Measures outside diameter, inside diameter, and depth
I don’t know why I went so long without having these, but a few years ago I got a really cheap set of digital calipers that can measure up to 6 inches of inside diameter, outside diameter, or the depth of something. You can switch between inches and millimeters.
— John Edgar Park
(This is from our 2015 podcast with John. Listen to it here. — editors)
Cool tools really work.
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.
Free bestselling ebooks
If you are an Amazon Prime member, you are entitled to two free Kindle ebooks per month from a selection of 9 popular bestselling books chosen by Amazon that month. This same program, called First Reads, also gives you access to free short stories and Audible readings for listening, commissioned as Amazon originals. I can usually find at least one book I am interested in each month, and since it is free, why not? —KK
Drive & listen
This cool website, Drive & Listen, pulls dashboard cam videos from YouTube and pairs them up with local music channels so that you can feel like you’re cruising around in a foreign city, blasting the radio, all while sitting at your desk. — CD
I recommended Dictanote a few weeks ago. It’s a Chrome-based application that converts speech to text. It’s faster and less buggy than my Mac’s built-in dictation. Recently, Dictanote released a Google Chrome extension that lets you use Dictanote within almost any website. Now I’m using it to answer emails in Gmail, which has been a big time saver. It doesn’t work with Google Docs, which is unfortunate, but for longer form speech-to-text writing I use Dictanote’s notebook and copy and paste the text (in fact, I’m using the notebook to write this recommendation). It’s $19, and because I’m such a terrible typist, it paid for itself within the first day or two. — MF
Enjoy the boss radio sound of KHJ 93 Los Angeles
One of my favorite things about Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood was listening to clips of 93 KHJ, a radio station that pioneered the “boss radio” sound in the 1960s. The DJs were all vocal virtuosos, and the most talented of the bunch was a guy by the name of “The Real Don Steele.” Almost all of these broadcasts have been lost to time, but fortunately, some people recorded KHJ on their tape recorders in the 1960s, and the recordings found their way to the Internet. The Internet Archive has a couple of recordings from the 1960s of Steele’s show on KHJ. Here’s another, and another (with other KHJ DJs, too). If this kind of thing interests you, you can dig up more by searching “khj airchecks.” — MF
Email design database
If you’re in the newsletter business, Really Good Emails has a huge database of marketing emails and newsletters that you can search for inspiration. You can “collect” designs that you like, view code, and see examples of how it looks across different email clients and devices. I was not surprised to see Food52 emails on there, because I always feel compelled to click (and sometimes buy) whatever they send me. — CD
Opaque white ink
In my workshop and studio, I label boxes, shelves, drawers, cases, bins, and parts with a very dense white “ink” which is really white correction fluid in a stubby pen. White is usually much more legible than black, but white ink is much more difficult to apply heavy enough to cover any surface. These Pentel Presto Jumbo Correction Pens do a fantastic job applying thick non-drippy white paint via a fine point tip, and are small enough to carry in my workshop apron. They draw perfectly opaque white on any surface, instantly, even vertical surfaces. I have not found anything else that will do that. — KK