Cool Tools Show # 18

Tech Journalist and Podcaster, Tom Merritt

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Our guest this week is technology journalist Tom Merritt. Tom is the host of the Daily Tech News Show, which features tech news, commentary and analysis with reporters and experts from around the world. He’s also the co-host of the Sword and Laser podcast and book club with Veronica Belmont. Tom’s tool selections emphasize streamlining complex or time consuming tasks for maximum efficiency. If you are interested in tools that will shave precious minutes off your schedule, Tom’s suggestions are worth the time it takes to listen to this episode of the Cool Tools Show.

Feedly (Free)
The best RSS reader

“I settled on Feedly mostly because they reacted really well to the needs of people like me who wanted an interface where you could scan through a lot of different headlines, mark things to be able to look at later…I use it all the time. I’m in it constantly. It’s a permanent tab on every browser I own.”


Blue Icicle ($31)
XLR to USB Mic Converter and preamp

“[I]t’s just easy to throw in a bag and when I’m doing any kind of recording out on the road I can use a better mic than I might get if I had to buy an all in one mic and USB solution and I can adapt to other mics, so it’s usually my recommendation to folks.”



Duolingo (Free)
Playful way to learn a new language

“The interesting thing about them is they fund themselves by providing translation services. So when you complete a lesson it will tell you, “You can now read and translate 60% of all Spanish articles. Would you like to try?” Then you go in and you translate part of an actual page in whatever language you’re learning, they use that as sort of a crowd sourced way of providing automatic translation services. ”



Kuhn Rikon Garlic Press ($36)
Easy to clean and powerful enough to press ginger

This one has a swivel mechanism. It’s a little hard to wrap your head around the first time you see it, but essentially it pops the grill out on it’s own pivot arm so you can wash water right over it and it cleans it up really easily and it pops back into it’s setting where you can push the flat piece against it when you need to actually push some garlic.



Yubikey ($25)
USB authentication device changes passwords every time you use it

“This is a USB key, you put it on your key chain and surf any site…that supports it. Instead of having a code set to your text message or having to run an app where you put in a number to do second factor authentication for login, you just put the Yubikey in. It’s a lot faster and a lot quicker. “