathogens from public spaces. Our first product is a powerful UVC Light that kills 99.99% of most pathogens in 7 minutes in a 1000 sq ft room.


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