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New Electronics Series from Becky Stern
My old Make: colleague, Becky Stern, has a new video series that she’s doing for the electronics component company, Digi-Key. Becky has always done an impressive job of explaining what can be intimidating technical information in an entertaining and digestible way. If this first installment, an introduction to LEDs, is any indication, this series looks to deliver more of her welcome brand of accessible tech education.
How to Get Clearer and Stronger Transparent FDM Prints
In this CNC Kitchen video, Stefan shows the special settings you can use to create superior-looking clear prints using an FDM (Fused deposition modeling)printer and clear filament. He also looks at how these parameters make your parts super strong.
One of the best takeaways from this Bill Making Stuff video (where he celebrates his 50th episode) is his tip for creating your own accelerator for CA glue. As you likely know, there are commercial accelerators, but they smell funny, have nasty stuff in them, and are combustible. You’re even supposed to wear eye protection when using them, though nobody does. You may also know about using baking soda as an accelerator. It works great, but it leaves a dusty powder on everything that you have to clean off. Bill mixes his baking soda with water in a spray bottle and has found that it works great and creates less mess. I will definitely be trying this.
How a Gas Pump Knows When to Turn Itself Off
If you’ve ever wondered how a gas pump nozzle knows when to shut off when your tank is full, this video reveals the clever design. Venturi tubes, Bernoulli principle, negative pressure — it turns out the design is far more complicated that you might expect. I always assumed it was some sort of an electronic sensor, but it’s purely mechanical.
“I was surprised to see a recommendation for the OXO sink strainer. I love OXO products, but that strainer is a disappointment to me. I do like the inversion feature, but stuff still gets stuck in and around the holes. The silicone gets slimy. I have black slime after a week in my kitchen drain, probably from teensy bits of lettuce and herbs and salad dressing. UGH. (Cleaning out the bowl with a paper towel before washing it seems to help.) I don’t know that a standard issue strainer would make me any happier (though I’d love to quit using so many paper towels). I’m glad yours pleases you; my experience is just different.”
This is a great example of that adage made popular by early hacker culture: “Your mileage may vary” (YMMV). When I posted my review of the strainer on Boing Boing, the first few responses were similar to Candy’s and I got nervous, thinking I had prematurely decided a tool was a winner without giving it an honest testing myself. But then the positive reviews came and they were the overwhelming sentiment. And on Amazon, it has 17.5K reviews at 4.7 stars. After a month, we are more than happy with ours, but, as in all things, YMMV. Thanks for sharing your experience, Candy!
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.
“How to choose the streaming services that are right for you” is an incredibly helpful breakdown of the major streaming services and their costs. The guide suggests keeping a TV diary for a week to write down what you watch as you watch it to reveal where you direct most of your attention as a viewer. I’ve been slowly getting kicked off of shared streaming services and was surprised to find that I don’t miss Netflix at all. The shows I most enjoy are on Max and Hulu. — CD
Classical antiquity is not as far away from us as it might first appear. I’m in love with a newish book about the first millennia called, “In the Shadow of the Sword,” Inside this elegantly written, sweeping history about the birth of Islam, is hidden a more profound book about the birth of religions in general. Just as the bishops created Christianity from the slim, scarce, and obscure oral teachings of a holy man, so Islam was created from the slim, obscure oral traditions of another holy man. This is one of the densest books I’ve ever read, with more insights per page than I could count. The two greatest forces shaping our lives today are technology and orthodox, dogmatic religion, and this is the biography of the second. — KK
Borrow Kindle books for free
The Library Extension has changed how I find and borrow ebooks. While browsing Amazon or Goodreads, this browser add-on indicates whether a book is available at my local library. With a simple click on the "borrow" button, the book is sent directly to my Kindle. It requires only a library account to use. (Screenshot) — MF
One Minute Focus
The purpose of this website is to increase your mental focus by looking at the dot for 1 minute while breathing. It’s inspired by Dr. Andrew Huberman’s claim that “staring at something for a short time has been proven to improve and boost mental focus on subsequent tasks.” I feel like it “pumps” me up to focus, so I guess it works for me. Along with this recommendation, I also want to share a reminder to practice good eye hygiene when working at your desk. I frequently look out the window, widen my gaze, unfocus my eyes, and close them for short periods of time. Here’s more info on digital eye strain. — CD
Best music visualization
There have been many many attempts to visualize music over the centuries, but the animations of music done by Stephen Malinowski are the ones that sing to me. Despite the name of Music Animation Machine, this is not AI. This is obsessive craftsmanship of the highest order. As a sample start with this piece of music, the original 1924 recording of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. — KK