Cool Tools

Portable Clothesline/Black glues/Salary Transparent Street

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Travel clothesline
I’ve used this Retractable Portable Clothesline in 4 different hotels and I highly recommend it. You never lose the clothespins since they are attached to an elastic cord. Positioning beads on the cord prevents clothing items from sliding along it. There are hooks on the ends of the cord instead of suction cups, so you’ll need to be creative to set it up, but I find a way every time. — MF

Black glues
Clear caulking and clear hot glue are the norms. But caulking and glue also come in colors, like black. For instance black caulking and black hot glue are perfect for projects involving light seals, or when working with dark materials. Curiously, a black patch or seam will often disappear more than a clear one. — KK

Transparent salaries across the U.S.
Salary Transparent Street shares videos of people on the street being asked “what do you do?” and “how much do you make?” It’s humbling and (mind-boggling!) imagining how I would survive in the Bay Area on certain salaries across the U.S. The channel’s goal is to promote pay transparency across the United States, close the gender pay gap, increase diversity and equal opportunities. You can follow it on InstagramYouTube or TikTok. — CD

What you can control and what you can't
I like this visual reminder I came across on Reddit of “What I can control and what I can’t.” It reminds me to celebrate the wins — I no longer reactively say, “You make me feel this.” I used to have to correct myself to say, “When you do this, it makes me feel this.” But after years of practicing, it’s now become second nature to take responsibility for how I feel. — CD

Quick-dry travel pants
I own three pairs of Roark Explorer Adventure pants. They dry quickly in my hotel room after being washed. They feature a side zipper pocket for cell phones and passports, as well as a hidden back zipper pocket for wallets. I was in Carcassonne last week and warned that pickpockets were active there, so I was glad to have my belongings secured. — MF

Tools for possibilities
We think you’ll like our newest newsletter, Tools for Possibilities. Every Monday we’ll send you a one-pager with the best parts of my Cool Tools book, which is now out of print. This oversized book rounded up the best tools we knew about in 2013 and presented them by category. I called it a Catalog of Possibilities. Our succinct newsletter takes each category and selects the reviews for 2 to 4 tools in that category. It is basically a way to distill and re-distribute the deep, deep archive of the Cool Tools website, which has been reviewing tools daily since 2003. The information about the tools, whether they are still available or even still the very best, has NOT been updated. (They are just a search away.) We present this stream of tools – defined in its broadest sense as anything handy for an individual or small group  – as an easy way to see what possibilities there exist if you want to make things happen. It’s brief and free. Sign up for Tools for Possibilities here. — KK

Kevin KellyMark FrauenfelderClaudia Dawson

Cool Tools

Nathan Myhrvold, Inventor

Nathan Myhrvold is a scientist, inventor, nature and food photographer, and author of the award-winning Modernist Cuisine cookbooks. After completing a postdoc with Stephen Hawking and serving as Microsoft’s first Chief Technology Officer, he founded Intellectual Ventures, which has spun out more than 15 tech startups. Myhrvold is inventor or coinventor of 899 patented inventions to date. His book and other projects are at his website:

0:00 - Intro
0:48 - Wiha screwdriver set
6:55 - Kuhn Rikon avocado knife
10:36 - Omax CNC controlled waterjet
24:32 - Profoto Pro-10 camera flash

Cool Tools

World's coolest streets/theft-proof bags/5 hours by train

A weekly newsletter with four quick bites, edited by Tim Leffel, author of A Better Life for Half the Price and The World’s Cheapest Destinations.

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The World’s Coolest Streets?
TimeOut surveyed 20,000 city dwellers to find the coolest streets in the world. I had just spent the day walking along one of them (in Medellin) when I saw this, but it turns out I’ve only explored a fraction of the rest in my travels.

Theft-proof Travel Bags
My wife has walked the streets and ridden public transportation in dozens of countries over the course of decades without ever being robbed. This is the result of one part luck, one part street smarts, and one part gear smarts. On that last point, her “purse” of choice is a small bag from Pacsafe that is very hard to get into and has a slash-proof shoulder strap. The company also makes backpacks and luggage with loads of security features and most are available on Amazon.

Getting Your Finances in Order
This article from Schwab is a good basic summary of what you need to be thinking about financially before moving abroad if you’re American. The tax section is especially worth heeding to avoid paying the governments in two places. (Also, as mentioned in an earlier edition, if you have an account with Schwab you can get a fee-free ATM debit card that even rebates the local charges. I have a similar one from Fidelity.)

5 Hours by Train
This strangely specific map website will show you what’s within a 5-hour train ride from different cities in Europe. You can go quite far from Paris or Milan, but the best traveler choice might be Vienna: from there you can reach Budapest, Prague, Bratislava, Munich, and bits of Poland and Slovenia. See

Cool Tools

What's in my NOW? — Spencer E.

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I’m a lawyer, dog-dad, step-dad, runner, reader, music-lover, whiskey enthusiast, and aspiring traveler. Also, I’m a Diet Coke guy. I should probably sleep more.


ChuckIt! Ball Launcher — I have a two year old border collie named Marley. He is the most active, energetic, and loyal creature I’ve ever met. The only thing he loves more than following me around is playing fetch…and he could go for HOURS. To prevent my shoulder and elbow from giving out early, I bought one of these and it has provided Marley and me countless hours of fun, play, and bonding time. Gamechanger.

A friendly doormat — I bought this after it was recommended in another newsletter I follow. At first I thought it was cheesy, then I realized that it actually is quite amazing … the subtle boost of confident you can provide your guests just by having them look at something when they come knock on your door. Try it sometime.

noCow Protein Bars — these plant-based, vegan protein bars are 1) delicious, 2) filling, and 3) always in my bag. I love them.

Concert Tickets — Music is huge for me and this summer I’ve gone to at least one outdoor concert a week. Yes, the digital concert ticket marketplaces SUCK (I’m looking at you TicketMaster!) and the fees are insane; but by the time I am in the middle of a crowd of people vibing to the music in the warm summer night air, I don’t care. At least four times this summer I’ve attended a concert for a band I’ve known only one or two songs, and now these bands are some of my favorites. Go to a concert. Support local artists. Live mas. This concert slapped.

The Always Sunny Podcast — a recap podcast from the creators of my favorite TV show, except they spend each podcast barely talking about the episode of the TV show they are supposed to be recapping and instead ramble about people cutting in line at drive-thrus, whiskey, pooping habits, and football. It’s fantastic and always makes me smile.

No is a complete sentence.” — I have made it a personal goal for myself this year to be more authentic and to be more of “myself”. As part of that, I have found that I’ve needed to set more intentional boundaries with myself and others. In doing so, I have discovered the power of saying “no” and refusing to give excuses if they are not needed (and usually they aren’t!). I’m very busy and work can quickly get in the way of life…so telling people “No” to going out so I can stay home and recharge by myself is very essential to me. Initially, I got pushback, or friends complaining to me and trying to convince me otherwise…but I stood my ground and now people in my life know that I will be in a much better mood if I do what I want, when I want. Try it sometime :)

Cool Tools

New Electronics Series from Becky Stern

Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales is published by Cool Tools Lab. To receive the newsletter a week early, sign up here.

* Talk to me. Tell me a story. Share me a tip. A tool.
* Support my work by buying my tips books (Vol. 1Vol. 2).
* Take out an Unclassified in this newsletter to reach fellow makers.

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.

Making Your Own Vinyl Stickers

If you’ve been attracted to the idea of creating your own custom vinyl stickers, this video shows you how. All you basically need is a crafting vinyl cutter (a few hundred dollars) and some sheets or rolls of vinyl material.

CA Glue Accelerator from Baking Soda and Water

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.

Maker's Muse

What is this sorcery?

Shop Talk

Reader Candy Clouston took exception to my recommendation of the OXO sink strainer in the last issue:

“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!

Cool Tools

Rock Identifier/Sideways Awards/History of Rock

Identify rocks instantly
This stone ID app called Rock Identifier (Google PlayiOS) works fast in scanning and identifying rocks, minerals, and crystals. It’s got an extensive database so you can compare your stones to other images, as well as learn its chemical and physical properties, locality, uses, etc. I use it as an encyclopedia to learn more about how to identify minerals and how to tell real from fake crystals or gemstones. There’s a 7-day free trial, but for me it’s worth the $29.99 yearly subscription. — CD

Alternative worlds
I have a thing for alternative history or counterfactual stories. You know, what if X did not happen when it did, what would the world be like? These narratives require the longest possible view because the author must be in command of both the past and the future to pull it off. They require uncommon sideways, or lateral thinking.  A “Sideways Award” is awarded every year for the best counterfactual book or short story. This Wikipedia list of Sideways Awards is a great way to explore these alternative timelines. — KK

Musical history of rock
This fantastic podcast, A History of Rock in 500 Songs, does what it says: it traces the history of rock music in 500 songs. Start with the first episode, which looks at 1939’s “Flying Home” by the Benny Goodman Sextet. The most recent episode, numbered 152, is about 1967’s “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield. New episodes come out about once every two weeks. – MF

How to handle chronic over-talkers
Writer and podcast producer Rose Eveleth has been interviewed on radio countless times, and she’s had to put up with interviewers who love to hear themselves talk and won’t let her speak. This article in Last Word on Nothing describes how she learned how to deal with chronic over-talkers. Her most important rule: “Start your sentence just before your partner has ended theirs. Do not wait for them to actually end their sentence. Do not let them pause and think ‘am I truly done?’ Because the answer is always no.” — MF

Popular products on Reddit took all the most talked about “brand mentions” on Reddit — in posts and comments — and ran it through “sentiment analysis” to identify the emotional tone behind the mentions and determine what are the most popular products and then listed them by subreddit here. — CD

Large apple slicer
We eat apples often enough that an apple slicer wins a spot in our kitchen. A good one will core and carve an apple into 8 to 12 slices in one swift motion. There are lots of brands, like OXO’s, that are good enough, but they can’t deal with the largest apples. The apple piecer you want is a Newness stainless steel one with a 4-inch diameter that is heavy duty enough to slice all apples (and pears and onions) forever. — KK

— Kevin KellyMark FrauenfelderClaudia Dawson

The Technium

Weekly Links, 09/23/2022

Cool Tools

Mark Pauline, Survival Research Laboratories

Survival Research Laboratories was founded by Mark Pauline in November 1978 in San Francisco. Since its inception, SRL is made up of creative technicians dedicated to re-directing the tools of industry, science, and the military. Each performance is a unique interaction between machines and special effects in socio-political satire. Humans are present only as audience or operators.

Instagram: @markpauline5
YouTube: @survivalresearchlabs
Facebook: @survivalresearchlabs


0:00 - Intro
1:06 - DMU 50 5 Axis Milling machine
5:15 - Ikegai A-20 Precision Lathe, a vintage Japanese-made lathe
9:24 - EMI EZ Path SD lathe
18:04 - Deckel Maho DMC 103V vertical Machining Center
26:46 - Survival Research Labs

Cool Tools

No Love for Offices/Packable Backpacks/Nomad Conferences

A weekly newsletter with four quick bites, edited by Tim Leffel, author of A Better Life for Half the Price and The World’s Cheapest Destinations.

Sign up here to get Nomadico a week early in your inbox.

Almost Nobody Misses Office Cubicles
The majority of people can put up with a hybrid work situation, but almost nobody wants to work full-time in an office they drive to it seems, according to a new Gallup poll. “A mere 6% want to work entirely on-site going forward. Doesn’t it seem that traditional management and workplace practices are broken if more than 90% of 70 million employees say they don’t want to come back to the office full time?”

Packable Backpacks in Stuff Sacks
One item that I almost never leave home without when traveling is a small backpack that squeezes down into a little pouch. These items take up very little room and are lightweight, but they expand on the other end to be a great daypack or eco-friendly shopping bag. There are options from Eagle Creek, Sea to Summit, Matador, ChicoBag, and others. The ideal versions have at least one water bottle pocket, making them useful on a hike. See some options and video demos here.

Pack-flat Toiletry Bottles
Travel-sized toiletry bottles are a necessity for traveling with a carry-on, but that’s a lot of throw-away plastic going (usually) into a landfill. If you use normal refillable ones, they keep taking up space when they’re empty. Mark found these collapsible FlatPak ones from Matador that lie flat when empty and are easy to clean and reuse.

Digital Nomad Conferences
Working at home, wherever that may be, can get a bit lonely sometimes. It can be stimulating to learn from and meet up with others leading a location-independent lifestyle. Nora Dunn, The Professional Hobo, has a great rundown here of digital nomad conferences around the world.

Cool Tools

A Good Movie to Watch/Best Scrounging/Map of upcycle stores

TV and movie picker
With so many streaming channels out there, it’s hard to keep up with what’s worth watching. A Good Movie to Watch is a freemium service that rates and recommends movies and shows. A premium subscription opens extra features, such as sort-by-rating. — MF

Best scrounging
A world-class scrounger I know ranked the best places to find bargains for used and old stuff. He said “There are no good bargains on Ebay because sellers know the true value, and price accordingly. Facebook Marketplace has good stuff at ok prices. But if it is advertised on Craigslist, they just want to get rid of it. If you are patient you can offer 10% of asking and sometimes get it.” — KK

Find creative reuse stores near you
Creative reuse stores are secondhand stores for all kinds of craft supplies. I still have drawers of specialty papers, posters, paints, and fabric from when I used to live in Oakland and frequent the East Bay Depot. I would pay $20 for everything I could fill up in a grocery paper bag. keeps on top of updating a map of upcycle stores near you (in the U.S. and some outside). You can search the Google map here. Thanks to Margaret Cherry for sharing this with me! — CD

Music for programming
I’I’m not a coder, but I still like listening to the electronic instrumental songs from Music for Programming. The curators say they’ve spent years finding the right kind of “compelling music for sustained concentration” and I think they’ve found it. You can listen at the website or by subscribing to the podcast. — MF

How to identify a gut instinct
The best advice I ever got on how to trust my gut and intuition was given to me by a psychotherapist years ago. She suggested whenever I have a gut instinct — good or bad — I should first rate the intensity of my emotions from 1 to 10. If they are on the lower end of the spectrum, I’m more inclined to trust my gut. Emotions — like anger, fear or insecurity — are different from Feelings, because they are usually in reaction to something external and feel like a laser that you want to point at people or things. Feelings — like profound sadness and love — are more of a state of being, and Intuition is an inner knowing. So whenever I have to distinguish one from the other, I first start by rating my emotions. — CD

Strange images
The instagram account Welcome.jpeg calls itself a digital museum. It’s kinda art, kinda meme, kinda kitsch, kinda weirdo. It collects oddball, strange, unorthodox, found images and delivers these misfits as little visual collections. It’s my guilty pleasure. — KK

Kevin KellyMark FrauenfelderClaudia Dawson

The Technium

Weekly Links, 09/16/2022

Cool Tools

Tim O'Reilly, O’Reilly Media

Tim O’Reilly is the founder, CEO, and Chairman of O’Reilly Media, and a partner at early stage venture firm O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV). He is also on the boards of Code for America, PeerJ, Civis Analytics, and PopVox. His book, WTF: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us, explores what technology advances teach us about the future economy and government as its “platform.” He is a Visiting Professor of Practice at University College London’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, where he is researching a new approach to regulating big technology platforms by limiting their ability to extract economic rents.


0:00 - Intro
4:00 - Greenworks electric chainsaws
6:29 - Fiskars PowerGear2 Lopper
13:14 - Aquasphere Vista Pro Swim Mask
19:09 - Starlink broadband service

Cool Tools

Toiletry Kits/European Train Journeys/WeNomad

A weekly newsletter with four quick bites, edited by Tim Leffel, author of A Better Life for Half the Price and The World’s Cheapest Destinations.

Sign up here to get Nomadico a week early in your inbox.

Hanging Toiletry Kits in Two Sizes
One thing I always pack in my actual suitcase/backpack (and not my laptop bag) is a hanging toiletry kit that doesn’t depend on having ample counter space. I have two different sizes: a small Sea to Summit one for carry-ons and a larger Eagle Creek one for when I’ve got space in a checked bag. Even the cheapest hotels have a place to hang something in the bathroom and these keep everything organized with slots and pockets.

Notable European Train Trips
With budget airline flights within Europe being so cheap, it’s easy to forget all the reasons why a train trip is much more pleasant — and better for the planet. This article from The Points Guy highlights four train journeys where getting there is a joy instead of a pain. This one starting September 1 is especially intriguing: Stockholm, Sweden to Hamburg, Germany (or vice versa) in an overnight sleeper.

Online City Guides for Nomads
Earlier we highlighted a cities round-up site called NomadList and this alternative follows a similar template: WeNomad. There’s plenty to quibble with in the cost-of-living estimates in their crowdsourced city guides, but one great feature is a list of Facebook groups and message boards for cities so you can hit the ground running. - via Claudia Dawson

Gadgets That Make Life Easier
This Guardian UK article listing 31 inexpensive purchases that can make life better features a number of items that are travel-related. It includes a headlamp (get a rechargeable one), a portable Bluetooth speaker (ditto), a small digital luggage scale, binoculars (powerful ones are available in small sizes these days), and an eye mask. That last one is an inexpensive upgrade for a long flight.

Cool Tools

Which Ratcheting Screwdriver is Best?

  • Talk to me. Tell me a story. Share me a tip. A tool.
  • Support my work by buying my tips books (Vol. 1Vol. 2).
  • Take out an Unclassified in this newsletter to reach fellow makers.

Which Ratcheting Screwdriver is Best?

There are few hand tools that people seem to have more opinions about than ratcheting screwdrivers. And, now we have some decent testing of this everyday tool by Todd at Project Farm. Todd tests 14 different brands for efficiency, precision, and durability. Tests included working arc swing, ratchet back drag, magnet strength, bit retention strength, build quality (shaft wobble), shaft rotation in the locked position, bit failure load, and screwdriver failure load. Bottom line? The PB Swiss screwdriver, at a whopping $144 (at time of testing, now $178!), performed the best. This was followed by the $70 Linus Tech Tips driver. The Megapro and Williams also performed well, at $34 and $36, respectively. I have the Williams driver and have no complaints.

Tips on Quickly Learning a New Skill

In this video, engineer Jeremy Fielding drops a ton of wisdom via 26 strategies for learning a new skill, fast. Many of these might seem obvious (you must be motivated, mistakes will happen), but it’s in the unpacking of these ideas and the case examples he uses that make this video most valuable. And, there are a number of tips that one might overlook or not consider, like asking family and friends if they have resources related to the skill you wish to learn, not being afraid to ask someone to teach you what they know, and the idea that you only need to learn the essentials first, then you can dive in and learn by doing.

Making Clay Out of Common Soil

As my Southern mamma used to say: “Put a new wrinkle on your brain every day.” Here’s today’s wrinkle: I had no idea that you could derive clay, suitable for making pottery, from common soil. I thought you had to find a vein of red clay and harvest that. Sure, such clay is obviously preferred, but you can also render out clay using reddish soil (which has high clay content) or really any type of soil. All you need to do is suspend the soil in water and filter out the heavy materials. After straining through a cloth, you are left with clay.

Maker Slang

Jargon, slang, and tech terms from the diverse worlds of DIY.

Hero prop – In movie-making, a detailed prop designed for close-up shots and closer scrutiny from the audience. In contrast, action props are used where the audience will not see the prop in close-up.

Scumbling – In painting, to soften (the color or tone of a painted area) by overlaying opaque or semi-opaque color applied thinly and lightly with an almost dry brush. I learned this one from my artist wife, Angela White.

Weeding – In vinyl cutting, the act of removing all of the unwanted vinyl around your cut design.

TOYS! Better Sink Strainer

I watched a video a few weeks ago on Cool Tools where Donald Bell extolled the virtues of this OXO sink strainer. Like him, I hate the design of most metal-basket strainers. I ordered one of these and was so impressed with it that I wrote a Boing Boing post about it. Hundreds of BB readers followed suit and many of them are as happy with theirs as I am with mine, so I thought I’d share it here, too.

Shop Talk

Cool Tools’ Kevin Kelly weighs in on the racks for storage cases conversation:

I made two racks for my Stanley and Harbor Freight sorting boxes. One I welded and later decided it was way overbuilt. Too heavy especially once loaded with full trays of screws, etc. The second one I built a simple frame from 2 x 4s, then slid small shelves out of thin material like Masonite across both sides. It may not be as easy as baker racks, but I’m pretty sure it’s the cheapest way to build a rack in terms of materials. Plywood would be nicer all around, but 2x4s are cheap new, and almost free used.


Reader Jim Landis wrote:First, thanks for all the fascinating information you keep publishing. I’m a big fan. I’m sure others have discovered this, but some readers might find it useful. When I’m knocking together a quick model out of soda straws and paper clips, etc to get a feel for a project, 1 centimeter to 2 inches is a very convenient scale to use.

1. It’s easy to double or halve numbers without too much mental effort.

2. There’s always a ruler nearby with both inches and centimeters marked in parallel.

3. It’s very close to a 1:5 scale, so models are a nice size for desktops. For context, the original GI Joe dolls, -ahem- action figures, were 1:6 scale.

Cool Tools

Language, please/Puzzle Masters/Google Docs tricks

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Style guide for sensitive words
Language evolves fast and it’s easy to slip up and say the wrong thing. Language, please is an up-to-date resource for writers navigating sensitive subjects like trauma, substance use, race, disabilities, gender, etc. I searched for the word “homeless” and I agree that “people without housing,” or a “person experiencing homelessness” is a lot less stigmatizing and a better term to use. — CD

Puzzle source
The go-to source for physical puzzles is Puzzle Masters in Canada. They have everything, including lots of Japanese puzzles: Puzzle boxes, puzzle locks, jig saw puzzles, rubik’s cubes of all varieties, magic puzzles, toys, collectible puzzles, all very high quality. — KK

Useful Google Docs tricks
As a frequent user of Google Docs, I appreciated these tips from the Wonder Tools newsletter. For instance, you can display a live word count at Tools > Word count and checking “Display word count while typing.” — MF

Wrong person spam
Recently I’ve been getting a lot of “wrong number / wrong name” texts that are obviously spam. Here is a great explanation of what the intended scam is. By Max Read.  — KK

Healthy relationships chart
I want to print this chart out wallet-size, laminate it, and hand it out to all the young people in my life who are starting out in new relationships. It lists all the values and traits needed to maintain a healthy relationship, as well as examples of what that might look like. It’s a good reminder for myself too. Accountability and accepting responsibility for all of my attitudes and behaviors is not something I have mastered yet. — CD

Free image upscaler
Double the size of a small photo with ClipDrop’s Image Upscaler. I used it with a blurry snapshot of my wife when she was a teenager, then ran it through the face restorer app that Kevin mentioned last week. The end result was remarkable! — MF

— Kevin KellyMark FrauenfelderClaudia Dawson

The Technium

Weekly Links, 09/09/2022

Cool Tools

Ryan Phelan, Co-founder of Revive & Restore

Ryan Phelan is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Revive & Restore, with a mission to enhance biodiversity through the genetic rescue of endangered and extinct species. Ryan works with some of the world’s leading molecular biologists, conservation biologists, and conservation organizations to envision and develop pioneering genetic rescue projects using cutting-edge genomic technologies to solve seemingly intractable wildlife conservation challenges such as those posed by inbreeding, exotic diseases, climate change, and destructive invasive species. Prior to her conservation work, for two decades she was a leader in patient-oriented health care and was the Founder and CEO of two innovative healthcare companies focused on empowering the healthcare consumer: DNA Direct and Direct Medical Knowledge.

Current Projects
Revive & Restore Twitter: @Revive_Restore
Personal Twitter: @Ryanphelan6

0:00 - Intro
2:00 - Dirty Girl gaiters
5:17 - Shokz (formerly AfterShokz) Openswim headphones
9:00 - Lomi Home Composter
14:11 - Oura Ring health tracker
21:28 - Revive & Restore

Cool Tools

Digital Nomads Welcome/180 Days as a Tourist/Side Hustles

A weekly newsletter with four quick bites, edited by Tim Leffel, author of A Better Life for Half the Price and The World’s Cheapest Destinations.

Sign up here to get Nomadico a week early in your inbox.

Welcome Mats for Digital Nomads
It seems that digital nomad visas have gone mainstream. Yours truly was quoted in an article about the trend in Reader’s Digest yesterday. The Wall Street Journal highlighted a more localized movement beyond that where smaller towns and cities in Europe with aging populations are actively recruiting remote workers to move there. It especially focuses on Italy, which also made the news last year with one-euro fixer-uppers for sale in villages with abandoned houses. - hat tip to Mark Frauenfelder

180 Days Again in Mexico
There’s been a lot of uncertainty for long-term visitors to Mexico the past year as they inconsistently applied the rules for how long someone without residency could stay. We’re getting back to a 180-day default though as Cancun and four other airports (to start) are getting rid of paper tourist forms and universally granting the 180 days again. I would still be careful about trying to get away with this for years on end, but great for snowbirds and nomads!

Side Hustle Strategy Tips
For many of us who run a remote business or a freelance career, the actual thing we make money from first started as a side hustle while holding down another job. This Mashable article runs down advice from 11 entrepreneurs on how to run two or more side projects without killing yourself or going crazy. 

IRL Brainstorming is Best
While most remote workers aren’t in any hurry to return to the company office, this Stanford Business School study says there are some inherent advantages to meeting in real life at least part of the time. They found that online video meetings are not very productive for brainstorming sessions especially, partly because our field of vision is narrowed and it’s hard to walk around and keep talking to your fellow participants.

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What's in my NOW? — Rell DeShaw

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I work as a middle manager in the federal public service in Ottawa. I write for and I just finished a four part series on the quandary of having too much work and not enough staff. My blog “Letter to a New Manager” turned ten this year. I am writing ten pieces to celebrate.

Intuitive Eating for Every Day: 365 Daily Practices & Inspirations to Rediscover the Pleasures of Eating — Working at home during Covid gave me the opportunity to more firmly establish a morning practice which includes reading one of these practices per day on intuitive eating. 

Two Minute Mornings: A Journal to Win Your Day Every Day — A daily journal with a simple format - three sections that prompt you to: 1) Let go of one thing 2) Be grateful for any number of things and 3) Choose three things on which to focus for the day. 

CoffeeSock Drip — I no longer have to worry about having coffee filters in the house - these coffee socks come two to a pack so you can always have one in service.  
10% Happier Meditation App — I have tried a few different apps and this one is my current favourite - first rate teachers and interesting courses.  
Digital library resources — My library card gives me access to books, movies, magazines, newspapers and linkedin learning.
I was at the Texas Book Festival one year having a magical time and one of the authors shared one her mantras — on her difficult days she says to herself “I get to do this” and I now use this a lot. I get to serve Canadians as a public servant.

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Clever Tools for Your Shop

* Talk to me. Tell me a story. Share me a tip. A tool.
* Support my work by buying my tips books (Vol. 1Vol. 2).
* Take out an Unclassified in this newsletter to reach fellow makers.

Clever Tools for Your Shop

As I frequently say about Stumpy Nubs videos, even though James is a woodworker, many of the tools he recommends apply to all sorts of makery. In this video he covers 7 clever shop tools. As a non-woodworker, I was particularly interested in CBN (cubic boron nitride) dowels and hones (an alternative to much more expensive diamond plates) for manual tool sharpening, FastCap FatBoy mechanical shop pencils, the Air Defender Bluetooth shop ear muffs, and fire blankets (a great alternative to extinguishers for small kitchen and shop fires). I was already a huge fan of the FastCap Long Nose markers. Good stuff as always.

Making Waterproof Tarps Out of Old Bedsheets

Behold ancient button technology!
Behold ancient button technology!

Here’s something I’ve never thought of — waterproofing old bed sheets to create waterproof tarps. You might wonder if it’s worth the effort, but the process basically involves little more than soaking the sheets in naphtha and cheap silicone chalking and then hanging them out to dry. The real eye-opener in this video comes at the end when Ben shows you how to make an ancient button out of a pebble. No, really.

More Tips on Tap & Die

In response to the tutorial in the last issue on tap & die, reader Craig shared these additional tips:

That’s a good tutorial on threading.

thing 1….hss [high-speed] steel taps survive much longer.

thing 2…i make threading solution from 3in1 and dry graphite lock lube and have done so since the 60s

thing 2a…aluminum and brass are sticky, you really need to use a lube

thing 3…you can thread HARD wood with metal taps

thing3a…i use pipe taps and dies for large plastic and wood threading

thing 3b…in plywood or pine that i’m going to thread, i drizzle CA or epoxy into my hole, let it set, then thread it…that makes the soft wood hard (so does styrene-based wood hardener)

thing 4…if you can’t find a bottoming tap you can grind off the taper of a regular tap

thing 5…even though tap and die wrenches are preferred, crescent wrenches and vise grips work in a pinch

TOYS! Bābe-Bot Glue Bottle

Everyone who’s ever worked in a woodshop, visited a woodshop, or seen one on YouTube is likely to have spotted a Glu-Bot. These are wood glue dispensers, designed by cabinetmakers, to be easy to fill, not drip, and to dispense glue in both horizontal and vertical positions. Once you get one, you’ll wonder what took you so long. Recently, on YouTube, I saw a modeling video where a guy was using a Bābe-Bot, a tiny 4 oz. version of the original 16 oz. bottle. I ordered one immediately. Now, I have all of the usefulness of the large bottle on my modeling table.

Noteable Quotables

“You always go to school on your first one.” -Jimmy DiResta

“The day you believe you have enough [clamps] is the day you don’t.” -Newsletter Reader Craig

Shop Talk

Finally, we have the response to the question asked by Steve Roberts several issues ago! Reader Daniel sent the link to this baker’s rack portable parts organizing solution that I remember seeing years ago. He even wrote up the instructions for making them. Thanks, Daniel!

Someone probably already sent you details on the baker rack solution. But just in case, I found the details here.


1) Cut cross bars on rack to make rack narrower for cases

2) Tap modified cross bars ( large bar - M10-1.5, small bar M6-1.0)

3) Remove rails from bottom position & use angled pieces to attach wooden work top


Saw - to cut aluminum cross bars

Drill for re-tapping cross bars


M10-1.5 (Drill = 8.5mm, 0.3346")

M6-1.0 (Drill = 5.0mm, 0.1969")

The racks have 90 lbs per rail and 485 lbs total capacity. I purchased such a rack here.

Hope this helps. I have followed Steven K Roberts’ blog for years.

NOTE: The racks that Daniel links to only have 3" clearance, so they can only work with shallower Stanley and other organizer brands. Unless you remove sets of rack brackets as they appear to have done on the bottom of the racks pictured above.


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